Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Symphonic Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Yes Symphonic Live album cover
4.22 | 357 ratings | 15 reviews | 53% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

Buy YES Music
from partners
Live, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (73:55)
1. Overture (2:30)
2. Close to the Edge (20:30)
3. Long Distance Runaround (5:28)
4. Don't Go (4:29)
5. In the Presence Of (11:03)
6. The Gates of Delirium (23:30)
7. Steve Howe Guitar Solo (6:25) :
- a. Lute Concerto in D Major, 2nd Movement
- b. Mood for a Day

CD 2 (78:53)
8. Starship Trooper (12:18)
9. Magnification (7:23)
10. And You and I (11:15)
11. Ritual (Nous sommes du Soleil) (28:21)
12. I've Seen All Good People (7:20)
13. Owner of a Lonely Heart (5:48)
14. Roundabout (6:28)

Total Time 152:48

Line-up / Musicians

- Jon Anderson / lead vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion
- Steve Howe / acoustic & electric guitars, backing vocals
- Chris Squire / bass, vocals
- Alan White / drums & percussion, electric piano

- Tom Brislin / keyboards
- European Festival Orchestra
- Wilheilm Keitel / orchestra conductor
- Aubrey Powell / DVD film director

Releases information

Recorded live in concert at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam on November 22, 2001.

Artwork: Bob Cesca with Roger Dean (logo)

CD+DVD Eagle Eye Media ‎- ERDVCD008 (2002, Europe) DVD with full concert Video w/ 157' ;
The CD includes an Audio selection which omits 5 tracks of the set-list (1.5-1.7 and 2.2, 2.4)
2CD Eagle Records ‎- ER 20152-2 (2009) Recording of full show spread on 2 discs

Thanks to Evolver for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy YES Symphonic Live Music

YES Symphonic Live ratings distribution

(357 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(53%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
Good, but non-essential (11%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

YES Symphonic Live reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Another live Yes album? Do we need another one?


This is the CD version od the DVD released back in 2002 (which I haven't seen).

Is this Yes with an orchestra instead of a keyboard player? NO! The orchestra fills in for much of the absence of a full-fledged Yes keyboardist, but Tom Brislin fill in nicely for many of the necessary keyboard parts.

So let's go:

Skip track 1, Overture, it's just the tape played while the band enters - you've heard this before.

Close To The Edge starts out a bit sloppy. It's too bad they start with this song, as it's obvious that the band is not fully warmed up until about halfway through the song. The final verses and choruses are spectacular, with Squire & Howe playing as intricately as ever. Brislin does a nice job on the keyboard solo, but I would prefer if he had not tried so hard to play Wakeman's solo note-for-note.

Don't Go and In The Presence Of are nice renditions of songs from the Magnification album, and provide a nice warm up to the highlight of the first disk, The Gates Of Delirium. The orchestra does quite a bit to make this song very large sounding. Squire, Howe and White all play this one with a fury I've never heard from them before. This one is going right to my MP3 player.

The obligatory Steve Howe guitar solo ends the first disk. Doesn't he get tire of playing Mood For A Day at every show?

Disk 2 begins with fine performances of Starship Trooper and Magnification. And You And I benefits the most from the orchestra, with the arrangement bringing this old piece, which I had been tired of hearing, back to life.

I'm going to commit blasphemy here. I'll admit that I never could appreciate TFTO. The performances on all 4 track to me sounded drab and lifeless. The compositions are nice enough, but the original recordings sound forced, and at times, dull. The performance here of Ritual makes me want to revisit the album. Here, the orchestra brings the piece to life. And again, Howe and Squire play this piece like I've never heard them play before.

I've Seen All Good People is played straightforward, and the performance of Owner Of A Lonely Heart shows why the band usually played an acoutic, shortened version since Trevor Rabin left the band. Howe just doesn't have the same flair with the guitar synth.

And who could ever complain about Roundabout?

Review by Menswear
5 stars It was my first seen show on DVD.

At first, the're wasn't a lot of shows on Dvd available, but this one was some of the first. In terms of quality, this show was above the others since it isn't a VHS rehash. It made me love Yes a lot more, most of the songs are really up-lifted with the use of the symphonic orchestra: Long Distance Runaround, Gates of Delirium and And You and I are simply to die for. I watched it so many times, and yet listening to the newest songs is still fun, like Don't Go and Magnification.

