Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Yes - Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome CD (album) cover



Symphonic Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Heavy, RPI, Symph, JR/F Canterbury Teams
3 stars A band that didn't make a great album in decades is still popular around the world. So they can't stop touring even if their lead singer Jon Anderson is not there anymore. Jon Davidson has replaced Benoit David and Geoff Downes replaced Rick Wakeman on keyboards. So the machine is still rolling at the same level. The songs are played faithfully with the unique style of playing of Steve Howe on guitar and Chris Squire on bass. Alan White looking much older got enough juice to sustain the rhythm section.This show shot in high definition is only available in stereo, believe it or not. And the make things worst, they decided for whatever reason to exclude the album "Close To The Edge" in this live release. So we have a short hour and thirty minutes of the albums "Going for the One" and "The Yes album" and no extras at all. Also the visuals are nonexistent with a amateur light show. It could have been much better for this legendary band.
Report this review (#1325693)
Posted Thursday, December 18, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars A live album recorded by YES during their "Three Albums Tour" in 2014, on which they played all the songs from their "The Yes Album", "Close to the Edge" and "Going for the One" studio albums, with a line-up which still consists of Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes and Jon Davison. The songs from their "Close to the Edge" album were not released in this album, so only they released the songs from "The Yes Album" and "Going for the One".

They previously released another live album in 2011 which was recorded in late 2009 by Squire, Howe, White, with Oliver Wakeman on keyboards and Benoit David on lead vocals. But that album has other songs from other albums, not only from the three albums which I mentioned above. So, until now, the band have released two live albums without lead singer Jon Anderson, who had to leave the band in 2008 due to health problems. Rick Wakeman also left the band before Anderson also due to health problems, with both of them not doing long tours for the same reasons. So, Squire, Howe and White since 2008 have to tour without them.

I think that the idea to play full albums on tour is good, and despite the absences of both Anderson and R. Wakeman, the band still sounds well, but different. It is clear for a listener like me that both are not in the band anymore, a thing which is clearer from listening to both live albums. But I think that lead singer Jon Davison`s vocals are more close to Anderson`s vocals in comparison to Benoit David`s , who also is a good singer, but he sounded like he maybe had some problems reaching some high notes in concert. Davison`s vocals sound more "natural" to YES` music, and he even gives with his singing his own "musical personality" to the songs, doing a very good job as lead singer in YES. He seems to not have many problems reaching those very high notes that Anderson sang.

Geoff Downes is also a very good keyboard player, and he also brings his own "musical personality" to these old songs. He sometimes seems to have some problems to find the right sounds of the keyboards to the songs, and some problems in trying to reproduce some parts of the songs from the "Going for the One" album (this is particularly clear to me in "Awaken"), but his playing in these songs is very good. He also includes some new arrangements to some songs (in "Wonderous Stories", and an organ part in the song "Going for the One", an instrument which R. Wakeman did not use in that song) which bring some variety to the music. It is good to listen to some variety in the arrangements in comparison to the original studio versions. But for the most part the band as a whole tended to play the songs more close to the original studio versions, more particularly in the case of the songs from "The Yes Album".

This live album also includes "A Venture", a song which was never before included in a live album from the band. The song is played very well, with a good piano solo by Downes at the end of the song.

Chris Squire still plays very well and he also sings very good backing vocals. Steve Howe is also a very good guitarist, and Alan White still is a very good drummer. But White sounds a bit "restrained" in most songs, playing them in a very professional way, but maybe lacking some "power" in his playing.

Anyway, the band still sounds well, but different. The change of lead singer, particularly, is the more clear element for me in the change of their sound, like in other bands.Maybe it is inevitable. But for listeners like me it is also inevitable to think that they sound a bit like a "tribute band" for their own music. But it is also good that bands like YES are still playing on tour and recording albums, even with some new musicians in the line-up. They still play very well...even with the absence of some former members like Anderson and R. Wakeman.

Report this review (#1361850)
Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2015 | Review Permalink
2 stars Forgive me for ignoring the two CDs in this three-disc set and going straight to the DVD. Both formats document the same May 2014 performance song for song, the redundancy in presentation matched by a likewise disposable performance. And that's a sad thing to write, especially about one of the bands that made this web site possible. What happened / To this song / We once knew so well..?

Pop the video disc into its player, and the menu displays a montage of ticket stubs, stage photos, and other concert memorabilia from the band's mid-'70s peak, underneath the familiar symphonic walk-on of Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite". The visual medley, together with the evocative touchstone of Roger Dean's cover illustration, are sentimental reminders of a Yes nowhere to be found elsewhere in the package.

Forty years later the band with the same name has been reduced to little more than a tired nostalgia act, something Progressive Rock was never meant to become. A freshly-minted studio album with new vocalist Jon Davison ("Heaven and Earth", 2014) was already in the can, albeit not yet released when this show was recorded. But the setlist for the gig was strictly regressive, exhuming the classic albums "Going for the One" and "The Yes Album" in their entirety, every note played verbatim but at a more age-appropriate tempo.

It must be hard to maintain your Progressive credentials with such a complacent agenda. Were it not for the (relative) fresh blood in the 44-year old Davison, the show might have been an ideal afternoon's diversion for the shut-ins at the local Bristol geriatric hospital. The new singer actually presents a not-unpleasing facsimile of expatriate Yes-founder Jon Anderson, lacking only his role model's infectious New Age charisma and enthusiasm. But the combined age of the remaining quintet, if placed end-to-end, would stretch all the way back to the reign of King George III, and their energy level here was equally moribund.

