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Yes - Yes - The New Director's Cut CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.85 | 52 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Brought out of retirement. . . the songs that is!

This 2008 double DVD release belatedly makes available 2 concerts from Yes' 35 anniversary year in 2003. While the Yesspeak DVD had included an audio only recording of a gig from that tour, this is the first time the video has been officially available. Having attended the Edinburgh, Scotland leg of the tour, it is good to have this recording of the Birmingham show a few days before or after. For this tour, the Classic line up of Anderson, Howe, Squire, White and Wakeman are back together, adding extra appeal.

In my view the set list is not one of the strongest Yes have come up with, but on the other hand we would not want them to play the same songs on every tour. As a result, there's no "Close to the edge" or "Gates of Delirium" for example, but songs which have been resting for years are given new life. The two highlights in this respect are "South side of the sky" from "Fragile" and "Awaken" from "Going for the one". "South side of the sky" was never one of my favourites (great name for a PA member though!), but the version for this tour is revitalised by some great sparring between Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman. "Awaken" is the song which steals the show though, this majestic rendition bringing out the full power and beauty of the piece, and placing it firmly alongside "And You and I", "Close to the edge" etc. at the top table of Yes songs.

There is something of a focus on "Fragile" in the set list, with "Heart of the sunrise", "Long distance runaround", and several others being performed. Of the other songs, those like "Don't kill the whale" and "Magnification" are lesser Yes numbers, and as such could have been omitted in favour of stronger material.

The songs are occasionally interspersed with back stage footage and interviews with the band members. These appear to have been lifted straight from the Yesspeak" DVD, and as such offer nothing new.

In addition to this virtually complete concert, we get about 90 minutes of Yes headlining the Glastonbury festival, also in 2003. There is naturally significant overlap in the set lists for the two gigs, with "Awaken", "South side of the sky", "Magnification" and many others being pretty much mirror images of those on disc one. There is a certain appeal to this set as the audience are not necessarily Yes fans, although it would seem the vast majority are. I would venture to suggest that the average age of the crowd is much younger that at your average Yes gig this century.

Fans of Yes have never found it a challenge to obtain live Yes material in audio or video format. Whether this collection is a necessary purchase is therefore somewhat dubious. As ever, the band are in top form and the music is beyond reproach, it is just a question of whether you already have enough in the way of Yes live to satisfy your needs.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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