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5 stars This album shows Yes as they were up to Close to the Edge and is a fabulously exciting recording. Most of the tracks feature Alan White who had only just joined and added the weight and rock element they wanted at the time. The recording quality is lacking, but listen out for Howe's magnificent solo in Yours is No Disgrace, Wakeman's solo spot and Squire's work throughout. Hearing And You and I on this disc for the first time back in 1974 opened my ears to a whole new world of progressive music.
Report this review (#1601)
Posted Thursday, December 18, 2003 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars 3,5 stars really!!

Dreadful sound and ugly dubbings stops this to be the Chef d'Oeuvre it should've been. If you listen well to the sound recording levels, you will have no trouble understanding my reaction, as there are many studio tamperings and noticeable tape splicings - at least on the vinyl, since I've never bought the Cd reissue, where these "bleeps" might have been corrected . The track selection, however, is almost a dream-come-true, with only parts of the tracks played by Alan White and the rest from Master Bruford! (The "a" letter was intentional) If you dreamed of having a Live album featuring Howe, Wakeman and Bruford in the same group, Yessongs is it. The only track I consider essential up to that point in the band's repertoire and missing on this three-disc affair id South Side Of The Sky, but we shall survive.

Great and ambitious (but fragile) cove artwork though, explaining the other artwork of the Fragile and Close To The Edge albums. The booklet was also awesome also and I spent hours plunged into this album, loving every minute of it. Had this album a better sound, this would've gotten a much better rating! So essential but flawed.

Report this review (#1607)
Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Without a question as far a live albums go, YES' "Yessongs" would rank right up there as one of my all time favorite albums. Released back in '73 as a triple vinyl album set devoted to capturing YES live on their 1972 tour. YES here perform songs from "Fragile", "Close To The Edge" and The YES Album which is my personal favourite era for YES. In my opinion this album contains one of the greatest intro's ever recorded live with the except from the "Firebird Suite" cascading into "Siberian Khatru" in epic proportions. ANDERSON's voice is highly angelic throughout this show and I don't think you can get much better than the guitar work of Steve HOWE, WAKEMAN' analog keyboard runs, SQUIRES pattented bass fretting or Alan WHITE's excellent drumming.
Report this review (#1610)
Posted Sunday, March 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This TRIPLE LP is an early 70's live album of the Yes band. The sound is rather good for the year. The chosen tracks are very representative of the most progressive moments of the early Yes: indeed most of the epic tracks from "Close to the Edge", "Fragile" and "The Yes album" are played. The "Opening" track, an excerpt from the "Firebird Suite", is a flamboyant classical piece played by an orchestra, reminding the "Rick Wakeman's "Journey to the center of the Earth" album. Alan White's drums solo on "Perpetual change" is original an impressive. Howe's electric guitar solo on "And you and I" sounds as weird and spacy as on the Relayer album. The crowd is favorably responding. The excerpts from "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" album are VERY interesting: Yes stopped to play, leaving all the available room to Rick's delightful keyboards. Yes only play the first rhythmic part on "Long distance runaround".

Rating: 4.5 stars

Report this review (#1640)
Posted Sunday, April 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you only listen to one Yes album this should be it!!!

The three preceeding studio albums just about make it on to this live triple vinyl masterpiece and the studio versions don't even come close to this and in fact sound quite bland after hearing this one.

Their live sets are one not to miss and if you can catch them on the current 35th Anniversary tour you will not be disappointed

Report this review (#1612)
Posted Sunday, April 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Yessongs" is a feast for fans: three albums originally packaged with an extra helping of ROGER DEAN's artwork that runs through live performances of the band's best material (i.e., "The YES Album" onward). Anyone who's seen YES play live knows that they have the chops to back up their complex studio arrangements, in some cases replicating the majesty of the originals down to the smallest touches. The only knock on "Yessongs" is that it does strip some of the mystery away from the originals; the studio albums somehow transcended mortals playing mere instruments, but the occasionally clumsy nature of human beings reveals itself on some of these arrangements, whether it's the missed vocal harmonies or STEVE HOVE's inspired but ultimately imperfect guitar work. The band isn't merely interested in re-creating their studio albums, however, providing terrific twists on classics like "The Fish" and "Yours Is No Disgrace." RICK WAKEMAN steps out for a solo plug with a crowd-pleasing piece that incorporates snippets of his recent solo album, "The Six Wives of Henry VIII", and is brilliant throughout, often replicating his original solos nearly note for note. The wild card here is CHRIS SQUIRE, who strays from the original arrangements for "Heart of the Sunrise" and a few others, sometimes embellishing his parts to a distracting degree. Although BILL BRUFORD appears on some tracks, even finding time for a solo on "Perpetual Change", newcomer ALAN WHITE handles most of the drums, having been thrown into the fire quickly when BRUFORD left. (He does such a fine job on tracks like "The Fish" and "Heart of the Sunrise" that you never feel BRUFORD's absence.) To their credit, the band conjurs the original magic where it counts: "Close to the Edge", "And You and I", "Roundabout" and "Starship Trooper." JON ANDERSON is remarkably on key almost all of the time, no small feat considering the epic nature of tracks like "Close to the Edge".

Despite a tendency for most bands to slow down the material for live performances, YES actually speeds things up; "Siberian Khatru" (an inspired choice for the opener) kicks some heinie as a result, although "I've Seen All Good People" suffers for it. "Yessongs" may expend more energy than some listeners are prepared to invest in it, but fans will revel in its artful re-creations and definitive selection.

Report this review (#1618)
Posted Tuesday, May 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars The live performances on this set adds very little to the songs. The studio versions are superior and the live versions stay too closely to the originals to offer anything new. Worse, there is way too much of it. A single disc would have been fine. My advise for Yes fans is to borrow this from a friend and burn a single CD of the best songs. Anyone else should get the excellent original albums instead.
Report this review (#1616)
Posted Sunday, May 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars If somebody asked me for a live album that describes perfectly the progressive spirit of the early 70's, I would answer Yessongs without any hesitation, even when production sucks and audio quality is mediocre due to primitive analog recording techniques existing in 1972 - 1973, but WHO CARES? The music is fantastic.

Few bands sound better on stage (or at least as good) as in studio, with Yessongs you have the chance of listening one of them.

Wakeman is a perfect showman to complement Jon Anderson, Steve Howe is a genius with his magic guitar (even though not in his best moment), Chris Squire is precise as always and Jon is always Jon.

Maybe the weakest link is Alan White but only if you compare him with Bill Bruford otherwise he's a very good drummer.

Is not necessary to describe the album song by song because all the tracks are well known classics, but I have to mention some high points.

Most of the tracks from The Yes Album sound much better in Yessongs, specially Your Move/All good People because they join the two songs with a breathtaking drums section, creating and explosive moment instead of the annoying blank space left in Yes Album between the tracks that separates both songs forcing the band to start all over again.

Having the chance to see or listen Wakeman playing the Excepts from the Six Wives of Henry the VIII (after the beautiful vocal introduction by Jon) is one of those moments that a fan must treasure all his life and Steve playing "Mood for a Day" is always a gratification for the soul.

An excellent album despite the technical problems, no Yes collection is complete without Yessongs.

Report this review (#1619)
Posted Tuesday, May 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is something special by yes.Almost 3 complete albums in one package full of the best yes tunes ever.perpetual change is not as good as the original but who cares.Your's is no disgrace and close to the edge are very well performed maybe disgrace is a little too long, anyway, it rocks.The only bad thing is the sound quality which isn't too good but is good enough to enjoy the yes noises...If you buy only one yes album then buy this one, it includes some of the best yes music.
Report this review (#1626)
Posted Monday, September 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yes, the recording of this album is not very good, but the mixing is better than in "Yesshows". But it is still enjoyable. The original L.P. cover with a booklet of photographs is very good. Alan White is a very good drummer, and as the history says he learned the songs in very few days of rehearsals. So he is very talented to had done what he did in 1972. I even like more the live versions of some songs like "Siberian Khatru", "Close to the Edge", "I`ve seen all good people", "Yours is no disgrace" and "Starship Trooper" than the original studio versions with Bill Bruford. Bruford is also a very good drummer, and he appears in this album in the songs "Perpetual Change" (with drums solo), "Long Distance Runaround" , and "The Fish" (with a bass solo by Squire, which it is "noisy" in some parts for me). I only miss Bruford in "Heart of the sunrise", "And You and I" and "Roundabout", but Alan White added his style to these songs, doing a good job too.Howe and Wakeman performed their respective solo pieces, but I prefer Wakeman`s. Rick Wakeman added his style to the songs from "The Yes Album", and in "Starship Trooper" he played a very good synthesizer solo in the "Würm" section. In "Perpetual change" he added mellotron, which is not present in the original studio version which was played by Tony Kaye.
Report this review (#1627)
Posted Friday, September 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A live album masterpiece. No other Yes live album comes close to this. As far as quality goes and the criticism it receives, I just don't get it. Sure it is not the best but what an atmosphere, what an assortment of the finest songs. Chris Squire's ' Fish' and Wakeman's ' Six Wives' are simply awesome. The quality of Genesis - Trespass was also poor, did this detract from the fact that it was a classic album? No ways.Anderson's occasional interraction with the crowd is also perfect.The sleeve design on Yessongs is again by Roger Dean, a three LP fold out.By now the Yes/Dean branding well engrained in the subconcious and adding to the conceptual feel of the albums.Do not overlook thnis essential milestone in the Yes history.
Report this review (#1628)
Posted Sunday, September 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars The band demonstrates high energy and even inspiration in playing what are today "classics" such as "Roundabout", "Heart of the sunrise", "Yours is no disgrace"... Of course it's 1972 recording and early 70es shows, with solo pieces that sometimes do not add much, but what you can ear on this recor is a band really playing together.
Report this review (#1629)
Posted Thursday, December 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars I just recently purchased the CD version of Yessongs. To be honest, this is a recording that I have not listened to in more than 20 years, and quite frankly, I had forgotten just how good this album was. This album was put out to capture the sound of Yes live, but at the same time was meant to silence critics who believed that Yes would never be able to duplicate the same musical magic that they could create in the studio. For me, it is like going back to one of their shows from that era. Obviously, the recording technology of the time diminishes the sound to some degree, but that is unavoidable. All of the performances are terrific, but I have to say that the way they open "And You and I" makes that my favorite among all of the tracks (although it is probably my favorite song from their entire catalog, regardless). If you want to hear Yes "live" back when there was no one else like them, then give this album a listen.
Report this review (#1630)
Posted Sunday, December 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Spoilt for choice

In the early 70's, many people's first purchase of an album by Yes album was "Yessongs". The reason: while "Yessongs" consisted of a triple albums set, it sold for little more than the price a single album. As such, it offered an appealing way of obtaining many of the tracks on the bands early albums, albeit performed live.

With the exception of Wakeman's solo spot from his "Six Wives of henry VIII" album, the tracks are all taken from "The Yes album", "Fragile", and "Close to the edge". The performances are excellent throughout, and while each member is afforded a solo slot (excepting Anderson), these fit in well within the album. There are numerous highlights, "Yours is no disgrace" benefits from an extended guitar solo by Howe, and "Close to the edge" is much sharper and more powerful than the studio version. "Perpetual change" is slightly spoiled for me by the inevitable drum solo, although the remainder of the track is probably superior to the "Yes album" original.

Most of the remaining tracks are reasonably faithful to their studio counterparts, although Squire's bass solo on "The fish" is enhanced and developed into a much longer piece.

When you consider that virtually all the material included here still forms the cornerstone of the band's live set today, you appreciate just how spoilt Yes fans of the early 70's actually were. Every track is an absolute classic.

