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KEYS TO ASCENSION 2

Yes

Symphonic Prog


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3.95 | 352 ratings | 31 reviews | 33% 5 stars

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Live, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

Live tracks
1. I've Seen All Good People (7:16)
2. Going For The One (4:58)
3. Time And A Word (6:23)
4. Close To The Edge (19:40)
5. Turn Of The Century (7:55)
6. And You And I (10:48)

Studio tracks
7. Mind Drive (18:37)
8. Foot Prints (9:09)
9. Bring Me To The Power (7:25)
10. Children of Light (6:02)
a) Children of Light
b) Lifeline
11. Sign Language (3:29)

Total Time: 101:46

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Jon Anderson / vocals
- Chris Squire / bass and vocals
- Rick Wakeman / keyboards
- Alan White / drums
- Steve Howe / guitars and vocals

Releases information

Purple Pyramid (CLP 0159-2)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to frenchie for the last updates
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Cleopatra 1997
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Image Entertainment
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YES Keys to Ascension 2 ratings distribution


3.95
(352 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
33%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
47%
Good, but non-essential (18%)
18%
Collectors/fans only (2%)
2%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

YES Keys to Ascension 2 reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars Once Yes surprised themselves (and us) with the commercially successful Keys To Ascension double set, partly documenting the classic (Bruford-less, but White-filled) quintet's reunion concert in a LA suburb and filling the second disc with two recent studio tracks, they decided to send more of the same into the fan's shelves and decks in exchange for some hard-earned cash. It might read as I am denouncing this stunt, but I'm actually glad they did send that second instalment, as I find it superior to the first package. With a derivative Keys artwork and a purplish slipcase to cover it, the album is very similar to its older brothern in its blueprint, with one Live disc and a full second disc of recently-recorded tracks.

The live disc brings the rest of that reunion concert, and like its predecessor, while it's nice to have, it doesn't bring much to the fan, if he owns Yessongs or Yesshows (despite their respective flaws). You can actually hear that the group hadn't rehearsed enough, as that becomes clear in the disjointed rendition of And You And I, but elsewhere too. Past the classics played in concert of the first disc, listen to Mind Drive - the best track since Awaken and probably its equal in finesse and delicate melodies. One of the "tricks" about this song and why it sounds so good (compared to the other studio tracks of both Keys sets) is that the song's origins date back to the late-70's & early 80's and that's probably why it's a fave with many older fans. The rest of the studio tracks are fine too but uneven, especially the excellent Steve Howe guitar Sign Language piece that closes the album, but the 9-mins Foot Prints is not doing it for me, sounding to early 90's for my tastes. Bring Me To The Power is maybe the weakest recent track of either set and reminds me a bit of the Lonely Fart days. Children Of Light is in the same mould as the track of their first Keys set.

My only but immense regret is that I have never heard Mind Drive live as I saw Yes about six times the following decade following this release. This double set has its place among or alongside their classic albums of the 70's, but I wouldn't get too over-excited about either Keys set, as I wouldn't qualify either of them as essential.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#13909) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Review by Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Another live /studio album combination, with the rest of the live recordings from the San Luis Obispo Concerts of March 1996. In this album, the live songs are good, but not better than in the "Keys to Ascension" album. Again, there are very good recordings and mixings, but with some studio overdubs. "I´ve seen all good people" has very good vocals, but in the "a capella" vocals of the end of the song Alan White played some extra drums which don`t sound very good to me. "Time and a word" is played with a different arrangement, with Howe playing mandolin and acoustic guitar, Wakeman playing a very good piano solo and a bit of synthesizer, and it sounds like if White played his drums with brushes.This live version of "Going for the one" is not very good as the "Yesshows" version, due to Wakeman only playing the piano in most parts of the song, not playing the synthesizers as in the original version."Close to the Edge" is good, but Alan White`s drums sound "tired" in some parts, but Wakeman shines in this version. "Turn of the Century" sounds like they didn`t rehearse the song enough. It was played with a little bit different arrangement as in the original version, but it still sounds good. Wakeman plays piano in one part originally played on acoustic guitar by Howe, maybe helping Howe to change guitars, and Wakeman`s piano also joins Howe`s acoustic guitar in the end of the song. This live version of "And You and I" is better than the live version of "Yessongs". The studio tracks are very good, particularly "Mind Drive", "Children of Light", and "Sign Language" (this being a keyboards- guitar duet by Wakeman and Howe).

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#13913) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 17, 2004

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Couple days ago, I received a short message on my mobile phone from my prog friend, Rizal, telling me that he'd better listen to YES's "Mind Drive" than "Love Extreme" of The FLOWER KING's "Adam and Eve" album. Rizal and I have a significant disagreement about "Adam and Eve" album whereby he does not really like it while I adore the new album of TFK very much as I put in previous review. I think, as a progger we have to understand differing opinions about the same album. We have to be open mind about it. In some occasions we have the same opinions but in another we are in the opposite way. But, that's normal, I would say. The differing opinions have in fact taught me a lot on appreciating some one's view(s).

YES KTA 1 and 2 have been in my CD shelf since the release date and it's definitely a masterpiece live album. My ultimate goal of reviewing this double CD album is to express my appreciation about how wonderful this album is. Thanks to Rizal that stimulates me to do the review thru his mind boggling statement (comparing YES with TFK). This album comprises CD 1 - a recorded live performance in San Luis Obispo and CD 2 - the newly recorded studio tracks.

Let me start by commenting the CD 2 first. Yes, I do agree with Rizal that the opening track "Mind Drive" is really a powerful track. For me, this is a kind of reincarnation of "Tales from Topographic Ocean" track that has similar duration as this track, ie. 18 minutes. The only difference is probably the sound technology as this track was recorded using a much advanced recording technology. This track is rich with variety of melodies, changing tempos in a relatively complex music structure. It starts with an atmospheric and soft keyboard sound played in a flat mode plus nice HOWE's acoustic guitar fills followed by dynamic bass line by SQUIRE. Uugh . what a stunning acoustic guitar work here. The music then enters with a dazzling drum by ALAN WHITE, forming a great musical rhythm. Howe plays its guitar skillfully during this rhythm that serves as tagline melody as well. The tempo moves slightly and finally in relatively fast tempo when JON's powerful voice enters the scene. Oh my GOD .. what a wonderful musical piece here! I cannot refrain my adrenalin exploding at this part. It's really cool and uplifting, emotionally. Then the music stops and followed by JON's voice accompanied by nice acoustic guitar plus WAKEMAN's keyboards. The music flows at high and low points with vocal line keeps the tagline melody and other instruments keep the rhythm; but as usual - the rhythm of YES music is full with "fills" especially on guitar part. I think, this track is under rated because I'm sure that it deserves the same recognition as "The Reveling Science of God" of "Tales" album. This track is KILLER!

