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Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe

Symphonic Prog

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Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe Live at the NEC album cover
3.86 | 34 ratings | 5 reviews | 35% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (73:37)
1. Time and a Word / Owner of a Lonely Heart / Teakbois (7:28)
2. Clap (4:20)
3. Mood for a Day (4:13)
4. Wakeman Solo (5:04)
5. Long Distance Runaround / Drum Solo (7:20)
6. Birthright (6:34)
7. And You and I (10:39)
8. All Good People (8:54)
9. Close to the Edge (19:05)

CD 2 (71:52)
1. Themes / Bruford-Levin Duet (12:00)
2. Brother of Mine (10:06)
3. [Jon Anderson announces BBC recording] (1:35)
3. The Meeting (4:46)
4. Heart of the Sunrise (11:20)
5. Order of the Universe (9:38)
6. Roundabout (8:54)
7. Starship Trooper (13:33)

Total Time 145:29

Line-up / Musicians

- Jon Anderson / vocals
- Rick Wakeman / keyboards
- Tony Levin / bass
- Bill Bruford / drums
- Steve Howe / guitars

- Julian Colbeck / keyboards
- Milton McDonald / guitars

Thanks to Progatron for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE Live at the NEC ratings distribution

(34 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(35%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (9%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kev rowland
4 stars Like many Yes fans, I wasn't too sure what was happening with the band with all of the line-up changes they went through. I was surprised at just how good 'Drama' was, but after that I felt that all of the rest of their releases either didn't sound like Yes to me, or were patchy (and to be honest, the next really good album after 'Drama' was 'Fly From Here'). So, when back in he late Eighties I heard that Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe were joining forces to record a new album I was incredibly excited, and I wasn't disappointed with the results. But, as well know by now, that project only lasted the one album and there have been few official live albums available by that line-up, but here we have a double CD of their performance at the NEC on 24th October, 1989. As well as the four they were of course joined by Tony Levin on bass/stick, with Julian Colbeck on additional keyboards and Milton McDonald on additional guitar.

Musically it is interesting to hear how the songs from the album fit in so easily with the Yes numbers, and it really does sound as if the classic Yes line-up has just expanded slightly and is well at home with all of the music and does everything justice. Bill was of course playing is electronic kit at the time, so it does sound a little different, but given his mastery and control it all makes semse.The booklet is a little strange in that while it talks about how the decision was made to get back together, it is almost as if it was written as a press release for the 'new' album, and that shows had yet to be performed. Given that this is a booklet for a live album that seems unusual to say the least, and there are no group shots of the band performing, which is what one might expect, instead of solo studio shots. It's great to have a Pete Frame family tree detailing where they came from, but fitting the Yes/ABWH story on one page of a CD booklet is not ideal ' I have 20/20 vision but there is no way of reading the detail comfortably.

But, that really is nit-picking, as this is all about the music, and that is just wonderful. The production is very clear indeed, and kudos to whoever was behind the controls, but yet again there is no information about who engineered, produced and mixed this. Simply put, if you are a Yes fan then this album shows what could have been, with songs such as 'And You And I' just superb. Sure, the lack of details is annoying, but for anyone interested at all in the music of Yes (and there can't be many progheads who aren't) then this is essential.

Review by Guillermo
4 stars Another live album from ABWH, but this time with Tony Levin on bass guitar and stick. Their previous official live album, titled "An Evening of Yes Music Plus" (which also was released on video formats in 1993) was recorded in Mountain View, California, in 9-September-1989, with Jeff Berlin on bass guitar, with him abruptly (but very well) replacing Tony Levin for the last seven dates of the first leg of their tour (in North America) because Levin became ill with hepatitis. Berlin in fact had a very short time to learn the songs and to rehearse them with the band. But for the next leg of their tour (in Europe) Levin returned to the band, and this album has one of that concerts, recorded in Birmingham, England, in 24-October-1989.

This Birmingham concert recording and performance unfortunately is not better than the Mountain View concert recording and performance. They sound a bit tired, and the quality of the recording is not very good. Maybe the bass guitar and the stick sound better recorded in this album in comparison to Berlin`s bass guitar in the previous live album, but I think that they played better in the Mountain View concert. Both bassists (Levin and Berlin) are very good musicians, but they played the songs differently (with Levin playing the stick in some songs and with Berlin not playing the stick but making his bass guitar sound almost like a stick, maybe using some electronic pedal sound effects). I remember watching to some videos in youtube with Levin playing in concert with ABWH and I saw that he also used a keyboard to play the bass tones in some parts of some songs. Anyway, both live albums are good, with two very good bassists playing the songs differently but very well. But the Mountain View concert was played better, with more energy and enthusiasm

Other interesting things in this live album recorded in Birmingham are the inclusion of all the songs the band played at that concert. The CD version of the Mountain View concert lacked two songs ("I`ve Seen All Good People" and "The Meeting", with both being included in the video versions of that concert). But again...the Mountain View concert versions of both songs are better than the live versions from this Birmingham concert, in my opinion. This Birmingham live album also includes the Bruford-Levin drums and bass duet, which obviously was not played in the Mountain View concert due to the absence of Levin.