The band is at is very best mood, especially Anderson with some humor all along the way. He interacts very well with the crowd, lots of years of experience I guess. His voice is top-notch, bringing tears to my eyes a few times, especially in Soon from the Relayer album. If Steve Howe didn't prove you his legendary talent, this DVD will. His solo acts are troubadouresqly wonderful; just watch it. And by the way, the kid Tom Brislin on the keyboards is making it sound so easy, it's almost frustrating to watch! He sure nails the whole thing without breaking a sweat!

A classic in my own book.

Review by TheGazzardian
3 stars Yes' contribution to progressive rock in 2009 is a CD version of a concert that they recorded in 2001 and that has been available for some time on DVD. Probably intended to cash in on all the listeners who didn't get the limited edition of the DVD that came with CDs as well, this album seems somewhat uninspired in its timing.

Every track on this album has been released on a previous Yes live album, with the exception of Overture (the introduction they used during their symphonic tour) and Don't Go, which is not the best song Yes has done in recent years, although mildly fun. It does benefit from the inclusion of many of Yes' better epics, including complete versions of Close To The Edge, The Gates of Delirium, and Ritual. Close to the Edge has been done at least twice before (Yessongs, Keys to Ascension 2), and Gates of Delirium and Ritual were both released on Yesshows.

What makes this album worth purchasing, however, is the existence of an orchestra backing Yes up. The fact that they chose to play three of their most cherished epics, despite being previously released, only adds to the value of this collection. The orchestra makes these songs new and fresh again, even in 2009 (unless you owned the DVD). And the song collection is pretty holistic, gathering most of their biggest tracks from throughout the years while also giving ample time to their new (at the time of recording) release.

Yes fans own enough copies of them that hearing I've Seen All Good People, Roundabout, and Owner of a Lonely Heart at the end of this collection is actually more of a detriment than anything, even with the orchestra. But for listeners who haven't heard the band before, this album gives a great overview of what they have done and at the same time does it in a somewhat new way. That gives this album a bit of value beyond the hardcore audience. Although it is not their most essential live album, it will still provide value to any prog listener. Three stars.

Review by ProgressiveAttic
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Yes doesn't get old

Despite of how old they look (specially Howe) 33 years after their 1969 debut they still are as dynamic and talented as always.

The early 2000s was a very good era for Yes and a rebirth of their prog style that we all love. After almost 20 years of pop incursions (most of which are very enjoyable) the "classic" Yes prog lineup of such (monumental) albums as Tales From Topographic Oceans and Going For the One reappeared after the return of Rick Wakeman in 1996 with the live Keys To Ascension which included brand new studio material in the vein of their 70s masterpieces, showing how they are still in shape and creative. Wakeman left the band again (studio-wise) but the renewed symphonic prog spirit wasn't lost and with the help of Igor Khoroshev (keyboards and vocals) and Billy Sherwood (guitars, keyboards and vocals) they recorded the amazing The Ladder. Two years latter the band returned to the studio with Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Alan White and a SYMPHONIC ORCHESTRA!!!! to record Magnification (now that's symphonic prog), which, as the title announces, is really magnificent. And not only that.... they also toured with the orchestra!!! This is the recorded statement of such a tour.

It was about time! Yes finally decided to join the tradition of original monsters of symphonic prog such as The Moody Blues, Renaissance, ELP, etc. of playing with a symphonic orchestra. And that's not all, the set-list is the kind of thing that put a smile in the face of any "classic" Yes fan, including concert classics such as: Starship Trooper, I've Seen All Good People and Roundabout and monumental masterpieces from Close to the Edge, Relayer and Tales from Topographic Oceans (my personal favorite), many of which they haven't played for years. This without counting the lovely and magnificent pieces from Magnification.

This album is one of the proofs that Wakeman isn't indispensable for Yes to play masterful symphonic prog, even though if Patrick Moraz isn't available. The only thing you need to replace the Cape Crusader is a more than competent pianist such as Tom Brislin and an orchestra!. Here you can experience the best from the Yes prog catalog in a new dimension and as powerful as during the 70's.

Other than that we have Howe's usual outstanding and breathtaking solo, a great rendition of radio hit Owner of a Lonely Heart (only representative of the pop era) as a very appropriate closer to the concert and Jon's narrations between piece and piece indispensable on every Yesshow. Everything presented with an almost perfect sound quality.