The second track "Foot Prints" starts with a vocal line led by ANDERSON. The music then flows in a relatively moderate tempo with some poppy touch as well. It reminds me to JON's solo album style. The difference is on the complicated guitar fills by HOWE and dazzling bass line of SQUIRE. The combination of lead guitar and solo keyboard at the interlude is really nice - especially it's accentuated by dynamic drumming work by WHITE.

"Bring Me To The Power" is the third track. The intro part reminds me to "And You And I", but it's totally different when it enters the body of the music. It's a moderate tempo track with dynamic bass line and some acoustic guitar fills (really cool); combined with great variety of drumming. The next track "Children of Light" reminds me to one track of YES "Union" album. It starts with a duet voice of JON and CHRIS followed by piano fills and rhythm music. It has two parts; when it enters second parts - the music turns mellow with keyboard and lead guitar works; performed in a spacey style. The last track "Sign Language" is a short instrumental track (according to YES standard) of 3:29 minutes. Dominated by guitar fills that reminds me to the intro of "Mind Drive". CD 2 has provided me with a total satisfaction of modern YES music, recorded with a state of the art sound technology as it produces excellent sonic quality.

CD 1 provides all classic track by the band, i.e. "I've Seen All Good People", "Going For The One", "Time And A Word", "Close To The Edge", "Turn Of The Century" and "And You And I". All tracks were performed excellently, it's a defect-free concert, I think. I enjoy "Close To the Edge" of this CD.

So, overall I give full five star (5/5) for one of prog pioneers. I recommend you to have this album plus KTA 1 and you don't need to buy YES "Keystudio as it only compiles all studio tracks previously released KTA 1 and 2. Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#13914) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, September 18, 2004

Review by Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I am on a mission to listen to everything that Yes has ever recorded, even if I am doing it backwards. Recently I reviewed Keystudio, which was a compilation of outtakes from these two discs, Keys To Ascension (1996) & Keys To Ascension 2 (1997).

Jon Anderson's enduring falsetto has left an indelible mark on progressive rock; his distinctive rich vocals are unparalleled and continue to entertain audiences worldwide. These two discs offer exceptional live tracks as well as excellent studio work. The "classic lineup," which is on tour currently working their way through their huge volume of music, is in stellar form on each of these wonderful two discs sets. Yes, you will hear many of the songs that you have heard repeatedly on live albums before but I sincerely promise that they will not disappoint. Every time you do hear these songs they have something new to offer, a subtle nuance or atmosphere that features another instrument in their all-start lineup, or Anderson approaching his vocals in different way. They always manage to keep you interested with incredibly good musicianship and lead vocals that have not faltered after nearly thirty-five years.

Both discs offer progressive rock entrancements like the magnum opuses "Mind Drive" and "That Is, That Is," which both clock in at nearly 20 minutes each. That one thing you can always count on with Yes, they create multi-leveled songs such as classics like "Close To the Edge" and "And You and I" as if it were a matter of course rather than a long difficult task.

Complete songs within songs, a story within a story, and musical journeys that will live on until the last light goes out in the vast universe. that is how I picture their legacy. Somehow, I cannot imagine any other group that I have heard in this genre play and perform on such a level of consistency and value year after year as they do. I seriously doubt that their output can be duplicated, much less emulated. In a genre known for such intricate and complex arrangements demanding the most intense musicianship there are few that can separated as unique and out of the ordinary, this band is one of those few.

I read a few overly critical reviews of these two albums and took it with a grain of salt. I know anything that this band creates is outstanding and a step ahead of all the rest. If you concur with my thoughts and have not purchased these two fine CD sets then I suggest you do so.

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Send comments to Muzikman (BETA) | Report this review (#13915) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 24, 2005

Review by el böthy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The second of the Keys to Ascension albums, this one, unlike the previous one, focuses more on the new material rather than the live one, giving each one CD, unlike the other one, that had one CD and a half for the live songs and just two new numbers.

The live album has some strong songs, specially the classic's I've seen all good people, Going for the one, Close to the edge, Turn of the century and And you and I. . I have just called 5 songs out of the 6 here classics. well, they are! For the other one is a somewhat forgotten song of the second album: Time and a word, and while it's not a bad song, it´s just not at the same level as the other ones. Out of this 6 songs the best ones are Turn of the century (which might even be better than its studio version) and And you and I, there is something about this song, I have heard it live many times, and it's always a highlight. Going for the one is also very nicely done, also possibly better than its studio version. I've seen all good people is one of those songs we have heard so many times it begins to get old. Nothing new about this one, I even thing that the Your move section is a bit weak as so is the bridge. Now, Close to the edge, which is not only Yes's best, but also Prog´s in general (do not argue here, you know I'm right!) is not up there with the studio version. and it's no surprise. I can't imagine a live version being better than the perfection achieved in the studio; still, on its own, it's quite good I must say. The only let down are Wakeman´s keys, they sound too "plastic", too "unnatural" sort of speak, at least for the band, I much rather have the old synths, or the new ones, Wakeman´s keys now sound much better than the ones he used in the ´90. Overall a good live set, but not as strong as others by them.

Now, let's get to the new stuff, shall we? The second CD opens with Mind Drive, an 18 minutes epic full of everything we love about Yes, but with a really modern feel to it, they didn't look back on this one. By far the best song of the album, a real good one, possibly their best of the ´90. Possibly? No, certainly!!! The other songs sadly are not up there with Mind Drive. Foot prints starts off very promising, but after a while it just drags and the lack of instrumental power makes it a little boring. Still, the opening vocal harmonies are some of Yes best! Bring to the power is a poppy song with some nice instrumental breaks here and there, but it's just too poppy to be good, at least for Yes. Worst track by far. Children of the light might also suffer from being a bit too poppy for its own sake, but this one is rather good I must say. But again, those ´90 synths sound awful. This is definitely more of an Anderson composition, that's quite clear. Sign Language is an instrumental piece (quite rare for Yes, if you take in consideration they didn't do this since Fragil). Here Wakeman lays down some atmospheric layers while Howe solos over it. It might not be a very powerful song, but I think it works quite nicely as a closer.