Report this review (#1632)
Posted Saturday, February 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An excellent live set and probably Yes's most essential live album, featuring all of 'Close to the Edge' as well as the best stuff from 'Fragile' and the 'Yes Album'. As expected, the musicianship is great all the way through apart from a surprisingly dull drumsolo from Bruford in 'Perpetual Change', and the soundquality is very good for it's time, and it even makes for a perfect alternative for a newcomer to Yes with a limited budget, and if you are a vinyl hound then you should track down the original 1973 pressing of this album with the amazing gatefold cover painted by Roger Dean in all it's glory. This should be a great addition to any prog collection.
Report this review (#1633)
Posted Sunday, February 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
5 stars One of the best live-albums ever made from a band that was so pivotal and included only masters of their instruments. I prefer to listen to live-albums because in general the sound is more powerful and they deliver often a lot of instrumental extra's. Well, this originally triple LP set is almost the ultimate live album: great renditions of 'classic tracks' like "And You And I" (beautiful vocals and pedal-steel guitar), "Roundabout" (excellent guitar and Hammond organ), the epic "Close To The Edge" (splendid build-up and bombastic climax featuring a majestic church organ sound and fat Minimoog runs) and "Starship Trooper" (captivating duel between Howe's guitar and Wakeman's Minimoog). The extended soli are a perfect example of the typical progrock self-indulgence in those days, especially Rick Wakeman ('the caped crusader') with his wide range of keyboards (MELLOTRON!) among mirrors and explosions in "Excerpts From The Six Wives Of Henry VIII" and Chris Squire on his Rickenbacker bass in "The Fish". Steve Howe (using a kind of guitar-museum on tour) creates a warm and pleasant atmosphere with his Spanish guitar in the piece "Mood For A Day". If I want to let myself carry away with superb 24-carat symphonic rock, this is one of my favorite albums.
Report this review (#1634)
Posted Saturday, February 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Thanks for the warning Progarchives but this is definately 5 stars. OK the recording might be in need of improving but this is more than made up for in the music and atmosphere of the live shows. IMHO this album is far superior to the studio versions of the preceding albums, which are without emotion and pretty uninspiring. Yessongs on the other hand has the old goose pimples going overtime. Buy it
Report this review (#1636)
Posted Friday, March 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A wonderful packet delivering us the live recordings of YES from early 70's. The set list is totally awesome, covering the most essential compositions the band ever managed to create. All this is packed up in the most fabulous Roger Dean design yet to be encountered, with big opening gatefolds, several large paintings and a funny booklet. The only aspect that makes me drop of the fifth possible star from my rating is the fact that many of these songs worked a bit more better on the studio releases. As the songs are highly structured, they sound more coherent on the albums, and there isn't much space for improvisation. Also the sound quality isn't the best possible, but that doesn't bother me much. If you like live music, get this! Also all fans of this band should at least listen through this live album.
Report this review (#1639)
Posted Friday, April 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I heard this amazing live set at a friend of mine's house right after it's initial 1973 release. I was converted in his living room that evening. The band was burning up with youthful energy, and it shows in spades on this 3 vinal record set. That some complain of it's audio quality says two obvious things, those folks have no sense of the history of recorded music, and they confuse audio, with musical quality, so stop complaining. Jon Anderson (whom I have recorded with) is steller as usual, and perfectly pitched on every track. Steve Howe's performances are inspired throughout, even when he goes off into hyper guitar heaven. Chris Squire shows us why is is considered not only a superb player, but an innovative bassist in the uncommonly original notes he chooses to play at certain critical points, that most other bassist in rock couldn't even hear, much less play! Rick Wakeman is all that and then some in his classical, but aggressive stylings. And let me say here that Alan White takes a beating from those prog rock fans that still are ticked that Bill Bruford left Yes at their zenith. But Alan not only came in at the last minute and learned the band's entire rep. in three days flat, he played those pieces in his own style, not trying to imitate Bruford in the least. Bruford himself has applauded White's power and innovation over Yes's recording history. Alan White brought a whole new dimension to Yes, a bit heavier, and rock oriented for sure, but also adding more dynamics and subtle aspects that Bruford never gave. I could not imagine Bruford on the drum throne on the "Relayer" album, Alan White truly became Yes's drum man on that recording. As for Yessongs, if you haven't already, go straight out and get this recording, this amazing musical document of Yes in their prime... burning brighter than Halley's comet on a moonless night!
Report this review (#1641)
Posted Tuesday, April 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars If you like Yes, get your hands on this recording quickly, because it captures Yes in their prime. Its the best Yes live album i've heard, and the selection of songs is fantastic.

Although the studio versions are more rugged and clean sounding, the recordings on this set give off an incredible atmosphere, and the improvisations, especially Steve Howe's guitar work make the live versions rival the studio ones. The quality of the recordings is sometimes a bit muddy, but given that it was recorded in 1973, it's great. And you I dont even notice it when listening to it.

It is not the best introduction to Yes, but as many have stated before, Yessongs is a live album no Yes fan should be without.

Report this review (#1642)
Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars All the best of Yes in one album. Energetic, great interpretations, here they put only what is needed, someway another band compared to the rest of their (often "tired") musical production, nothing to do with the not-always-welcomed pretentious twistings of the studio albums. I wish they were always this way. This recording is for Yes what "At The Rainbow" is for Focus, for all the abovementionned cosiderations. Five stars... but you don't need anything else from this great musicians. (sorry 4 my english)
Report this review (#1645)
Posted Saturday, May 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars A pretty good live album. It perfectly captures Yes at (or near) their creative peak. The only problem is the sound quality, which is only fairly good by today's standards, but in 1973 was phenomenal. There are some subtle edits and dubs here and there, nothing blastphemous, mainly just odd jumps in volume occaisionally. Of course, there is still a little analog hiss, but nothing bad.

The music included is the best part. It starts with an excerpt from Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite," but unfortunately is just a recording, and not played by the band. Soon the band enters to play "Siberian Khatru," which is very well done, and doesn't stray much from the studio version except that the electric sitar is absent. "Heart of the Sunrise" is also fairly faithful to the studio version, nothing special but still as great as ever. BRUFORD plays on "Perpetual Change," and does a big drum solo at the end. However, the midsection of the song is the most interesting part, when the band speeds into a section in 14/8 much like the one in the studio album, but played live it is even more amazing. They end it with a huge amount of feedback, tricking you into thinking that something went wrong, then plunges back into the song.

"And You and I" is another great but not exemplary tune included, using electric guitar instead of the 12-string like on the studio version. HOWE's "Mood for a Day" is really the only filler on here, replicated exactly as it was in the studio, and even in the studio it was mainly filler anyway. Rick WAKEMAN's keyboard solo is another highlight, in which he incorporates quotations from his "Six Wives" album and the hymn "Hallelujah." After this is "Roundabout", which has some slightly muddy sound quality but still retains its effect.

Disc two is my personal favorite, however, beginning with "I've Seen All Good People." They keep the song fairly close to the studio version, once again, but it still has that live flavor you can't get in the studio. "Long Distance Runaround" segues into "The Fish," and is by far the most interesting moment on the album. I wondered how they would ever pull it off, but they do. SQUIRE performs superbly, taking individual themes from the studio version and twisting them through a wah pedal, with the rest of the band helping. You have to hear it to believe it.

"Close to the Edge" is as beautiful as ever, with a climax even more climactic than in the studio, with distortion, wah and everything. This version is my personal favorite, and HOWE actually plays his electric sitar the whole time onstage, another plus. BRUFORD plays once more on "Yours is No Disgrace," and they really stretch this one out with a lot more improvisations than their newer numbers. "Starship Trooper" ends with very good sound quality, and the "Wurm" section live is simply majestic.

This album could easily be enjoyed by YES veterans and newcomers alike. It could be a very good album to start with, actually, if you were just starting to get into YES. A must-have for fans.

Report this review (#1650)
Posted Wednesday, May 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yessongs as a live album was a highly seductive object in the mid-70s. Singer Anderson and guitarist Howe, with bassist Squire and keyboardist Wakeman had invented a rock music that unfolded like ballet, something that was episodic, many-colored but also loud, and anywhere between 7 and 25 minutes long. Combined with the triple gatefold sleeve and its tableau of impossible geology in surrealist watercolors, it had a magical impact as a total sensory package. Anderson's hi-register vocal tone sounds reserved, focused, innocent and yet faraway; a critical quality that made this far out but disciplined music take on the more serious mood one experiences at a symphony hall. Crucial to Yes' mojo was Steve Howe's variety of guitars, from mandolin, sitar-guitar, pedal steel, traditional acoustic, to several different electric Gibsons: all offered distinct timbres and shades lent specifically to each `drama' the group was enacting. But on top of this was his idiosyncratic but brilliantly pure playing, sometimes involving three different axes inside the same song! Rick Wakeman also traveled with a large battery of instruments, constantly calling on different sounds for different pieces. Chris Squire, had a more limited palette, playing the same trebly Rickenbacker bass for the entire performance but making up for it in shear texture and attack. But perhaps the most remarkable player is newly recruited drummer Alan White, who takes all the brittle and mechanical sounding earlier studio versions and makes them flow with funk and life. With this digitally remastered CD you get improved dynamics over the original analog LP and clearer hall echo from the Rainbow Theatre in London. You also get a few brief moments of aging tape noise. As a live recording, it has a very satisfying signature: you feel like you are in the second row but you can hear the size of this voluminous music blowing beyond you into an unrestricted black backdrop. Without this important aura of space surrounding the imaginary (russian-inspired?) theatre of Yes' wildly virtuosic presentation, Yessongs is not quite the special document it has come to be recognized. Songs like "And You And I" and "Starship Trooper" are delivered with a shattering ecstatic quality that is hard to locate anywhere else in the history of live electric music. On the tour following the release of Close To The Edge, the Yes seemed a force of nature, like no other time in their career, and thankfully some persons with microphones listened in on the right nights. Love `em or hate `em nobody had this combination of pithy goodwill and vast unbridled baroque nerve in 1973.
Report this review (#36092)
Posted Saturday, June 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was the album that got me into Yes and prog! Now, I will admit that this album is badly in need of a remaster. The sound quality is not so great, hence the subtraction of a star. But the performances are outstanding. Perhaps there is some sloppiness (I don't think there is much at all...and I am a musician who has been playing for 20 years now), but it is made up for by sheer energy and emotional exuberance by all band members. An incredible performance. Perhaps I am a bit biased since this was the album that turned me on to Yes (I was starting to discover other prog bands at the time, but this was what made me a prog head), but I think this album is outstanding. Other than the above mentioned, relatively poor production (it's a live ablum though, so I can cut some slack for that) all songs outshine the studio versions for me, especially the Close To The Edge material. I always felt that the songs on close to the edge sounded like a bunch of pieces recorded seperately and glued together in the studio.....and they were. But here, they sound like cohesive pieces of music and you realize just how magnificent they really are. So, to conclude, an excellent intro to Yes. I have used it for that purpose with a number of friends, and nearly all of them loved it (the one or two exceptions were people who didn't like any other prog I played for them either). 4 stars without a doubt.
Report this review (#36757)
Posted Friday, June 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Thought I'd add another comment on this album as a few are flying about; for me Yes are not any better or worse live, they are just different; some of the "detail" of the studio albums is lost, to be replaced with more dynamism and on ocassion some real passion.

But having seen Yes several times over the years with this line up I do not think Yessongs shows them at their best live.In part it's the poor sound quality; in part its Alan White trying to slip into Bruford's role - he sounds a little pedestrian on say Siberian Khatru - compare that to the version on Keys to Ascension; the latter for me is much better, and more like them at their peak live. There are though some songs that are great on this album, in particular "Yours is no Disgrace" and "Starship Trooper".

I had the original album and still have the large booklet that came with it, a concert programme in its own right! And Roger Dean artwork works so much better on a 12" sleeve....but I do think both Yesshows and Keys to Ascension (I&II) are better live albums.

Report this review (#36759)
Posted Friday, June 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes live...what can I say, this is the best album I have. For Yes fans there is nothing I can add, but for new listeners this is the best place to start to get a feel for this great band.

The live version of Close to the Edge is the ultimate song, is the best of this album and the best of Yes, at least to me. Nevertheless, the whole album is a prog gem.

Most of the best songs from the early years of the band are in this twofold album, I wouldn't change a thing. Wait a minute, maybe the sound could have been better, but it sounds good enough. If I could I would give this album 10 stars, but it gets 5 since it is the limit. Enjoy

Report this review (#37385)
Posted Thursday, June 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yessongs is the first Yes official live album, songs from "The Yes Album", "Fragile", and "Close to the Edge" filled Yes' touring setlists, and many examples are put onto two discs for you, so you can see how these masters of the craft do live! What's new with Yes is Bill Bruford has left the band and Alan White has joined the fold, and is doing a great job filling Bill's shoes.

After Stravinsky's intro of Firebird Suite, Yes storms the stage with the Close to the Edge classic "SIBERIAN KHATRU". A few things are changed here, Jon approaches some of the verses differently, and Alan does some of the drum parts differently, not to mention Howe changing some of the guitar breaks and Wakeman being more active in his keyboard role in the song. I have to say that some of the melodies and snippets from the original sound much cooler in this instance than the studio version of this song, making this the definitive version of the song, and Siberian Khatru could very well be the song that best represents the sides of Yes. In fact, there a lot of the moments in the songs played in this album (which proves to be a live collection of arguably Yes' greatest songs to date) where you can find moments that can potentially top what was done with the studio version of the respective song. The surpriser here is "PERPETUAL CHANGE", because it wasn't and isn't today a big setlist gracer, but here it is in all it's glory. For a Yes fan, this is a dream, and for anyone else, this can be a good starter, even though tit's a live album.

And in so, it is only a live album so I won't label it as any kind of masterpiece, but it's amazing that the guys can pull off what they do live, and still make each song a fresh listen in comparison to the studio tracks. You can't get much better than this for a live album, it's an excellent addition to your collection because of how impressive it is, and the fact that a lot of these versions of the songs are in some ways better than the studio recordings.

