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ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN HOWE

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe biography
ABWH was born in 1989 when Jon Anderson envisioned working again with his former YES bandmates, ouside the confines of the Trevor Rabin/Chris Squire-led "90125" lineup. He began collaborating with Steve Howe, with whom most of the classic YES material, including "Close to the Edge" had been written, and soon they enlisted old mates Rick WAKEMAN & Bill BRUFORD into the fold. Pointedly refusing to take any group name other than "YES", they decided their own quite famous surnames would do just fine. With the contribution of Tony Levin on bass (at BRUFORD's suggestion), the band was in place & ready to reclaim the YES legacy in all but name.

The album "Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe" was released in 1989 to enthusiastic responses from prog fans. Gone were the radio- friendly, "Big Generator"-type, tracks; this was a full-blown return to the soaring YES epics of old; with the very first lines of the album boldly stating Jon's intent to once again set his music free from the enslaving corporate bonds which had held it for so long.

"Begone you ever-piercing power-play machine; killing all musical solidarity..."

The album was the most solid piece of work to come out of the YES camp in years. It sold well, and a very successful tour followed, with the band playing to sell-out crowds & ressurecting some old favorites that had not been performed in many a moon. The future seemed bright for ABWH, whereas YES seemed to be in a kind of limbo... Alas, when there is money to be made, solidarity cannot last for long. While working on the followup to their debut album, Anderson contacted Rabin for help in adding some writing to the album. Rabin & Anderson began a dialogue with the record company that led to the idea of combining the two warring YES factions; thereby giving rise to the grand debacle that was to become "Union", and signaling the end of ABWH. BRUFORD once commented that 'ABWH could have been a very interesting band... if theyd've spent more than five seconds on it'...
- D. Michael D'anna II

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ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN HOWE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN HOWE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.20 | 295 ratings
Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe
1989

ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN HOWE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.39 | 87 ratings
Evening of Yes Music Plus
1993
4.04 | 18 ratings
Live At The NEC
2010

ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN HOWE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.89 | 15 ratings
In the Big Dream
1989
3.42 | 33 ratings
An Evening Of Yes Music Plus (DVD)
1994

ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN HOWE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN HOWE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.33 | 10 ratings
Quartet (I'm Alive)
1989
3.67 | 3 ratings
I'm Alive
1989
4.13 | 8 ratings
Brother Of Mine
1989
3.20 | 13 ratings
Brother of Mine (2)
1989
2.68 | 9 ratings
Order of the Universe
1989

ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN HOWE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe by ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN  HOWE album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.20 | 295 ratings

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Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe
Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe Symphonic Prog

Review by Trollheart

4 stars Conceived as Jon Anderson's attempt to break out of the strictures he felt the recent Yes albums (90125, Big Generator) had placed on him, this was a project which involved former members of Yes coming together to record what was essentially a new Yes album done the "old Yes" way. You can tell by the names who were in the project - Rick Wakeman of course, legendary keysman on some of Yes's best albums, Steve Howe, who left to join Asia, and drumming icon Bill Bruford from King Crimson. Contractual and copyright problems prevented the new supergroup from using the name Yes, so after some brainstorming they decided the safest option was to just use their names. Makes for a long album title, but hey, like everyone else, we'll refer to them from now on as ABWH, okay?

I seem to recall I bought this album on the strength of the cover alone (though of course I knew the names of the performers, so knew what the music was likely to sound like) - who wouldn't, with that fantastic Roger Dean artwork, which certainly appealed to someone who was getting into the likes of Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo? I bought this on vinyl originally, and it was presented in a beautifully lavish gatefold sleeve. To be honest, I had never been a huge fan of Yes, but I had enjoyed the last two albums, and I liked Rick Wakeman's work. I was also familiar with Anderson's collaborations with another of my favourite artistes of the time, the singularly talented Vangelis. So it wasn't a difficult sell as far as I was concerned.

