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Yes - Like It Is - Yes at the Mesa Arts Centre CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.07 | 87 ratings

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Eetu Pellonpaa
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Bought this double vinyl allured by both Roger Dean's beautiful album covers and realization this might be last vinyls where late bass maestro Chris Squire would play. Sadly I was actually quite shocked by the two vinyls, which I would claim document the murdering of "Close to The Edge" and "Fragile" albums.

The two studio record classics are performed emulating the originals in very conservative way, thus honoring the masterpieces. But this approach also holds the seed of destruction for the tribute experience from the original band, which I bet could have been totally different from the audience to new listener than for fan with few decades of listening history and spinning this from home stereo. The very start of "Close to The Edge" reveals weak and powerless interpretation from then existing line-up, which sadly I do not feel to strengthen during the complex musical epic. I even liked the orchestrated versions on "Symphonic Music of Yes", so that sets some reference point of my own alienation. I also do not have any specific problems to deal with the new line-up after Jon Anderson's departure, though he is the key voice for me in Yes legacy. I liked "Drama" earlier, and what have now heard after "Fly from Here" have been partially quite good. But here Jon Davison's vocal tone nor emulations of original singing does not sound right from the nearly holy compositions, which original studio version's seems to play synced in my imagination, pointing out constantly what does not go well. Also in my most honest feeling Geoff Downes or Steve Howe do not shine on these concert captures, and Chris Squire's bass performing seems to shine most powerfully from these disappointing tracks. Both the grandiosity of "And You and I" and vital groove of "Siberian Khatru" seem to be lost somewhere to past years, which only appear as shadows casted by the light of setting stars of the most classic symphonic progressive rock group. Also even though the new personnel of the band does not bother me, listening the "Fragile"'s solo tracks by absent Bruford, Wakeman and Anderson made me feel very uncomfortable and filled my mind with contradicting thoughts. I understand the album cannot be performed complete without them, but hearing them as tributes from other musicians felt somehow very bad.

When listening I contemplated my own stances for the here described divine comedy with most memorable visions of hell and only glimpses of medieval-concept sights of heaven. For example I liked Cream's 2005 reunion concert documents, as considered that band aged well. In addition of different styled rock performed, there the original musicians were at least physically alive, and could there be that I just am not open for the aged and less dynamic Yes than now deceased Bruce, Baker and Clapton (well maybe Eric is still alive, not sure), Sometimes strange are the paths of own mind; Though loved Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner", lost my interest for the never ending series of his director's cuts, and as a fanatic lover of David Lynch's "Dune" I did not even want to watch the new film versions, how amazing they might be. I guess this relates to the limited longevity of a human individual, and it's need to have something sacred where to anchor the mindset. When thinking of romanticized epochs of mankind, it might feel banal that contemporary holy artifacts would be commercially produced cinema films or art rock concepts, but if lowering the sight from divine idealized spheres, I think there could be worse choices, motivating individuals and societies to evil deeds.

I was thinking about the star rating of this album for long, and would prefer just to write about music without stamping releases with any rating judgements outside my text. I sold this away after few spins, but hope there are audiences which like this and other similar album the Yes institution running out of original members has released on rapid pace. Do not also consider my opinions meaningful for guiding the critical taste or other manipulation of approach for these 21st century Yes live recordings. The band was originally a Revelation for me like for many person I learned to know on the ProgArchives community. Thus I appreciate all attempts the band has done trying to keep it alive, despite any disputes there might be with original founding members in way of Hawkwind or Creedence Clearwater Revival, and like the album title suggests, it is "Like It Is", even if I like it or not. The show must go on, and though did not enjoy the album much, it allowed me some fuel for thinking and summarizing those for these words I hope would amuse You.

Eetu Pellonpaa | 2/5 |


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