Report this review (#38319)
Posted Sunday, July 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is quite possibly the best live album ever recorded. This three record recording captures the band during their peak. Most of their best songs here (although a lot of their best stuff was still to come), played with such an energy and to such a high degree of perfection that I can't think of any other band that has ever sounded this good live. All of them are spot on here. Highlights include Siberian Khatru, Heart of the Sunrise, Roundabout, Close to the Edge, and Yours is no Disgrace, all sounding much better than their original studio versions. The only complaint I have is And You And I, which I think sounds much better acoustically. It wasn't until recently that they realised that as well and started playing it that way live. Yes is still a great band to see Live today. They are still note perfect and do great justice to their songs. But back then, they took so many more risks and had a lot more energy. Although I think they are much better acoustically now, I sometimes wish they would still play with this much energy electrically again. This album is fantastic, it is not only an essential Yes album, but an essential prog album in general and by far their best single release.
Report this review (#38540)
Posted Tuesday, July 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This live album represented my second journey to the music of Yes after I first listened to the ground breaking "Fragile" album in mid seventies. What truly amazed me at first listen through a cassette lent from my big bro Henky was the live performance of "Perpetual Change" whereby by that time I had never heard of the studio album and I did not know this was taken from what album. But man . it BLEW me away especially when I sensed the high energy of Steve Howe's guitar style combined with chock-full of bass lines by the energetic guy Chris Squire and fantastic drumming by Alan White. This track is really fabulous and for me it's the album's mascot. Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to say the other tracks are not good as they are all in fact are excellent. The other thing that hooked me to the album was the beautiful "Opening (Excerpt from "Firebird Suite") " that set the overall live vibe of the show continued dynamically, lively with the track from Close to The Edge album "Siberian Khatru". I think the combination of these two tracks have characterized many live acts of the band in their early history. It was changed with "Parallels" in the "Yesshows" album which featured Patrick Moraz.

Well, it's gonna be boring if I review on track by track basis as by now I assume that you have been familiar with all individual track of this live set. I do like the live atmosphere and the high energy by all members of Yes in this show. If you don't have this album, I recommend you should get one. I also have the laser disc version (with selected tracks only from the CD version) of the show which represents an excellent documentary of the band's live show history, even though the sound quality is really poor. Keep on proggin' .!

Progressively yours,


Report this review (#38701)
Posted Wednesday, July 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars While the sound quality is lacking a bit and some songs are disappointing compared to the original versions, the live feeling is great, and there is so much energy in here!

Intro : the ending of the majestic 'firebird suite' epic.

Siberian Kathru : This is one song that sounds better than the original, because it packs so much energy here.

Heart Of the Sunrise : the sound quality is actually decent in this track, and while I miss bruford in the bass/drum duo, the bass riffing is much better here and the random riffs all around the song sound overall better done and more complex.

Perpetual Change : Another song that sounds better than the original. There are extended solos and of course Wakeman makes keyboards better than in the studio album.

And You and I : very disappointing, because it sounds loud , too electric and sounds more like a rock song. Besides the intro solo is removed.

Mood For a day : a little more virtuosic than the fragile version, but I think it doesnt' mean its better.

Rick Wakeman show-off : it has always been a favourite of mine, and I love keyboard solos ... this is a set of keyboard solos and riffing with some fooling around (hallelujah, or the ending sound effects)

Roundabout : the performance is excellent, but the sound quality really suffers. In addition, the intro played by electric guitar ruins its magic for me.

I've seen all good people : not a great song, and its worse here. I miss the church organ, and the energy it had on the other version (here it's slower), and the sound quality.

Long distance runaround + squire soloing : not good, the sound quality is at its worst here, and the bass soloing while impressive, goes on and off in moments and it is very long.

Close to the edge : very nice version, the performance is very good, and alan white drumming during the church organ (now a keyboard) solos shows that bill brufford should have drummed there.

Yours is no Disgrace : The highlight of the album for me, since it sounds great, and it has an extended solo which for me is my favourite guitar solo of Steve Howe.

Starship Trooper : Disappointing guitar sound, and the wonderful vocal harmonies after the acoustic section (done here in electric guitar) is replaced by a horrible keyboard playing. The saving grace are the solos (keyboard and guitar) at the end of the song.

This great live recording has poor sound that bothers my listening, if you can tolerate it, I highly would recommend this album.

My Grade : B+

Report this review (#39191)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wakeman's Moog solo during the Wurm section of Starship Trooper is the high-water mark of 70s prog rock, encapsulating everything that was glorious about that time. It is sheer rock transcendence.

Howe's performances also were remarkable, showing him at the top of his game -- and stands in sad, stark contrast to his current playing. He simply can't hit the same notes with the same clarity and frequency as he once did. Oh, well, age captures us all.

The musicianship and energy of this release far outweigh the recording limitations of the time. A landmark of the genre.

Report this review (#40500)
Posted Wednesday, July 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I personally love a good live album, so this is among my favourite works. In my opinion Yes were at their creative and performance peak when Yessongs was released and it damn well shows. Here is the classic lineup performing their best works. Indeed one of the pleasing things about this LP is that they perform the majority of their best songs. Indeed it was a triple LP so an added bonus is that you get good value from this one.

It would be pretty pointless reviewing the songs themselves, thats the job of the reviewers on studio albums. And indeed this is why I can only give four stars, to really appreciate a live album you first have to have heard the originals.

But as someone fairly familiar with classic period Yes. This impressed me a great deal. A good bit of raw intesity on songs such as heart of the sunrise and a splendid rendition of Close to the Edge sent fresh tingles through my spine. There are also the incredibly impressive bits intrumentation which proves the bands virtusosity we see Mr Howe in fine form on Yours is no disgrace and its wonderful to see Rick Wakeman improvise away on extracts on Henry.

In all this is an album which showcases one of the most talented of bands playing their best songs. If you like Yes then this is a work for you! But do bear in mind that it is probably better to go down the studio route first.

Report this review (#41835)
Posted Saturday, August 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well after having this LP for about 35 years, I finally broke down and bought the Remaster CD version, which I received today. My God! What an amazing difference. I think the rating on this needs to be upgraded to reflect it. I agree with the arguments for and against rating the LP version a 4 vs 5 due to sound quality. If you dismiss that, it certainly merits 5 stars easily, but I can understand why many gave it 4 due to the sound quality. Well the remastered CD version definately restores this to the masterpiece of prog performance that it was AND adds the sound quality it deserves. It sounds as good as many modern live recordings I've heard. It's almost like a completely new album since I'm hearing things in it that I couldn't hear (or maybe barely hear) in the original LP.
Report this review (#50644)
Posted Friday, October 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum

"Yessongs" is perhaps the most famous progressive rock live record ever, that didn't came from out of nowhere though. It acclaimed a legendary status worldwide as a live observation by the pioneers of symphonic prog. It included on three lp-sides all the essential music from their breakthrough "The Yes Album" (with Tony Kaye on keys) and their symphonic masterpieces (thankfully Rick Wakeman in wide parts) "Fragile" and "Close To The Edge", with which the band reached worldwide attention and huge fame. The sound quality of the original recording was in a disappointing analog sound and in comparison with the recording to the three studio albums a bit weak, which reduced the pleasure to listen this fantastic live album in some few sound-technical aspects. The huge Yes fan felt nowhere disturbed by this though.

With this digitally remastered double cd version, you'll get an superior sound to the original recording, where the pure power and virtuosity of the band to this time is very well presented. The nice booklet contains 4 big stunning beautiful artwork-pictures by Roger Dean (the one and only representative prog-records-artwork-painter of it's time). In comparison with the 23 years later released double live album "Keys To Ascension", the sound is harder and wilder on "Yessongs", but I perfer the more mature and routined sounding versions of "Siberian Khatru", "Heart Of The Sunrise" or "Roundabout" on the also brilliant "Keys To Ascension", but that's more a matter of taste.

Fact is, that all in all this is the most stunning live album of Yes and probably the complete prog history and no prog collection can be considered complete without it. Get your copy now if you don't already got one - But look for the digital remastered edition from Atlantic, because of the superior digital sound quality.

Rating: 9.5/10 points = 97 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5/5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music

Report this review (#55812)
Posted Thursday, November 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a wonderful album full of extraordinary music. You must know that back in the seventies here in Mexico we didn´t have rock concerts, They were forbidden. Not until the mid eighties we started with Queen and Rod Stewart but in those days this was the only way to be, as an spectator in a venue with thousands of souls screaming to the top of our lungs. So this album filled the void for us here and in a bombastic way and it was great. The set list is the best I have ever seen in my entire life and to hear the thunderous bass of Chris Squire along the most rocker sound of the drums of Alan White was a real treat. I love by the way the imperfections in this CD They are what I paid for. To create the illusion of being there. That is what I don´t like the Live TLLDIB of the Genesis Archives. So the highlights here are many but the unsurpassed beauty of "Yours is no Disgrace" where every single player shine in a brilliant light and What about "Starship Trooper"? Anyway this is clearly a masterpiede from the introduction with Stravinsky to the incredible way to start it all with "Siberian Khratu". Nuff said.
Report this review (#76052)
Posted Sunday, April 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
4 stars Yes - this are songs ...

I bought the 3 LP set in the 70s after I got the studio album 'Close to the edge'. Both are a must have for a progressive rock collection. This was a great experience for me and they are some of the mostly played records on my player.

Until today I never have heard such an amazing live record from YES like 'Yessongs' - the essence of the 3 exciting studio albums before. Only the tracks 'Close to the edge' and 'Siberian Khatru' are better in the studio version.

Compared to other live track compilations - for example 'The word is live' - the YES-members are at their peak. Brilliant: 'Long distance runaround/The fish' with an outstanding bass playing by Chris Squire and the absolute dynamic Perpetual change and Yours is no disgrace.

Report this review (#85495)
Posted Wednesday, August 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars This was something of a curiosity when it released in 1973. George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass came out a couple years earlier, but I can’t recall any other triple vinyl albums from those days besides these. Also, the Roger Dean artwork, especially on the inside of the album, was really striking. At the time live albums were not normally considered on par with studio records, primarily because the sound was usually poor, and also because bootleg live albums were pretty easy to pick up cheap or even free, so it made little sense to actually pay for a recording of a concert. Of course Peter Frampton was only three years away from releasing Frampton Comes Alive, which would change many people’s perception of live albums.

In the case of Yes though, Fragile and Close to the Edge were still making waves across the heartland, especially with those of us who were too young to have been hippies, but who in many cases had older siblings or friends who were. In my neighborhood at least, this was definitely considered music for those who walked on the left fringes of society. I didn’t actually buy my own copy until years later when it was released on CD, but my older brother had the album and I certainly remember many summer afternoons listening to it in our basement while pondering the meaning of life and daydreaming about more exotic places than the wheat fields of the midwest (you’ve seen That 70’s Show, right?!).

Anyway, pretty much every progressive music fan knows all about this album and the two hours of stellar performances on it, so most of the songs need no introduction or critique. I will say that my re-mastered CD copy has quite a bit cleaner sound than my brother’s old vinyl, although the drums and bass still seem to be a bit muddled in places, particularly on “Heart of the Sunrise” and “Perpetual Change”.

The Stravinsky opening is just spectacular, and having seen them do this live in later years, I can say that the band definitely knows how to grab an audience’s attention right from the start. The rest of the album has no really bad tracks, with some of them actually coming off as more interesting and animated than the original versions. “I’ve Seen All Good People”, for example is much more familiar to me than the studio version, as the radio stations in my home town used to play it all the time, and it still sounds like the only ‘correct’ version to my ears.

I could have done without the “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” excerpt, an album I also own but rarely listen to. I’ve always found Rick Wakeman to be a bit self-indulgent on his solo albums, and the track just seems out-of-place amid the much more impressive Yes works.

The extended version of “Yours is No Disgrace” also strikes me as a bit cutesy, almost as if the band is grandstanding. This is one of my favorite Yes songs, but the studio version is much more succinct, and the spectacle of Steve Howe and Wakeman’s extended guitar/keyboard work is largely lost without the visual experience to go along with it.

But the band more than makes up for this faux pas with the closing “Starship Trooper”. I’ve actually heard a live version from the 1978 Wembley BBC London show which I think is a bit tighter, particularly White’s drums, but I guess he was still getting his feet with the band here, and between Howe, Anderson, and Chris Squire they more than pick up the slack.

All told this is a pretty darn good live album for the time in which it was released. Having heard both the original vinyl and the re-mastered CD, I prefer the CD version, but frankly it’s not as dramatic a difference as I’ve heard in other re-mastered works from the early 70s. I imagine that’s partly because there were some flaws in the taping to begin with, and the mixing afterwards leaves a bit to be desired in terms of subtlety. But over the years I have grown much more appreciative of live albums, especially those that captured the sound of great band at their peak, and that is certainly the case here. Of the many live albums yes has released over the years, this one has the best track selection and best reflects the sound of the band in its classic lineup. For those reasons (in addition to the great music, of course), four stars seems appropriate.


Report this review (#89306)
Posted Friday, September 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This would be maybe the best live record ever if only the sound was better. Unfortunately the quality is very bad, it almost sounds like a bootleg. It's a big shame, because the songs here ale absolutely billiant. There are so many epic classics from the first albums, so many great solos that I can't even think of reviewing the album song by song. Each track is unique, quite close to the studio version, but different in some way. Sill absurdally complex, but played with new energy. But the quality of sound ruins at least half of the effect. Shame.
Report this review (#96014)
Posted Friday, October 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I already mentioned in my review of "Genesis Live" that I purchased these two albums on the same Wednesday afternoon (school off) in November 1973. What a great day this was. What a revelation ! These were my entries to both bands.