To be fair, the Bristol audience wasn't any livelier. You can see them whenever the cameras pan over the crowd, sitting stone-faced in passive attendance to the museum display on stage. There's a discouraging sense of obligation to the whole event, visible on either side of the footlights. Older fans can be very forgiving, but not even the strongest of rose-colored prescription lenses can restore the band's youthful vitality, or transform Geoff Downes into Rick Wakeman (the latter is sorely missed on the "Going for the One" songs).

The final insult to Yes aficionados can be glimpsed on the big overhead screen during the song "Yours Is No Disgrace": images of "The Yes Album" cover from 1971, cut to match the Bonanza-like rhythm of the opening theme but carefully framed to omit every band member except Steve Howe and Chris Squire. Was it an unhappy legal necessity, or an obvious historical whitewash?

At least the album's title is honest. "Like It Is"...which I suppose can be translated to mean "Take It Or Leave It". Given that choice, even the most devoted Proghead might be tempted to consider the second option. One guttering star, with a second white dwarf added in memory of bygone glories.

Report this review (#1371587)
Posted Sunday, February 22, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars In 2013, some time after Benoit David had left and Jon Davison had joined, but before the band recorded Heaven and Earth, Yes found itself in need of a gimmick for its next round of live touring. The solution they fell upon was somewhat simple and yet somewhat genius; they decided that, on a nightly basis, they would play three of their 70s albums in full, with a short encore (generally "Roundabout") at the end. Dubbed "The Three Album Tour" (haha), a typical show would feature the entirety of Close to the Edge, followed by the entirety of Going for the One, followed by the entirety of The Yes Album, and it would end with the encore. This live album does not capture an entire typical set; instead, it presents the performances of Going for the One and The Yes Album from a show the band did in Bristol (the band clearly knew at the time that it would do Close to the Edge in full in a subsequent tour and could release that portion in a separate live album, which they eventually did).

Quite honestly, I still can't figure out if this album and its successor are interesting curiosities or completely pointless cash-grabs, and while I slot them both in a general "pretty good-ish I guess" range, I can't really figure out when I'd want to go out of my way to listen to either of these as opposed to other live Yes albums. Just as on In the Present, Howe and Squire are generally in good form, while White does his best to keep the overall sound from dragging too much but sounds like he'll really need a warm bath to sooth his aching limbs when he's done. Regarding Davison, I initially found myself much more irritated at listening to him sing classic Yes material than I did at hearing David, but I quickly got used to him; I still find it a little unsettling to hear him work his way through "Turn of the Century," a song that clearly meant so much to Anderson when he helped write it way back when, but other than that I generally barely notice him. Downes, then, is a curious case when it comes to this material; he's fully competent with the material, and he manages to put his own spin on small details in the parts that make it so he's not just aping Kaye and Wakeman, but "his own spin" tends to involve streamlining some parts in a way that makes them blander and more milquetoast than in their original incarnations. His playing of older material is a good way away from the punchy, energetic playing that characterized his performances on the bootleg I have of one of their 1980 shows for instance; I get that he's more than 30 years older at this point at all that, but it's still a little disappointing.

With all of these quibbles noted, this live set is still a presentation of two of my 100 favorite albums or so, and thus there's a floor on how low I can reasonably regard it when listening to it. Plus, it's not like the set is without its own interesting quirks, especially in the portion covering The Yes Album. For this tour, the band made the decision to alter its live performances to more closely match the original studio versions than they'd typically attempt, and this leads to some interesting deviations from established patterns of live performance. A couple of examples: the mid-section of "Yours is No Disgrace" is significantly shorter and more restrained than had always been the norm for live performance, and the ending portion of "I've Seen All Good People," rather than crashing into the end after a build into a prog-boogie frenzy, instead quietly ratchets down in the mantra-ish manner of the original. Plus, this album features "A Venture," never performed live before this tour, and Downes clearly has a blast in taking ownership of it.

Nobody really needs this album or its successor, but "unnecessary" need not mean "unenjoyable," and if your tolerance for inessential late-period live albums is high (and boy howdy mine is apparently unhealthily high), you could still get this without feeling regret. Whether you would later feel a need to sell it or give it to Goodwill is another matter entirely, of course.

Report this review (#1612697)
Posted Monday, September 19, 2016 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars A (dull) venture

Having released Fly From Here - a belated follow-up to 1980's Drama - in 2011, and with four of the five members that originally played on Drama it would had been the perfect time to resurrect the Drama material and perform it side by side with the "new" Fly From Here material (especially as Jon Anderson was now no longer in the band). I would have loved to have a live album with all the songs from Drama as well as the full Fly From Here suite. The latter has never been featured on an official live recording. They did indeed play a couple Drama songs live and some from Fly From Here, but sadly no official live recording emerged from those shows.

A couple of years later they instead released this live album containing 1971's The Yes Album and 1977's Going For The One albums performed in their entirety. Now, I'm sure it would have been nice to be there on the night, but in the form of a live album this doesn't work so well. One of the charms of live albums is that songs from diverse sources can be heard in a new context. Performing the songs in their original album running order only tends to emphasise how inferior this line up is to the original ones. The weakest link is Jon Davison whose voice is too weak and thin to carry these songs. I catch myself wondering "why am i listening to this instead of the original studio album?" Besides, almost all of these songs have appeared on earlier official live recordings in much better versions. The only rarity is A Venture which haven't appeared on an official live album before.

While I am really glad that Geoff Downes got a second chance with Yes as there clearly was unfinished business there that he got to fulfil by re-joining the band and completing Fly From Here after all those years, it would have made lot more sense for this version of Yes to focus on the material that Downes played on originally instead of having him mimic Tony Kaye and Rick Wakeman which makes a lot less sense.

An unnecessary live release.

Report this review (#1711592)
Posted Tuesday, April 18, 2017 | Review Permalink

YES Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of YES Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.