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Yes - Songs From Tsongas: 35th Anniversary Concert (DVD) CD (album) cover

SONGS FROM TSONGAS: 35TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT (DVD)

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.30 | 161 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Having been delayed quite a number of times - three or four times if I'm not mistaken - finally the DVD came out. Filmed in May 2004 during one of their 35th anniversary shows, this DVD gives us the classic Yes line-up of Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman and Alan White. With songs spanning their entire career this show features the band's classic "Going for the One", "Your Move/I've Seen All Good People", "Roundabout", "Starship Trooper", "And You and I". To me personally some classics performed here are quite boring as I have seen them many times in many previous release of YES DVD / laserdisc. But, there are some classics that I've never seen them performed live like "Sweet Dream", The Beatles' "Every Little Thing", "Mind Drive".

The Performance

The film kicks off Disc One with the shooting of the stage from the crowd's view. It shows a gigantic stage design with surreal nature design by Yes's long-time and legendary sleeve / cover designer Roger Dean. The stage reminds me of the cover of ABWH "An Evening of Yes Music Plus". With the playback of "Firebird Suite" each member of the band come out on stage and Jon Anderson plays some cymbals work during the Firebird Suite. Right after the intro part the band blasts the crowd with "Going For the One" that casts Steve Howe playing his Hawaiian / lap guitar. The band performs this song excellently with a bit deteriorated voice quality of Jon Anderson - never mind, it's an aging problem, every one experiences it. What surprises me is that the band plays a classic song that I have never heard them playing in their concert: "Sweet Dream". Nothing special when the band plays "Your Move/I've Seen All Good People" as it sounds the same with their previous releases and I'm getting bored with the song already. It has always been in the set list of their show.

Another great attraction is when the band plays - for the first time in their history - a song created in mid nineties, an epic called "Mind Drive". It's a wonderful and flawless performance, continued with "South Side of The Sky" from "Fragile" album.It then continues with the band's classic "Turn of The Century" and "My Eyes/Mind Drive part 3". Disc One concludes with the favorite classic track "Yours is No Disgrace". After this song the band takes musical break.

One thing that I observe during the band's performance throughout Disc One is that the band is kind like having a lack of passion and energy for the show. Yes, Jon Anderson tried to recover the situation by making some connections to the audience during musical break like before the band plays Mind Drive. But it does not help to improve the situation. Steve Hove never give his smile, Jon is not as he used to be, Rick is quiet. Chris Squire who used to be humorous but this time does not seem to be that happy. Alan White receives a very little share of screen so I cannot observe how he looks. Being a 35th anniversary, it's not good at all having this situation.

The first half of Disc Two contains the band's unplugged performance in a similar style with Yes Acoustic DVD. It starts off with Rick Wakeman (who does not look like changing his gear, unlike other band members) come up on stage with his piano followed by Jon who then sings the first part of ABWH (Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe)'s "The Meeting" while waiting for other band members come up on stage one by one. It's good thread having this short version of ABWH stuff even though I have seen the complete version from ABWH "An Evening of Yes Music Plus". The band continues with the acoustic version of "Long distance runaround", "Wonderous stories", "Time is Time", "Roundabout" and "Show Me". If you have watched the YES Acoustic DVD, this performance is similar but with different venue. Each member uses a non electric instrument - even Alan White changes his drum set with the simple one using single tom.

Rick Wakeman piano solo during "Roundabout" is excellent. My progmate Hardiansyah Rizal is right. He sent his short message to my cellular phone telling his sentimental feeling when he watched this DVD last night; seeing "Show Me" had put some tears that remind him to the great memory of him seeing the band's alive during Yes second leg tour in Singapore 25 September 2003. Yes I do remember that and I share the same feeling with him as I watched the Singapore concert as well with other Indonesian prog mates - including him. What a big surprise is when the band plays Rabin-era top hit that made the Yes name so popular: "Owner of A Lonely Heart". My salute goes to Mr Howe and Mr Wakeman who perform this track excellently even though they did not contribute in the original studio version.

During the transition from completely unplugged session into an electric band, Steve Howe performs his acoustic guitar solo "Second Initial" wonderfully even though without a smile. The band then changes the setting and returns back with full electric band performing another Rabin era song: "Rhythm of Love". Again my salute to Mr. Howe who does great guitar solo in this song, also to Mr Wakeman. Starting with this track, the band sees themselves having passion and energy about the show. During the first part of this track, Jon Anderson walks down the stage and sings the song while running around the crowd. So nice of him. The mood is now energetic and I can feel the soul of the show. Especially, when "Ritual" is performed, I like the improvisation where Chris Squire gives his bass guitar solo and at the end he plays it with Rick Wakeman's synthesizer work - in a humorous setting. It's really cool. The band continues with The Beatles "Every little thing" which I have never heard them played live before. "Starship Trooper" with some improvisation at the ending part finally concludes the show.

Summary

Even though it's not as grandiose as Yessymphonic live DVD, this live set is recommended. Especially, if you are a Yes fan, you should not miss this DVD. Afterall, it's a 35th Anniversary tour - it's a historical event. Sound and picture quality are excellent. Even though no extra, but the DVD offers an interview with Roger Dean. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW.

Gatot | 4/5 |

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