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SYMPHONIC LIVE

Yes

Symphonic Prog


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Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars Another live Yes album? Do we need another one?

YES!

This is the CD version od the DVD released back in 2002 (which I haven't seen).

Is this Yes with an orchestra instead of a keyboard player? NO! The orchestra fills in for much of the absence of a full-fledged Yes keyboardist, but Tom Brislin fill in nicely for many of the necessary keyboard parts.

So let's go:

Skip track 1, Overture, it's just the tape played while the band enters - you've heard this before.

Close To The Edge starts out a bit sloppy. It's too bad they start with this song, as it's obvious that the band is not fully warmed up until about halfway through the song. The final verses and choruses are spectacular, with Squire & Howe playing as intricately as ever. Brislin does a nice job on the keyboard solo, but I would prefer if he had not tried so hard to play Wakeman's solo note-for-note.

Don't Go and In The Presence Of are nice renditions of songs from the Magnification album, and provide a nice warm up to the highlight of the first disk, The Gates Of Delirium. The orchestra does quite a bit to make this song very large sounding. Squire, Howe and White all play this one with a fury I've never heard from them before. This one is going right to my MP3 player.

The obligatory Steve Howe guitar solo ends the first disk. Doesn't he get tire of playing Mood For A Day at every show?

Disk 2 begins with fine performances of Starship Trooper and Magnification. And You And I benefits the most from the orchestra, with the arrangement bringing this old piece, which I had been tired of hearing, back to life.

I'm going to commit blasphemy here. I'll admit that I never could appreciate TFTO. The performances on all 4 track to me sounded drab and lifeless. The compositions are nice enough, but the original recordings sound forced, and at times, dull. The performance here of Ritual makes me want to revisit the album. Here, the orchestra brings the piece to life. And again, Howe and Squire play this piece like I've never heard them play before.

I've Seen All Good People is played straightforward, and the performance of Owner Of A Lonely Heart shows why the band usually played an acoutic, shortened version since Trevor Rabin left the band. Howe just doesn't have the same flair with the guitar synth.

And who could ever complain about Roundabout?

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#204376)
Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars It was my first seen show on DVD.

At first, the're wasn't a lot of shows on Dvd available, but this one was some of the first. In terms of quality, this show was above the others since it isn't a VHS rehash. It made me love Yes a lot more, most of the songs are really up-lifted with the use of the symphonic orchestra: Long Distance Runaround, Gates of Delirium and And You and I are simply to die for. I watched it so many times, and yet listening to the newest songs is still fun, like Don't Go and Magnification.

The band is at is very best mood, especially Anderson with some humor all along the way. He interacts very well with the crowd, lots of years of experience I guess. His voice is top-notch, bringing tears to my eyes a few times, especially in Soon from the Relayer album. If Steve Howe didn't prove you his legendary talent, this DVD will. His solo acts are troubadouresqly wonderful; just watch it. And by the way, the kid Tom Brislin on the keyboards is making it sound so easy, it's almost frustrating to watch! He sure nails the whole thing without breaking a sweat!

A classic in my own book.

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#204584)
Posted Friday, February 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars What to say ? The best Yes' songs with an orchestra behind ! Great versions of these classics... the best tracks are Close to the Edge, The Gates of Delirium, Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil), Starship Trooper and And You And I. The new songs Don't Go and Magnification are also extraordinary. It is really a pity that neither Wakeman nor Moraz (or Kaye) were there, but the young Tom Brislin does a good job with the keyboards and the orchestration fills the 'empty places' (if there are 'empty places' in Yes' songs !). This DVD is even better than the CD (although both are equal in track listing) because we can SEE the band, the audience, the orchestra and the furniture of the stage, and they are all wonderful sights ! For me, the best Yes' show ever recorded ! Although it was made in 2001, you feel like that is the 70's Yes, with the spirit of the 70's ! So... if you are a Yes fan, run ! Get it now !

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Send comments to claugroi (BETA) | Report this review (#205150)
Posted Tuesday, March 03, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is, by far, the best live album I've heard in my whole life. Of course, I'm a big Yes fan, but trying to be imparcial, my opinion is based on the technical and musical virtues of this album. The musicians are in their best shape, and the addition of Tom Brislin on keyboards was a sucess. Howe and Squire play incredibly well. Also the orchestral arrangements are one of the best done on rock history. Highlights are of course, the three suites, The gates of delirium has the virtue of moving me every time I heart it. Originally this concert was released on DVD, but it's better to enjoy the audio version, as McLuhan said, music is hotter than cinema, only you close your eyes and let your imagination fly.

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Send comments to fmatah (BETA) | Report this review (#226029)
Posted Saturday, July 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is ont of the best gathered-live contect Yes ever put up on CD or DVD. The musicianship is great as always and age did not mark the band members in any negative way. They still have the force that's been driving them for years.

