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Yes - In The Present - Live From Lyon CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.53 | 133 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars At the risk of sounding like a one-eyed man among the blind I have to say this two-disc concert recording deserves a nomination for the most pointless live album ever released. Even more so after the recent dismissal of lead singer Benoit David, since the primary reason for making the album in the first place was to consolidate David's already controversial position in the band, asserting his right to replace Jon Anderson by turning him loose in the Yes back catalogue.

A moot point now, but it likely would have failed even if David had stuck around a bit longer. His interpretation of classic Yes only reinforces the knee-jerk impression left by the "Fly From Here" album: that the new (and now former) Yes vocalist was little more than a wind- up facsimile of the band's original lead singer. Say what you will about Jon Anderson's fey personality, obscure lyrics, and often trite New Age mindset; he at least brought a passion to his performances totally lacking in this set.

And the weak link isn't just at the center microphone, either. On the DVD bonus disc David actually looks quite comfortable on stage, despite the obvious expectations weighing heavily on his shoulders. But the rest of the band was on autopilot for this gig, playing strictly rote versions of all the old chestnuts, and in the same order as always: opening with "Siberian Khatru", ending with the inevitable "Roundabout" and Starship Trooper", and with only a few unexpected choices ("Astral Traveler", "Tempus Fugit", "Machine Messiah") breaking the monotony of a very stale setlist.

Even worse, the songs are all (repeat: all) played at a curious sleepwalking tempo. The plodding delivery drains the lifeblood out of every selection, suggesting that this once dynamic outfit is finally showing its age, or else revealing at last their total indifference to such overtired material (the normally forceful "South Side of the Sky" is particularly numbing) . I had to test the CD on two different systems to verify it wasn't just my own stereo on the fritz. No such luck: the band itself is to blame, and it's only the charity of an old fan that forbids me from listing the (many) ugly details.

The irony is all-too obvious. After hiring a Jon Anderson impersonator (discovered by Chris Squire on You Tube!), one of Prog Rocks most iconic ensembles has morphed into just another Yes cover band. And not the sharpest one of the bunch, either.

In a less polite mood I might use words like 'travesty' and 'embarrassment' to describe this album, but enough is enough. I've given it an extra sympathy star for old time's sake, but otherwise the performances heard on these two discs (and seen on the third) represent the desiccated fossil of a once progressive giant.

Neu!mann | 2/5 |


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