Overall, with this one Yes shows us that they can still write good stuff, but they just need to point to the "right" direction. Had all songs be as good as Mind Drive and Children of light, this might have become a little ´90 jewel.

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Send comments to el böthy (BETA) | Report this review (#13917) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, March 06, 2005

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This album was a disappointment to me, like the first "Keys" album too. There are not any very essential versions of their classic repertoire here, and these classics are accompanied with another CD holding their more recent compositions, and they didn't please me at all. If you are open to new age influenced joyful pop rock, check this out. But I think that there are also better recordings of the band doing their hey day stuff moving around. Forgive me...

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#13920) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 01, 2005

Review by Australian
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "Key to Ascension 2" is a splendid combination of Studio and live album, it has a live concert in San Luis Obispo in which they play all the classics well. The album made it to number 62 in the UK charts and it didn't get onto the US charts. This shows that the old men are still popular (kind of.)The sound quality isn't band and I was very interested to hear the live version of "Close to the Edge". Some of the instrument sounds on the song don't sound exactly like they do on the studio version but, what do you expect? The "Turn of the Century" is as good as the studio version and there are certain parts which sound very good. The interlude in the middle of the song is especially good live. The second disc has five "new" songs. These songs are a mixture of Yes's classic and modern prog, they are very good. "Mind Drive", "Foot Prints" and "Children of the Light" are all worth Yes songs. "Mind Drive" is a true Yes epic and Jon Anderson plays guitar in it! Steve Howe is in very good form on "Mind Drive" and he plays some very nice tunes. Overall, "Keys 2" is an excellent album but some of the live stuff is a tad disappointing. The second disc is a real highlight though! "Keys 1" is also good and has new stuff on it as well as a extended version of "Starship Trooper." Excellent addition to any prog music collection

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Send comments to Australian (BETA) | Report this review (#83952) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, July 17, 2006

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "Keys II" was recorded during the three mythical concerts from SLO in March 1996. The full tracklist of the concert (with the right order) is as follows : 1. Firebird Suite, 2. Siberian Khatru, 3. Close To The Edge, 4.I've Seen All Good People 5. Time And A Word, 6. Happy Birthday To Squire, 7. And You And I, 8. The Revealing Science Of God, 9. Going For The One, 10 Turn Of The Century, 11. America, 12. Onward, 13. Awaken, 14. Roundabout, 15.Starship Trooper The only variation will be the song "Happy Birthday To Chris" which will be chanted by the audience at different moments.

In my review for "Keys I" I started with the genesis of these three wonderful concerts. Let's get acquainted with the final preparation of these ones. Early February 1996 (one month before the shows) the setlist was almost defined ("Relayer" will be superbly ignored) . Yes still plan only one show and it will take place in San Luis Obispo (CA) but the date has not been decided yet (somewhere around Easter). It is planned to produce a double CD with thirty minutes of new music.

Mid february, there will be an official announcement through YesWorld : "YES in Concert : *Jon Anderson * Steve Howe * Chris Squire * Rick Wakeman * Alan White* Two special performances to be recorded and filmed March 5 & 6, 1996 - 8 PM San Luis Obispo, CA. Reserved seating: $50 (limit 2 per person)"

From here starts the desillusion of many Yes fans. For many reasons. The price : 50 $ is almost the double of a standard concert at the time. The venue : some eight hundred seats for two nights. The dates : mid-week (Tuesday & Wednesday). The location : SLO is in between L.A. and Frisco (about 200 miles each way). So either you are from the area or you have to make it a two-day trip (adding to the ticket price, hotel accomodation and travel expenses). Short notice annoucement : just over two weeks to organize yourself. The number of tickets available : due to the Yes equipment setup for these shows, about three hundred seats are taken off. The band will also require a hundred seats for "friends & relatives". This leaves very few seats for the true YesFan.

This resulted that some fans were queuing for about TWELVE hours in front of a local record store : "Boo Boo's" where the tickets were on sale ! On March 1st, another date was added. An additional concert on ... March 4th. So, back to the queue again. The video will be shot on the third day (they will have two full rehearsals ...). On the second day, the audience (from Jon's initiative) will chant "Happy Birthday" to Chris. He was obviously the more enthusiast during these concerts, having permanent contact with three other members : Jon, Rick and Alan. There were apparently serious problems between Chris and Steve. Almost no eye- contact.

After the "Birthday" chant, Chris shook hands with the three of them and when he noticed that Steve was tuning his guitar showing his back, Chris just blew him a kiss ... Not the greatest atmosphere for a reunion !

So, let's investigate what we get here. Another YesCombination. Some live tracks, and other studio ones. I guess they are one of the most prolific band from the last 15 years. As a fan, one can only be greatful to Yes. They put so many live performances into records! Most of the time, it has always been a great moment. This second Keys, is no exception : a great live CD and very nice studio work which will not be superseded to date (2007). This live CD starts with an average opener "I've Seen All Good People" but then, it is a pure dream.

Figure out : great live renditions for "Going For The One" and "Time And A Word". This one in particular is beautiful. I like this song very much. The unusual piano introduction is really marvelous. I am always very touched when I listen to it. The acoustic guitar, the backing vocals and the piano of course are FANTASTIC. Do I need to add something about Jon's performance ? This rendition of more than six minutes sounds really wonderful and is the best one available (it is by far superior to the studio version). Then, we get "Close". I am quite biased/enthusiast when I hear this one live : it is such a wonderfull track that you only can LOVE it (studio or live). It is, IMO the best live version available (topping by far the "YesSongs" one). The intro has heavier keyboards than usual. It is also slower (but this will be the case for the whole song). In this rendition, CTTE sounds even more melodious than the original ! The section "I Get Up" is just marvelous, so emotional, so melodious.

Another great YesSong follows : "Turn Of The Century" : ages ago, Yes produced such a great studio album as "Going For The One" (IMO) that I can only be thankful for such a good reproduction of their studio work into a live effort. This version is fantastic : Wakeman in a subtle, background playing; Howe with an incredibly smooth acoustic guitar part and Jon's voice : sublime. Needless to say that the following track, &Y&I is as it has always been : great. Slower sometimes, faster some others (but that's seem to be a TM for these live renditions). It is a beautiful one.

There is not the slightest doubt in my mind : both Keys are the best live albums ever produced by Yes. They really surpass YesSongs. My only wish would have been to get "Gates" or "Heart Of The Sunrise" and skip "I've Seen". But Yes is forgiven since they offered over two hours of their most beautiful songs ever released.