Basically you'll like this if you are an Yes fan, and if not, this would be a good shortcut through some of Yes' best songs.

Personally, I still prefer the original studio version, and it's not as good as the '73 live set, but still it's great. "Close to the Edge" and "The Gates of Delirium" are very well played. You should check this out.

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Send comments to aSimionescu (BETA) | Report this review (#233089)
Posted Thursday, August 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
TheGazzardian
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Yes' contribution to progressive rock in 2009 is a CD version of a concert that they recorded in 2001 and that has been available for some time on DVD. Probably intended to cash in on all the listeners who didn't get the limited edition of the DVD that came with CDs as well, this album seems somewhat uninspired in its timing.

Every track on this album has been released on a previous Yes live album, with the exception of Overture (the introduction they used during their symphonic tour) and Don't Go, which is not the best song Yes has done in recent years, although mildly fun. It does benefit from the inclusion of many of Yes' better epics, including complete versions of Close To The Edge, The Gates of Delirium, and Ritual. Close to the Edge has been done at least twice before (Yessongs, Keys to Ascension 2), and Gates of Delirium and Ritual were both released on Yesshows.

What makes this album worth purchasing, however, is the existence of an orchestra backing Yes up. The fact that they chose to play three of their most cherished epics, despite being previously released, only adds to the value of this collection. The orchestra makes these songs new and fresh again, even in 2009 (unless you owned the DVD). And the song collection is pretty holistic, gathering most of their biggest tracks from throughout the years while also giving ample time to their new (at the time of recording) release.

Yes fans own enough copies of them that hearing I've Seen All Good People, Roundabout, and Owner of a Lonely Heart at the end of this collection is actually more of a detriment than anything, even with the orchestra. But for listeners who haven't heard the band before, this album gives a great overview of what they have done and at the same time does it in a somewhat new way. That gives this album a bit of value beyond the hardcore audience. Although it is not their most essential live album, it will still provide value to any prog listener. Three stars.

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Send comments to TheGazzardian (BETA) | Report this review (#257482)
Posted Wednesday, December 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
ProgressiveAttic
COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars Yes doesn't get old

Despite of how old they look (specially Howe) 33 years after their 1969 debut they still are as dynamic and talented as always.

The early 2000s was a very good era for Yes and a rebirth of their prog style that we all love. After almost 20 years of pop incursions (most of which are very enjoyable) the "classic" Yes prog lineup of such (monumental) albums as Tales From Topographic Oceans and Going For the One reappeared after the return of Rick Wakeman in 1996 with the live Keys To Ascension which included brand new studio material in the vein of their 70s masterpieces, showing how they are still in shape and creative. Wakeman left the band again (studio-wise) but the renewed symphonic prog spirit wasn't lost and with the help of Igor Khoroshev (keyboards and vocals) and Billy Sherwood (guitars, keyboards and vocals) they recorded the amazing The Ladder. Two years latter the band returned to the studio with Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Alan White and a SYMPHONIC ORCHESTRA!!!! to record Magnification (now that's symphonic prog), which, as the title announces, is really magnificent. And not only that.... they also toured with the orchestra!!! This is the recorded statement of such a tour.

It was about time! Yes finally decided to join the tradition of original monsters of symphonic prog such as The Moody Blues, Renaissance, ELP, etc. of playing with a symphonic orchestra. And that's not all, the set-list is the kind of thing that put a smile in the face of any "classic" Yes fan, including concert classics such as: Starship Trooper, I've Seen All Good People and Roundabout and monumental masterpieces from Close to the Edge, Relayer and Tales from Topographic Oceans (my personal favorite), many of which they haven't played for years. This without counting the lovely and magnificent pieces from Magnification.

This album is one of the proofs that Wakeman isn't indispensable for Yes to play masterful symphonic prog, even though if Patrick Moraz isn't available. The only thing you need to replace the Cape Crusader is a more than competent pianist such as Tom Brislin and an orchestra!. Here you can experience the best from the Yes prog catalog in a new dimension and as powerful as during the 70's.

Other than that we have Howe's usual outstanding and breathtaking solo, a great rendition of radio hit Owner of a Lonely Heart (only representative of the pop era) as a very appropriate closer to the concert and Jon's narrations between piece and piece indispensable on every Yesshow. Everything presented with an almost perfect sound quality.

At the end this is a masterpiece of a live album, with absolute masterpieces renewed and presented as never before. Every single track in the album is performed with such quality (including Owner of a Lonely Heart) that it is difficult to find live albums like this one.

The highlights, for me, are: Close to the Edge, Ritual, The Gates of Delirium, Starship Trooper, In the Presence of and Howe's solo.

