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UNION - LIVE

Yes

Symphonic Prog


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3 stars The Union DVD box comprises a DvD and also 2 audio CDs of a concert in CA, Shoreline Amphitheatre. I bought this because so many of my musical heroes play together on this concert and because I have good memories of the Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The DVD quality and sound quality are acceptable but not nearly as good as later DVD's. The DVD is also a lot shorter than later DVD's.

Numbers like Shock to the System (which imho is essential for the Union tour) and "and you and I" are only on the second (bootleg) DVD in lower quality. There are more Yes members on this tour than necessary due to the combination of Yes and AWBH. They do a good job however. I am a fan of the unique style of Steve Howe. Trevor Rabin is more a mainstream guitar player but he shows that he is an excellent musician too. And while SH is more of a loner on his guitar their styles blend well. I would have liked to see them play a song like "gates of delirium" thogether! The drummers are both excellent but for most numbers one would have been enough.Still it is fun to see these two heroes (with very different styles) on drums play together. Chris Squire is good, as always. Jon's voice is good, as always. Tony Kaye is a good keyboard player but Rick is magnificant and has the unique style that you recognise instantly.

It is a beautiful CD/DVD box with a lot of extras but it is more a collectors item for Yes fans than essential for prog rock fans. For me it is two stars less than the Tsongas DVD or the Symphonic Live DVD, so 3 instead of 5 stars. I had to buy this to enjoy all of my heroes on stage. And I am glad that I own it now!

Report this review (#397023)
Posted Wednesday, February 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Could not imagine if I was there ...

....Well yeah, I might jump to the stage to express my gratitude having seen the band plays live with almost all who have ever played in Yes except Patrick Moraz (keyboards on Relayer album and some works in Going For The One album), Peter Banks (guitar on early days of Yes), Trevor Horn (vocals on Drama album - 1980) and Geoffrey Downes (keyboards on Drama album - 1980), Igor Korochev (keyboard - Open Your Eyes).. I can see the rationale of not bringing every ex members on stage as it's too many and it might commercially not viable as they have to divide the revenues with so many people. But the idea of bringing most of them is really brilliant and it creates powerful nuance to the crowd who were there in the concert and also for me personally as one of the DVD viewers.

The moment is about right for me as I've just seen the band played live in Jakarta last month on 24 April 2012 at The Ritz Carlton Hotel Ballroom, Jakarta, Indonesia. The lineup was Jon Davison (Glass Hammer), Chris, Alan, Steve and Geoff. It was a great show despite Geoff's inability to perform inventive licks usually performed by Rick. But overall it was excellent and I could not see the significant difference with the one I watched in 2003 with ideal line-up (including Jon and Rick) in Singapore. As the mood was really Yes, I started to make countdown from 35 days before the concert date with a series of articles and reviews about Yes in my personal blog. In the middle of that mood I found this DVD from amazon - the place I used to order CDs, books and DVDs. I clicked this one and Peter Gabriel's New Blood live in London which I did not have a chance to see the DVD yet. This morning I had a chance to see this Union DVD and I was amazed by the concert filmed from 8 Aug 1991 Mountain View show at the Shoreline Amphitheatre.

I can not explain how I felt when I started to play the DVD as I was so happy beforehand knowing the eight members play together in a single concert. It starts wonderfully with their classic Yours Is No Disgrace with all eight members on one single stage. Right before watching the DVD, I thought the eight members would not play together. They would only play based on the song being performed - if it's in the era of Trevor, then he would play his part. And in fact it's not - they all share the same stage regardless what song being played with some exceptions. During this opening track Trevor Rabin play guitar at the first part of the song. But in the middle of the song, there is a wonderful guitar solo parts played by Howe at the first part and followed by Rabin. These two gentlemen play really well on each individual role. Their style is different but I really enjoy the solo parts. Trevor plays more rockin' guitar style while Steve is typical classical / flamenco influenced style.

On the Rhythm of Love there is great guitar solo by Rabin followed with Rick solo. This is something I did not predict to happen as Rick was not involved in the studio version of this song. Right after the song finished Jon takes the microphone saying "Wake up and dream! This is something we remembered ...something we forgot .." and the music enters with Heart of The Sunrise. Wow! It's a cool opening speech followed beautifully with nice music passages. The Chris Squire bass guitar solo at the beginning of the song is really amazing and I do enjoy watching his stage act. He once stopped playing his bass guitar and let the keyboard at the back played and he continued excellently. It's really an enjoyment part for me to see long bass guitar solo at the beginning of this legendary song.

Jon then introduced Steve to play guitar solo using his acoustic classical guitar. As usual, Steve guitar solo has always been fascinating especially looking at how his fingers dance dynamically at the guitar strings. He played the energetic The Clap from The Yes Album and Mood For a Day from Fragile album. On the Owner of A Lonely Heart there were no Bruford at the beginning of the song. It's because Steve needed to take a rest at the backstage after performing such a great solo. What really surprise me is the fact that Rick played his solo and he did it while walking to the crowd at the front row. Wow! At the end of the song, Bruford rejoined the band.

Jon was then communicating with the audience saying that the band had been on the road for 12 months and this performance was their last. He specifically asked the crowd to sing along when the band then played I've Seen All Good People. Right after that Jon introduced the brief history of a young boy who wanted to be a rock'n'roll guitar player. While Jon was introducing the young boy, Chris served a stool to be seated by that young boy whom Jon finally said ..."This is rock and roll guitar genius ....Mr Trevor Rabin ....". I have never seen Trevor played guitar and this is the first time I watch him playing acoustic guitar solo. It's an excellent solo and it differs from Steve's style. He played Solly's Beard with his style partly influenced by Al Di Meola, I think.