But the needle tells all (sigh! Ask your parents, willya? MAN I feel old!), so what sort of music have we here? There's a deceptively gentle opening, tinkling piano as Wakeman introduces the first piece of music, and you feel yourself settling back. BAD idea! Within a few moments Bruford's drums come crashing through, the pace jumps to about third or fourth gear, and the first song is well into its stride. The clear, piercing voice of Jon Anderson dispels any initial belief that this may have been an instrumental. As it goes, ABWH is broken into four multi-part compositions, with some self-contained complete tracks complementing these larger works, but all seems to feed into the one overall concept, and the album plays very much like one huge slice of music, almost an hour in length. The aforementioned piano intro is called "Sound", and forms the first of a triplet of songs that make up the first composition, called "Themes". As the drums kick in and the singing begins, we're into "Second attention", which goes on for about half the track. Really, it's a bit fatuous to call "Sound" a third of the track, as it's really nothing more than a piano intro, a few seconds long, not even a minute really, and the rest of "Themes" is divided between "Second attention" (the larger part) and "Soul warrior", which is totally instrumental, and runs for just over a minute and a half.

The next track is a self-contained one, just over three minutes long. "Fist of fire" is much slower, heavier and darker than the previous. There's a real sense of the ominous about this: stabbing keyboards, thumping drums and Anderson's urgent vocal carrying the track. "Through the darkest age/ We could surely fly/ Through the darkest age/ With the fist of fire." There are some great keyboard solos by the Wizard King here, good backing vocals too (multi- tracked?). This leads into the second multi-part composition, called "Brother of mine", on which Asia and ex-Yes keysman Geoff Downes lends a hand with the writing. The whole thing starts off with a gong sound and then a slow, soulful intro: "So, giving all the love you have/ Never be afraid/ To show your heart." It opens with "The big dream", a jaunty romp which takes us up to "Nothing can come between us", where the song speeds up a bit and the theme from "Brother of mine" is repeated, as happens throughout the multi-parters. Nice guitar work here, before things really take off for the final part, "Long lost brother of mine", which brings the piece full circle.

The way the parts of the multi-compositional pieces meld and flow together effortlessly makes it somewhat difficult to note where one part ends and another begins, and there's definitely no gaps as the parts slide from one to another like tributaries of a river coming together. It's not a criticism, nor is it a problem when listening to the album, as the music is so uniformly brilliant that you really cease to care what one section is called, and just really listen to it as one continuous piece of wonderful music, four legends at the very pinnacle of their game, consummate professionals working not to outdo each other, but to come together in such a way as to almost become one single entity, dedicated to producing the very best music they can.

After the multi-layered "Brother of mine" there's a single track, but no less brilliant in its way. "Birthright" has a dark, brooding tone, with a steady drumbeat, and seems to be about the American War of Independence: "This place ain't big enough/ For stars and stripes/ This place ain't big enough/ For red and white." About halfway through it morphs into something of an Irish jig, and gets a little faster as it approaches its conclusion. The song is really a vehicle for Steve Howe's guitar, and does he dazzle! It's followed by one of only two ballads on the album, the gently understated, almost hymnal "The meeting", where Anderson and Wakeman bring things down to a whisper with one of the nicest songs I've heard in a very long time. The gentle piano perfectly complements Jon Anderson's choir- boy voice, and yes, there is something spiritual about the song, even in the lyric: "Surely I could tell/ If you asked me, Lord/ To board the train/ My life, my love/ Would be the same." It closes the first side of the album in gentle triumph, almost a lullaby, fading slowly away but remaining in the ears long after the last chords have been played, and the last notes have receded into the night.

Side 2 kicks off with another multi-composition, under the banner heading of "Quartet". Featuring, yes you guessed it, four parts, it starts off with "I wanna learn", a boppy, joyful, almost childlike song about discovery and wonder, as Anderson cries "I wanna know more about life/ And things that can fly in between my mind/ I wanna change all that I dream about/ My waking and my so many lives."

