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Yes - Yessongs (DVD) CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.66 | 165 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I knew about the existence of this film since late 1981. At that time, I was playing the drums in an amateur band with one of my brothers and a cousin, who then one day went to another city in my country to visit another cousin and his family. This cousin had a very good collection of Prog rock albums, including Jon Anderson "Olias" album with the original cover, etc., and this "Yessongs" film. My brother and my other cousin saw this film in his house, and they returned later to my city very happy saying that "we watched the Yessongs film!". In early 1981 I bought the "Yessongs" album, and in 1981 I was buying each album I could find from YES, Genesis, etc. I was discovering a lot of very good music.

I recently bought the DVD version of this film. As years have passed, obviously I wasn`t very excited to see it. In fact I didn`t buy it before despite seeing it in record shops for several years and since the VHS version was released. But I remember that I watched some fragments from this film in the eighties on TV.

As other reviewers wrote before me, this film caughts YES in a time when they have become a very popular Prog Rock band. I think that Bill Bruford left the band exactly at the same time the band became very successful. Alan White became the new drummer in YES, but as White himself said in one interview, I also think that it really wasn`t very fair for him to release a live album and to do a concert film with him on drums during a time on which he was learning how to play with YES. I wrote in my review for the "Yessongs" album that White`s playing is amazing despite being in the band for only a few months. But I think that he still was adapting his drums style of playing to YES` music style. I think that both the album and the film were done prematurely, but at the same time they needed to do both to really enjoy more fame and success. And they earned both.

This film, done in the Rainbow Theatre in December 1972, is short. I think that it was produced then by a group of persons who were not very specialised in producing concert films. At least that is the impression I have about it. It seems that it was done with few cameras. The camera angles almost always focus on Steve Howe, Jon Anderson and Chris Squire, a bit less on Rick Wakeman, and much more less on Alan White. So, being an old film it doesn`t have the standards of some of today`s concert films. The sound is not very good. But it is a good film.

The selection of songs is good, but I could have chosen to include the full version of "Starship Trooper" instead of including Howe`s and Wakeman´s respective solos. I was expecting to see Wakeman`s impressive synth solo on "Starship Trooper". Instead, I couldn`t see it because the final credits are shown on the screen! I also could have chosen to include "Siberina Khatru", wasn`t included.

The inclusion of the "Close to the Edge" song was very good. It is the same live version which was included in the "Yessongs" album (the same is for the "Starship Trooper" excerpts). Wakeman`s organ solo is impressive too in this song. "And You and I" was well played too, with Howe using a double necked 12 & 6 strings electric guitars plus his pedal steel guitar. Howe is moving and dancing while he plays, in contrast to the most recent concert DVDs released by YES. But the most recent DVDs of YES in concert are obviously much better in production, thanks to the more specialised producers and the more modern technology available in the present. At least in the sound mixing this film is better than the film done during the "Relayer" tour in 1975, now also available on DVD (but with the mixing mistakes still included!).

Anyway, in conclusion I can say that this "Yessongs" film is a very good opportunity to see YES in their peak period in the early seventies. It is a very good historical document. The DVD version is maybe better than previous versions on VHS and Betamax, I think.

Guillermo | 4/5 |


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