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Anderson Bruford Wakeman  Howe - Live At The NEC CD (album) cover

LIVE AT THE NEC

Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe

 

Symphonic Prog

4.05 | 21 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Prog Team
4 stars Like many Yes fans, I wasn't too sure what was happening with the band with all of the line-up changes they went through. I was surprised at just how good 'Drama' was, but after that I felt that all of the rest of their releases either didn't sound like Yes to me, or were patchy (and to be honest, the next really good album after 'Drama' was 'Fly From Here'). So, when back in he late Eighties I heard that Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe were joining forces to record a new album I was incredibly excited, and I wasn't disappointed with the results. But, as well know by now, that project only lasted the one album and there have been few official live albums available by that line-up, but here we have a double CD of their performance at the NEC on 24th October, 1989. As well as the four they were of course joined by Tony Levin on bass/stick, with Julian Colbeck on additional keyboards and Milton McDonald on additional guitar.

Musically it is interesting to hear how the songs from the album fit in so easily with the Yes numbers, and it really does sound as if the classic Yes line-up has just expanded slightly and is well at home with all of the music and does everything justice. Bill was of course playing is electronic kit at the time, so it does sound a little different, but given his mastery and control it all makes semse.The booklet is a little strange in that while it talks about how the decision was made to get back together, it is almost as if it was written as a press release for the 'new' album, and that shows had yet to be performed. Given that this is a booklet for a live album that seems unusual to say the least, and there are no group shots of the band performing, which is what one might expect, instead of solo studio shots. It's great to have a Pete Frame family tree detailing where they came from, but fitting the Yes/ABWH story on one page of a CD booklet is not ideal ' I have 20/20 vision but there is no way of reading the detail comfortably.

But, that really is nit-picking, as this is all about the music, and that is just wonderful. The production is very clear indeed, and kudos to whoever was behind the controls, but yet again there is no information about who engineered, produced and mixed this. Simply put, if you are a Yes fan then this album shows what could have been, with songs such as 'And You And I' just superb. Sure, the lack of details is annoying, but for anyone interested at all in the music of Yes (and there can't be many progheads who aren't) then this is essential.

kev rowland | 4/5 |

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