It's relatively short, about two minutes, but then the whole track is just over nine, so with four sections about two per section is right. Second part is "She gives me love", keeping the happy theme going and essentially continuing on the same song. Anderson cheekily namechecks one of the old Yes songs as he sings "Through the gates of delirium so fast..." Apparently there are other examples of this throughout the album, though not being a 70s-era fan of Yes I couldn't point them out for you. "She gives me love" seamlessly becomes "Who was the first", which is almost exactly the same melody but with different lyrics, until the climax of the track is reached with "I'm alive", where the theme from "The Meeting" returns, to slow the track down and bring it to a gentle and very satisfying close.

"Teakbois", the next self-contained track, I could in all honesty have done without. It's totally anachronistic, basically the song of a band forming behind a really annoying Calypso beat. It has its moments, but if there's a bad track on the album (and there really isn't), then this is it. Unfortunately it also runs for over seven minutes, close to but not equalling the three multi-parters so far, which is a pity, as the space could have been used for a much more appropriate song. I think this was just basically a jam for the guys, a bit of fun. Not for me, though...

Luckily things are soon back on track for the final multi-composition, as "The order of the universe" takes the album towards its ending. Another nine-minute piece, it kicks off with a powerful dramatic instrumental which goes under the title of "Order theme", before the main part of the song, "Rock gives courage" blasts in, a real hard-rocker in the mould of (sorry guys, I know you don't want to relate to 90125 but...) "Owner of a lonely heart" or "Our song". Things speed up then for the third part, "It's so hard to grow", reintroducing the central theme: "You can't imagine it/ How hard it is to grow/ You can't imagine it/ Can you imagine/ The order of the universe?" The remaining part, called "The universe" is basically an instrumental ending to the song, a retracing of the introduction.

As side 1 ended with a lovely little ballad, so does side 2, and indeed the album, come to a relaxing close, particularly after the histrionics of "The order of the universe", with a beautiful little acoustic number, on the composition of which Anderson's old mate Vangelis lends a hand. It's VERY Jon Anderson: "Let us be together/ Let's pretend that we are free/ Let's all be where the angels find us/ We all have the key." There's minimal or no percussion in the song, and it's just Steve Howe and Jon Anderson finishing the album off in fine style. "Something that I feel/ To pour upon my soul/ Countenance of love/ For one and all". Amen, brother.

There never was another ABWH album. Two years later the two "sides" of Yes resolved their differences, and the result was Union, released under the Yes banner. Although some of its music is similar to ABWH, there are no multi- part pieces on it, and it's not a concept album, so although it is regarded in some circles as the 2nd ABWH album, to me it's a Yes album, pure and simple. An excellent one, it has to be said, but for all that, a Yes product and not a continuation of ABWH, although some songs on it were supposed to have found life on the projected follow up to ABWH. In this manner, I consider ABWH the album to be something of a rarity: unique in that it is at once an album by established members of a band, a new supergroup and a debut all in one, and is the only recorded example of this partnership (setting aside live recordings). For this reason alone it deserves to be listened to, and appreciated.

 Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe by ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN  HOWE album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.20 | 295 ratings

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Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe
Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe Symphonic Prog

Review by aglasshouse

2 stars This place ain't big enough for stars and stripes.

Yes was in a downward spiral in the late 80's- no-one can deny that. Drastic sound changes were starting to shake the band's ideals, and the lineup was practically broken compared to when the band started. Jon Anderson, Yes' proclaimed golden boy, was fed-up of the boundaries of pop-music presented by the eighties, and thrived to create some prog solo work reminiscent of the band's old days. However as these ideas began to take birth so did it's scope. Old Yes members eagerly started jumping on board, those being Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman, and Steve Howe, as well as King Crimson's Tony Levin. The new-old mostly Yes amalgamate renamed themselves cleverly to "Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe" and released their debut in 1989.