A week before my purchase "Yessongs" was the album of the week on a radio programme I was listening to every night. They used to play one song of it every night and this is how I discovered YesSongs. It was so gorgeous that I decided to buy it almost immediately (this was quite an investment for a fourteen years old kid : a triple album - I remember having paid almost 799 BEF which is now the equivalent of 20 ?).

As a feedback to "Easy Livin" review, about the price, I can tell you that Yessongs was quite expensive in comparison to a standard album (at the time this ranged between 299 or 335 BEF which is 7,5 to 8,4 ?). This comment is valid for Belgium. But for this price, I got over two hours of the best prog I could have dreamed of !

It was quite difficult to choose where to start with that day : Genesis or Yes ? Yes or Genesis ? Fantastic to get this choice, no ? The classic opener (for about 30 years, almost uninterrupetedly) from Stravinski's work "Firebird" will, for generations, tell the audience that the band was arriving on stage. The tracklist of this live album is INCREDIBLE. All the YesClassics of the era are there. Most of the songs will be taken from their supporting tour for "Close" : so, obviously the whole of this album is recorded here. One of the first collapse in the line-up will take place before the tour : Bill will leave the band and Alan will replace him on the drums. That's why Bill is only featured on two songs on YesSongs (taken from the "Fragile" tour : "Perpetual Change" and "Long Distance Runaround / The Fish". In 2006, Alan was still the drummer of Yes (and this without break since 1973). Their other two previous fantastic studio albums "Fragile "and "The Yes Album" are providing almost the rest of this triple LP. There will be only one exception (on top of the opener of course) : "Excerpts From The Six Wives Of Henry VIII" from Rick. Most of the tracks are rockier than the originals, specially "Siberian", "Heart", Roundabout" and "Perpetual Change"

Since I discovered the live versions before the studio tracks, it took me quite a while to appreciate the studio ones more than the live ones. I must also admit that the sound of the album is not great (to say the least). Almost on par with boot quality. I do not own the CD remastered version but I have read that is is not very superior to my vinyl original. "Heart" and "Perpetual" are truely gorgeous renditions. My highlights of this triple set. If you revert to the original vinyl version of YesSongs, I would say that disc II is, by far, the weakest. But weak compared to one of the most glorious prog moments ever, is it really weak ? I have never really been found of "Your Move / I've Seen", "The Fish" (which is quite extended and boring) and "Mood For A Day". The medley of Rick's album "The Six Wives..." gives a pretty good idea of his album. The greatest song of disc two is of course "Roundabout" but the sound is rather weak.

Should I play the game of comparisons, I would say that both studio & live versions for "And You & I", "Yours" and "Starship Trooper" end on a draw. "Close" is not working very well here. One of the best version for this song (if not the best one available) appears bizarrely on "Friends & Relatives" released in 1998.

Emotionally, I rate it with five stars.

Report this review (#105309)
Posted Tuesday, January 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Ah Yessongs. Every 1970s band worth their salt had the obilgitary live album. Some such as Hawkwind even surpassed their studio efforts by getting their vital live sound down on tape, and creating masterpieces in the process.

Now onto the 'mighty' Yes. For a start, this album is not in perfect sound quality. To be frank, a bootlegger could have made better sound quality by bribing the sound engineer (with Dramamine to keep him awake) and taken a feed off the soundboard. Instead (and probably because Yes are Yes) they had to do it with what sounds like suspended mics, which makes instrument seperation "a good ol' larf". Occasionally one of Wakeman's synths (usually buzzy and cheap) are recorded in a Soundboard manner, so give you a heart attack when you are listening to the album with headphones and suddenly some awful synth comes into play.

And that happens a lot, as frankly Yes decided to ruin every good musical intetion by stretching their ideas too long, overdubbing pointless instruments (yay, a coral sitar, my favorite) or letting Jon Anderson write the lyrics. There is a fool. Jon Anderson, surrounded by ugly musicians he had to fit in by being ugly in the extreme, but boosted his image by being the band's hippy, strumming an acoustic guitar, as if adding acoustic guitar to the horrendous noise of Howe/Wakewman/Squier combined could create a good musical sound. Chris Squier ladies and gentlemen. He played every fret on his Rickenbacker bass about four too many times, and people think that's tallent.

back to the album. Top marks to Steve Howe, he didn't get his guitar to sound good once. Patently lacking in what us axesmen call "gain", when a good thick distortion is in order, Howe finds the limpest, scratchiest sound ever, then manages to magically reduce the sustain of his hellishly expensive Gibson to nought. Not even putting it on a REALLY short guitar strap could save Howe from a wetting. Conversely, lets take the opening to Roundabout. On the original studio album Roundabout's intro is played on an acoustic, an instrument Steve Howe should ONLY play, as everything he does on electric is garbage. Come Yessongs, micing up an acoustic guitar for the intro seemed to get the better of Yes's roadies, so instead Howe pulls out a Gibson switchmaster. For some PERVERSE reason his guitar sound is now totally distorted and too heavy, ruining the subtlty. Good work.

Of course Bill Bruford was in this band, but hell he joined King Crimson. He would rather have Robert Fripp torching his hair than have 4 ugly men, some analogue synths and some dodgy vegan cooking under his nose.

So over all, don't approach Yessongs. I barely like their studio output (and trust me, I am a proghead) so their poor sounding live effort just makes me vomit.

Report this review (#108411)
Posted Monday, January 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
5 stars A remarkable album in all aspects. It was the first Yes album I ever had and the main reason I fell in love with prog music. I was turning 15 and spent almost all my birthday money on this triple vynil album. I listened so much I wore it out. Next year I had to buy another copy. In 90´s I got a CD version and was apalled by its bad quality. It seems they did no remastering at all to save money or something like that. Fortunatly a few years ago I was able to get a russian edition of the same album. It is much better and have some extra tracks (unfortunatly those are of the 90125 shows, but the sound quality is so superior you´ll forgive this mistake).

Anyway, Yessongs shows the band Yes at their peak.It´s absolute incredible how good those guys are! No wonder they influenced so many people in the 70´s and latter. During those years they had no real rivals, they were the ultimate prog band of the word. And Yessongs is their crowning achievement. Proving that live they were as good as in the studio, no matter how complex and long the songs were. They could do it with a smile on their faces. No highlights here, as all the songs are good and playing is top notch.

The only low point here is the drums. I know that Alan White is an excellent musician, but Bill Bruford is a genious! Just hear the songs he plays on and see the difference! Oh, how I wish he could play the whole album. Other than that, this is as perfect as a live album can be, specially the remastered version I got.

One of my top 10 records of all time!

Anyone who calls himself a prog fan has to have this one.

Report this review (#108685)
Posted Wednesday, January 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I will say this.. The live versions of these songs sound better than the studio versions. "Long Distance Runaround'' has a bass solo in it, along with a bass/drum jam. The keyboard solo on Close to the edge is great. I am not much on solo's, but I will make an exception in this case. About 12 years ago, in early '95, I got this at a ''used'' record store for $4.00,with all 3 records included, plus the photo book with it. It was money well spent! I can still listen to this album today,and not get bored with it. On a 1 to 5 scale, I give this a 4.25.This is also high on a list of albums I like, and I also recommend getting this.
Report this review (#109289)
Posted Sunday, January 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars A truly awesome first live album by the boys. It has my favorite live rendition of most of their classics. The oft-played "Roundabout" sounds fresh and lively, "Heart Of The Sunrise", (my 2nd fav of the band after "Close To The Edge") is powerful, but it's "Long Distance Runaround" followed by "The Fish" that for me is the highlight. Chris Squire's thundering bass and Howe's overpowering guitar just sounds so grungy, it's mindblowing! Especially when the band kicks in at the tail end of 'The Fish" Stunning! The album has some very good versions also, like "Close To The Edge" with Wakeman's wonderful keys and a super and rare version of "Perpetual Change", (not a fav of mine, btw). My only gripe is towards the end of disc 2, it's definately a different concert. "Yours Is No Disgrace" and "Starship Trooper" have an almost bootleg sound, sort of echoey and distant especially Wakeman's keys, Howe though shines. Overall, I think this album is stellar and a must have, especially for YES fans for a rendition of the band at their peak. 4.5 stars!
Report this review (#110511)
Posted Friday, February 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my first review here! For this special occation I have chosen one of my all time favourites - if not the all time favourite. I bought this album for the first time on vinyl around the mid seventies and at that time it was not just the best Yes album but also the best live album so far.

Today I still own the old vinyl three record set but don't listen to it anymore. Because the cracles a noises the needle produces are unbearable. But, thank god, there is of course the digitally remastered double CD version. Despite the efforts of Joe Gastwirt, who did the remastering, the sound quality can of course not compare to todays standards (take Spock's Beards "Gluttons for Punishment" as an example how live recordings should sound today).

But the songs themselves are tremendous. In fact this is the only live album I can possibly think of where I prefer the live version of every single song to the corresponding studio version. The songs have developed and grown in the live performances. All of them. There is no weak track on the whole album and it is difficult to pick out one or two highlights as this album is full of them. Nevertheless, I feel obliged to pay a special tribute to "Yours Is No Disgrace" as this was the first progressive song I've heard in my life and it got me hooked.

In conclusion I'd say that everyone who claims to have an interest in progressive should own this album. Five start absolutely, actually 5.5.

Report this review (#111875)
Posted Monday, February 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album contains some sub par arrangements of some classic songs. A lot of it has to do with the facts that the recording really isn't the best and we have Alan White drumming in place of Bill Bruford. He isn't bad, he just isn't Bill. Highlights include CTTE, Perpetual Change, Siberian Khatru (which I find much better on yessongs, because it kicks up the energy) and Yours is no Disgrace. Yours is no discrage is paticurally interesting because the band actually jams for awhile. Yes has always struck me as a very stiff band, not willing to improvise and see where it goes. But they do a little bit of that on yours is no disgrace, and it's good to hear.
Report this review (#116633)
Posted Thursday, March 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

This was my introduction to YES back then in 1973. It was my first album and is still my favourite of them! why?? Beacuse not only it contains all the classic tracks of the YES ALBUM, FRAGILE and the toatality of CLOSE TO THE EDGE, but ALL the versions played live on this album are performed way better than the original ones, with more energy and freshness , less restraint . Just listen to this live rendition of CTTE and you will hear the intense sheer energy coming out of the musicians.

What helps also to the artistic success of this album is the addition of the opening track, a classical piece of Stravinsky , the FIREBIRD SUITE which is a wonderful way to start a YESconcert, a perfect entrance to the msical world of YES. Also another highlight is RICK WAKEMAN'S exceprts of ''THE 6 WIVES OF HENRY VIII'' that mix well with the YES material and add a more grandiose touch to the experience when listening to this wonderful album.

Every musician is top notch on these recordings; there is no flaw whatsoever; 5 musicians at their peak creatively. Bill BRUFORD left during this tour and was subsequently replaced by ALAN WHITE........coming out of the ...ONO PLASTIC BAND from John Lennon, hardly a prog outfit. But he will find his niche nicely and YES will keep going untouched by the departure of BRUFORD. Alan white is still going strong with YES some 35 years later.

What also make thsi album quite noticeable was the packaging and cover art of the great ROGER DEAN. I don't think of any more grandiose cover-art than the one on YESSONGS! The drawings are so beautiful , full of mystery, an opening to another lost world and we don't want to forget about the original 33LP different folders. Yes the CD revolution doesn't let us appreciate the ROGER DEAN art-work as much as the old timer vinyl presentation.

Try to find the 3 original LPs album in all its splendor!! I still have my original one from 1973( very used) i bought a new edition LP ( to have it proper) I have the 2 CD jewel case ( not great) I bought also the Japanese mini-LP look alike CDS (not bad)

As you can see, i love YESSONGS; goes with me on my desert island. One of the prog mountain. 6 STARS, but can only give 5.

Report this review (#126674)
Posted Sunday, June 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yessongs is probably one of the greatest progressive rock live albums ever released. Originally released as a 3-LP set, then later re-released as a 2-CD set, Yessongs contained every one of the best tracks from The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close to the Edge (all three albums being masterpieces themselves). The sound production for this is remarkable for the time period it was released in and the performance of the band is incredible.

Although Bill Bruford only appears on two of the songs, Alan White does a more than credible job as his replacement. Rick Wakeman breathes new life into the material from The Yes Album, clearly showing why he is a keyboard wizard and how much of an improvement his addition to the band was. In all my years, I don't believe I've ever heard another live album that comes close to Yessongs, past or present. All this and some cool Roger Dean cover artwork to boot. A masterpiece well deserving of five stars.