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Send comments to ProgressiveAttic (BETA) | Report this review (#269162)
Posted Monday, March 01, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Why ?

Yes is a band with a very big, symphonic sound. After all, this is one of the handful of bands who put symphonic back into music again. They re-connected the music business again with the likes of Ludwig Van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johan Sebastian Bach. Not to mention both Richard Wagner Sr and Jr.

So why the heck do they record versions of their songs with a symphony orchestra ?

It is stupid and that is proven again and again on this album. The symphonic orchestra parts is added like strawberry jam here and there to pieces of fish & chips. Strawberry jam and fish never goes together and the tastes clashes like fire and water. That is exactly what this is. A big fog and a big mess. All the Yes songs has enough textures as it is. Why add something that destroys them ?

Ah, the hunt for respectability. Make a recording of your original songs with a full symphony orchestra and you get respected. Not by me, that is. I have yet to find a remotely acceptable album with this recipe. This album is not too bad. It is bad when the symphony orchestra rolls over Yes and creates a thick fog of the sound. The subtle use of symphonic instruments on The Gates Of Delirium saves this album's bacon. The rest of this album is best forgotten.

When will the music world learn that strawberry jam does not work with fish & chips ? Probably never. Next up is Sex Pistols and the London Philarmonic Orchestra.

2 starss

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#362492)
Posted Friday, December 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Classic!!

This is the very first Yes live DVD concert I ever saw, and boy did it blow my mind! I already had "Fragile" and "Relayer" in my Yes collection by the time I got a hold of this, and I was planning to get "Close to the edge" next, since I had heard great things about it.

I saw this DVD in the music shop, looked at the back, saw "Close to the edge" listed on the back and thought "hey, why not buy this, and check out if Close to the edge is as good as they all say it is before I buy it?" So I did..

I was completely stunned and amazed by the whole concert. Just awesome musicianship!!! Andersons voice was just so etherial and beautiful, and he was in TOP FORM throughout the whole concert. Steve Howe was a mad professor on the guitar, and Chris Squire was just relentless on the bass, and a constant showman. And how many time signatures does Alan White really know?? He is just pouring them out. To bad that Rick Wakeman was not in the band at this point, but I got to see him later in other live concerts. Tom Brislin does an excellent job anyway, filling the caped crusaders shoes(though he's got BIG shoes to fill) The orchestra is ising on the cake, and sometimes it works better than other. It works particulary good on "And you & I" and on "Gates of delirium"

Highlitghts for me on this concert is "Close to the edge", "Gates of delirium", "In the presence of", "Starship trouper", "And you & I" and "Ritual" The "Soon"-part of "Gates" makes me cry, not tears of sadness, but of beauty. Anderson delivers a stunning performance full of emotion and etherial quality. I get goosebumps now just writing about it really..

I got a hold of "Close to the edge" after I saw this concert, needless to say, and all the other Yes albums from the 1970's..and FAST.

This is a CLASSIC concert, and should be in every Progressive rock fans collection. I dont think I can really live without it.

A classic.

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Send comments to Moonstone (BETA) | Report this review (#465128)
Posted Monday, June 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
4 stars This Yes live album is way better seen on DVD of course but this is still masterful music with some of Yes' best live material. It features an orchestra that serves to enhance the music rather than detract. Of particular note are the stellar versions of 'Close To The Edge' all 20 minutes of it, 'In The Presence Of', 'The Gates Of Delirium' clocking 23:30, and one of the best renditions of 'Starship Trooper' I have heard.

The concert also boasts some soloing from Steve Howe which is always a treat, ad on CD 2 a wonderful setlist includes 'Magnification', 'And You And I', and a 28 minute version of Topographic's 'Ritual'. Of course stalwart classics are here such as 'I've Seen All Good People', 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' and 'Roundabout'.

The sound quality is excellent and it all wraps up beautifully on 2 packed CDs. This is one of the best live performances and it is captured on DVD which far outweighs the audio but nevertheless 4 stars for the genius music is well deserved.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#763355)
Posted Monday, June 04, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Enjoyable, but mean-spirited audio of critically acclaimed and popular concert, performed on DVD.

Mean-spirited? I just feel that this concert warranted a double CD. The band have played safe with their track choice, limiting it to their 'well known' and shorter tracks, which in many cases are completely bereft of any valid orchestral input!

Seeing as 'live' versions of the better-known tracks have been released previously, it seems pointless to me to do so again, especially as there are two more 'Magnification' tracks, plus 'Ritual' and 'Gates of delirium' all available from the same concert.

What's more, I'd have preferred to hear music which exploited the talents of the live orchestra more. The one-off nature of the tour is negated by what's been released on this CD.

So, whilst it's an enjoyable listen, it could have been better. The sound's not the best quality either. Best track? 'Don't go.' It sounds so much fresher than the older material.