The structure of the songs on the album are what you'd consider to be progressive- multi-sectioned neo-classical rock epics that prog musicians are so fond of. Whilst these tended to be rather good in classic Yes days, they sort of fall short here. For the most part. Remember this was not two years after Yes' Big Generator, arguably their most pop-indulgent album to date, so there's still much of a trace left over. The most musically infuriating part of this era for me was doubtlessly the keyboards, where it was always a decision to either use these dinky electro-pop keyboards or over-the-top pseudo-epic synthesizers. Even the legendary Wakeman's keyboards sound horrendous here, except of course for the Genesis-like 'Birthright', which gives me the idea that I think Wakeman could take a lesson here or there how to do good pop keyboards from Tony Banks. Bill Bruford, outstanding on the skins, is reduced to using heavily programmed drums that sound nigh insincere. Levin is practically nonexistent for the majority of the album, but Howe and Anderson are the two that sort of remain consistent even if they are bleating out cheesy music. The band's cohesiveness is palpable but it doesn't have a trace of the overwhelming sophistication or supreme talent I know they've displayed. The styles bounce all over the place, from slightly subtle prog to annoying Latin-infused songs. 'Teakbois' is nothing short of an auditory insult, awfully reminiscent of Genesis' 'Illegal Alien' in 1983.

But I digress. Let's take a look at where the album shines. The aforementioned 'Birthright' is quite a creative piece and is rather rich lyrically. Has great and powerful drumming from Bruford to, for a moment abandoning the terrible robotic drums. Unfortunately the longer 9-10 minute epics can't really stay away from the 80's cheese pop style for very long, that is except for the extremely awesome 'Brother of Mine'. Other than that, the "bad" songs are pretty innocent. They aren't offensive for the most part and are I suppose enjoyable to an adjusted ear.

My rating would be higher if ABWH dropped some of the typical eighties pop style for the album they wanted to be containing less of. Like Anderson I yearned for something different from pop-rock Yes, but unfortunately ABWH just doesn't deliver that very well.

 Evening of Yes Music Plus by ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN  HOWE album cover Live, 1993
3.39 | 87 ratings

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Evening of Yes Music Plus
Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars An evening of Yes music minus

This double CD album was originally released in 1993 and contained live recordings from the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe tour An Evening Of Yes Music Plus. While the show is absolutely excellent the album does not contain the complete show. Three songs were omitted from the album: I've Seen All Good People, The Meeting, and Starship Trooper. (Some versions of the album included Starship Trooper as a bonus track but not in the correct position in the set list!)

In 2006, Voiceprint released a DVD version holding the complete show. The latter is clearly the preferable version to buy as it gives you not only the full show, with all of the songs in the correct order, but also the visual experience of video. I am the proud owner of the special edition double DVD set - one of the finest pieces in my music collection - which also holds the music video collection In The Big Dream as a bonus feature. I have previously given the DVD video version a four star review but the CD version merits a lower rating.

Another point of reference is the recently released Live At The NEC, Oct 24th 1989, which features a different show from the same tour. This release also holds a complete show on two CDs. This proves that the full set does fit onto two CDs which begs the question why some songs were omitted from the An Evening Of Yes Music Plus CD album.

Having at least one live release from Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe in your collection is highly recommended but you get more value for money if you get the DVD version of An Evening Of Yes Music Plus. And if you still want more after that get the Live At The NEC double CD. If you have both of these you have everything you need and will not require the CD version of An Evening Of Yes Music Plus, good though it is.

 Live At The NEC by ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN  HOWE album cover Live, 2010
4.04 | 18 ratings

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Live At The NEC
Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

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.

 Quartet (I'm Alive) by ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN  HOWE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1989
2.33 | 10 ratings

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Quartet (I'm Alive)
Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars The core quartet was alive!

The quartet of Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman, and Steve Howe released this single in 1989 to promote the album they recorded together that year (a Yes album in all but name). This single is interesting for fans in that it is not simply an edited version of I'm Alive which was featured on the full-length album as the final part of the four-part suite Quartet, but an alternative version of the song. The final minute or so of this single version is different from the album version.

