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Yes - Topographic Drama: Live Across America CD (album) cover

TOPOGRAPHIC DRAMA: LIVE ACROSS AMERICA

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.50 | 44 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Evolver
Special Collaborator
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars With all that's happened to Yes, it's amazing that they are still a touring band. It's been a few years since Jon Anderson was pushed out of the band, and with Chris Squire's passing, the group now has none of their founding members. Yet this year (2018 if you are reading this review some time in the future) marks a half century since the group was first formed.

I'll admit that I've not been to a Yes concert in many years, as I have been fearful of watching these pioneers of prog rock succumb to the ravages of time. But as the members of the band have proclaimed publicly, Yes is an evolving entity that may survive past all of its members of the seventies.

I was intrigued to hear what the band would sound like without the signature Squire bass sound, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that Billy Sherwood does a masterful job of recreating the power and the glory of the old bass lines. In fact, he's so good that I have to say that his playing is, to me, the highlight of the two complete songs from Tales From Topographic Oceans on this disk.

The first disk is mostly comprised of a performance of the entire Drama album. They are performed very well, but it reminds me (as I am reminded by the original Drama album each time I revisit it), that it is a step below the classic Yes albums. The songs are good, but mostly lacking something. I especially never liked the way Alan White was limited (probably a record company executive's decision) to pedestrian drum beats, except for parts of Machine Messiah and Tempus Fugit (by far the best song on Drama).

And the TFTO renditions here just might be the best versions I've ever heard. This Yes seems to do the most with the dynamics of these compositions, sounding equally as comfortable with the pastoral passages as they are with the bombastic. I only wish they had performed the entire album.

The remaining tracks, And You And I, Heart Of The Sunrise, Roundabout and Starship Trooper are all well played.

I have been listening to this album repeatedly since purchasing it last fall, and my enjoyment of it is still not receding.

Evolver | 4/5 |

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