Second CD is the studio one with "Mind Drive" to start with : another YesEpic (the tenth one). Acoustic intro, then a section which is cloning "Watcher Of The Skies" for about two minutes (even Yes did it) ! Jon's entry is quite rocking, but the vocal section soon turns into a nice harmony. Steve takes over with a marvelous acoustic flamenco oriented break. Then, back to Jon for a naïve and innocent break before we get "Watcher" again. Actually the song is made of some repetitive sections and could (should) have been substantially shorter. I think they extended it to eighteen minutes for the sake of making another epic. But lenght is not all, right ? There are great HoweAcoustic work but this will never be a YesClassic. It lacks too much in powerful, emotional moments and the cloning of "Watcher" is really too obvious. It is also the last epic so far and I am afraid that Yes will never bring another one to our ears.

"Foot Prints" has some FM flavours, but still is a good YesTune : full of Howe's magical guitar as well as good vocal harmonies. With "Bring Me To The Power" Yes tries to recreate another "Roundabout" at least for the first part. The song evolves into a very slow and melodic one with very nice acoustic guitar play and the keyboards in the backgroud are beautiful. We proceed with a weak section (poor AOR) and finish with a complex YesPart. In no more than eight minutes, we have travelled into the YesRepertoire of the last twenty five years. Rather interesting excercise. The weakest track of the album is without doubt "Children Of Light" : it virtually goes nowhere for about four minutes and closes with a nice keys part. "Sign Language" is a sweet and gentle instrumental/guitar track with subtle keyboard play in the background. Not too bad but it is not the best ever thought closing number for a YesAlbum, but hey : this studio CD is good !

The studio numbers from Keys II were produced by ... Billy Sherwood (who already mixed the ones from Keys I). Four stars for the whole of it.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#107182) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, January 11, 2007

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
4 stars THE RETURN OF REAL YES---PART 2

One year later, another surprise is waiting for me at my music retailer: another KEYS TO ASCENSION CD. I look closer; no that's not the old one with a different package; here we have KTA 2.We have again a double CD with ROGER DEAN artwork again.The only difference with the previous KTA is the second disc is only new material. That's great! We even get a poster.Imagine that: now we are all older, we are in our 30s and 40s and we have a new poster to hang on the wall on our bedrooms!!!what will dad and mom say???

Same concept than the first one; we have the remaining of the concert of SAN LUIS OBISPO with more goodies; the classic of the classics: CLOSE TO THE EDGE performed faultless and a great rendition of I'VE SEEN ALL GOOD PEOPLE and the magnificent AND YOU AND I. I am more reseved for GFTO, TURN OF THE CENTURY as for me they are not part of YESmusic superleague . But hey, we cannot play always the same songs anyway. So why not ? everybody has to be happy! at least we have nothing from TORMATO!

The studio CD has some great moments like ''Mind Drive'' another long 18mn epic; classic YES sounding, still difficult to compare with the glorious times, but i think this song holds very well on its own.that's YES, what else do you want? The rest of the songs are a mixed bag: The problem is mainly JON ANDERSON. Who want to listen to words like ''my eyes see the glory of the world'' or learn on how to save your soul???? Jon sounds like he is forcing his voice and gets irritating after a while. He is not singing, he is preaching!!! and you know how preachers can become annoying after a while. Songs like ''Foot prints'' or ''Children of the light'' will never be featured on any YES best-of.

So we have YES back with us in 1997, all the 5 of them playing real YESmusic; sadly it won't last as RICK WAKEMAN will live for the 20th time, but that's another story.

Still great music in it, but not as pleasant as the first KEY TO ASCENSION! 3,5-4stars .....let's go to 4stars today because i am in a good mood

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Send comments to febus (BETA) | Report this review (#127259) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, July 01, 2007

Review by ghost_of_morphy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars In 1997 I made a horrible, horrible mistake.

YES had two releases coming out at nearly the same time, Open Your Eyes and Keys To Ascension II. I looked at them both and decided to buy OYE, which was less expensive and was filled with entirely new songs.

<>

Anyhow, about three years later I was in Best Buy and the YES bug hit me again. After looking through what they had, I saw that the only CD they had with new material that I'd not heard was KTA II, so I bought it, not expecting much at all. Boy was I surprised.

This is a 5 star album. It's a masterpiece. This is the YES that I've been missing since Going For The One.

I'm not going to say much about the live tracks. Let's just say that they've chosen to feature some of the best songs that they've ever done on the live part and they are well done. I'm not that fond of Going For The One, but a live version of Turn Of The Century more than makes up for having to listen to it again. And it's nice to see Time And A Word dusted off.

But what makes this album are the studio tracks. Gosh they are good!!! Minid Drive may not be equal to Close To The Edge or Awaken, but it can compete with any of the other 20 mega epics YES has released. Footpriints and Bring Me To The Power are both brilliant. Children Of The Light isn't quite brilliant, but it's still way above average. Sign Language (a completely instrumental track) is a nice, just above average track.

Do you hear that? Everything on the studio side is above average for one of the strongest prog bands ever! How can this not be a masterpiece?

God, I hope they play Footprints live before they finally disband.

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Send comments to ghost_of_morphy (BETA) | Report this review (#127278) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, July 01, 2007

Review by progaardvark
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The 1997 release of Keys to Ascension 2 is a continuation of Keys to Ascension released in 1996. Like its companion, it is also a 2-CD set featuring live performances from their reunion tour and a number of studio tracks. Like its companion, it's also a bona fide masterpiece containing some of the best live performances of the band ever, even better than Yessongs. The production and quality are stunning and the musical skill of Anderson, Howe, Squire, Wakeman, and White clearly shows they still have a kick in their punch.

The studio tracks are also done incredibly well. The 18+ minute Mind Drive is the best song the group had done since Machine Messiah, or maybe Gates of Delirium. Powerful lyrics, intriguing melodies, beautiful guitar work, and skilled bass playing. Some of the shorter studio tracks are quite pleasant too, although not as memorable as Mind Drive.

Two five star masterpieces in two years. Just like the old days. A symphonic prog rock must-have.

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Send comments to progaardvark (BETA) | Report this review (#130785) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, July 30, 2007

Review by Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Excellent live album, on par with yessongs in terms of overall satisfaction. While the musicians are not young anymore and some of the improvisational nature of the past is gone, they still know how to put a good show here. The sound quality is excellent and the songs are carefully played to excellence.