Report this review (#129021)
Posted Tuesday, July 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars A True masterpiece of progressive music! Although I was an avid listener of Pink Floyd, I had no idea what prog rock was, then one day my dad lets me listen to this wonderful live album, telling me this was one of his favirotes for years. That was the day I was opened up to prog rock. In my opinion, this is the single best piece of music I own (and thats A LOT of music).

Everything is perfect, even the recording, which was not known for good live music back in the day. The musicianship is absolutely superb, it's almost everything in the yes album through Close to the edge, but with a very assertive and passionate edge. Steve Howe is not known to be extremely flashy or pretensious, not even on this, but his talent just explodes all over the place, when I listen to his solo on yours is no discrace and siberian khatru, I hear a monster tearing away at the most amazing musical notes I have ever heard. Mr. Squire is right up there with him, it blows my mind that all he needs is a pick a rickenbacker bass, and a wah peddle, to make some of the most intricate and masterful basslines ever created, and when he breaks down the 2 minuete long bass solo the fish, into an 11 minuete masquerade, I cant help but think about Geddy Lee crying in hopelessness.

Jon Anderson and Rik Wakeman are at the top of their game, but then again, I havent heard anythng recorded where they arent. Now, as many of you know Bill Bruford left after Close to the edge, and that this was Alan Whites first recorded record with Yes, and although his performance will never live up to Bill Brufords legacy, he made some pretty good beats on siberian khatru, And you and I, and Starship trooper. Bill does get his chance to shine on perpetual change though... in a four minuete long solo that leaves you completely breathless from start to finish.

The tracks that really stand out to me are Siberian khatru, And you and I, and Perpetual change. Siberian Khatru because it's just intense from the intro, to the greatly improved solo where Steve hits notes to speeds where Eddie van Halen would be jealous. And You and I because it's just a beautiful song, with or without the acoustic guitar, and with the more aggressive last section, everything works perfectly. Perpetual change is a no brainer to anyone who has heard it, but the most glorious moment is when the bass and guitar switch and Squire starts playing a very fast and mean guitar line!

Props to Starship trooper for the excellent closing section, and Heart of the sunrise for being so beautiful.

If you like Yes or progressive music in general, get this, it is possibly the greatest piece of music ever!

Report this review (#132022)
Posted Monday, August 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of most spectacular lives performance that i´ve ever listened. The music in studio albums (YES ALBUM, FRAGILE; CLOSE TOTHE EDGE) is transformed in musical energy since the firt song. Anderson & company show us why the symphonic prog had many fans in that 70´s. I think the special Wakeman participation completed an inusual and particular versions of every track. I love AND YOU AND I Yessongs version ( I remember when I was young in University and listened with my prehistoric walkman this song hundred times...). Wakeman & Howe are in great form. The keyboards and guitars conjuntion in this song, in my opinion, are one of the best moments. Really, every track has an special touch that made this album a Symphonic prog Flag.

The songs



Report this review (#140458)
Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars Even though I don't listen to Yessongs very often anymore, it has no other place to go but on top. It was the defining album of my childhood, the reason I became a musician. It is often knocked for the poor recording quality, but IMHO, that's one of the things that truly makes it great. Yes writes oustanding music, but on early studio albums where they wrote there best music, much of the sound is overly compressed. The dynamics are subdued to the point that the majesty of the composition is hiden. Especially when compared to Genesis and ELP who didn't seem to have a problem transposing their energy to the studio. Really interesting when you consider Eddie Offord's involvement in both yes and ELP. The rawness and power of the live performance almost made them a completely different band. The addition of Alan White for the majority of the album played a part in this as well. It seems that the less technical, yet more powerful and wide open playing style of AW infused a new energy into the other musicians over the highly technical, yet dynamically conservative chops of Bill Bruford. Another element that left a feeling of emptiness to some of their studio was the obligatory 70's fade out. The staccato end of Siberian Khatru, down to the last "AH!" was a symbol of the gratifying completeness of this album. The foldout Roger Dean art also left a lasting impression.
Report this review (#141616)
Posted Wednesday, October 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Music that transports the mind.

"Fragile" was the first prog album I ever owned if memory serves but Yessongs is the album which addicted me to the music of Yes for so many years. It was nothing short of a revelation. I believe I played this album more than any other non-Zeppelin album in my formative years. Why so special? It's quite simple. More than any other album I recall Yessongs is a complete package capable of transporting the listening to another place. Really. This is a tour-de-force that takes the listener to the place represented visually so perfectly by the artistic eye of Roger Dean. Never has a partnership between musicians and cover artists been so spectacularly successful in enhancing the listening experience. Panel after panel of Dean's work is so magical and breathtaking, so adept at non-verbal communication.

And then there's the music! With selections pulled from only three studio albums (Yes album/Fragile/CTTE) the band wisely avoided using material from the first two. These three albums provided a focused and well integrated selection of songs. It begins with the most exciting prog opening ever, Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite" which thereafter would raise the endorphin level of the Yes fan at first note. While the sound quality is poor by today's standards as mentioned by many, I have noticed that the sort of "fuzzy glow" inherent in this album's sound actually seems to enhance the mood of the material. Perhaps that's just a personal thing but the sound has never detracted from my enjoyment here. To this day the only song I will skip is "All Good People" which I've always felt was a very subpar Yes track. My favorite track is probably "Heart of the Sunrise" which just takes on otherworldly qualities in this live treatment.

After three good albums and this triumphant live package, Yes would release their two finest masterworks in "Topographic Oceans" and "Relayer" before ending their peak years with the fabulous QPR live show. They would hit rock bottom in the Rabin years and never reach such heights again. But from CTTE through QPR it was a moment of symphonic prog heaven equaled by very few.

Recommended to anyone building a serious symphonic collection. 4 ˝ stars.

Report this review (#144377)
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars 5 stars: A masterpiece and an essential live album.

I usually don't like to rate live albums or compilations so high, but this one deserves it. Some of the songs on this Live doubledisc are just mindblowing, improving on the already omnipotent studio versions. When I first listened to this, the only Yes I had heard was CTTE and the stuff from Yesterdays. Because of this, I was not completely crazy about the album, just because it wasn't all CTTE. However, this foolishness quickly left me. This album remains in my top two for favorite live albums to this day (sharing the honors with Zeppelin's HTWWW).

Opening: They opened many of their shows with this classical piece. Beautiful. Siberian Khatru: 10/10- I love this version of the song; it's my favorite. Steve's guitar work is faster, louder, and overall more effective then on the studio track. General improvement from the studio version. Heart of the Sunrise: 11/10- WOW. When people ask me what my favorite song is, I tell them that it's like choosing between children. If they insist that I name one, I respond confidently "Yes's Heart of the Sunrise live off of Yessongs". This intro of this version is my favorite of all time. Hearing is believing for this one. An improvement from the flawless original. Perpetual Change: 9.5/10- Another incredible improvement from the studio. Perhaps it is only because I heard this song on Yessongs before I heard it on The Yes Album, but I think that this version changes a good song into an incredible song. Much better than the studio version, and great drum solo by Bruford. And You and I: 9/10- First case of the studio version being better than the Yessongs one. Steve trades in his acoustic guitar for the electric here, and the intro is cut out as well. Still a fantastic song, but the studio version is better. Mood For A Day: 8.5/10- Steve's signature piece. Second case of the studio version being better. Excerpts...: 9/10- Rick's solo. I don't own Rick's tSWoHtE, so it's hard for me to analyze the live version. However, the piano and keyboards here are incredible, and I envy everyone who has seen him do this piece. Roundabout: 9/10- The overplayed, overrated classic. This is my favorite version of it. I've Seen All Good People 10/10: People generally prefer the studio version to this one, but because I heard this one first, I am used to it and have always been more partial to it. The Your Move part here is particularly beautiful. Long Distance Runaround/The Fish 10/10: Another big WOW. Chris Squire is incredible. The version of LDR is better than the original too. But wow... The Squire/Bruford rhythm section in this version of The Fish is phenomenal. Close to the Edge 9.5/10- not a perfect score, only because I prefer the studio version. Yours Is No Disgrace 10.5/10- Whoops, I went over 100% again... This is much improved from the already great studio version. The guitar solo in this version of the song hangs with Steve's best, and is one of my favorites from any band. I love the jazzy intro here too. Starship Trooper 10/10- Great song. The lyrical differences could be annoying to fans familiar with the studio version, but other than that, not too much has changed here.

Fantastic live album from my favorite band. The cover art for this album is great too; I love Roger Dean. I try not to give live albums five stars, but this one deserves it. Great musicianship throughout.

Report this review (#153984)
Posted Monday, December 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I owned this triple live set and had listened to it more than once, for sure. But for some reason I was never too much attracted to it. Yes, I know, the performance is brilliant, musicianship is at their peak, wonderful although kitschy art cover by R. Dean is awe- inspiring as ever... but.. It's all too much to digest and I never felt enough reason to have this album in my collection. I guess the visual experience of being there would make this recording more fullfilled... And, I miss the drumming of Bill Bruford! Studio versions of most of these compositions are still better for my taste. I would say, this 3LP record set is recommended only if you are a devoted fan of YES.
Report this review (#154044)
Posted Tuesday, December 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This live album is a great assortment of classic Yes songs, and because its live it has more character and atmosphere than a studio album. As far as the songs, Heart of the Sunrise is a favourite for so many reasons. Like all good prog songs, it's a long jam and collaboration of the talent within the band and has many musical moments. Another surprise is " The Six Wives of Henry VIII", a track that is a true showcase of Wakeman's genius and the wonders of the mellotron and Moog sythesizers. And of course Roundabout is a classic with the great harmonies and Hammond B3 solo. Overall the first disk of the CD version is personally my favourite and contains the better songs. The only criticism I have is that some of the longer songs on the second disk are sort of dull and too experimental but otherwise an excellent album.
Report this review (#154732)
Posted Saturday, December 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Super great Live album one of the best prog live albums i have heard so far, all thiere classic songs up to that point played beter rawer and with more power then tiere studio versions and with lots of changes and joyfull playing around and new intros to familar songs and stuff. The band plays amazingly great and Jon sings like an angel. Theres no point in pointing out any higlights the whole album is a long stream of perfection. If you only get one live album by one prog band or by Yes this is it. 5 Stars. If your tierd of your old Yes stuido albums this album will make all the songs sound fresh and vital again, simply stuning.
Report this review (#161825)
Posted Friday, February 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Too long ? Yes. Cheap sound ? Yes (and the only reason I do not gave it a 5 stars rate). But, be honest, Yessongs is probably the most incredible live album in all the prog-rock history (yes, you could also quote Seconds Out by Genesis). All of the Yes anthems are here : Starship Trooper, Roundabout, the entirety of the Close To The Edge album (three songs), Yours is no disgrace, and even an excerpt from the solo album Rick Wakeman released at the time, The Six Wives Of Henry VIII. You must have this three-discs (now double CD) album in your home !
Report this review (#162853)
Posted Thursday, February 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This live album was my introduction to the music of Yes. What can I say? It didn't leave the turntable for weeks. A gigantic effort from the band, but not from the sound engineer. The wonderful versions you will find here are severly hampered by the sound - even the digital remastering really can't compensate. So it's a pity that one of the best prog live albums of all time can't be restored to a satisfying sound experience. But this album is worth 5 stars nevertheless since many of the live versions simply send their studio brothers and sisters to oblivion (just think of the thrilling versions of Sibirian Khatru and Heart of the Sunrise on this album). This album is a must for friends of symphonic prog.
Report this review (#165750)
Posted Saturday, April 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars Easily one of the most enjoyable live albums in my collection for all the right reasons. This will remind Yes fans why they love this band!

This release shows Yes playing what are-- in my opinion-- some of the finest songs of this era in progressive rock (certainly in their own catalogue), with TREMENDOUS skill and energy; in some cases they surpass the dynamics and power of their studio counterparts!

There are tons of surprises and live gems here, like the symphonic introduction, new or extended solos, and slight alterations to the music which will leave Yes fans smiling. Howe's guitar will never sound finer, while Squire's savage, genre defining bass is an absolute joy. Everything sounds fresh and powerful, transporting the listener to the utmost realms of musical excellence with the best songs in the band's classic library.

The recording quality is admittedly poor, but it only rarely gets in the way from the force of nature that is Yes-- not to be missed!

Setlist 5 Instrumental Performances 5 Stage Energy 3 Live Experience 4

Report this review (#168784)
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars !Yes Greatest Live Record At The Heat Of The Band's Glory!

This two-disc live album is the great performance dated 1972 soon after their epic Close To The Edge came out. Every track is a thing, without doubt! Great opening as a part of Stravinsky's , than Siberian Khantru, great art rock and progressive tempo song, amazing performance of the fresh stuff. After that other brilliant tracks from The Yes Album and Fragile stand in line, only the best ones, heaven for Yes listener with an experience! Second disk feature some of the greatest Yess' epic Close to the Edge and other masterpieces from The Yes Album!

Best songs at that time and the perfect perfomances by the young band! Great Stuff! MUST HAVE!!!

Report this review (#177050)
Posted Wednesday, July 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Go stick on 'Close to the Edge' and slap your hands over your ears - that's what listening to 'Yessongs' sounds like. In one of the greatest music crimes of the twentieth century, what ought to have been the greatest live album of all time is, at best, a muted triumph.

