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Yes - The Royal Affair Tour: Live in Las Vegas CD (album) cover

THE ROYAL AFFAIR TOUR: LIVE IN LAS VEGAS

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.21 | 20 ratings

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peskypesky
4 stars Ok, this album is really making me eat a healthy serving of crow. Why? Because I'm one of those diehard Jon Anderson fans who has dissed the incarnations of Yes since Anderson was kicked out.

But my brother has seen Yes with Jon Davison a couple of times and swore to me that the concerts were great. So I put my reservations aside and gave this a spin. And right from the start, I was blown away. Opening with "No Opportunity Necessary No Experience Needed" was shocking enough, but the spirited performance really made me sit up and pay attention. This is one of those songs I ha sort of forgotten about, but this performance really dusts it off and breathes life into. Makes you realize what a great love song it is.

Then the next song is another hard-rocking and vibrant "Tempus Fugit", and again, I sort of had to eat crow...because I tend not to think of Drama as being a great album. Good, but not great. Well, this performance of the song just had me smiling and playing air bass. It was so cool to hear a Drama song with vocals that sound so much like Jon Anderson....as I'd always wanted to hear Drama with Anderson on the mic. This gets pretty close, and it's damn good.

I really love the song selection on this, as it's all 1970s material, which is the Yes I love. I really did NOT need yet another version of "Roundabout" though. I mean seriously? Ugh. But I will say that I love the way they end the song here. I'd never heard this ending, and it's quite gorgeous....so I guess I can forgive them. :)

The inclusion of John Lennon's "Imagine" was another big surprise, and it's a good cover...but I honestly would have preferred another Yes song...especially something like "A Venture". This cover of "Imagine" is nothing like their cover of "America", which completely reworks and adds to the original arrangement. Again, it's not bad at all, and Howe adds some extremely beautiful guitar solos...but overall it seems unremarkable.

The things that have really impressed me with this album are: 1. how upbeat, rocking and inspired the band sounds. These are vibrant performances. 2. how much Davison sounds like Anderson...to the point where I keep forgetting it's NOT Anderson. Really digging his vocals. 3. How good the bass sounds!!!! Sherwood is not the Fish....but his tone is fantastic throughout, and the playing is technically proficient and energetic. 4. the crisp, crystal clear recording. Every instrument is heard in detail. And the sound is punchy and alive.

Of course, Howe is amazing as always....my favorite guitarist of all time...and it blows me away that at his age he can still play these incredibly complex parts so well.

And Alan, well, he's solid as always...the addition of a second drummer really helps the band's power and energy. I'd heard reviews of shows from recent years where people thought he was really showing his age...but on this album, with reinforcement, the band has quite an engine driving them.

So...I feel like a gushing fanboy who has just discovered a new favorite band...but I'm someone who has been a Yes fan since 1975...so I am shocked at how excited this album has made me.

I have not read ANY reviews of this album by others, so my views are based solely on the music, and my 45 years of Yes fandom.

Hats off boys....you done good!!!!!!!!!

I'm almost tempted to give this 5 stars...but I'll give it 4 for now.

peskypesky | 4/5 |

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