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Yes - The Royal Affair Tour: Live in Las Vegas CD (album) cover



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4 stars This set was recorded during the concert played by Yes with their current official line-up at the Hard Rock Hotel of Las Vegas in July, 2019, featuring classics from their mature period, such as "Roundabout" and "Starship Trooper", some of their early material, like "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed" (a song of the great Richie Havens, actually), and also some samples of their late seventies output, like "Tempus Fugit".

The opener is as powerful and cinematic as it has to be every time the name "Yes" is involved: the twin drummers really work together and supply every bit of the rhythmic soundness we are accustomed to expect from this band. Jon Davidson makes a very decent job, and, even when he never come to actually hit the high notes of the other Jon, he has some of their own (listen to "Going for the One", for instance). Now, to be fair, the band doesn't sound so tight and intense as in days of former glory, particularly if one compares this take on "Siberian Khatru" with those found in, let's say, "Progeny", but, who are to blame for passing time?, these people do a hell of a job anyway.

There's a special moment for covers in the concert: first comes a Paul Simon song very well-rooted in the band's history, "America" and after that, the great premiere of the evening with Lennon's "Imagine", guesting John Lodge of Moody Blues fame in bass and sharing vocals with Davidson. A nice simple moment (with immense magic added by Steve Howe's guitar), and a real treat to be thankful for. I guess this wouldn't have been out of place in an album like "Tormato".

Report this review (#2461549)
Posted Thursday, October 29, 2020 | Review Permalink
1 stars Unfortunately i had just finished watching the Todmobile and Jon Anderson video before listening to this. While the former was vital and full of life, the latter is the exact opposite, bland, lightweight and lacking passion. When you compare the delivery of the much older Jon Anderson to Jon Davison it is truly abysmal the difference between them. Jon Anderson is still powerful, passionate and diverse. Davison is boring, flat and predictable. Even my beloved Steve Howe's playing lacks fire and even precision. I would be happy with Yes music played at a very high level regardless of the line up, but this is just pathetic. There are some surprises in the set list that would be very welcome otherwise, but played like this it becomes rather uninteresting. Such a pity.
Report this review (#2461934)
Posted Sunday, November 1, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ok, this album is really making me eat a healthy serving of crow. Why? Because I'm one of those diehard Jon Anderson fans who has dissed the incarnations of Yes since Anderson was kicked out.

But my brother has seen Yes with Jon Davison a couple of times and swore to me that the concerts were great. So I put my reservations aside and gave this a spin. And right from the start, I was blown away. Opening with "No Opportunity Necessary No Experience Needed" was shocking enough, but the spirited performance really made me sit up and pay attention. This is one of those songs I ha sort of forgotten about, but this performance really dusts it off and breathes life into. Makes you realize what a great love song it is.

Then the next song is another hard-rocking and vibrant "Tempus Fugit", and again, I sort of had to eat crow...because I tend not to think of Drama as being a great album. Good, but not great. Well, this performance of the song just had me smiling and playing air bass. It was so cool to hear a Drama song with vocals that sound so much like Jon I'd always wanted to hear Drama with Anderson on the mic. This gets pretty close, and it's damn good.

I really love the song selection on this, as it's all 1970s material, which is the Yes I love. I really did NOT need yet another version of "Roundabout" though. I mean seriously? Ugh. But I will say that I love the way they end the song here. I'd never heard this ending, and it's quite I guess I can forgive them. :)

The inclusion of John Lennon's "Imagine" was another big surprise, and it's a good cover...but I honestly would have preferred another Yes song...especially something like "A Venture". This cover of "Imagine" is nothing like their cover of "America", which completely reworks and adds to the original arrangement. Again, it's not bad at all, and Howe adds some extremely beautiful guitar solos...but overall it seems unremarkable.

The things that have really impressed me with this album are: 1. how upbeat, rocking and inspired the band sounds. These are vibrant performances. 2. how much Davison sounds like the point where I keep forgetting it's NOT Anderson. Really digging his vocals. 3. How good the bass sounds!!!! Sherwood is not the Fish....but his tone is fantastic throughout, and the playing is technically proficient and energetic. 4. the crisp, crystal clear recording. Every instrument is heard in detail. And the sound is punchy and alive.

Of course, Howe is amazing as favorite guitarist of all time...and it blows me away that at his age he can still play these incredibly complex parts so well.

And Alan, well, he's solid as always...the addition of a second drummer really helps the band's power and energy. I'd heard reviews of shows from recent years where people thought he was really showing his age...but on this album, with reinforcement, the band has quite an engine driving them.

So...I feel like a gushing fanboy who has just discovered a new favorite band...but I'm someone who has been a Yes fan since I am shocked at how excited this album has made me.

I have not read ANY reviews of this album by others, so my views are based solely on the music, and my 45 years of Yes fandom.

Hats off done good!!!!!!!!!

I'm almost tempted to give this 5 stars...but I'll give it 4 for now.

Report this review (#2479121)
Posted Monday, November 23, 2020 | Review Permalink

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