That's all I'll say about the dreadful sound, I promise. 'Yessongs' is a collection of songs performed live, culled from the three greatest albums YES ever recorded. The general consensus is that the live versions are generally more powerful than their studio counterparts, but I'm afraid I don't agree. There are brilliant renditions, to be sure, considering they are live, but that last is the essential caveat. In my view, apart from the odd moment (the extensions of Perpetual Change, The Fish and Yours is No Disgrace), these live versions add little to the originals.

Still, that's not how a great live record should be assessed. It's the overall experience, the degree to which it invites you to share the live experience, and the album more than passes muster in this regard. The running order is a treat, and the crowd is always voluble. With anything like reasonable fidelity this would be rated as a masterpiece, but how can one award five stars to a record that constantly reminds you of its single shortcoming?

Drat, I promised, too. Sorry.

Report this review (#179662)
Posted Saturday, August 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars The reason Yessongs is not a five-star affair is that it suffers from one prominent flaw: It sounds horrible from a technical standpoint. Even for a 1973 recording, the quality is downright muddy. With that my only gripe, this is a phenomenal live set, and features some fantastic performances. Fragile is here almost in its entirety (from the group works, only "South Side of the Sky" is absent), and the masterwork Close to the Edge is here altogether. And other than "A Venture" and "Clap," The Yes Album is also represented in full. "And You and I" is subpar, mainly because Steve Howe uses an electric guitar throughout rather than a twelve-string acoustic. On more positive notes, the sound notwithstanding, I find the version of "Close to the Edge" better than the original: There is more power, and Squire's added notes make a subtle, but enormous difference for me. Rick Wakeman's solo spot is as spectacular as the cape he was wearing. He blends several excerpts from his greatest solo work as well as the main theme from Handel's Messiah and some quirky Western music. Speaking of Wakeman, the keyboard sounds on "Roundabout" are the best. As my very first Yes album, it was the one that acquainted me so many amazing songs, and for that, I will be indebted to it. I would not recommend it for someone unaccustomed to Yes unless that person could overlook technical imperfections; that said, there is no reason for a Yes fan to pass this one by.
Report this review (#205891)
Posted Monday, March 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars.This was released as a triple album back in 1973. Mostly taken from their "Close To The Edge" tour from 1972 with the exception of "Perpetual Change" and "Long Distance Runaround / The Fish" which were taken from the "Fragile" tour of earlier that same year. I don't know if they did that so Bruford would be on here or not. He had left of course right after "Close To the Edge" was recorded and joined KING CRIMSON. So Alan White does the drumming on all the other tracks. I should mention as well that the mellotron is all over this recording. Rick Wakeman uses it on all but 3 tracks. So on this recording we get all of the songs from "Close To The Edge" as well as songs from "Fragile" and "The Yes Album". The exception is the opening track and the song where Wakeman plays some excerpts off of his solo album.

It's actually quicker to tell you what i'm not that impressed with then giving the highlights.This is a stunning release.The opening track doesn't do a lot for me as we get an excerpt from "Firebird Suite" a classical instrumental. "Mood For A Day" is filled with acoustic guitar melodies and is ok. "Close To The Edge" seems to my ears to suffer the most form the sound quality.That's it for the negatives.

This is for me is one of those classic live albums that everyone should own. Everyone is in top form and there are too many highlights to mention. Interesting that on "Perpetual Change" we get a drum solo from Bruford, I think the only one recorded from him. Wakeman offers up a jaw dropping performance on his "Excerpts From The Six Wives Of Henry VIII". He even plays Handel's "Messiah" on his mellotron. Squire really shines on "The Fish" where he offers up a huge and long growly bass solo. He's all over this recording though.

Howe lights it up on "Yours Is No Disgrace" at 7 & 9 1/2 minutes in, getting a big applause when he finishes. Like Squire though he has many, many moments where he shines. I think Anderson's best vocal performance might be 6 1/2 & 10 minutes into "Heart Of the Sunrise" both emotional passages. The mellotron at the start of this song is incredible. How about 4 1/2 minutes into "And You And I", it's so moving. "Starship Trooper" is the perfect way to end it. So uplifting 2 minutes in. Amazing sound 6 minutes in as the crowd claps along.

I could go on and on but the bottom line is that you should own this recording.

Report this review (#209239)
Posted Sunday, March 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you have a powerfull stereo system,somewhere where high volumes won't be a problem and a lot of free time,Yessongs may come as one of the most rewarding albums in progressive rock.Those three requirements are hard to ignore,though,as the only significant flaw in the album is the very poor recording quality,under average even for 1973 analog tapes.So being,it can only be appreciated in all it's glory if heard at high volume levels(headphones unfortunately take away most of the album's magic).Also,this live record was made to be listened to in it's entirety,considering it presents the ultimate repertoire of Yes' early 70's performances.So be prepared for over two hours of pompous virtuosity,megalomaniac complexity and extended epic pieces.In other words,the band at it's best.

Opening the album with a Stravinsky piece is a brilliant idea,seeing as it fits perfectly as a dramatic introduction to Siberian Kathru(and indeed enhances the latter's energetic aura).If compared to their studio versions,the majority of songs here(particualry the ones from Close To the Edge)has a quality dropdown due to their original recordings' bright perfection and of course a lot of avaliable studio tricks,but this hardly affects the album:what counts here is the oportunity to listen to the band in a magical performance,and considering the musicians are all stunning throughout,Yessongs is still an amazing rendition of the band's best compositions.Yours Is No Disgrace,however,is found here in an extended and much more energetic version.Even if the climatic mid-break from the same song in the Yes Album isn't achieved on stage,this is still a highlight.

Listening to the music while appreciating Roger Dean's beautifull paintings in the inner sleeve is a remarkable and somehow nostalgic experience,and that brings in mind what this album is all about:even if it is not flawless,the thrilling energy transmited through the speakers is enough to make it immortal.Yessongs is an era's overture,and at the same time it's conclusion.

Report this review (#215405)
Posted Wednesday, May 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars A resounding Yes!

After three masterpiece studio albums in a row with The Yes Album, Fragile and Close To The Edge, it was the perfect timing for a live album. The result is simply amazing, the masterpiece songs from these three studio albums are brought to the stage and what performances! Yours Is No Disgrace, Starship Trooper, Perpetual Change, Roundabout, Heart Of The Sunrise, And You And I and Close To The Edge are all timeless classics. And not just Yes classics or Prog classics, but classics of music full stop. That one and the same band could create such otherworldly music in such a short time frame and then pull off a live showcase of these brilliant pieces of this magnitude is nothing short of breathtaking.

The Close To The Edge album, which is commonly (and rightly) regarded as one of the very, very best albums of progressive Rock of all time, is performed here in its entirety (though not in the same running order and interspersed with other songs) and the epic title is actually improved upon! 'How can you improve perfection?' you might ask. Well, you can't, but Yes could!

Steve Howe performs his wonderful classical guitar piece Mood For a Day and Rick Wakeman performs some excerpts from his then recent solo album The Six Wives of Henry VII. Roger Dean once again provides the lovely art work for the sleeve. What else could anyone reasonably ask for? This is the ultimate Yes live album.

Yessongs is an all time classic of live Prog albums, it doesn't get more essential than this!

Report this review (#231197)
Posted Wednesday, August 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The best prog rock live album ever......... ?

In my view, it is. It contains everything that makes prog rock so great ............ and so bad. The bad thing is the solo stuff. The drum solo and Rick Wakeman's solo stuff which is pretty uninteresting. The group stuff is excellent and standard setting stuff on where all other bands is being judged. From the magical opening of Heart Of The Sunrise to the viritousity of Roundabout and the pure genious Close To The Edge. This live album is the ABC of prog rock. It has been one of my main tickets to prog rock and it opened my eyes to another world than the metal world when I got it ten years ago (I am a late bloomer).

The solo stuff aside, this album is one album no prog rock fan can ignore and it is as essential as electricity itself. Nuff said.

4.5 stars

Report this review (#243929)
Posted Saturday, October 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Easily one of Yes' finest live hour, though the sound quality is lacking utterly in most songs. Yessongs is a great collection of some stuff that was recorded on The Yes Album (1971), Fragile (1971) and Close to the Edge (1972) all of which are excellent. The only thing, and I have mentioned it before, is the sound quality. There is not much bass guitar in some songs (Long Distance Runaround) and sometimes it's just too muddy (Siberian Khatru) but there are moments of pure grace. The performance is amazing, with Alan White and Bill Bruford switching on drums, it's one of the finest. Chris Squire gives a nice bass solo after Long Distance, and Jon sings wonderfully the whole album. Steve is, well, simply stunning the whole time.
Report this review (#253895)
Posted Tuesday, December 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
2 stars This is a marvellous collection of songs. If this was a 'best off', it would deserve no less then 5 stars. But I'm not blown away by the performance. I do enjoy the rocking edge and rough sound but that is not enough for me to make it into an excellent live album.

The music stays largely true to the original versions, which will probably satisfy most listeners. But with musicians such as Bruford, Squire and Howe in action, I had expected more. There are only a couple of exceptions where they try out some soloing/improvisation, such as the extended version of Long Distance Runaround/The Fish. But judging from that one, my conclusion is that improvisation wasn't Yes strongest asset. I like the bass noise Squire produces here, but as an improv, this doesn't hold together at all.

The jamming during Yours Is No Disgrace seems to suit them better. Another good moment comes from Wakeman on his Six Wives suite. He avoids the more cheesy parts of the original and his over the top classical music on synth theatrics in the middle are quite funny actually. I hope it was meant like that. The second half contains some nice vintage keyboards interplay.

But my biggest disappointment stems from the vocals. Jon Anderson's vocals and harmonies were always one of Yes's main attractions, but in this live setting these harmonies fail. I don't know who gave Chris Squire the idea he should sing. Not only is his voice unpleasant and grating, it's often out of tune. Close To The Edge is a track that particularly suffers from that issue. On the other hand, tracks such as Roundabout and Siberian Kathru are performed really well.

I have always had mixed feelings about this album, even in the years when Yes ruled my rock. Some tracks are excellent, some of the harmony vocals make me cringe. To comfort sceptics like me, the original triple vinyl packaging with Roger Dean's amazing artwork on the inside is really irresistible. Overall, nice to have, but not recommended to non-Yes fans. Hence 2 stars.

Report this review (#284345)
Posted Monday, May 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Nice performance. Shame about the sound.

'Yessongs' would be as energetically perfect as ELP's live triple LP if it wasn't for the sub-par recording quality. The set list is a dream, and we have the ultimate classic line-up (with both drummers, just in case you prefered one to the other). The chops are as brilliant as they were in the studio, with added "wazow"(!), and pretty much the whole of 'Close to the Edge', 'Fragile', and 'The Yes Album' are represented. But whilst the sound quality isn't BAD bad, it's still kind of bad. Yes, I do need a thesaurus.

Stravinsky's magical finale from the 'Firebird Suite' opens, an Anderson favourite, and then we have two fairly studio-loyal versions of the 'Fragile' and 'CTTE' closers. Although 'Siberian Khatru' and 'Heart of the Sunrise' are great songs that have a lot of energy here, these renditions aren't really that essential when they are almost note-for-note copies of their original versions (with worse sound). 'Perpetual Change' on the other hand, is the most explosive and dyanmic reworking of a song that was only "good" on 'The Yes Album'. It's extended to include more interesting Wakeman parts than Kaye's half-hearted studio attempts, plus a guitar-led happy jam, PLUS a wonderful Bruford drum solo that, unlike Carl Palmer, doesn't go on for twenty years... This song is easily the highlight of Yessongs. In fact, the other two 'Yes Album' epics come second and third for similar reasons. 'Yours is no Disgrace' features an uncharacteristically crazy Steve Howe deliver a series of mind-boggling guitar freak-outs, and 'Starship Trooper' has some new lyrics and a brief synth solo. 'The Yes Album' is my least favourite of the three albums that are represented here, but its songs really come to life on stage.

Unfortunately 'And You And I' and 'Roundabout' are mediocre at best, suffering from the lack of an acoustic guitar which is essential in these two songs, especially the former. 'Roundabout' always sounds rushed on stage anyway. 'I've Seen All Good People' picks up in the second half, as it should, and 'Long Distance Runaround' is another non- essential studio copy. But Squire's extended 'Fish' is a Rickenbacker-tinged delight; I don't know why it isn't included as a separate track. Finally, 'Close to the Edge' which is potentially the best Yes song, is performed with no less than 100% effort. Again though, we might as well listen to the album version because of the sound issues.

All in all, I was slightly dissapointed by this mega package; I really liked it but I thought I would love it. Being in the audience would probably garuntee a 5 star experience, but the transfer from air to vinyl seems to have taken away some of the magic. However, even with countless live albums from future eras offering much better sound quality, I think Yessongs makes up for it by being perfect in almost every other way.

