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Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe - An Evening of Yes Music Plus CD (album) cover

AN EVENING OF YES MUSIC PLUS

Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe

 

Symphonic Prog

3.41 | 111 ratings

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Prog Zone
4 stars Review - #31 (Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe - An Evening of Yes Music Plus)

An Evening of Yes Music Plus is Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe's first live album which was released in 1993. The album is a recording of a concert performed at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California, on September 9th, 1989. An Evening of Yes Music Plus was initially broadcast on the King Biscuit Flower Hour radio program and as a pay-per-view special in the United States. In addition, a special mention must be made for the magnificent album painted by Roger Dean titled Floating Islands. The album features Jon Anderson on lead vocals, Bill Bruford on drums, Rick Wakeman on keyboards, Steve Howe on guitar, Jeff Berlin on bass, Julian Colbeck on additional keyboards, and Milton McDonald on rhythm guitar. Throughout the album, Bill Bruford utilizes an electronic drum kit which adds a unique and distinct sound to the album along with the drumming proficiency that he is known for. With Bill Bruford on drums, the album demonstrates the first time he has ever performed Close to the Edge and And You And I in a live setting due to his departure from the band after recording the album they were written on entitled Close to the Edge in 1972. Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, and Rick Wakeman are also performing better then ever with no sign of any deterioration. Additionally, musicians Jeff Berlin, Julian Colbeck, and Milton McDonald all do a terrific job with their respective instruments.

The album opens with Benjamins Britten's Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra which can be viewed as Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe's version of the Firebird Suite. Benjamins Britten's Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra then transfers into Jon Anderson's solo which features a combination of Time and a Word, Owner of A Lonely Heart, and Teakbois performed with Milton McDonald on acoustic guitar and Julian Colbeck on keyboards. The combination of melodies presented works quite well here while featuring various eras of Yes. Soon after, Steve Howe's solo begins with a blend of The Clap and Mood for a Day which manages to demonstrate Steve Howe's incredible skill with guitar. Like I said earlier, his guitar skills are just as impressive as ever and show no sign of worsening! The track then transfers into Rick Wakeman's solo performance which contains fragments of Gone but Not Forgotten, Catherine Parr, and Merlin the Magician. This solo performance is unquestionably my favorite solo segment he has ever done within Yes' and Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe's live discography, it cannot be said to be anything less than a work of genius. Astonishing from start to finish! Rick Wakeman then introduces Long Distance Runaround on keyboard before the entire band comes in to join him. The live rendition of the track features a brilliant combination of electronic and acoustic drums in addition to Jon Anderson's breathtaking vocals. Not to mention, the backing vocals provided here works surprisingly well in replacement for Chris Squire's iconic backing vocals. At around the halfway point the introductory guitar riff from Heart of the Sunrise is performed which shifts into a drum solo by Bill Bruford using a blend of acoustic and electronic drums. The drum solo is undoubtedly one of the best I've heard in a while, but I didn't expect anything less due to it coming from the drumming mastermind himself. Seamlessly, the track transfers into Birthright which is played almost identically to the studio version found on Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe's self- titled album. A special mention must go to the keyboard duo of Rick Wakeman and Julian Colbeck on this track. The vigorous energy found throughout is truly spectacular. The next track, And You And I is just as magnificent as ever. During live performances of this song, it can be somewhat difficult to reach the grandness which is originally found on the studio version during the Apocalypse section. However, this live adaptation of the track is only one of the few that are able to do it successfully. Also, Bill Bruford's drumming is consistently excellent during the course of the track with incredible drum fills throughout. The only complaint I have about this live rendition is Steve Howe's guitar seeming to be too low in the mix, especially when he is using anything besides his acoustic guitar. Rick Wakeman also has a solo in the track that is genuinely dazzling. After a round of applause, the band commences I've Seen All Good People which is yet another great performance of a classic. The All Good People section of the track is where my attention continually goes to. Steve Howe's lead guitar in addition to Milton McDonald's rhythm guitar are performed fantastically. This is on top of Rick Wakeman getting a truly wonderful keyboard segment which is full of energy. This live rendition of I've Seen All Good People remains to be one of their best to date.

It can be extremely difficult to have a truly successful live rendition of Close to the Edge due to the masterful nature of the studio version, but this live rendition is surely one of the best! Every musician is at their peak here with each section having a similar yet unique feel to the studio version. Shortly after concluding Close to the Edge, the band begins Themes (i. Sound ii. Second Attention iii. Soul Warrior) with an ascending keyboard melody from Rick Wakeman. This is a solid live rendition which adds prolonged instrumental segments in addition to a modified drum pattern when compared to the studio version. Jeff Berlin's bass work on Themes is unquestionably powerful in combination with the rhythm section. Brother of Mine then opens with Jon Anderson's angelic voice which is soon accompanied by a wonderful guitar riff coming from Milton McDonald. Brother of Mine is certainly the best Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe track featured on An Evening of Yes Music Plus while containing a passion from the band which is genuinely felt. However, similar to And You And I Steve Howe's guitar is a bit too quiet in the mix but still doesn't take away from the wonderful guitar work he provides throughout the track. Heart of the Sunrise is up next showcasing Steve Howe and Milton McDonald giving yet another marvelous guitar performance. In addition, Jeff Berlin provides a solid bass solo during the first few minutes of the track which is particularly melodic. This seems to be another common praise throughout the album, but Jon Anderson's vocals are incredible all through this track. His ability to hit various ranges is exceedingly impressive with the grandness being especially built up due to the combination of musicians supporting him. Yet another Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe track begins shortly after the ending of Heart of the Sunrise entitled Order of the Universe. This is a solid live rendition but doesn't stray as far from the original as some of the other tracks. However, I happen to really enjoy the immense momentum found throughout which truly brings out the impressive rhythm section. With only two tracks left, it isn't all that surprising the band chooses to perform both Roundabout and Starship Trooper as the closing tracks. Both Roundabout and Starship trooper receive phenomenal live renditions with extended segments and unbelievable musicianship. The ending of Starship Trooper entitled The Würm is nothing less than breathtaking. Interestingly, the band would repeat a similar live rendition of Starship Trooper during their first Keys to Ascension album which remains to be the definitive version in my judgment. The live album then ends with applause from the crowd, celebrating this fantastic live performance.

An Evening of Yes Music Plus remains to be one of the most unique live performances Yes has done to date. The album encompasses a wide range of musicians in addition to a solid setlist containing a multitude of highlights from Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe's self-titled album and Yes' vast catalogue of music. For reference, anytime I purchase a copy of Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe's self-titled album as a gift for someone, I always purchase a copy of An Evening of Yes Music Plus to go along with it. I believe that should demonstrate the quality of music found within this album appropriately. An excellent addition to any progressive rock collection! You don't need anybody in the complicated life... you crossed over the river.

Prog Zone | 4/5 |

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