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Yes - Symphonic Live (DVD) CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.59 | 325 ratings

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4 stars There's little doubt that Yes music is made for an orchestra. Not wasting time, the show went straight to Close to the Edge, which quite frankly, was painful to listen to at first. I understand the desire to play the songs we all love to hear live but it was really bad at first. Almost as if they needed to warm up first. CTTE is not the song to do that. Once they started Total Mass Retain, things got much better. I was still not feeling particularly good about the beginning of the DVD right until I Get Up, I Get Down, at which point Jon Anderson promptly saved the song for me. 30 years later and he still has magnificent vocal talents. Now, onto the rest of the show.

I really enjoyed the new material. Don't Go sounded lively, and In the Presence Of is a remarkable piece of songwriting, sounding new and energetic and an absolute beauty. The next track is why you should get the DVD. Gates of Delirium was absolutely fantastic! The orchestra was a natural fit in in the instrumental section, giving several more layers of sound to the song. Halfway through I realized Soon is going to sound amazing with this, and sure enough, it did. Gates stole the show, as far as I'm concerned.

This seems like the logical place to start a part 2. Steve Howe redeems himself completely from an ugly opening to Close to the Edge with his solo, which I believe is initially a take on Vivaldi. Very soft, very beautiful. His choice of acoustic guitar here sounds lovely and even gives a softer feel to Mood For a Day, also very well done. The band rejoined Steve for Starship Trooper, which felt rather odd not being at the end of the set. Tom Brislin, (who plays very well, if not particularly inspired) shows off some originality for the keyboard solo, which is just similar in sound to remind you of Wakeman, but different enough to let you know its his own. And You and I, the song that seems to have become a staple of Yes live shows, once again puts center stage the power of an orchestra. Chris Squire got his opportunity to flex his musical muscle with Ritual. The last three songs are largely forgettable (almost sounding obligatory rather than enjoyed).

Now some general comments. Something you may not pick up on until later is just how dead the audience seemed to be. I actually felt really bad for the band, as literally nothing seemed to get the crowd going until the very end, which is a real shame. That didn't seem to stop the orchestra though, as they seemed into it. (two clarinet girls specifically, you'll know which ones I'm talking about). The entire orchestra dancing on stage to Roundabout made me laugh. It seemed so bizarre and spontaneous, coupled with the incredulous looks on the faces of the band members (I get the sense they weren't told about this part).

Overall, this is a very good live DVD. You may miss the keyboards a little, but its certainly worth picking up. 4.3/5

AmericanKhatru | 4/5 |


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