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Yes - Yes ft. ARW: Live At The Apollo CD (album) cover

YES FT. ARW: LIVE AT THE APOLLO

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.08 | 32 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I haven't been following very closely the twists and turns of the Yes saga in this Millennium, but it was hard not to notice the 2017's teaming-up of Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman. Isn't this the first time Rabin and Wakeman are in the same line-up, apart from Union? Have to admit, this sounds good! Jon's voice is indeed in a good shape, despite the age, and the playing has plenty of energy. Louis Molino fills the shoes of Alan White perfectly (I wouldn't tell the difference in a blindfold test). Bassist Lee Pomeroy has a big task of replacing the late Chris Squire; Chris's distinctive [backing] vocals are missed, as well as his powerful bass sound, but Pomeroy clearly has studied his techniques closely. Rabin handles the second vocals pretty well. The live recording has a suitable amount of audience noise even during the numbers, which gives the gig a cheerful spirit.

The orchestral synth-centred intro leads to 'Cinema', the charming instrumental of 90125, which in turn paves way to 'Perpetual Change' from The Yes Album. A very nice way to open the gig, even though sonically I prefer the fresher- sounding album version of 'Cinema'. Right from the start both Rabin and Wakeman have entered the Yes material they weren't originally involved in, and do it wholeheartedly and convincingly. Next comes the 90125 song 'Hold On', which never has been among my faves. Rick's nice synth prelude is rather unrelated, but his contribution to the song gives it a new- sounding flavour. Since there already was The Yes Album material, the too-often heard perennial 'I've Seen all Good People' (with the terribly boring latter half) is a bit uninteresting choice in my opinion, but this version works well anyway. 'Lift Me Up' is from Union (1991), the album I haven't returned to since I had it on cassette in the early 90's, and hearing this power-pop song hardly makes me miss the album at all.

'And You And I' is among my Yes favourites. For guitar parts, this version sounds (especially at the beginning) very different from those versions featuring Steve Howe -- which is positive and refreshing in the end. Followed by 'Rhythm of Love', what a bold contrast. The vocal harmonies are done excellently, and because I haven't been listening to Big Generator either for ages, this all sounds pretty fresh to my ears. Another question is, how many times I'd care to listen to it if this CD was on my own shelf. But again, Rick's Moog solo is a delicious little extra. CD 1 closes with 'Heart of the Sunrise', one of the finest Yes pieces ever. The intro movement gives the opportunity for Pomeroy to show his bass skills. This superb version full of passion is definitely a highlight of the set.

CD 2 starts with 'Changes' (from 90125). How nice to hear this great song live, for me it's the first time since 9012Live. Excellent version! I'm not sure whether I like Rick's toy-like playing in 'Long Distance Runaround'. I appreciate they play 'The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)' which is closely associated to Squire, but this version sounds slightly weak. 'Awaken' is another ultimate Yes favourite of mine, and this 22½-minute version has suitably some new nuances.

I had to check google for 'Make It Easy': it was originally written by Rabin in 1981 and was released in the Yesyears compilation (1991). But it appears to be only a brief instrumental, followed directly by 'Owner of a Lonely Heart'. Gosh, that song has been heard much too many times! But what would better suit as a closing number than 'Roundabout'? All in all, despite some choices I'd rather been without, this set is a delight in its uniqueness. Maybe I'll purchase the DVD some day.

Matti | 4/5 |

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