At the end this is a masterpiece of a live album, with absolute masterpieces renewed and presented as never before. Every single track in the album is performed with such quality (including Owner of a Lonely Heart) that it is difficult to find live albums like this one.

The highlights, for me, are: Close to the Edge, Ritual, The Gates of Delirium, Starship Trooper, In the Presence of and Howe's solo.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This Yes live album is way better seen on DVD of course but this is still masterful music with some of Yes' best live material. It features an orchestra that serves to enhance the music rather than detract. Of particular note are the stellar versions of 'Close To The Edge' all 20 minutes of it, 'In The Presence Of', 'The Gates Of Delirium' clocking 23:30, and one of the best renditions of 'Starship Trooper' I have heard.

The concert also boasts some soloing from Steve Howe which is always a treat, ad on CD 2 a wonderful setlist includes 'Magnification', 'And You And I', and a 28 minute version of Topographic's 'Ritual'. Of course stalwart classics are here such as 'I've Seen All Good People', 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' and 'Roundabout'.

The sound quality is excellent and it all wraps up beautifully on 2 packed CDs. This is one of the best live performances and it is captured on DVD which far outweighs the audio but nevertheless 4 stars for the genius music is well deserved.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars After the remarkable Magnification, which featured a full orchestra, it only made sense to record a concert in the same vein, and it's fascinating to hear many Yes classics accompanied by such an ensemble. While I agree that "The Firebird Suite" is Yes' official entrance theme, I appreciated their use of the stunning introduction to "Give Love Each Day" to begin the concert.

Symphonic Live boasts three epic masterworks. Opening with "Close to the Edge," the band performs this at a pace that doesn't quite suit the energy the piece deserves, although I find Steve Howe's cleaner tone more enjoyable than his tone on the original. "The Gates of Delirium," from that peaceful beginning to that peaceful ending and all the cacophony in between, is always wonderful and welcome. Clocking in at nearly a half an hour, "Ritual" features extended bass soloing and a nod to "The Ancient."

Three traditional Yes songs are rendered better here than on any other live album I have heard. "Long Distance Runaround" is light and dashing, with Alan White brightening the song considerably. "Starship Trooper" is full-bodied and ethereal. Finally, "And You and I," with that phenomenal orchestral backing, transports the listener to another world.

Two songs, however, just don't belong in the set list. Of all the stellar material on Magnification, the band opts to include "Don't Go," which is the second weakest piece from that album (that adjective, of course, belonging to "Soft as a Dove"). I would have preferred to have heard the uplifting and progressive masterpiece "We Agree" instead. And as much as I enjoy "Owner of a Lonely Heart," the song seems inappropriate among everything else on the album. "Hearts" (from the same album, 90125) would have been a stirring penultimate song. Still, the inclusion of these two songs is hardly anything to fuss over.

This is one of Yes' greatest live offerings.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Symphonic Live' - Yes (60/100)

Whatever doubts I may have had about post-90125 Yes were dispelled with 2001's Magnification. Sure, most of the 90s had been wasted on bad pop and lazy songwriting, but Magnification (and to a lesser extent, The Ladder) proved to me that Yes could still churn out a lovely album, given the proper inspiration. Although Symphonic Live was released on CD in 2009, this live performance was recorded during the Magnification tour. A more comprehensive portrayal of their Amsterdam date at the Heineken Music Hall can be found on the Symphonic Live DVD package. Suffice to say, even for the sake of a live album, hearing the band's classic material played alongside a full- blooded orchestra would be many a progger's dream come true. It's that heavy expectation that makes Symphonic Live somewhat disappointing. I loved what Larry Groupé had done with the immersive orchestrations on Magnification, but the symphonic arrangements here feel like background ambiance in comparison. Add to that a fairly muddled mix to an otherwise inspired performance from Yes, and you have yourself a fairly live album. By all accounts it's not a bad or even misguided attempt, but it should have been so much better.

