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Yes - Yes (Classic Artists) CD (album) cover

YES (CLASSIC ARTISTS)

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.62 | 62 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Yesspeaks about the Yesyears

Released just 3 years after the exhaustive "Yesspeak" DVD, this double DVD collection may seem at first seem largely superfluous. The format of the set is actually closer to the 1991 "Yesyears documentary", but in all cases, the emphasis is on interviews telling the story of the band. Here we have all 5 members of the classic line up present, along with other major players such as Bill Bruford, Peter Banks, Geoff Downes etc. Along with these are the key behind the scenes staff including Roger Dean, Eddie Offord and Jack Barrie. Notable absentees on the other hand include Patrick Moraz and Trevor Rabin (apart from a brief clip clearly lifted from elsewhere). The programme is effectively hosted by journalist Chris Welch, the band's biographer, who adds his own thoughts and opinions along the way. Production and direction is by Jon Brewer, who worked closely with Chris Squire from around the time of "Keys to ascension".

There is little new in the interviews, but they do take us through the band's history in great details from the earliest days of The Warriors and The Syn to the current latest album "Magnification" and even after that. The line up changes and recording circumstances of each album are examined in great detail, with Alan White for example only appearing well into the second hour of the documentary. The interviewees are largely tactful, both about each other and about the music generally, with even Rick admitting that "Tales from Topographic Oceans" was actually quite (but not very) good.

There is not a great deal of music to be heard during the main documentary, with only the briefest of clips of tracks from the albums (presumably for copyright reasons) being included. This means that we get about 3 hours of interviews and historical perspectives. Even the most devoted fan of Yes will find this too much to take in one sitting, so it is probably best to divide viewing into a series of episodes. Even on that's basis, the slow moving nature of the programme can lead to it dragging at times.

The second disc contains extended versions of some of the interviews with key band members which were used on disc 1. Whereas disc 1 is styled as a programme with the comments of various people on a particular topic being presented consecutively, here we have lengthy segments dedicated to a specific member. The first of these is Chris Squire, who for most of these clips is driving his car! The unedited nature of these clips is emphasised by the faint questions from the interviewer. While what is said is perhaps not as critical to the band's history, at the same time it can be a little more revealing and certainly adds colour to the main content.

The three "promos" on disc 2 are live videos of songs overdubbed with the studio versions. They are well worth seeing though. The final segment is footage of the band rehearsing in New York in 1996.

In all, despite its deficiencies, this is a well packaged set which offers a train-spotting level of detail covering the band's entire career up to the point of release. It is by and large the sort of programme one would watch once then file away for several years. With a little bit of searching, this double DVD can be found at a rock bottom price. On that basis, it is well worth picking up.

A minor personal irritation is the constant references by a number of interviewees to "England", rather glossing over the band's following over the years throughout the UK.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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