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Send comments to sussexbowler (BETA) | Report this review (#859561)
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars After the remarkable Magnification, which featured a full orchestra, it only made sense to record a concert in the same vein, and it's fascinating to hear many Yes classics accompanied by such an ensemble. While I agree that "The Firebird Suite" is Yes' official entrance theme, I appreciated their use of the stunning introduction to "Give Love Each Day" to begin the concert.

Symphonic Live boasts three epic masterworks. Opening with "Close to the Edge," the band performs this at a pace that doesn't quite suit the energy the piece deserves, although I find Steve Howe's cleaner tone more enjoyable than his tone on the original. "The Gates of Delirium," from that peaceful beginning to that peaceful ending and all the cacophony in between, is always wonderful and welcome. Clocking in at nearly a half an hour, "Ritual" features extended bass soloing and a nod to "The Ancient."

Three traditional Yes songs are rendered better here than on any other live album I have heard. "Long Distance Runaround" is light and dashing, with Alan White brightening the song considerably. "Starship Trooper" is full-bodied and ethereal. Finally, "And You and I," with that phenomenal orchestral backing, transports the listener to another world.

Two songs, however, just don't belong in the set list. Of all the stellar material on Magnification, the band opts to include "Don't Go," which is the second weakest piece from that album (that adjective, of course, belonging to "Soft as a Dove"). I would have preferred to have heard the uplifting and progressive masterpiece "We Agree" instead. And as much as I enjoy "Owner of a Lonely Heart," the song seems inappropriate among everything else on the album. "Hearts" (from the same album, 90125) would have been a stirring penultimate song. Still, the inclusion of these two songs is hardly anything to fuss over.

This is one of Yes' greatest live offerings.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#1222109)
Posted Friday, July 25, 2014 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Symphonic Live' - Yes (60/100)

Whatever doubts I may have had about post-90125 Yes were dispelled with 2001's Magnification. Sure, most of the 90s had been wasted on bad pop and lazy songwriting, but Magnification (and to a lesser extent, The Ladder) proved to me that Yes could still churn out a lovely album, given the proper inspiration. Although Symphonic Live was released on CD in 2009, this live performance was recorded during the Magnification tour. A more comprehensive portrayal of their Amsterdam date at the Heineken Music Hall can be found on the Symphonic Live DVD package. Suffice to say, even for the sake of a live album, hearing the band's classic material played alongside a full- blooded orchestra would be many a progger's dream come true. It's that heavy expectation that makes Symphonic Live somewhat disappointing. I loved what Larry Groupé had done with the immersive orchestrations on Magnification, but the symphonic arrangements here feel like background ambiance in comparison. Add to that a fairly muddled mix to an otherwise inspired performance from Yes, and you have yourself a fairly live album. By all accounts it's not a bad or even misguided attempt, but it should have been so much better.

Though, from what I've heard, the DVD release is apparently infinitely more impressive than this, the symphonic element feels understated to a fault. The string harmonies and bombast is audible if you listen hard enough, but it's almost always drowned out by the band's performance. It's obvious the band should remain the central attraction in a symphonic experiment like this, but adding an orchestra would have only been a worthwhile investment if it added something substantial to the music. The orchestral intros are a nice showcase for the symphony, but the arrangements to the classic material add no new dimensions. Even an epic like "Close to the Edge" (which is as close to classical composition as rock music gets) doesn't seem to take advantage of the vast potential here. What's more problematic is that many of the songs have been slowed down accordingly, supposedly to make room for the symphonic sweeps and flourishes. As far as the CD component to Symphonic Live is concerned, it wasn't worth it. Still, this is Yes we're talking about, and they have some of their best material here. The performances aren't as lively or essential as Yessongs, but you can't go wrong with the prog-heavy setlist they chose for it. In spite of the lazier tempo, "Close to the Edge" remains an absolute titan of a track. Sessioneer Tom Brislin fills Wakeman's shoes snugly, to the point where I could have sworn it was Rick playing those parts himself. While the pace and tone of Yes' performance is more leisurely than I would have preferred, Jon Anderson's voice is bright and shows little sign of aging here.

If you remove the superfluous orchestrations, you're left with a perfectly capable Yes album, with most of the tracks I might have liked to hear on one of their live albums. Even so, an album entitled Symphonic Live begs to be judged primarily on the merit of its orchestral contributions; in this sense, the album is a disappointment. Beyond the muddied mix (which could be forgiven- Yessongs suffered from the same thing) the orchestration suggests a sense of bombast, but lacks the determination to infuse itself into the composition. The symphony is a pompous backdrop to an otherwise strong performance from the band. It's reasonably good, but it's nothing that Yessongs and Keys to Ascension didn't offer years before.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#1294513)
Posted Monday, October 20, 2014 | Review Permalink

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