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Yes - House of Yes: Live from House of Blues CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.61 | 230 ratings

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3 stars "...Have You heard the news? Yes in the House of Blues! Yes, Yes, Yes, in the House of Blues...", echoing the last verses of the last track of their performance in the Las Vegas' "House of Blues" venue. That showed the overall feel and intention to play in relaxed way, to specific audience, different from devoted and demanding Yes followers and admirers. So, the conclusion is simple: this concert should not be rated from quality point of view, but from the specific moment-in-time view, something like the single snapshot of past times.

Yes was, is, and will be a great band, no matter some stumbling from time to time. One of the Proggy Trinity: the Floyd, the Yes, and the Genesis. All these bands heavily changed their style through 80's, trying to adopt a new sound, but disoriented and in knockdown by the flooding wave of pop-synthesized easy listening albums that new generations widely accepted at the time. Democracy in music, on one hand, when almost everybody can afforded music equipment to play music, and search of music industry for new golden eggs laying hens, on the other, changed the game for good. But great bands survived mostly with the support of 70's fans, less making new albums, but more performing good old material to audience across the world. In the case of Yes, that resulted in many live albums containing similar material. I think that two key live albums of Yes were 1973 "Yessongs" and 1980 "Yesshows", first being recorded at artistic heights, and the seconds being recorded in the dawn of a-changin' times with two lineups to kept the torch burning and pass it to next band incarnations. Later, up to 2010's when "we play whole albums concerts" tours evolved like global unplugged concerts movement in 1990's, most live Yes albums were based on bullet-proof material from the first half of 70's. Similar situation is with "House of Blues" album, but on that album Yes played half of then actual 1999 "The Ladder" album (5 tracks, 34 minutes), which were a little bit unusual.

And what to say about "The Ladder" album? Well, I bought it back in the days, listened to it several times, and... sold it! One of the few that I can't lived with. Just didn't like it, then and now. So I was curious how that material sounded on live "House of Blues" album, and, to be honest, it was much more acceptable, when Ladder's songs are played amongst others, in concert atmosphere.

On "House of Blues" generally there are no solo excursions of players, just pure music, pure concert atmosphere, and cheerful audience response, something like excellent soundboard recording of one of many concerts from one of many tours (the recording is loud, too loud for my taste, so nuances are harder to hear). There are nice unexpected short snippets of two songs, each lasting a minute. There are a little bit of samba, and a little bit of reggae. We have less pop, more rocking "Owner of the Lonely Heart" coupled with instrumental track "Cinema". Of greatest interest is the absence of Rick Wakeman (so obviously there's no "Rick Wakeman Solo" track on album), and presence of two new players, Sherwood and Khoroshev. And second incarnation of "Awaken" on live album, if I'm correct, to me the most serious point of album. When "Awaken" is played, you just can't go for a glass of water or for a bottle of bear, not to mention a visit to 00 facility!

Well, why this concert has been chosen to be released? I don't know. Probably "House of Blues" in title have some weight on music market. Upon words written, it looks like a two star (collectors/fans) album. But what is the rating, by the system of logical elimination? Masterpiece? No, it's light years far from it. Essential? No, there are much better live albums. For collectors only? Well, no and yes. It's quite solid for everyone who like progressive rock and is not a perfectionist, although is of more importance for Yes collections, but it would be unfair to give it only two stars (even if two star rating is not a quality, but collection rating, which is in a sort of contradiction with higher ratings). Poor? Far away from such bad rating, it is not only for completists. So, what remains is "good", as middle and most adequate rating. Three stars for a little bit different Yes live album.

cedo | 3/5 |


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