The second disc of this live album is on part with the first one. The re-interpretation of "Time and a Word" is very good. It's changed from beatlesque pop to a classical-oriented happy tune. The melancholic "Turn of the Century" is without a doubt better than the studio version. The guitar playing is beautiful, Jon sounds at his best, the percussion takes a bigger presence, and the instrumental section is irresistible: a work of unquestioned genius. "And You and I" and "Close to the Edge", while they are present in various live albums, they are still an outstanding listen just because the compositions are masterpieces. "I've Seen All Good People" is as good as ever, though you probably heard it a million times if you are a yes fan or listen to classic rock stations. "Going for the One" has better arrangements, making it sound less messy, though I never really liked that tune to be honest.

The studio tracks are again exciting in that period of time due to the beloved musicians being together again and making new music, though they are not spectacular. Also, the way they are arranged does not make much sense. "Sign Language" should be in the middle as it is an elegant mellow instrumental that should not be left as an afterthought to the dreamy outro of "Children of Light" which would make sense as a climax. "Bring me to the Power" is weak and leaves no lasting impression. "Mind Drive" has an excellent first several minutes, starting in a similar manner to "That, That is" and developing into a powerful rocker driven by a simple one-note riff that alternates time signatures of 8/8 and 6/8. Unfortunately, it later features a repugnant verse-chorus section, unimpressive instrumental sections and a noisy and disappointing finish. The best tracks are the upbeat rocker "Foot Prints" with the bass loud in the mix, and "Children of Light".

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#131635) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, August 03, 2007

Review by NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars It's kind of funny, I enjoy the newer material on this album more than the live songs, it's the opposite for Keys 1 where I really like the live songs and think the newer material is just okay. Keys To Accension 2 starts off with "I've Seen All Good People". It's fine, but Wakeman really has no where to go on this track, in fact all of the live songs including "Close To The Edge" seem weak because of Wakeman's playing. He seems to be going through the motions, or Howe's guitar is front and center for most of the time. Now, I have no problem with the rest of the band but Wakeman is so important I just miss his runs. "Yessongs" is a much better showcase for him. When 'And You and I' and "Close To The Edge" should soar, they mainly fall flat, and so on and so forth. Okay, thank God for disc 2 and the new material which make up for the flat live songs. "Minddrive" has an excellent beat ala "Drama" era Yes. It could be trimmed a tad, but the band plays well throughout although again I feel Wakeman has run out of ideas and plays mainly keys straight from the Neo-side of prog. But for the most part it's a winner. Even better, "Footprints" has the best chorus by the band since "Brother Of Mine", (yeah, I know it's really a AWBH song, but it's practically Yes). Howe really does some different things with his guitar, I haven't heard him play a fuzzed out warped guitar sound ever and it really makes the song stronger. The first two minutes are weak, but when that chorus kicks in around 2:22 the song is wonderful. My favorite on the album. The next two songs have some strong melodies and are really well done. Again Howe shines playing some his best work in the 90's. Wakeman has a nice run here and there but again the Neo style keys make me wince. Where's the Mellotron?, the Hammond? why must he refuse to play them. Sure, his synth playing is some of the best around, but all throughout this album he has nothing to say with them. Very frustrating indeed and my only major complaint. The album ends with a beautiful guitar solo by Howe. The album is very good in spots and mediocre in others. Three stars seems fair.

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Send comments to NJprogfan (BETA) | Report this review (#135398) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars " Gone are the days in black and white, children of light don't be afraid"

This is the better of the two KTA collections, both in terms of the live tracks and the new studio recordings. The album, which is performed by the classic line up, was released around the same time as "Open your eyes", sending confusing messages to Yes fans. While this album, like its similarly named predecessor, implied that the prog Yes were back together and set on a course towards their indulgent best, the Sherwood/Squire led "Open your eyes" pointed almost exactly in the other direction. The confusion arose because Rick Wakeman left the band before KTA2 was even released. Yes signed up with a new record label, who wanted to put something out quickly. The Sherwood/Squire side project "Conspiracy" therefore mutated into a Yes album, with Anderson and Howe joining in along the way. Billy Sherwood is actually involved here too, but only as producer, he does not perform on the album.

Anyway, enough of the history lesson. Here we have another excellent bunch of Yes classics performed live, including "All good people", "Going for the one" and the wonderful "Turn of the century". The highlights inevitably though are "Close to the edge" and "And you and I". The early song "Time and a word" is given a welcome dusting off and delivered as a softer, almost unplugged version, with Wakeman adding some superb piano. We may have heard these songs a thousand time, both live and in their original studio form, but they still sound as fresh and invigorated here as they have always done. That said, I have heard better live mixes of "Close to the edge". The keyboards are much too far back, especially on the climactic part of "I get up I get down" which is virtually a (fine) bass solo.

More space is devoted to the studio tracks here, with five in total occupying one entire disc. The discs here are rather short though, this one running to just 45 minutes. Of the studio tracks, "Mind drive" is the best, being an 18 minute piece which has suggestions of some of their classic progressive works. The song was more recently revived by the band for live performance on their 35th anniversary tour. I would not describe it as a Yes classic by any means, as it sounds a bit messy at times. It is though a decent stab at rekindling the old days. On the plus side, the piece includes one of Rick's great synth bursts, similar to that on "The revealing science of God".

It may be just coincidence, but the tracks get progressively shorter on the second disc, cumulating in the brief Wakeman/Howe instrumental "Sign language". Along the way, we have the fine "Foot prints", which includes further notable keyboard work by Wakeman. Indeed, Rick is far more obvious on these songs than he was on the first KTA studio tracks. "Bring me to the power" is for me the weakest of the bunch, being a rather loose, scrappy affair which might appeal more to those who enjoyed tracks such as "Sound chaser".

"Children of light" was co-written by Anderson and Squire along with Vangelis. It is perhaps therefore not surprising that it is similar in style and sound to Jon and Vangelis' "State of independence". The latter section of this two part piece "Lifeline", is a haunting Wakeman and Howe composed instrumental. If I was being fussy, I'd suggest that it would have made more sense to combine "Lifeline" and "Sign language" into a two part piece instead. They sit together rather nicely.

In all, an enjoyable mix of the old and the new, which perhaps heralded a false dawn in terms of the classic Yes line up reverting to their roots.

The whole package is adorned in another classic Roger Dean cover. KTA 1+2 were subsequently packaged together as a 4 CD collection, while the studio tracks from both sets were re-issued as "Key studio". As I mentioned in my review of KTA (1), I would have preferred the live and studio tracks, to have been kept separate for release purposes. I am not sure if these count as official studio releases by the band (not that it matters particularly) but the combination of classic Yes tracks played live with new, and in relative terms weaker, studio tracks does smack a bit of marketing over common sense.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#148596) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, November 02, 2007

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ascension indeed.

