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CIRCA: LIVE (DVD)

Circa

Crossover Prog


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SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars From 1969 to 1999 in 40 minutes!

This brand new DVD-release from Circa, available only through the bands own website www.circahq.com, features a full live performance by this new all-star band filmed in august 2007. Circa are Billy Sherwood (vocals, bass), Tony Kaye (organ, keyboards), Alan White (drums) and Jimmy Haun (guitars, vocals). For those of you that do not recognize the first three of these names they were, of course, all members of classic progressive Rock group Yes. Billy Sherwood was a full member of Yes in the 90's and can be heard (playing primarily guitar and not bass as he does in Circa) on the Open Your Eyes (1997) and The Ladder (1999) albums. Though he has worked with Yes as a mixer and producer since the Union album in 1991 and also as an extra live guitarist on the Talk tour ca 1994.

Tony Kaye was one of the founding members of Yes (who was replaced by Rick Wakeman in the early 70's, returned again in the 80's and finally left for good in the mid 90's). Alan White has been with Yes since 1973 and is still with them today. With Sherwood, Kaye and White representing different eras of Yes history, there is, obviously a strong Yes influence in Circa's music. The set list on Circa: Live consists of Circa:'s debut (and to date only) album played in it's entirety, plus a 40 minute long medley of Yes songs (!), and as an encore; The More We Live, another Yes song, originally from the Union album, co-written by Sherwood.

The Yes- medley, which is called Chronological Journey, is truly amazing and spans over Yes' entire career, featuring one or more songs from each and every Yes album from the debut in 1969 to The Ladder in 1999. The medley includes selections from the following songs:

Looking Around, Harold Land, Every Little Thing (a Beatles cover that was included on Yes' first album), Survival, No Opportunity Necessary (a Ritchie Havens cover that was included on Yes' second album), Something's Coming (another cover that was never on any Yes studio album but was played by the band in their early days), Yours Is No Disgrace, Heart Of The Sunrise, South Side Of the Sky, Roundabout, Close To The Edge, And You And I, Ritual, Soundchaser, Parallels, Arriving UFO, On The Silent Wings Of Freedom, Tempus Fugit, Changes, Owner Of A Lonely Heart, Cinema, Rhythm Of Love, Lift Me Up, Endless Dream, Mind Drive, Open Your Eyes and Lightning Strikes. A list bound to impress every Yes fan!

All the (bits of) songs are very well played and several songs are unlikely to ever be played live again by Yes. So, this part of the DVD is a real treat for Yes fans! Tony Kaye (with a little help from an additional keyboard player) is particularly impressive. He is able to recreate all the parts previously played by Rick Wakeman and others really well. Jimmy Haun, a guy I never even heard of before, is also a really good Steve Howe impersonator. And White is great as usual. Multi-instrumentalist Billy Sherwood proves to the world that he can play the bass as well and it really shows that he has picked up more than a few tricks from Chris Squire on the bass.

The original Circa material is not as strong as the Yes songs (of course!), but it is listenable and it is quite similar to the two Conspiracy albums Sherwood did together with Chris Squire in 2000 and 2003 respectively. Apparently, two songs from the Circa debut album was co-written by Trevor Rabin (another ex-Yes member).

The visual experience is not really up to par with the music since not many cameras were used to film the event and the picture quality is far from optimal. It should be kept in mind that this is an independent release by the band themselves; recorded, produced and edited by the band! Overall, this DVD is highly recommended for hardcore Yes fans like me and it is also the best introduction to Circa. People looking to get into Yes should, however, look elsewhere.

Not essential, but very good.

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Posted Sunday, July 20, 2008 | Review Permalink

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