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Yes - Yessongs CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.32 | 891 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars A pretty good live album. It perfectly captures Yes at (or near) their creative peak. The only problem is the sound quality, which is only fairly good by today's standards, but in 1973 was phenomenal. There are some subtle edits and dubs here and there, nothing blastphemous, mainly just odd jumps in volume occaisionally. Of course, there is still a little analog hiss, but nothing bad.

The music included is the best part. It starts with an excerpt from Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite," but unfortunately is just a recording, and not played by the band. Soon the band enters to play "Siberian Khatru," which is very well done, and doesn't stray much from the studio version except that the electric sitar is absent. "Heart of the Sunrise" is also fairly faithful to the studio version, nothing special but still as great as ever. BRUFORD plays on "Perpetual Change," and does a big drum solo at the end. However, the midsection of the song is the most interesting part, when the band speeds into a section in 14/8 much like the one in the studio album, but played live it is even more amazing. They end it with a huge amount of feedback, tricking you into thinking that something went wrong, then plunges back into the song.

"And You and I" is another great but not exemplary tune included, using electric guitar instead of the 12-string like on the studio version. HOWE's "Mood for a Day" is really the only filler on here, replicated exactly as it was in the studio, and even in the studio it was mainly filler anyway. Rick WAKEMAN's keyboard solo is another highlight, in which he incorporates quotations from his "Six Wives" album and the hymn "Hallelujah." After this is "Roundabout", which has some slightly muddy sound quality but still retains its effect.

Disc two is my personal favorite, however, beginning with "I've Seen All Good People." They keep the song fairly close to the studio version, once again, but it still has that live flavor you can't get in the studio. "Long Distance Runaround" segues into "The Fish," and is by far the most interesting moment on the album. I wondered how they would ever pull it off, but they do. SQUIRE performs superbly, taking individual themes from the studio version and twisting them through a wah pedal, with the rest of the band helping. You have to hear it to believe it.

"Close to the Edge" is as beautiful as ever, with a climax even more climactic than in the studio, with distortion, wah and everything. This version is my personal favorite, and HOWE actually plays his electric sitar the whole time onstage, another plus. BRUFORD plays once more on "Yours is No Disgrace," and they really stretch this one out with a lot more improvisations than their newer numbers. "Starship Trooper" ends with very good sound quality, and the "Wurm" section live is simply majestic.

This album could easily be enjoyed by YES veterans and newcomers alike. It could be a very good album to start with, actually, if you were just starting to get into YES. A must-have for fans.

penguindf12 | 3/5 |


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