After several average to bad records since the 70s, Yes finally pulls something great out of a hat! The classic lineup is back (with the exception of Bruford) and man,do they still know how to write. This two disc set is often an acclaimed Live offering, but what many people forget about is the equally grand Studio offering.

Indeed, the live offering is something out of a dream. Excellent live renditions of classics such as Seen All Good People, Turn Of The Century and a full extended rendition of Close to the Edge [CTTE] make this disc a must have for prog fans on it's own.

However, the real gem here is the studio disc. It seems that Yes wanted to make a rebuttal to their own music, and by doing such has come up with a modern song reflectant of some of their old greats. The album starts out quietly as Howe introduces MIND DRIVE with some slow, peaceful guitars until Squire and Wakeman intrude with some truly heavy stuff and the mind drive begins. Anderson proves that he can still deliver some hard vocals, some of the most aggressive he's ever put on tape, and the band proves they still know how to make speed changes. Reminiscent of CTTE, MIND DRIVE features some excellent soft bits and some excellent speed transitions. All in all, this is likely the best track the band has laid on tape since Awaken.

The rest of the tracks on the album are quite good as well. In the tradition of Roundabout, FOOTPRINTS opens with a mean bassline and uses it as the backbone of the song. Anderson's vocals continue to sound good, and the line ''My eyes see the coming revolution/My eyes see the glory of the world'' is sung so wonderfully that even the Anderson-haters have to give him some credit. BRING ME TO THE POWER and CHILDREN OF LIGHT are somewhat weaker than the previous tracks, but they both have good pace and are enjoyable none the less. However, they are what is holding this album back from a five star review. Luckily the album ends with the excellent (if short) instrumental SIGN LANGUAGE, proving that they still know how to do that kind of thing.

Each member of the band, both in studio and live, still plays to the best of their ability, and the half-life of vocals that usually haunts many singers doesn't seem to affect Anderson at all. Indeed, this album sounds like something right out of the 70s, and that's a great thing. So many bands try to recapture their old days, and Yes did exactly that with this album. Unfortunately, this is the last great thing that the band would release (to this day in Feb. '08), but it's still a great pair of discs none the less.

4 stars. Excellent addition to your collection. Recommended for Yes fans, especially the skeptical ones, and people who love good symphonic prog.

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Send comments to Queen By-Tor (BETA) | Report this review (#161794) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, February 15, 2008

Review by TheGazzardian
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Shortly after Keys to Ascension was released, a companion album containing more studio material and more live recordings from the same concert was released. This was, ingeniously, called "Keys to Ascenion 2", and it was the lesser of the two.

The track listing was not quite as strong. Fans of the band may argue that this second disc contains the bands 'magnum opus', Close to the Edge, as well as other well loved tracks And You And I, I've Seen All Good People, etc., and while this is true, these tracks don't have the same power that the tracks on Keys to Ascension 1 have. This is too much of the "We've heard it all before" crowd, where the first disc, while featuring many classic songs, consisted of some songs that were not so frequently heard live as well (Onward, America).

Furthermore, the classic tracks on this album are not quite as good recordings as the ones on the first album. It is, in fact, in two lesser-known tracks that this album gains value. One is in Turn of the Century, from Going for the One, which is notable only because there aren't a lot of official live releases of it. The other is Time and a Word, which has been updated with a more acoustic sound and some nice, gentle pianos. It, along with Onward, is one of the hidden gems of the concert, a great reworking of a classic song.

There is more studio material here than before. Where the first edition contained only two new studio songs (Be the One, That That Is), this album contains five, including the epic "Mind Drive" which is well loved by many fans. This track is actually fleshed out from an idea that originated during the XYZ (X-yes and zeppelin) sessions after Yes disbanded originally after Drama. It is an excellent track, but for me it does not reach the same emotional peaks as "That, That Is". The rest of the songs are good, if not great, Yes tracks, somewhere above Drama and below Going For The One in quality.

The biggest value of this album is the proof that Yes are back to doing what they were doing before, that the classic lineup has returned and is as creative as it ever was, if perhaps not creating music that's quite up to the same caliber. Keys to Ascension one is the preferred of the two because of the superior live offering and the excellent "That, That Is". If one is searching only for the studio tracks, it might be better to obtain a copy of Keystudio, which has the studio tracks from both Keys to Ascension albums without any of the live music.

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Send comments to TheGazzardian (BETA) | Report this review (#255772) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, December 12, 2009

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars This disk is the second to document Yes' reunion concert in San Luis Obispo in 1996. The first volume used most of the less obvious concert tracks, but this does have a few surprises.

There is a nice updating of Time And A Word. Jon Anderson had been singing a light version of this for years, usually with only an acoustic guitar accompanying his voice. Here, the whole band gets to play, and Rick Wakeman does an especially nice job on piano. ANd Turn Of The Century gets an airing out. While it doesn't compare to the great studio version, it does come off well.

I have to comment about Close To The Edge. I've never been able to get over Alan White's inability to come close to Bruford's amazing playing on any versions of this song, but at least on this one, he manages to restrain himself from playin over Wakemans transition section at the end of I Get Up, I Get Down.

The studio tracks are the real reason to get this one. In particular, Mind Drive rates as possibly the best new song Yes has recorded since the start of the Rabin years. Obviously, it's not as great as Close To The Edge or The Gates Of Delirium, but it is an excellent epic. The remainder of the new tracks are very good Yes songs. It makes me wonder what happened, and why their next album was "Cover Your Ears"... I mean "Open Your Eyes".

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#362285) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, December 23, 2010

Review by thehallway
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This time the live:studio ratio is about 50/50. Yes deliver more new music alongside the rest of their one-off concert at San Luis Obispo.

As with 'Keys One', there are some songs here that, although make the gig sound complete, are just unnecessary when the album is aimed at Yes fans (who will already own Yessongs, Yesshows or whatever else...). 'Time and a Word' and 'Turn of the Century' are probably the only fresh-sounding tracks that make these live cuts worth having. Both are beautifully played with some variation and flair. Nevertheless, even the epic 'Close to the Edge' lacks it's original power on this disc. In terms of live songs, I believe the first 'Keys to Ascension' album delivers better variety and enjoyment.