Though, from what I've heard, the DVD release is apparently infinitely more impressive than this, the symphonic element feels understated to a fault. The string harmonies and bombast is audible if you listen hard enough, but it's almost always drowned out by the band's performance. It's obvious the band should remain the central attraction in a symphonic experiment like this, but adding an orchestra would have only been a worthwhile investment if it added something substantial to the music. The orchestral intros are a nice showcase for the symphony, but the arrangements to the classic material add no new dimensions. Even an epic like "Close to the Edge" (which is as close to classical composition as rock music gets) doesn't seem to take advantage of the vast potential here. What's more problematic is that many of the songs have been slowed down accordingly, supposedly to make room for the symphonic sweeps and flourishes. As far as the CD component to Symphonic Live is concerned, it wasn't worth it. Still, this is Yes we're talking about, and they have some of their best material here. The performances aren't as lively or essential as Yessongs, but you can't go wrong with the prog-heavy setlist they chose for it. In spite of the lazier tempo, "Close to the Edge" remains an absolute titan of a track. Sessioneer Tom Brislin fills Wakeman's shoes snugly, to the point where I could have sworn it was Rick playing those parts himself. While the pace and tone of Yes' performance is more leisurely than I would have preferred, Jon Anderson's voice is bright and shows little sign of aging here.

If you remove the superfluous orchestrations, you're left with a perfectly capable Yes album, with most of the tracks I might have liked to hear on one of their live albums. Even so, an album entitled Symphonic Live begs to be judged primarily on the merit of its orchestral contributions; in this sense, the album is a disappointment. Beyond the muddied mix (which could be forgiven- Yessongs suffered from the same thing) the orchestration suggests a sense of bombast, but lacks the determination to infuse itself into the composition. The symphony is a pompous backdrop to an otherwise strong performance from the band. It's reasonably good, but it's nothing that Yessongs and Keys to Ascension didn't offer years before.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Review #57 Somewhere between the '90s and the beginning of the 21st century, it became really popular the concept of the Symphonic live performances (a rock band playing with an orchestra): METALLICA did it, KISS did it, SCORPIONS did it, and YES did it. The performances of classic songs of YE ... (read more)

Report this review (#2482414) | Posted by Uruk_hai | Friday, December 4, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The album and DVD that still surprises me. I did not have great expectations when Magnification was released and I found myself really enjoying it. I really thought YES was done since nothing since the 90's held my attention all the way through an album. Each album had a really good song or two , ... (read more)

Report this review (#1734258) | Posted by tdfloyd | Friday, June 16, 2017 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Enjoyable, but mean-spirited audio of critically acclaimed and popular concert, performed on DVD. Mean-spirited? I just feel that this concert warranted a double CD. The band have played safe with their track choice, limiting it to their 'well known' and shorter tracks, which in many cases ... (read more)

Report this review (#859561) | Posted by sussexbowler | Thursday, November 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Classic!! This is the very first Yes live DVD concert I ever saw, and boy did it blow my mind! I already had "Fragile" and "Relayer" in my Yes collection by the time I got a hold of this, and I was planning to get "Close to the edge" next, since I had heard great things about it. I saw this ... (read more)

Report this review (#465128) | Posted by Moonstone | Monday, June 20, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Why ? Yes is a band with a very big, symphonic sound. After all, this is one of the handful of bands who put symphonic back into music again. They re-connected the music business again with the likes of Ludwig Van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johan Sebastian Bach. Not to mention ... (read more)

Report this review (#362492) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, December 24, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album is ont of the best gathered-live contect Yes ever put up on CD or DVD. The musicianship is great as always and age did not mark the band members in any negative way. They still have the force that's been driving them for years. Basically you'll like this if you are an Yes fan, and ... (read more)

Report this review (#233089) | Posted by aSimionescu | Thursday, August 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is, by far, the best live album I've heard in my whole life. Of course, I'm a big Yes fan, but trying to be imparcial, my opinion is based on the technical and musical virtues of this album. The musicians are in their best shape, and the addition of Tom Brislin on keyboards was a sucess. Howe ... (read more)

Report this review (#226029) | Posted by fmatah | Saturday, July 11, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What to say ? The best Yes' songs with an orchestra behind ! Great versions of these classics... the best tracks are Close to the Edge, The Gates of Delirium, Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil), Starship Trooper and And You And I. The new songs Don't Go and Magnification are also extraordinary. It is re ... (read more)

Report this review (#205150) | Posted by claugroi | Tuesday, March 3, 2009 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of YES "Symphonic Live"

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.