Report this review (#295039)
Posted Wednesday, August 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars By early 1973, Yes had firmly established themselves as one of, if not the, greatest studio bands on earth. Great songs, great playing, great production. Apparently, though, there was an unspoken question in the minds of their critics and maybe even in the minds of their fans; could these guys actually play like this? Or did they just splice a bunch of parts together in the production booth to provide the impression that they could play these parts? Well, Yes didn't really like having their chops questioned (I guess), and they wanted to settle the question once and for all. And so, they did the logical thing; they released a live album.

Now, the main disadvantage of the album, let's face it, is the length. As far as I know, they included every single song from their stage set on this album, and as a result this sucker is a triple album well over two hours in length (though this hugeness is muted nowadays given that it fits comfortably into two CDs). Also, the emphasis is clearly on the epics, and even the songs that were originally 'short' (i.e. less than ten minutes) are often expanded greatly. There's also the issue of sound quality; it doesn't bother me as much as it once did, but there's little question that it's on par with that of a typical bootleg.

BUT, let's face it, there is simply no getting around how good these songs are. The playing is FEROCIOUS and tight, and possibly even better than in the originals. Plus, there are enough changes in the songs to keep them fresh (although the structure basically remains the same). In addition, each of the band-members gets a solo-section, which might be considered slightly tacky (if you're cynical) but are all well performed. Rick Wakeman throws in excerpts from his then-new solo career, Bruford gets a decent (though not exceptional) drum solo, Squire extends "The Fish" into ten-minutes of monstrous bass-riffage, and Howe graces us with a runthrough of "Mood For A Day" (not to mention his excellent solo in "Yours is No Disgrace").

As for the songs, there's not really any point in going through all of them one at a time, since for the most part they are done fairly similarly to the originals. Well, sort of - structurally and in essence, they're mostly the same as before, but there are enough changes to keep the songs sounding fresh this time around. "And You And I" receives the most noticable change - the quiet acoustic opening is replaced with an immediate display of the gargantuan "Eclipse" section, and while I'm not thrilled with that development, the track doesn't sound worse for it. But there are other subtlties - for instance, the opening section of "CTTE" is significantly reworked, with Howe playing faster and more aggressively than ever before.

The main reason to get this album, though, is for the last two tracks. "Yours is No Disgrace" is simply a Howe extravaganza, as he plays at break-neck speed while also hardening up his guitar tone in a way not found elsewhere on the album. And of course, there's "Starship Trooper," which simply defies all description in its incredible energy and entertainment value. "Würm" boasts power and blazing solos from both Howe and Wakeman, to the extent that one could easily call this the DEFINITIVE live Yes performance. Yessongs, excessive as it may be, is necessary if only for this.

Report this review (#296320)
Posted Thursday, August 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars If I had to make a list of bands that really got it right with their first live albums, Yes would be in the top three position! What's usually good about an early live release is that it captures the rising act with all of their raw energy and creativity in the right place, something that transforms into stale professionalism with time. Unfortunately, these early releases generally leaves out a few major classics and the sound production is much to be desired of. In this particular case, Yes managed not only to show their most energetic performance but also mix it up with what could easily be considered their essential classic material!

This band truly oozes energy out of each of these performances and even less interesting tracks like the overrated Siberian Khatru sound amazing here! I love how Yes expands some of their already quite lengthy pieces like Heart Of The Sunrise and Long Distance Runaround/The Fish with solo spots without making it straining on the ears. Most of these live renditions are actually superior to the studio material and it's mind-boggling how a five-piece was able to create all this organic music without relying on sampling and other neat tricks that are available to artists today.

If I had to pick my favorite moment then I wouldn't hesitate for a second in mentioning Close To The Edge since it's actually an even better version of the already great masterpiece! The live setting gives this lengthy piece more nuance and Rick Wakeman clearly gives a career-worthy performance here. Starship Trooper would be my runner-up candidate for the crown, while Perpetual Change and Wakeman's solo spot, Excerpts From "The Six Wives Of Henry VIII", share the third position.

This album has pretty much everything that a Yes fan can ever dream of and even though I do miss South Side Of The Sky, the loss of that track is of minor concern seeing that the pros certainly outnumber and even devour any nods!

***** star songs: Heart Of The Sunrise (11:34) Perpetual Change (8:44) Mood For A Day (2:53) Excerpts From "The Six Wives Of Henry VIII" (6:38) Close To The Edge (18:14) Starship Trooper (10:18)

**** star songs: Siberian Khatru (9:04) And You And I (9:34) Roundabout (8:33) I've Seen All Good People (7:09) Long Distance Runaround / The Fish (13:37) Yours Is No Disgrace (14:24)

*** star songs: Opening (Excerpt From "Firebird Suite") (3:48)

Report this review (#325757)
Posted Thursday, November 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars Originally released as a 3-LP set for a special price, this was some people's introduction to Yes in the 1970s. The artwork Roger Dean did for this set is some of his best, but the sound quality of the music itself is not too great; even for a recording from this time period. This is the first release to feature new drummer Alan White. He only had days to learn Bruford's parts for this tour. Bruford himself appears on two tracks. In general, I find the vocals here to be inferior to the studio versions.

Yessongs opens, as their concerts did at the time, with a recording of Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite" being played. "Perpetual Change" has Bruford on it and he does a drum solo at the end. I don't like what Wakeman does with this song. The dissonant part with two different sections playing against each other...that part does not come off well in concert. "And You And I" is not as good as the album version. "Mood For A Day" is better than the album version. Even though I'm not much of a Wakeman fan, I still think "Excerpts from 'The Six Wives Of Henry VIII'" is one of the highlights of Yessongs. Rick included Handel's "Messiah" done on Mellotron.

Wakeman's contributions to "I've Seen All Good People" are good. "Long Distance Runaround/The Fish" also features Bruford and is probably the best track on the whole set. "The Fish" is longer and better than the Fragile version. Squire improvises a lot here. This features the whole band except Jon until the end. "Close To The Edge" is not as good as the album version. I like the jazzy beginning of "Yours Is No Disgrace". Both Wakeman and White do a good job on what I've always considered one of Yes' best songs. Howe gets lots of space to solo. I don't really like Wakeman's synth solo during the 'Wurm' part of "Starship Trooper", but the Mellotron choir was a nice addition.

So, some songs are better than the originals, others not. It would have been cool if they added "America" to this. It also would have been nice to hear this line-up(s) do some of the songs from the first two albums. The performances are great but the sound is lacking. This might be a good introduction to the group, but I still think the studio albums are the way to go. 4 stars.

Report this review (#404735)
Posted Monday, February 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Yes - Yessongs (1973) * live

This is Yes' celebrated triple live lp from '73 with an almost perfect track-listing. The artwork is well done by Roger Dean. Now, the fact that the track-listing of a live album is this good is rare, but that doesn't make ths a great live album at all.

From the first moments I'm listening to the sound of the recording is very annoying an what's worse; Yes plays even less controlled then on their studio albums. Somehow it sounds like the band has intense haste and all members seem to have trouble keeping up with the others. The result is a chatoic performance that doesn't improve the studio-versions of each song at all. Some moments of relaxing music and concentration on playing tight would have done a lot of good here. The vocal performances are good, but the multi-vocals don't impress me to much. Sometimes they are really problematic.

Conclusion. A live album that I wouldn't recommend at all to any-one who is not a hard-core Yes-fan and has sensitive musical hearing. I myself get a headache every-time I try to listen to Yessongs. Two stars.

Report this review (#451733)
Posted Wednesday, May 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars An excellent value triple live set from Yes, covering the best of their material from The Yes Album to Close to the Edge. The sound quality is alright for an early 70s live album, the performances have a bit of a rawer edge than the clean and polished studio renditions, Alan White takes Bruford's place so easily that you'd be hard-pressed to guess which tracks have White and which have Bruford playing on them, and the song choice is sublime. It's not completely flawless - in particular, the extended version of The Fish drags on for very slightly too long - but it's a very good document of live Yes from what is arguably their most important and influential period.

I wouldn't prioritise getting this over the three studio albums it draws its material from, but if you have got 'em, and you find yourself hankering for live versions, this collection is as good a way to get them as any and I would actually say this has a mild edge over the shows collected in the Progeny set - extracts from some of which ended up on here - since Yessongs offers a mildly more diverse spread of songs.

Report this review (#503301)
Posted Monday, August 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars Every song a classic, every performance legendary.

The best line up of Yes and a live recording with all their greatest songs. In short, a Masterpiece! This is one of those albums that I return to often and that is not the case for many live albums but this works as a kind of greatest hits album for classic Yes lineup, with many of these songs actually better than the original. The quality is excellent. The tracks here are absolutely essential for Yes addicts like me. Siberian Khatru, Heart of the Sunrise, Perpetual Change, And You and I and Roundabout are as good as it gets and all are jammed onto the first CD. Rick Wakeman shows his classical prowess with solo effort Excerpts from "The Six Wives of Henry VIII".

The second disc begins brilliantly with I've Seen All Good People, followed by the wonderful Long Distance Runaround / The Fish clocking in at 13:45. Close to the Edge follows, an epic at 18:41. It is one of the all time greatest performances of this. Howe and Squire are amazing and Anderson is in fine voice throughout. Yours is No Disgrace follows, a lengthy 14 minute version and then my all time favourite and one of the best live versions of Starship Trooper.

I say it again, Masterpiece.

Report this review (#544760)
Posted Friday, October 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Since my favorite Yes album is actually a 5-way tie between The Yes Album, Fragile, Close to the Edge, Yessongs, and Going For the One, I can't say this is my favorite Yes album either, but I do lean towards calling it a default favorite pretty often, since it contains many of the big tracks from 3 of their best albums, and it is my favorite live album ever. It's amazing how well Yes is able to recreate the ornate, sophisticated nature of their songs in a live setting, and even though there are a few moments in a few of the songs where they don't capture the energy and spirit of the original, there are far more moments where the originals are surpassed. It's great to hear Close to The Edge from it's own tour, and Alan White does a surprisingly convincing imitation of Bill Bruford (who is featured on a few tracks), especially when you consider the noticable different styles they both had when playing for Yes. The sound of the band is spectacular, props must be given to them all for harmonising so well together while playing such complex music, and I think we'll nearly all agree that the track selection rules.
Report this review (#585845)
Posted Saturday, December 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Yes, in a massive live release from 1973 at the peak of their skills and power. Too bad about the less than great sound quality, or this would have been a classic. There is a lot of music here, almost too much I feel. I was never a huge fan of Yes live as much as when they are in the studio. Of course I did not see them until the 80's so may haved missed something. I remember this album seemed to weigh like 5 pounds!! I owned it on vinyl but never on cd. Good but not a great record of Yes.
Report this review (#746934)
Posted Monday, April 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars For me, this was Yes at their very best. The ability to improve on one's song during a live concert has always impressed me and Yes do not let me down. Not only are their best songs on here (Relayer withheld), but Roger Dean gives us a plethora of his imaginative paintings. I first heard this album on my father's turn table and I absolutely loved it.

I think the most outstanding track for me is Close to the Edge. Not only do they put more drive in their sound, but Yes proves that even they can improve on perfection. Whether it's the slightest little guitar riff or some echo effect added with Squire's Rickenbacker, there is a lot more to discover here than on the studio version. And, while there are a few quality differences as expected, Close to the Edge stands on top of this album as a staple of Yes's prowess and skill.

Also worth mentioning is the lengthening of Squire's The Fish. What was once a three-minute psychedelic drowning in bass riffs is now a nine+ minute bass solo that simply rocks your socks off. This live version is the reason Squire is regarded as one of my favorite bassists, if not already my favorite.

Rick Wakeman shares with us some moments from his solo album, "The Six Wives of Henry VIII", which is all the evidence needed for why he is regarded as one of rocks best keyboard players. Both virtuous and technical, those keys have never sounded happier.

Two parts of this album stand as one of my favorite moments in Yes history: 1. The heavy pick-up halfway through "I've Seen All Good People", which makes the studio sound like a car commercial jingle. 2. Steve Howe's extended guitar solo in "Yours is No Disgrace", which is why he is my favorite guitarist. I'm 85.62% sure that it was improvised, only loosely based off previous concert solos.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this album to anyone who is both fond of Yes and familiar with their early discography. Hearing these versions of our beloved Yes songs are like hearing newly fresh songs and deserve as much credit as their studio albums. Definitely worth a listen.

Report this review (#885578)
Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Perhaps my all time favorite progressive rock album. When I was in high school, I rode my bicycle 3 miles in the pouring rain to buy this LP. It was worth it. If you can find it, I recommend getting the old vinyl verson for all of the Roger Dean artwork and the picture booklet inside. An amazing package. Bill Bruford only appears on 2 tracks on this, Perpetual Change and Long Distance Runaround. Thankfully we get one of his drum solos on Perpetual Change. Newcomer Alan White took the monumental task of learning all of this challenging material within a couple of weeks before a world tour. Alan White added a lot more "rock" to this material and does a splendid job throughout. This originally was a 3 LP set that seemed like a greatest hits package. The track selection couldn't have been any better. All of the best tunes from The Yes Album, Fragile and Close to the Edge all appear here. All played with such raw energy that has been missing from them in quite some time now. Seeing Yes live nowadays, the energy level is about a quarter of what it was when this album came out. An absolute must for progressive rock fans.
Report this review (#921294)
Posted Friday, March 1, 2013 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
5 stars I was wishing to listen to a bit of YES but I didn't know which album choosing. Well, this YESSONGS contains the best of the best YES lineups in their best period, so why spending time in deciding between The Yes Album, Fragile and Close To The Edge? This triple live vinyl has all of them.