But boy, is 'Mind Drive' an excellent composition or what?! Eighteen minutes of craziness juxtaposed with sweet melodies and a clever use of thick and thin textures. The fact that this song originated in the early 80's 'XYZ' sessions kind of confirms my suspicion that the best Yes music was never written in the 90's. Other tracks here vary in quality but I am a fan of 'Bring me to the Power', which is sort of quirky. Some of the textural passages on these songs already sound dated in a way that the 70's material never does, but it is a pleasant listen and a few moments are shockingly brilliant.

So while the live cuts here are not really worth the trouble, there is at least one fantastic Yes song on the second disc of this package, and some other above average ones. It makes me think that the band perhaps could have paired the live songs on 'Keys One' with the studio tracks from this one (or, released the concert in it's entirety and assembled the studio cuts onto a single new album (this has been done since and is known as 'Keystudio')).

This album is anyway worth getting for 'Mind Drive' alone.

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Send comments to thehallway (BETA) | Report this review (#386205) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review by Anthony H.
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Yes: Keys to Ascension 2 [1997]

Rating: 8/10

Keys to Ascension 2 is another wonderful return-to-form for Yes. As the title suggests, the album is a direct continuation of its predecessor in both structure and sound. However, KtA2 is more evenly split between live tracks and original studio material. The first one was a live album with two original songs added on; this is half live and half studio.

The live recordings are taken from the same show as those on KtA, so they're obviously stylistically similar. All of the songs are passionately performed; the musicianship is spectacular; the recording quality successfully captures the grandiosity of the performances. However, as fantastic as these live songs are, they are not quite as amazing as the selections on the first KtA. Nothing here reaches the same level the renditions of "Starship Trooper" and "Awaken" present on that album. However, I don't want to downplay the quality of the material here. "Turn of the Century" is particularly notable. Every band member is in their prime on this track. The emotion is palpable, and Howe's guitar work during the conclusion is magnificent.

The studio half opens with the excellent eighteen-minute "Mind Drive", one of the best post-70s Yes songs. It begins with classical guitar and transitions into a heavy bass-driven section. A softer section follows with excellent vocals and acoustic playing. A frantic guitar/keyboard solo section then moves into an energetic reprise/conclusion. "Foot Prints" features fantastic bass work and a solid chorus. "Bring Me to the Power" contains a few unfortunate Union-like moments, but excellent guitar work successfully balances the song out. "Children of Light/Lifeline" opens with a vocal intro and transitions into a pleasant chorus with strong piano and bass. Steve Howe plays a spacey solo during the song's conclusion. "Sign Language", a gorgeous and superb guitar solo, ends the album on a high note.

The live recordings here are wonderful, and the original material contains some of the best Yes songs written in the 80s/90s. This album falls just short of the masterpiece level only because the live songs aren't on quite the same level as those on the first one, and there are a few less-than-stellar moments on the studio half. Overall, however, Keys to Ascension 2 is an excellent album that yet again showcases the immense power of this lineup.

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Send comments to Anthony H. (BETA) | Report this review (#418831) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, March 20, 2011

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars Live leftovers from the San Lois Obispo shows + excellent new studio tracks

Following the success of the first Keys To Ascension live album came this second instalment featuring further live tracks from the same shows, plus further studio tracks added. The studio tracks are all excellent, but since I have already given these tracks four stars in the shape of Keystudio, the present rating and review is for the live tracks only. It is actually frustrating that there are so many different versions of Keys To Ascension out there. Perhaps it would have been much better and less confusing had they just released all the live tracks on a double live album and then released the studio tracks separately to begin with.

As I noted in my review of the first Keys To Ascension album, I usually avoid rating the same material more than once and since I have already rated the DVD version (as well as the Keystudio album) it wasn't obvious that I needed to rate these live CDs as well. However, since I gave the DVD a low rating (two stars) mostly due to its technical defects and not because of the quality of the music itself, I think that these CDs do deserve a higher rating than I was able to award the DVD. In the case of Keys To Ascension I that higher rating was four stars, but I'm going to be less generous with Keys To Ascension II.

Notoriously, no version of Keys To Ascension features the correct track order as they were performed on the actual shows. Comparing parts one and two might offers a clue to why. Generally, the more interesting live tracks were selected for the first Keys To Ascension album, perhaps under the assumption that this second part would never be? Listening to Keys To Ascension II you get the feeling that this is the leftovers from the making of the first Keys To Ascension album. By this I don't mean that what is here is bad, far from it. But (leaving aside the excellent studio tracks), Keys To Ascension II has less interesting song selections overall. The band took few chances on these shows and instead 'plays it safe' for the most part. The few surprising selections all of them ended up on the first Keys To Ascension album, leaving only the more predictable numbers for this second Keys To Ascension album. Though great music in its own right, neither Going For The One, Time And A Word, or Turn Of The Century belong to my Yes favourites, and Close To The Edge and And You And I have been included on other live albums including the classic Yessongs.

In my opinion Keys To Ascension I and Keystudio are both excellent releases. If you have both of those then Keys To Ascension II is not essential. On the other hand, if you have both Keys To Ascension albums you might not need Keystudio. (In 2010 was released a set which featured both of the original Keys To Ascension albums as well as the DVD with the original artwork restored to proper colours. Since I don't own this new release I cannot comment on whether the DVD is identical to the separately available DVD that I have, but if it is then you don't need it. The audio-discs are available for streaming on Spotify. Sadly, the opportunity to restore the songs to the correct running order was not taken advantage of.)

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#1084295) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, December 02, 2013

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Keys to Ascension 2' - Yes (69/100)

Even if it fell short of its promise to bring back Yes as they were in their golden age, the Keys to Ascension duology made for a thankful respite, following a string of terrible or otherwise underwhelming work. Especially as someone who has seen fit to go through their discography in chronological order, "That, That Is" and "Mind Drive" in particular feel like an oasis after some Biblical trek through a sweltering desert of inspiration-deprived AOR, cheap pop antics and enough lineup changes to make me wondering if the band I had been listening to could rightfully be called Yes anymore. Anyways, Keys to Ascension seems to acknowledge every gripe a long-time fan of the band could ever have. We have the classic lineup and the promise of fresh epics delivered alongside some of their best classic material. Considering this was happening around twenty years since their last great album, the whole thing sounded too good to be true.