I don't own this single but the single version of the song has been included on the second bonus disc of the 2CD reissue of the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe album by Gonzo Multimedia. This bonus disc also features the other singles that were released from that album including single edits of Brother Of Mine, Order Of The Universe, and the non-album single b-side Vultures In The City.

 Order of the Universe by ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN  HOWE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1989
2.68 | 9 ratings

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Order of the Universe
Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Less is less

Order Of The Universe is another single released from the very good Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe album. Unlike the Brother Of Mine single there is nothing here that wasn't already on the full-length album except two different edits of the main song. Hence, in a way you get even less here than on the album. While the unedited album version is the definitive version and one to return to again and again, these edited versions are mainly a curiosity for fans and their value extends to a single listen only. The b-side is Fist Of Fire taken from that same album and is presented in the same version as on the album.

The nice art work by the great Roger Dean probably makes this an attractive collectors item (I don't own it), but considering the musical contents this is only for hard core fans and even for us edited versions of songs we are already familiar with carries a very limited worth.

 In the Big Dream by ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN  HOWE album cover DVD/Video, 1989
2.89 | 15 ratings

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In the Big Dream
Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Four musical brothers

In The Big Dream is a collection of music videos to songs taken from the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe album interspersed with studio footage and interviews from the recording sessions of that album. The four guys seem to have great fun in the studio and around and it is interesting to see how the music is coming together.

The music videos are to Brother Of Mine, Order Of The Universe, and Quartet (I'm Alive). The videos are of course dated as they come out of the 80's, but I find them nonetheless very charming, especially Brother Of Mine with the "noble savages".

The original VHS version of this apparently also contained a live recording of Heart Of The Sunrise. My version of In The Big Dream is a bonus feature on the limited edition double DVD set of An Evening Of Yes Music Plus which is highly recommended.

 Brother of Mine (2) by ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN  HOWE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1989
3.20 | 13 ratings

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Brother of Mine (2)
Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Themes

This single by Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe released in 1989 is interesting for Yes fans primarily because of the non- album b-side (or c-side actually) Vultures In The City. This song is in a similar style to the ones that ended up on the album and it would not have been out of place on that album. Personally, I wouldn't have minded this song instead of Teakbois, the least good song on that lone Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe album.

There are two other tracks here. The a-side is an edited version of Brother Of Mine which is cut down to six and a half minuted from the original ten and a half minutes. It is a beautiful song and even though I prefer the uncut album version, it works also in this shorter version. Themes is however left untouched and is thus the same as on the album.

Overall, we get here some 18 minutes of very good music, one song of which is not available elsewhere (though it has since been made available on a bonus disc with recent re-releases of the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe album).

 An Evening Of Yes Music Plus (DVD) by ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN  HOWE album cover DVD/Video, 1994
3.42 | 33 ratings

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An Evening Of Yes Music Plus (DVD)
Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This concert video was recorded in 9-September-1989 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. This concert was also released in audio in the CD format first in 1993 in Europe (without "Ive Seen All Good `People", "The Meeting", and "Starship Trooper") and later in 1994 in the U.S. (still without "Ive Seen All Good `People" and "The Meeting", but with "Starship Trooper" as a bonus track).

Bassist Jeff Berlin replaced Tony Levin (who became sick with hepatitis) for the last seven dates of the first leg of their tour in 1989 in North America. He had to learn all the songs in a very few days and with a very few rehearsals with the band, and he appears in this video doing a very good job. He did not play the stick bass like Levin but he made sound his bass guitar like a stick bass in some songs thanks to the use of some pedal sound effects.

