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

TOPOGRAPHIC DRAMA: LIVE ACROSS AMERICA

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.51 | 42 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Dramatic tales

Topographic Drama is the latest live offering from Yes, and the first one recorded after the tragic loss of Chris Squire. Like the title implies, the set focuses on material from Tales From Topographic Oceans and Drama. In the case of Drama, the entire album is performed, and is for me the highlight of this double CD/triple LP. Drama is one of my favourite Yes albums, and songs from this album have rarely been played live or featured on live records. Given that Geoff Downes is now back in the band, Drama was an obvious choice among albums to be performed in its entirety, much more so than the older albums that were featured on the two Like It Is releases. Also, vocalist Jon Davison's voice compares better to Trevor Horn's than to that of Jon Anderson, adding further weight to Drama being the perfect choice to get the full live treatment. The result is strong, with Billy Sherwood doing a fantasic job, nailing Squire's parts and backing vocals.

When it comes to Tales From Topographic Oceans, not the whole album is included, but more than half of it is, with The Revealing Science Of God and Ritual in full, with Leaves Of Green from The Ancient in between. These versions are strong, and it is especially interesting to hear Downes' take on Wakeman's parts.

The rest of the songs have been done a vast number of times, but the band is a well-oiled machine and these versions sound great. Overall, Topographic Drama is a better live album than either of the Like It Is albums, and also better than In the Present, making this the best Yes live album in some time. Also from a visual perspective it is a nice one, with a lovely Roger Dean art work.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |

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