In a way, it was too good to be true. Other fans have lauded Keys to Ascension as a true return to form for the boys who brought us Close to the Edge, with the lion's share of the praise going towards the first half. Keys to Ascension 2, on the other hand, has never achieved the same popularity. While the first Keys to Ascension disappointed me for not having enough of an emphasis on the promising studio material, this sequel has disappointed me for the opposite reason. Looking back on my experience with the first, most of my lasting appreciation towards it had to do with the impeccable, Yessongs-calibre live set. Keys to Ascension 2 has more (and better) studio material than its companion, but the 'new' songs Yes offered on this one aren't enough to balance out the less impressive live portion this time around.

I think part of the lacklustre response towards Keys to Ascension 2 has to do with the fact that we had an otherwise strong first half to compare it to. "Be the One" and "That, That Is" felt dry to me, but the hour-plus of live material was enough to give Yessongs a run for its money. "Awaken", "The Revealing Science of God", "Siberian Khatru", "Roundabout" and "Starship Trooper" are here for the taking- really, it's the sort of god- tier live set I would have dreamed the lacklustre Yesshows from 1980 to be. In comparison, Keys to Ascension 2 has "Going for the One", "Turn of the Century" and "Close to the Edge" going most in its favour. The choice of songs isn't bad to be sure, but there's a certain sense that these tracks were the live cuts that didn't make it onto the first half. Even the most promising cut seems to be missing something: "Close to the Edge" was an absolute firestorm when heard on Yessongs, but here, they're slowed down the tempo to the point where it seems anaesthetic compared to other versions. On the other hand, the beautiful "Turn of the Century" (one of my favourite Yes songs period) is given a gorgeous treatment, possibly even outdoing the original off Going for the One.

While Keys to Ascension may have been devised as a pair of live albums, I was honestly most excited to hear them on the merit of having fresh material from the 'prog' Yes. Since Drama, the only great progressive piece the band had done was "Endless Dream", from the otherwise awful Talk. Just listening to a few minutes of the hyperpowered synth solos on "Mind Drive" was enough to get me hooked on the potential. While "That, That Is" off the first Keys to Ascension offered the shape and form of an epic, it honestly sounded like the band were still too stuck in the AOR mindset of Union to make the translation back into progressive rock really work. Thankfully, Keys to Ascension 2 shows Yes operating on a better level than before with the new stuff. "Mind Drive" in particular has earned a vast repute among hardcore fans, and for good reason; although it feels rigidly structured, the nineteen minute epic is home to some of the best instrumental passages the band had offered up in decades. "Foot Prints" starts off with a bright a capella redolent of "I've Seen All Good People", and evolves into a powerful track that actually feels a mite better written than "Mind Drive". "Bring Me To The Power" and "Children of Light" take this same throwback-ish approach, though they're more tangled in the hollow cheese of their recent era than I might have liked. Lastly, compared to the relative fireworks of the rest of the studio material, "Sign Language" caps off the album on an almost Floydian note, with Steve Howe noodling softly over some quiet instrumentation. Were this an official studio album, I'd say that "Sign Language" was undercooked, or belonged on a Howe solo album. For the sake of this however, it's enough to know the band want to play with sounds like that again.

Best intentions and displays of excellence aside, I cannot help but feel that Yes committed some sort of hubris to present new material alongside their immortal classics. Keys to Ascension is as well-intentioned a project as ever you're going to hear from a once-great band; when you've had success in prog and pop alike, it takes courage and dedication to challenge your heyday head on. While I'm not convinced the studio material is excellent, Keys to Ascension 2 shows the band demonstrating more confidence in their current work, rather than simply performing (admittedly brilliant) renditions of their older work. This zeitgeist would lead Yes into a brief renaissance, leading on with The Ladder and culminating with Magnification. Taken as a whole, the Keys to Ascension duology is one of the most promising turnarounds in progressive rock history. It's a shame it wouldn't be long before they burnt out once again.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#1283041) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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4 stars Clinically executed, clear sound, perfect chemistry and full maturity. Masters performances of classic songs, and the occasional smart musical addition. That makes up the first cd. Little can argue with true foundation of the quality of each and every one of the topics in this first part. The ... (read more)

Report this review (#1011016) | Posted by sinslice | Sunday, August 04, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars There are 2 part to these discs: Live and Studio. The live tracks offer some good reworking of not always familiar numbers. However, it is the studio tracks that contain the main item of interest on KEYS TO ASCENSION 2: "MInd Drive". This wonderful new track times in at over 18 and a half minu ... (read more)

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4 stars Another proof why Yes is in their own class. There is one thing half-baked Yes albums teaches me: This band is just head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to quality. They, Genesis and ELP. The live tracks here is the left overs from the first album. They should had taken the studi ... (read more)

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4 stars The studio disk is great. Okay, so in the context of their 70's brilliance, it is lacking. But it's the best effort they have made since at least Drama, if not before that. Mind Drive is worth the price of the album if you ask me. The other tracks have varying quality, with the final two actu ... (read more)

Report this review (#106646) | Posted by | Monday, January 08, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars After showing a few glimpses of promise on the two studio tracks of KTA1, which in themselves sounded rushed but hinted of better things to come, the enduring lineup of Yes pick up pretty much where they left off...on Tormato. Incomplete songwriting ideas, questionable sound selections, and ... (read more)

Report this review (#13923) | Posted by | Wednesday, June 01, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is a much needed blast of fresh air after the series of poppy albums with Trevor Rabin. Not that there is anything wrong with those albums but they were all too middle of the road. This has a great sounding live disc plus some of the greatest studio tracks written since gates of del ... (read more)

Report this review (#13921) | Posted by | Wednesday, April 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is a masterpiece liverecord. This is must in your progcollection if you want a good live- album. Absolutely great setlist and quality. "Close to the edge" and "And You And I" are best songs of KtA II. Hoping to see this kind of set in DVD. No any boring speeches or stops. This show goes on ... (read more)

Report this review (#13918) | Posted by | Friday, March 18, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Folks, this is the long lost classic Yes album. I'm referring only to disc 2 here, which consists of 45 minutes of new studio music (disc 1 is live recordings of older Yes material). Recorded in late 1996 by Anderson, Howe, Squire, Wakeman and White, Yes triumphantly returned to the peak form ... (read more)

Report this review (#13912) | Posted by | Thursday, June 17, 2004 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A good album, relaxing and relaxed. It was recorded under the California sun, and you can here it clearly. First cd was recorded live and though I think there's no need to have another live recording of their classics, it's always a pleasure to listen to Time and a word or Close to the edge. Studio ... (read more)

Report this review (#13911) | Posted by | Wednesday, April 21, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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