This Birmingham concert album is, until now, the only officially released live album from the band which has Tony Levin in the line-up. This also makes it interesting, with him playing in some songs the stick, doing a very good job in this instrument, making the then new songs from ABWH sounding a bit influenced by World Music and New Age music.

But as a whole, the production of the Mountain View concert album was done with more care. Anyway, this live album recorded in Birmingham is also good.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars The Meeting

Unlike the live recording featured on the album An Evening Of Yes Music Plus, which was released on double CD in 1993, the present show from the same tour was not released at the time but has been sitting in the archives for years before it finally saw the light of day in 2010. I am the happy owner of the special edition three disc set which comes in a hard DVD case and includes a bonus DVD in addition to the two audio discs. The contents of the DVD is however only some behind the scenes footage from the tour.

Given that this show, which was recorded live at the NEC in Birmingham on Oct 24th 1989, is from the same tour and has the same set list as the show featured on An Evening Of Yes Music Plus, one may rightly wonder if this new release is really needed. Well, there are a few minor differences between the two. First, unlike the An Evening Of Yes Music Plus double CD album, the present release holds the complete show (the An Evening Of Yes Music Plus double CD album lacked three songs, but the DVD version of that same show has the complete show in audio and video). Second, Tony Levin (with whom Bill Bruford played in King Crimson) is playing the bass here as opposed to Jeff Berlin on An Evening Of Yes Music Plus which may interest some fans. The song Themes is followed by a drum and bass workout by Bruford and Levin which obviously wasn't on An Evening Of Yes Music Plus.

The show opens with the four Yes-men each having their individual solo spots. Starting with Jon Anderson performing an acoustic medley of Time And A Word, Owner Of A Lonely Heart, and Teakbois; then Steve Howe treats the audience to two of his best-known acoustic numbers in Clap and Mood For A Day; Rick Wakeman's solo spot focuses on snippets of tunes from some of his solo albums, and, finally, Bill Bruford gets to perform a drum solo preceded by Long Distance Runaround.

With the sole exceptions of Time And A Word and Owner Of A Lonely Heart during Jon's opening solo spot, all the Yes material included here originally featured on the three classic albums Close To The Edge, Fragile, and The Yes Album, all from 1971 and 1972 when Bill Bruford was still a member of the band. The new album is represented by Order Of The Universe, The Meeting, Brother Of Mine, Themes, Birthright, and the aforementioned Teakbois.

Overall, the show is excellent and I would say that Live At The NEC is preferable to the CD version of An Evening Of Yes Music Plus but not to the DVD version of the same show. Having either the DVD version of An Evening Of Yes Music Plus from Voiceprint or the present live album is highly recommended, but having both is probably for fans only.

Review by patrickq
3 stars One of two official live releases from the multi-leg 1989-1990 ABWH tour, Live at the NEC was recorded just a month and a half after the show that would be released as An Evening of Yes Music Plus. In fact, they only played four shows between the two dates memorialized on CD. Live at the NEC is largely superfluous but for a couple of details that have been widely discussed: it features bassist Tony Levin (Jeff Berlin had appeared on An Evening of Yes Music), and it contains two more songs.

In terms of the change in bassist, Levin is a bit more appreciated by Yes fans, but Berlin is just as good, and while each of these CDs is an engrossing listen, neither rivals the best Yes live albums, and neither gets many spins from me anymore.

An Evening of Yes Music is a better recording than Live at the NEC, so it makes sense that it was chosen for contemporary release. But complicating the question of which is better overall is the fact that Live at the NEC contains what is probably the best version of 'I've Seen All Good People,' the Chris Squire instrumental which is always (as far as I know) played as a medley with 'You're Move.' Keyboardist Rick Wakeman and guitarist Steve Howe are absolutely on fire. For whatever reason, this song isn't included on An Evening of Yes Music.

Without "I've Seen All Good People," Live at the NEC would be fall a bit short of three stars, but with this great performance, a three-star rating is warranted.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Documents the real ABWH line-up playing live. We all know the music of Yes and ABWH, so I won't review the music here. The real compelling reason to pick this up is that it is the only official live release of the ABWH line-up with Tony Levin on bass. There are some bootleg releases with Levi ... (read more)

Report this review (#935157) | Posted by PaulH | Monday, March 25, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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