The video starts with Jon Anderson walking to the stage from the back of the seats of the Amphitheatre, shaking hands with some members of the audience and walking to the stage and singing at the same time for his solo medley (accompanied from the stage by Milton McDonald on acoustic guitar and Julian Colbeck on keyboards). It was unusual to start a concert in this way with three solo sections by Anderson, Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman, respectively. Maybe it was not a very good idea, in my opinion (it`s a bit boring for my taste), but they did it anyway. Anderson`s solo medley consisted of "Time and a Word", "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and "Teakbois". This medley sounds good, and after this, Steve Howe appears on stage to play two solo acoustic guitar pieces, "Clap" and "Mood for a Day", with an unidentified instrumental piece between both. After this, Rick Wakeman appears on stage to play a solo keyboards medley of "Gone but Not Forgotten", "Madrigal", "Catherine Parr" and "Merlin the Magician". A very good solo section by Wakeman, it is my favourite from all the solo medleys played by ABWH. Very well played.

After this, all the other musicians appear on stage to play "Long Distance Runaround", followed by a good drums solo played by Bill Bruford. This is followed by "Birthright", which has Howe playing acoustic and electric guitars and a mandolin, Bruford playing very good drums and percussion, Wakeman playing a very good keyboards solo, and Anderson playing a bit of percussion instruments. The next song is "And You and I", played very well, and I consider this version as the best live version that I have listened to from this song. The next song, "Ive Seen All Good `People", is also played very well, and it also has an extended final section on which McDonald, Colbeck, Howe and Wakeman share solos. "Close to the Edge" is also very well played. "Themes" has Wakeman playing good solos too, and "Brother of Mine" is one of my favourite songs from the ABWH studio album, played with a lot of energy with good solos by Howe and Wakeman. For "The Meeting" only Anderson, Wakeman and Colbeck appear on stage, with Wakeman playing the piano and Colbeck the backing keyboards. "Heart of the Sunrise" is well played too, but in this song the electronic drums don`t sound very well for my taste in some parts. "Order of the Universe" is very well played, and it is mostly a rock song with some influences from the 80s Rock Pop music. "Roundabout" is very well played, very similar to the studio version. The concert is finished with a good version of "Starship Trooper", which also has an additional keyboards introduction and also a keyboards section before "Wurm" on which Anderson sings a bit from "Nous Sommes Du Soleil " (from "Ritual") and also gives final thanks to the audience. The final part of "Wurm" has good solos by Wakeman and Howe.

Bruford used mainly an electronic drum kit with also an acoustic snare drum, metal cymbals, two gongs, and a triangle. I am not a fan of the electronic drum kit, but the songs from the ABWH required a lot of changes in the sounds of the drum pads. I thought that Bruford programmed some parts, but no. It seems that he played everything live. Used in this way, the electronic drums sounded very well and offered more choices to Bruford to play interesting percussion sounds in this drum kit.

Anderson sang very well, and like the other members of the band he looks like he was enjoying playing the concert.

Wakeman used eight keyboards which also had a lot of pedals. The new technologies from the eighties really helped him to sound better. He used some Korg, Ensoniq and Roland keyboards, and it also was on stage an old analog Mini- Moog synthesiser which I never saw him play in this concert.

Howe also used a lot of electric and acoustic guitars (Fenders, Gibsons, and maybe others), a pedal steel guitar, plus a mandolin and a vachalia.

The backing vocals were sung by Howe, McDonald and Colbeck. I don`t know if Berlin sang backing vocals too. Of all the members of the band he is the only one from which there are fewer close-ups and he remains "in the dark" for most of the time. It seems that he was playing a five string bass guitar, but I am not really sure about this. He really did a very good job replacing Tony Levin at a very short notice.

Colbeck and McDonald played and sang very well, and gave some freedom to Wakeman and Howe to play in a more relaxed way, particularly in the songs from the ABWH studio album which really required their presence in this tour.

In conclusion, this is a very good video from a very good concert which was played with a lot of enthusiasm and energy from all the musicians. I enjoyed very much to watch to it.

 Live At The NEC by ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN  HOWE album cover Live, 2010
4.04 | 18 ratings

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Live At The NEC
Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

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.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Snow Dog for the last updates

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