Now is Chris' turn to play bass guitar solo and he performed it really well through White Fish as well as part of Tempus Fugit. His combined work with Alan White on this bass guitar solo is really nice. Jon then introduced Rick to play solo. As usual, Rick's keyboard solo always captivating and I do enjoy with his style. He played excerpts from his legendary albums Six Wives and Arthur. It's really great! Trevor Rabin jumped into the stage while Rick played his solo to insert some guitar part.

Awaken

For some reasons, Awaken has been one of favorite tracks from Yes as it has great melody and composition including the wonderful keyboard solo at the end of the track. I have always loved Yes live records when Awaken is included in the setlist. It's not about Rick who played it but in fact I also enjoyed when Igor Korochev played this track in Yes Live at The House of Blues. Right here, Awakanen was being played excellently, flawless with great contributions from all members of the band. I really enjoy Ricks' keyboard solo at the ending part combined with Jon's triangle work.

The ritual encore part is Roundabout. This track has never been left out in any performance of Yes - or may be most performance of Yes. Overall, I am very satisfied with this DVD despite the picture quality as well as audio quality are not that superb - but it's OK to satisfy the hi-fi requirements or standard. For those who love Yes, this is the DVD that do not split the band between Howe and Rabin era as both of them are OK and you would not have a chance to think about it as this DVD is really excellent. It's a four stars PLUS as far as rating. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#754267)
Posted Thursday, May 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars In late 1988, Jon Anderson left YES again. He wasn't then very happy with the musical direction of the band which then tended more to Pop Rock music with albums like "90125" and "Big Generator". So, he was planning to return to his solo career when his then wife suggested to him to form a new band with other YES's former members (Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe). They recorded a self -titled album ("Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe") which was released in mid 1989, while the remaining members of YES (Chris Squire, Alan White, Tony Kaye and Trevor Rabin) were thinking to carry on as a band trying to find a new lead singer. But by early 1991, things changed for both bands when some people (maybe their respective managers, maybe Squire and Anderson, maybe some record label executives, maybe all the previously mentioned people) finally decided to bring the two bands together under the YES's band name to release an album titled as "Union", which really wasn't a real "union", because each band recorded their songs separatedly with only Anderson singing lead vocals on all tracks. The "Union" album wasn't liked very much by most of the members of the band and by some fans. Anyway, they went to do a big tour in 1991, with some additional dates in Japan in early 1992. It was a good tour, but some members were not very happy with it (Bruford, for example, who was the first to leave the band after the Japanese tour dates were played). So, this eight members line-up existed for a brief time only. One of my brothers, who then was living and working in Germany , had the chance to see the band playing in Frankfurt in 29-May-91, and I had the chance to listen to most songs they played at their concert in Wembley (29-June -91) with them being broadcasted twice by two differenty FM radio stations of my city in late 1991.

This 3 DVD package offers the chance to see the band playing during the "Union" tour during 1991 on three different dates: their first concert in Pensacola, Florida (9-April-91), their concert in Denver (9-May-91), and the last concert of their American Tour in Mountain View, California (8-August-91).

The Pensacola concert video in fact is an audience recorded video which has more or less good quality in audio and images. It shows several songs which the band didn't play in other concerts of the tour, with some of them being dropped very quickly from the set list ("City of Love", "Soon", and "Take the Water to the Mountain", which were only played in this concert; "Hold On", which was not played on every date, and "Starship Trooper" which was only played six times during that tour). This first concert of the tour was good but still shows that the band needed to change the set list a bit and they sound a bit like they needed more rehearsals and more concerts to sound better playing as an eight members line-up. Anyway, they played well.

The Denver concert video has the band playing better and it is a professionally recorded video. Both this and the Pensacola concert show the band playing "in the round", using a moving circular stage which was situated at the center of the venues, and the videos of both concerts show the full set list that the band played at the concerts.

The Mountain View concert video, which also was profesionally recorded, was in fact the last concert that this line-up played during the 1991 tour. It wasn´t played using the circular stage, but was played on a more "conventional" stage. It was recorded better than the Pensacola and the Denver concerts, and the band also played better despite some of the members of the band (particularly Anderson) obviously look tired of being on tour for several months. But this Mountain View concert is not shown with the full set list that the band played in that concert. Anyway, it shows a song called "Saving My Heart" (which sometimes replaced "Lift Me Up" in the setlist, with "Lift Me Up" being shown in the Pensacola and Denver concert videos). Unfortunately, during "Saving My Heart" Trevor Rabin's guitar solo was cut a bit due to a technical problem, and one can see the guitar roadie briefly on stage finally solving the technical problem.

Despite some of the problems that the band had during the "Union Tour", this was a very interesting tour. The band sounded very well playing together, with some songs ("Awaken", "Lift Me Up") sounding really very well being played with an eight members line-up. Songs like "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and "Rhythm of Love" showed Wakeman (who didn't play in the original studio versions) playing very good solos at the end of both songs.

Of the several audio recordings that I have listened to from this tour, I think that one of the best concerts of that tour was the Wembley concert, with them playing very good versions of "Awaken", "Lift Me Up" and "Shock to the System". Anyway, these DVDs show very good video recordings from that tour.

Report this review (#1594082)
Posted Tuesday, August 2, 2016 | Review Permalink

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