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Yes - The Word Is Live CD (album) cover

THE WORD IS LIVE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.23 | 123 ratings

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TheGazzardian
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Pretty much, if you are a Yes fan, there is something in this collection for you. It contains live music from various different era's of Yes' career, including many rarities and some songs that were only ever performed live and never recorded.

For fans of Yes who do not appreciate the first two albums enough to buy Something's Coming/Beyond and Before (the two disc "BBC Sessions" album), this album will help scratch that itch, with four tracks from the same era, including "For Everyone", which eventually evolved into a section of Starship Trooper on The Yes Album. It also includes a 16 minute, more jam- oriented version of America, which, while not as tight as the version on "Keys to Ascension", is definitely a gem for any hardcore Yes fan. The first disc ends with It's Love, another song that was not ever released on a studio album, a cover of a song by "The Rascals". It's a nice rock track, if not the same sound as their classic era.

Speaking of the classic era, this gets more coverage on the second disc, which starts with Apocalypse (a section from "And You And I") and Siberian Khatru. What is interesting to fans about these tracks is they were versions recorded in '76 - meaning that Patrick Moraz was behind the keys instead of Wakeman. (In fact, Wakeman's presence from Fragile to Tales from Topgraphic Oceans is ignored on this album, due to that period being covered by Yessongs). This gives the songs a bit of a different feel than their album counterparts, making these versions unique among Yes live albums. Another track notable for fans of the band off this disc is Sound Chaser, which is as hard rocking and eclectic here as it was on Relayer, if not perhaps slightly better because of the live setting.

The gem off of disc 2 is "The Big Medley", a 25 minute track that Yes performed after the release of Tormato to celebrate their 10 year anniversary. It includes music from most of Yes' albums to that point, and is an excellent medley. It is also one of the only live recordings of Survival (off of Yes' debut), which is played here in conjunction with "The Fish". It also includes "Perpetual Change", another under-appreciated Yes classic off of The Yes Album. Disc 2 also includes Hello Chicago, a quick little rock piece where Jon Anderson sings to the audience.

Other than including yet another version of Heart of the Sunrise and Awaken - great tracks but otherwise well covered in other live Yes albums - Disc 3 contains two gems: We Can Fly From Here and Have We Really Got To Go Through With This?, tracks that were written during the Drama era but that Yes never recorded due to time constraints. (Which is too bad, I would have rather have had one of these on Drama then White Car!) They are both great tracks. Also of note from that era is a live version of Tempus Fugit.

Unfortunately, Disc 3 is probably the "Black Sheep" of the set, as other than the first two redundant tracks, the music is all from "Drama" and "Big Generator" era, which are not Yes' most popular albums. As such, the second Disc will likely get the most play from the most people.

The album does skip a few eras (Fragile to Tales, 90125), but these are eras of Yes' discography that are well represented by other live albums. Unfortunately, Rhino (who did this release) did not have any music from after Big Generator that they could publish, which is a shame because, while Yes has released plenty of live releases post 2000 that cover a lot of their later career, there still aren't any official releases that cover the Union tour, and I know that many Yes fans would love to hear music from that era.

Nonetheless, for Yes fans who want to hear more, this album truly delivers, with interesting takes on existing songs, many unreleased tracks that weren't released on studio albums, etc. For those who aren't strong fans of Yes, this album will probably have less appeal, especially the first and third disc which don't cover the classic era.

Final rating: For yes fans, 4/5 stars. For everyone else, 2/5.

TheGazzardian | 2/5 |

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