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Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Ever since I first heard Yessongs, back when I was in high school, I was disappointed in it. I just couldn't get over the fact that Alan White's rendition of Close To The Edge. First, and foremost, he didn't get the hang of Bill Bruford's off-beat emphasis synchronized with Chris Squire's bass. This to me was an important feature of the song's greatness. I have come to realize that this was more due to Bruford's towering greatness, rather than a deficiency on White's part.

Second, while I could tolerate White playing along with Rick Wakeman's exquisite keyboard at the end of I Get Up, I Get Down, his insistence of tapping his sticks before the band roars into Seasons Of Man diminishes the power of the transition between the sections of the song.

More recently I have found that on other than Close To The Edge, White's style fits in with the Yes classics perfectly. And I have decided to finally purchase my own copy of Yessongs.

I am reluctant to purchase the boxed set this collection was culled from, as it contains 7 complete shows from a very limited time period. I was burned before, by purchasing one of ELP's bootleg sets, that showed me just how similar ELP was from show to show, with the same set list and solos from night to night. So this selection of (hopefully), the best version of each song in the set, put together as if it was a continuous show.

The concert (as this compilation recreates it) is very good. They start out sloppy, and you can feel the band come together as they warm up.

There aren't many surprises, other than some interesting keyboard choices from Wakeman. I'm sure most are due to the difficulty of setting analog synth settings on the fly. The dirty sax sound he uses at the beginning of And You And I is laughably cheesy.

White, for the first time (I've seen him with Yes more times than I an actually remember) does not click his sticks in the middle of CTTE, but he does sound clumsy on the accent beats. He performs admirably on the rest of the album.

The best track for Yes fans should be Yours Is No Disgrace, beginning with a keyboard/drum jam, and stretched out to over ten minutes.

I must say, this brings me back to my high school days, in a good way.

Report this review (#1425529)
Posted Tuesday, June 9, 2015 | Review Permalink
Magnum Vaeltaja
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Not being a Yes completionist, I shook my head at the prospect of owning 7 complete shows from their 1972 Close To The Edge Tour and settled instead for this, a 2-CD package containing what are apparently some of the best, most representative works from the shows.

I have to admit, never having seen Yes perform live, they must have been pretty great back in their heyday if this is what it sounded like. Really, this is a very safe buy for just about any prog fan. All of the songs here are ones that we all know well and, for the most part, they don't deviate too far from their studio counterparts. The big problem with this collection, for me, lies in the fact that Yes isn't a band that translates too well to a live recording setting. I can only imagine how incredible they would have been to see back in the day, with their over-the-top showmanship and stunning visual effects. However, having only the audio captured from these evenings, it leaves a lot to be desired when many of the subtleties and perfections of these compositions are glazed over with extra distortion, slightly out-of-time playing, liberties being taken in the tempo, etc.

In general, this live set is inferior to the studio recordings, especially on numbers like And You And I and Roundabout. There are some redeeming features, though; Steve Howe's Clap/Mood For A Day medley works very well with respect to both pieces and the jamming on Yours Is No Disgrace is top notch. If there's any reason to buy this album, that last track would be it. Altogether this is a 3 star album, a good collection of songs we know and love, but whether you need different versions to love again is up to you.

Report this review (#1540508)
Posted Wednesday, March 16, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes.. why five stars? Well, I was reluctant to get this box and spend my hard earned money at first, especially since Yes in not known for being an "improvisation" band, but, since I had a one hour daily commute and had installed a big subwoofer which rattled all of the car whole playing Prog (try that to surprise people!), I decided to take the plunge.. And.. whaddayaknow??? This was worth it.. yes, Yes used to improvise quite a lot...mind you , for the normal listener it might not sound like it, but for the decades old fan, this is a treat!!!!! They had to improvise sometimes because of the faulty equipment, but , all of these performances were different from each other, some way more than others...especially the grand "Yours is no disgrace" the Yessongs' version is included in here , albeit in its unedited and remixed (it IS a new/different mix!) form.. I won't tell you on which disc it is, but prepare yourself.... I like the clean sound which was achieves in spite of the technical differences between the different tapes, so yes, it is essential listening to all Yes fans so they can see how great they were in their prime...
Report this review (#1914488)
Posted Saturday, April 14, 2018 | Review Permalink

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