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Yes - The Union Tour Live CD (album) cover

THE UNION TOUR LIVE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.70 | 37 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Guillermo
Prog Reviewer
4 stars In 1991, one of my brothers was living and working in Germany. One day I received a letter from him telling me, among other things, that he was going to see YES in concert in Frankfurt`s Festhalle, with a line-up consisting of Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe, Squire, White, Kaye and Rabin. He also sent me an ad which showed this concert announced in a German magazine. At that time, like many people in the world, we didn`t use the Internet yet, so I didn`t now yet that YES had an eight musicians line- up then and that they released the "Union" album in the same year. Some months later, my brother came briefly to our city to visit us, his family, and also to see several things related to his job, and for my surprise he bought two cassettes that one of his German friends copied from DAT tapes he recorded the Festhalle concert. The recordings, while being made from the audience, were in fact very good, and it had all the songs that YES played at that concert. My brother also bought the Official Tour Book which he gave me as a gift. I also copied his cassettes, and I had my own copies. For my surprise, at the end of 1991 two FM radio staions of my city broadcasted highlights from the concert they played in Wembley. I recorded the two broadcasts on cassettes, none of which broadcasted all the songs played in that concert. So, I wasn`t unaware of which songs YES played in that tour. The only difference is that in the Festhalle concert they played "Hold On". Of course, I don`t like unofficial recordings to be sold, so I never sold or traded copies of my tapes. The same happened with my brother, who received his copies as gifts.

In 1999 I went to see YES playing in my city during the "The Ladder Tour". Of course, outside of the arena there were a lot of people selling unofficial things: DVDs, cassettes, CDs, VHSs, shirts, etc. I remember that then I saw there a DVD copy of the "YES Union Tour Live", which I was tempted to buy, but already knowing how bad some unofficial recordings are and because I still didn`t have a DVD player and on that day I only carried enough money for transportation and to drink some beers during the concert, I didn`t buy that DVD.

Well, recently I had the opportunity to finally see a DVD copy of this video, which a friend bought in the "black market". It has a different cover. He told me that this copy obviously has some quality problems (the quality of unofficial materials is often bad, of course), but being the only chance to see this video it still was good.

This concert was recorded at the Shoreline Amphittheatre, the same venue on which the video from ABWH was recorded It is good, but being the final concert of their 1991 tour, it obviously shows that every member of the band is very tired and ready to go home to rest. I don`t know why bands like YES and Genesis chose to record on videos some of their concerts at the end of long tours, when they are obviously very tired? Anderson is the member of the band who looks more tired. But they look like having some fun, even doing and tellling some jokes among them. Most songs are played by all the members of the band together.

"Yours is no Disgrace" has a guitar solo from Howe with Bruford on drums, and later Rabin also plays a guitar solo with White on drums. I could see that this concert wasn`t played "on the round" in a round stage, being played in a conventional stage. And I also could see a subtle "division": in the left side of the stage (from the viewers point of view), there were the members of YES-West (Kaye, Rabin, Squire and White), and in the right side there were the members of ABWH (Anderson, Bruford, Howe and Wakeman). Both guitar solos are amazing, but they make clear the differences in guitar styles between Howe and Rabin. Rabin`s is more like Heavy Metal with guitar effects. Howe`s style is more like plaing without much guitar distortion and sometimes playing fine guitar parts influenced by Jazz.

"Rhythm of Love" has a very good keyboard solo by Wakeman at the end. The same happens at the end of "Owner of a Lonely Heart". In this last song, Howe is absent from the stage.

"Heart of the Sunrise"is maybe the best performance of a song in this DVD, with Bruford on drums and White only playing a bit on cymbals during this song.It also makes clear the differences of style between both drummers: Bruford is more "clear" in technique, while White`s, while also being a very good drummer, tends more to powerful Rock beats.

During his acoustic guitar solo, Howe played "Clap", including another very good musical piece in the middle of "Clap". Why Howe insists to mostly play "Clap" and "Mood for a Day" in concerts while he has other very good acoustic guitar pieces to play?

"I`ve Seen All Good People": wiht Howe on acoustic guitar instead of a vachalia. Before this song, Anderson says to the audience that "this is the last concert of this tour". It was their last for 1991, but they also played 5 or 6 dates in Japan in early 1992.

"Solly`s Beard": with Anderson, Rabin and Squire doing a "comical" routine before the song is performed. Rabin is only accompanied by Kaye.

"Saving My Heart": from the "Union" album, played a bit like a Reggae song, and with another humorous introduction by Anderson. Rabin plays an acoustic guitar during the first part of the song, and later he has to change to an electric guitar for the song`s solo, a thing that he did only to find that he can`t be heard because there were some problems with the guitar connections! A roadie is seen on stage fixing these problems, while Howe assists Rabin playing a brief lead guitar part. Rabin finally could play his guitar solo, briefly, and without enough power in comparison to the studio version. He looked a bit angry due to this. This song is particularly played somewhat differently in comparsion to the studio version, because the studio version sounds like being recorded using a programmed drum machine. White`s playing on stage is notoriously different, and it makes me wonder if he really played real drums in the studio version (or that he even programmed the dum machine or didn`t record or programmed anything at all).

"The Fish" is played without "Long Distance Runaround" being played before it. This song, really called "White Fish" because it doesn`t only include parts of "The Fish" but it also includes parts from "Tempus Fugit" and other YES `s songs, is really very well played, with Squire being accompanied by Kaye, Rabin and White in some parts. Squire also does some humorous gestures during this song.

"Rick Wakeman`s Solo": an amazing keyboards solo, with him being accompanied at the end by White and Rabin.

"Awaken": a very good performance of this song, with Wakeman shinning on keyboards, and with Brufoid, Rabin and Kaye playing good parts during this song. Wakeman looks a bit tired during this song, improvising a lot and doing some mistakes during the harp / keyboards / percussion / bass part. The performances of this song during the "Union" tour could be considered by myself as the best YES has done from this song. Bruford contributed power with very good drums and electronic percussion parts. Rabin also played some fine guitar parts and also some powerful lead guitar parts at the end while Howe plays a steel guitar. Kaye plays some "choral" parts in his keyboards during the harp / keyboards part.

"Roundabout" is played heavier than in previous tours.

In conclusion, this video is very good. I think that it was originally a TV broadcast, but I`m not sure. It is a shame that this video was only released in Japan. Why the band never released it officially in all parts of the world? I think that they are losing a lot of money, because the "black markets" have the opportunity to sell it as an unofficial video many times. I know tha other concerts from this tour were filmed (with some scenes being shown in the "Yesyears" video). Maybe some problems with the rights of this video (like in the case of the "Q.R.P" video from 1975) prevent Yes to release official DVDs from this tour.

A last commentary: this video doesn`t include all the songs played during the concert. I really missed "Lift Me Up", which was played live during that tour with a lot of power by all members of the band, particularly by Rabin with very good guitar solos, and with White on dums while Bruford played electronic percussion. They also played "And You and I", "Changes", a drum duet by Bruford and White and "Shock to the System"with lead guitar parts by Howe and Rabin and powerful drums by Bruford and White. If you want to know about the complete set lists played during this concert and others from the same "Union Tour", visit the "Forgotten Yesterdays" website.

Guillermo | 4/5 |

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