It's true that the sound is not perfect, that some adjustments have been added in studio, but it sounds "live". Putting it on at high volume can give you the impression of watching 5 young longhaired artists on stage while islands are floating in the sky and planets are exploding.

Opening the stage with a recorded piece of classical music (Stravinskij's Firebird) and tie it together with Siberian Khatru is a winning idea, so that many years after Marillion has done the same with Rossini's "La Gazza Ladra" and "Slŕinte Mhath".

The tracklist speaks on its own: Starship Trooper, And You And I, Close To The Edge, a touch of Wakeman's Six Wives...Tales was still to be released actually.

If you have never listened to the classic YES this is the final anthology of their classic period. One may argue that the studio versions are better than those on this live, but they are not "SO" different.

An album full of masterpieces whose vinyl edition is enriched by one of the best Roger Dean's inside pictures, surely better than the anonymous album cover of CTTE.

And if an album is full of masterpieces it can't not deserve the status of masterpiece as well.

Even the differences between Bruford and White don't look so big or so bad. For both YES fans and newbies.

Report this review (#929759)
Posted Thursday, March 14, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Designed to showcase Yes' prowess in the live arena, no expense has seemingly been spared for this luxurious, triple-gatefold, three disc beast of a live album. Constructed from the group's successful North American tour of 1972 and featuring material spanning the British outfit's true golden period between 1971's 'The Yes Album' and the following year's 'Close To The Edge', 'Yessongs' proves both a highly-indulgent treat for Yes fans and a cleverly-assembled live compilation of the group's key material up until that point. The mammoth running time means that you get all of 'Close To The Edge', though appearing here in reverse order, lots of 'The Yes Abum' and the very best of 'Fragile' thanks to a stellar version of the FM radio classic 'Roundabout'. As a bonus offering, also included amongst the captivating full-length renditions of 'And You And I' and 'Roundabout' is a six-minute excerpt of Rick Wakeman's own 'The Six Wives Of Henry VIII', taken from the keyboardist's solo album of the same name. It all adds up to one epic listen, making for the same kind of feeling one gets after eating too much rich food. However, despite its inordinate length and size, 'Yessongs' actually reached a highly-impressive no.7 on the UK Albums Chart during it's initial 1973 release, at a time when the group could seemingly do no wrong. Nowadays, all three discs of the many original LP copies of 'Yessongs' still lying about can be acquired for virtually nothing, but don't let that put you off. Although by no means essential, this is still an impressive live document from some of the genre's truest exponents. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013

Report this review (#945725)
Posted Wednesday, April 17, 2013 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Yessongs' - Yes (90/100)

I'll start this off by admitting that, for the longest time, I've had my doubts surrounding the worth of live albums. There's a dimension of immediacy and spontaneity in experiencing a band live that a pre-recorded product could never emulate; to me, it often seems like a live recording in rock music becomes limited. Though little of this criticism has anything to do with Yessongs, it does feel like most live rock albums sound like garbled facsimiles of a band's studio work, with three-word introductions and a static howl from a crowd that sounds the same no matter which album you're hearing their applause on. I think the way Yessongs has wowed me in spite of these doubts only goes to show what an amazing album it is. Consider me convinced that a live album can offer something fresh and exciting to a band's discography. If a band's studio performance suggests a default manner in which a song should be performed, it is the live album's duty to play with those conventions in the hopes of creating a fresh experience. Though it's still a bit rough around the edges, I cannot think of another live album in rock music- perhaps save for Led Zeppelin's How the West Was Won- that encapsulates the essence of a band so successfully.

There are plenty of things you can peg a live album's quality on, but the most determinant factor usually is (as evidenced here) the choice of songs themselves. Prime cuts have been drawn from The Yes Album, Fragile and Close to the Edge, with the latter of the three enjoying a complete representation. All three studio efforts have earned a spot as generally acknowledged classics in the progressive rock canon, and while I've never been entirely sold on the 'give peace a chance' cheer of The Yes Album, there's no doubt that the album's uplifting tone translates well in the live arena. "Southside of the Sky" would have made for a better choice than "Perpetual Change" or "Yours Is No Disgrace", and it would have been pretty cool to hear Yes attempt "We Have Heaven" live, but I don't think the selection of music can be faulted without delving into obsessive nitpickery.

Praise of the music itself should come as no surprise to anyone with experience in any of the three albums represented here. "Close to the Edge" is a perennial masterpiece of a composition which alone would be deserving of a paragraph's analysis (the likes of which I've given in the studio review). "Siberian Khatru" and "Yours Is No Disgrace" are heinously energetic rockers, with more than enough sophistication to keep the mind engaged as much as the body. On the other end stylistically, the slower pieces "Mood for a Day" and "And You And I" demonstrate Yes' rare ability as a prog band in tune with feeling and emotion. It might seem undercut to offer a live album as a perfect place to introduce oneself to yes, but Yessongs is an all-encompassing document of what made the band's golden era so awesome.

A short detour from Yes' flagship material comes in the form of "Excerpts from the Six Wives of Henry VIII", a medley comprised of sections from Rick Wakeman's then-recently released solo album. Besides taking a break from the longer-form epics and giving fans a taste of Yes music they may have never heard before, this inferno of synthesizers pretty much embodies the Yes keyboardist's style and approach. Grand piano tones are traded in for Moog synths, all under the context of Classical pomp and bombast. The mellotron interpretation of Handel's "Hallelujah" in particular is shockingly good. I've never been too inclined towards Wakeman's contributions to Yes' studio material, but here and throughout the rest of Yessongs, he does well to convince me he's deserving of the lavish praise people have aimed his way. The live setting offers more liberty for solos and extended instrumentation, and Wakeman has capitalized on the opportunity wonderfully. The same goes for Steve Howe, whose lead guitar playing has only benefited from these live renditions in the form of added flourishes, improvising and conscious deviations from the studio versions. "Siberian Khatru" and the instrumental passages of "Close to the Edge" are plenty fertile landscapes for this sort of creative license, and it's no surprise they've ended up becoming my two favourites on the album.

Fans of Bill Bruford's drumming should find "Perpetual Change" and "Long Distance Runaround / The Fish" to their liking (they are, I believe, the last published recordings of Bruford in his original stretch with the band) but Yessongs is an incredible introduction to Alan White, then a newbie to Yes but destined to become one of the band's longest-lasting members. Listening to the aggressively packed fills on "Siberian Khatru", I get the strong impression White was clearly set on impressing and staking his claim in the band. For my money, I've usually preferred White's work in Yes to that of Mister Bruford's, but there are clearly those within the band's fanbase that disagree. If you're one such listener, give Yessongs another spin and see what you think afterwards. Alan White nails it.

Of the criticisms I've seen regarding Yessongs, almost all are directed towards the quality of the recording itself. Re-issues appear to have solved some of the more overt flaws, but the sonic clarity is still a far cry from the studio material. To be honest, it doesn't affect an appreciation of the music at all. Yessongs isn't trying to compete with the studio versions, it's operating on a different wavelength. The fact alone that Yes can stay true to the original wonder of these songs while simultaneously refreshing them seems to achieve exactly what a live album should set out to do.

Report this review (#1254297)
Posted Tuesday, August 19, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Review Nş 48

"Yessongs" is the debut live album of Yes and was released in 1973. It especially documents the live tour of their fifth studio album "Close To The Edge". It also features two live tracks "Perpetual Change" and "Long Distance Runaround/The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)", which were recorded during the previous tour of their fourth studio album "Fragile". These two tracks were recorded with Bill Bruford on drums, before he left the group and before he was substituted by Alan White. "Perpetual Change" has an extended drum solo made by Bruford, which was so typical on almost all the live albums performed at the time.

"Yessongs" became a model for the live progressive rock albums. It was recorded on a vinyl three disks format, with over 120 minutes, and became as one of the first triple albums in rock history. The live album includes the band's entire stage repertoire, which included almost all of the best songs from their three preceding studio albums, "The Yes Album", "Fragile" and "Close To The Edge".

"Yessongs" was a very ambitious project and a huge risk for the group and for their record label, the Atlantic Records. It was presented in one of the most luxurious album packages until then. The package features artworks by Roger Dean and inside of it there are four individual panels. The artwork of Dean, which has begun with their two previous studio albums, was spread across a triple gatefold cover that continued the same concept design motifs of their two previous works. "Yessongs" was really a huge commercial success.

"Yessongs" has thirteen tracks all recorded in 1972. The "Opening (Excerpt from Firebird Suite)" is an excerpt from the classical piece "Firebird Suite" of Igor Stravinsky and was recorded at Uniondale, New York. It has been a standard opening for the majority of the Yes concerts since 1971. "Perpetual Change", "I've Seen All Good People", "Yours Is No Disgrace" and "Starship Trooper" are all tracks originally recorded on their studio album "The Yes Album" released in 1971. These live performances were recorded at New York City, New York; Athens, Georgia and London, UK, respectively with the exception of "I've Seen All Good People" where its recording place is unknown. "Heart Of The Sunrise", "Mood For A Day", "Roundabout" and "Long Distance Runaround/The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" are all tracks originally recorded on their studio album "Fragile" released in 1971. These live performances were recorded at Greensboro, North Carolina; Uniondale, New York; Ottawa, ON and New York City, New York, respectively. "Long Distance Runaround" and "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" were performed live together as only a single track. "Siberian Khatru", "And You And I" and "Close To The Edge" are all tracks originally recorded on their studio album "Close To The Edge" released in 1972. These live performances were recorded at Knoxville, Tennessee; Greensboro, North Carolina and London, UK, respectively. The "Excerpts from The Six Wives Of Henry VIII" is a medley from "The Six Wives Of Henry VIII", the debut album of Rick Wakeman released in 1973 and was recorded at Athens, Georgia.

The performances are extremely tight and energetic, and that's really impressive when you think about the complexity of the material. The versions of "Close To The Edge", "Roundabout", "Perpetual Change" and "Yours Is No Disgrace" bursts with power and energy and proved beyond any doubt that Yes was one of the strongest live acts among the progressive rock bands. The addition of Wakeman's mellotron on the tracks from "The Yes Album" is also a very pleasant feature. However, White's drumming on "Heart Of The Sunrise" proved that he was absolutely no rival to Bruford, but I guess you couldn't expect him to be that either. The medley of themes from Wakeman's solo debut "The Six Wives Of Henry VIII" mixed in with some excerpts from Handel's "Messiah" and played on mellotron is also great.

Conclusion: "Yessongs" is an extraordinary live album. What is most impressive is that after Yes just have released three studio albums containing songs very intricate, complex and long, they could make a live album with musical changes that turn it even more complex, intricate and longer. If you think Yes had a penchant of writing long and intricate epic songs only on the studio albums, you're wrong. They extended everything on "Yessongs". This is an amazing thing. "Yessongs" is a festival of progressive music that turns the Yes epic pieces, even more epic. It's true that longer and more intricate songs aren't always a sign of equal or even better songs. However, in this case, the extension of the songs really enhances the original studio versions and every song here trumps its studio counterpart. "Yessongs" is one of the best live albums ever, actually. For me, "Yessongs" is one of the two best live albums of the 70's. The other is "Playing The Fool" of Gentle Giant, which is also one of the best progressive live albums ever made.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#1510367)
Posted Monday, January 11, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars Some Great Performances. Sound Quality OK.

This was recorded largely on the post-Close to the Edge tour (in which Alan White took over the drums, after Bruford quit right before the tour), although some tracks were recorded earlier with Bruford. On the whole, Yes didn't play too many of their songs differently than on their albums, and most of the songs here keep close to the studio versions. However, there are some exceptions. The important ones are "Long Distance Runaround" and "The Fish". These begin with a different intro, and The Fish of course would change shape with each tour. Notably, Bruford is the drummer on these tracks, which is a very nice gift to those of us who love listening to his drumming, since there would be no more opportunities (at least until Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe in the 1980s) to hear Bruford interpret this music. These are the two best tracks on this album. Other notable tracks here are Wakeman's solo section (excerpts from his solo album 'The Six Wives of Henry VIII'), and the last two tracks ("Yours is No Disgrace" and "Starship Trooper") for the Steve Howe solos. I wish that Yes would take more liberties with their own music - a critique that has continued throughout their multi-decade career. But at least we have this on Long Distance Runaround/The Fish. An important document, and of course the music is excellent, this being a collection of some of Yes' best compositions. But the sound quality is not so hot - it takes away somewhat from the performances. I give this 8.5 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 4 PA stars.

Report this review (#1696020)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | Review Permalink

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