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Yes - Yesshows CD (album) cover




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3.64 | 470 ratings

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4 stars Review Nš 156

'Yessongs', was the first Yes' live album that was bound to be a classic. That 1973 triple LP was emblazoned with a hypnotic Roger Dean cover and comprised of material from double-header progressive rock behemoths 'Fragile' and 'Close To The Edge'. In any superficial comparison, 'Yesshows' couldn't possibly stack up. With its awkward snow scene cover, also made by Dean, and the track list spanning critically panned albums like 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' and 'Tormato', it hardly screams an essential purchase. But 'Yesshows', released in November 1980, is just as essential as any of the band's late 70's albums, with songs that often improve upon their studio counterparts.

Yes broke up for the first time in 1978 after 'Tormato', and in the attempt at replacing Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman by Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes, it was then they released their tenth studio album 'Drama'. 'Yesshows' is the second live album of Yes and was released in 1980, shortly after the release of 'Drama'. Issued as Yes were about to disband, soon after this live album, 'Yesshows' is a very important live document of their late 70's era. 'Drama' is an album with a different line up because Anderson and Wakeman left the band. To the remaining members of the group Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White joined two other musicians Horn and Downes, two ex-The Buggles members.

So, the band members involved on 'Yesshows' are Jon Anderson (vocals), Chris Squire (vocals and bass guitar), Steve Howe (vocals and guitars), Rick Wakeman (keyboards), Patrick Moraz (keyboards) and Alan White (vocals and drums).

'Yesshows' is a double live album consisting of recordings from 1976 and 1978. 'Yesshows' comprises live performances ranging from the summer of 1976 to the supporting tour for their last studio album 'Tormato', in 1978, in several locations. Like the band previous debut live album 'Yessongs', 'Yesshows' begins with a classical music recording of Igor Stravinsky's the 'Firebird Suite'. Although, Rick Wakeman is the main keyboardist on the most tracks, the 1976 performances are featured by Patrick Moraz, the keyboardist of Yes in that time, after Wakeman have left the band after the release of 'Tales From Topographic Oceans'. After the release of 'Relayer' and just before the recording of 'Going For The One', Patrick Moraz left also the band and Wakeman returned to recording and release this album.

'Yesshows' has seven tracks. The first track 'Parallels' was recorded at Ahoy'-Hal, Rotterdam, Holland, in 1977 and was released on 'Going For The One', the second track 'Time And A Word' was recorded at Empire Pool, Wembley, London, in 1978 and was released on 'Time And A Word', the third track 'Going For The One' was recorded at Festhalle, Frankfurt, Germany, in 1977 and was released on 'Going For The One', the fourth track 'The Gates Of Delirium' was recorded at Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan, USA, in 1976 and was released on 'Relayer', the fifth track 'Don't Kill The Whale' was recorded at Empire Pool, Wembley, London, in 1978 and was released on 'Tormato', the sixth track 'Ritual (Nous Sommes Du Soleil)' was recorded at Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan, USA, in 1976 and was released on 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' and the seventh track 'Wonderous Stories' was recorded at Ahoy'- Hal, Rotterdam, Holland, in 1977 and was released on 'Going For The One'.

So, the material on the album is from the post 'Close To The Edge' period, with the exception of 'Time And A Word', and the album serves as a superb supplement to the live classic 'Yessongs'. The band is in top shape and delivers great performances of the material. 'Parallels' sounds in my opinion better here than it did on 'Going For The One' and the same goes for 'Time And A Word' that works better without the orchestra on the studio version. 'The Gates Of Delirium' is another demonstration of the fact that Yes was one of progressive rock's best live bands ever. Most of the second album is taken up of what I consider to be the ultimate version of 'Ritual'. The track is spread over both sides of the album and it kicks the ass off the studio version on every level, despite the great quality of the studio version.

Conclusion: 'Yesshows' comprises different recordings from different live performances between 1976 and 1978, including two different line ups. 'Yesshows' has negative points and positive points. The negative points are the inclusion of 'Time And A Word' and 'Don't Kill The Whale' that despite are two good songs hadn't quality enough to be chosen, and the non-inclusion of any song from 'Close To The Edge' is unjustifiable. The positive points are the presence of Moraz which is very rare on Yes' live albums and the fantastic performance of the band on 'The Gates Of Delirium' and 'Ritual'. This is more evident on 'Ritual', because is a longer version due to the extended percussion section. It seems even a new song. It's interesting to see the different interpretations of Moraz and Wakeman of the same track. 'Yesshows' isn't as good as 'Yessongs' is, but is undoubtedly one of the best live albums ever made. However, 'Yesshows' remains as a great live album and an essential music piece of the all musical catalogue of Yes.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |


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