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Yes - Union Live CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.57 | 94 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars United on stage

Recorded on tour in the early 90's, Union Live was finally released on CD and DVD in 2011. The Union tour followed, of course, the release of the studio album Union. The title refers to the unification of the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe line-up with the Yes line-up that had recorded Big Generator, hence the larger than normal number of people involved. The Union tour featured no less than eight men in Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Steve Howe, Tony Kaye, Trevor Rabin, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman, and Alan White--which means no less than two drummers, two guitarists, and two keyboard players on the stage!

In my opinion Union is a great album in its own right and easily the best of the Rabin-era, featuring some of Rabin's best songs ever. I don't understand the bad reputation that this album has acquired. Union Live is a bit of a misnomer though as there is actually only a single song (Saving My Heart) from the Union album being included on this live recording. I would have loved to hear Shock To The System, Lift Me Up, Miracle Of Life, and I Would Have Waited Forever. Some of these songs were actually performed on this tour but they are not present on this live album. Instead, this enlarged version of the band gave the audience a selection of older Yes classics from Yours Is No Disgrace and I've Seen All Good People from 1971's The Yes Album to Rhythm Of Love from 1987's Big Generator. Wakeman adds novel keyboard solos to the latter as well as to Owner Of A Lonely Heart, which is very nice.

Along the way Wakeman, Squire/White, Rabin, and Howe also get little solo spots. Out of these Wakeman's (featuring selections from his Six Wives Of Henry VIII) and Squire's/White's (featuring The Fish and Tempus Fugit) are the best. Excellent though these solo spots are, they have been done before. Howe's and Rabin's respective solo spots are pleasant but rather pedestrian. In the case if Howe, I would have preferred a performance of his lovely instrumental solo piece Masquerade from the Union album--it's one of his best acoustic numbers ever. The Bruford/White drum duet is not featured on this live album, and neither is Kaye's solo spot.

I have yet to see the video version of Union Live, but this live album is a welcome addition (now available for streaming on Spotify). Good though it is it must be said that there are several better Yes live albums out there. Many of which feature complete concerts as opposed to this one which is missing some tracks.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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