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Yes - Union - Live CD (album) cover

UNION - LIVE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.91 | 65 ratings

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Guillermo
Prog Reviewer
4 stars In late 1988, Jon Anderson left YES again. He wasn't then very happy with the musical direction of the band which then tended more to Pop Rock music with albums like "90125" and "Big Generator". So, he was planning to return to his solo career when his then wife suggested to him to form a new band with other YES's former members (Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe). They recorded a self -titled album ("Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe") which was released in mid 1989, while the remaining members of YES (Chris Squire, Alan White, Tony Kaye and Trevor Rabin) were thinking to carry on as a band trying to find a new lead singer. But by early 1991, things changed for both bands when some people (maybe their respective managers, maybe Squire and Anderson, maybe some record label executives, maybe all the previously mentioned people) finally decided to bring the two bands together under the YES's band name to release an album titled as "Union", which really wasn't a real "union", because each band recorded their songs separatedly with only Anderson singing lead vocals on all tracks. The "Union" album wasn't liked very much by most of the members of the band and by some fans. Anyway, they went to do a big tour in 1991, with some additional dates in Japan in early 1992. It was a good tour, but some members were not very happy with it (Bruford, for example, who was the first to leave the band after the Japanese tour dates were played). So, this eight members line-up existed for a brief time only. One of my brothers, who then was living and working in Germany , had the chance to see the band playing in Frankfurt in 29-May-91, and I had the chance to listen to most songs they played at their concert in Wembley (29-June -91) with them being broadcasted twice by two differenty FM radio stations of my city in late 1991.

This 3 DVD package offers the chance to see the band playing during the "Union" tour during 1991 on three different dates: their first concert in Pensacola, Florida (9-April-91), their concert in Denver (9-May-91), and the last concert of their American Tour in Mountain View, California (8-August-91).

The Pensacola concert video in fact is an audience recorded video which has more or less good quality in audio and images. It shows several songs which the band didn't play in other concerts of the tour, with some of them being dropped very quickly from the set list ("City of Love", "Soon", and "Take the Water to the Mountain", which were only played in this concert; "Hold On", which was not played on every date, and "Starship Trooper" which was only played six times during that tour). This first concert of the tour was good but still shows that the band needed to change the set list a bit and they sound a bit like they needed more rehearsals and more concerts to sound better playing as an eight members line-up. Anyway, they played well.

The Denver concert video has the band playing better and it is a professionally recorded video. Both this and the Pensacola concert show the band playing "in the round", using a moving circular stage which was situated at the center of the venues, and the videos of both concerts show the full set list that the band played at the concerts.

The Mountain View concert video, which also was profesionally recorded, was in fact the last concert that this line-up played during the 1991 tour. It wasn´t played using the circular stage, but was played on a more "conventional" stage. It was recorded better than the Pensacola and the Denver concerts, and the band also played better despite some of the members of the band (particularly Anderson) obviously look tired of being on tour for several months. But this Mountain View concert is not shown with the full set list that the band played in that concert. Anyway, it shows a song called "Saving My Heart" (which sometimes replaced "Lift Me Up" in the setlist, with "Lift Me Up" being shown in the Pensacola and Denver concert videos). Unfortunately, during "Saving My Heart" Trevor Rabin's guitar solo was cut a bit due to a technical problem, and one can see the guitar roadie briefly on stage finally solving the technical problem.

Despite some of the problems that the band had during the "Union Tour", this was a very interesting tour. The band sounded very well playing together, with some songs ("Awaken", "Lift Me Up") sounding really very well being played with an eight members line-up. Songs like "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and "Rhythm of Love" showed Wakeman (who didn't play in the original studio versions) playing very good solos at the end of both songs.

Of the several audio recordings that I have listened to from this tour, I think that one of the best concerts of that tour was the Wembley concert, with them playing very good versions of "Awaken", "Lift Me Up" and "Shock to the System". Anyway, these DVDs show very good video recordings from that tour.

Guillermo | 4/5 |

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