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Yes - Yessongs (DVD) CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.66 | 165 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars I bought the YESSONGS triple album back in '75, not even realising it was live, I thought it was some kind of collection, so you can imagine how shocked I was, what with parts of "Close to the Edge" sounding distinctly muddy etc., but I soon got used to the performances, I don't know how many times I played them, wearing headphones and staring admiringly at the LP-sized photo-album featuring concert pictures of all the Yes boys... How ever did these guys MOVE ABOUT on stage? What kind of magical experience would it be if you saw them right in front of you? I had no way of finding out, at least not until the GOING FOR THE ONE TOUR (when the band, unfortunately, were already past their prime) but at some point (late 1975?) this concert film was announced, and of course it never found its way to a cinema near me.

Nowadays the YESSONGS movie is freely available to all and sundry, and yes: we can now see those classic photographs come alive as often as we like, surely the band never looked cooler than this, Jon in his white suit, skinny Chris with his funny little cape, a very youthful Alan with flowing blonde hair... Long-time Yes fans finally get to see what Steve's so-called "vachalia" looked like, and if there were REAL explosions on stage during Rick's solo spot... For me, the most fascinating part of the concert is that extended guitar solo in "Yours is no Disgrace", because it seems to inhabit the same kind of parallell universe as some of the material in the Beatles' ANTHOLOGY series: to your confusion, you're suddenly confronted with an alternative performance of a piece of music you thought you knew like the back of your hand.

Although it has great value as a historical document, the YESSONGS movie suffers from serious technical defects. The credits state it was recorded and mixed by Eddie Offord, but the music sounds as if someone put a single microphone somewhere in the middle of a cavernous concert hall. I know the band's playing was rough in those days (the YESSONGS triple album doesn't lie), roughness came with spontaneity, but Eddie, didn't you keep the original tapes? Is there no way of remixing this? The camera work looks shoddy at times, but it's no worse than Jethro Tull's ISLE OF WIGHT DVD (which was praised to the sky by Tull freaks); the main problem is the silly visuals! Why do we get to stare at creatures in a stupid aquarium during the opening section of "Close to the Edge", and why are we treated to so many lingering close-ups of Rick's glitter cape?

All Yes fans will want a copy of this, but it would be an act of mercy if the band finally treated them to a cleaned-up version.

fuxi | 3/5 |


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