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Yes - In the Present - Live from Lyon CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.52 | 147 ratings

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4 stars My prime motives to have this live set were two. First, and this has been a long awaited one, was the performance of tracks from 'Drama' album - an album where two major contributors of Yes were not involved in the recording,i.e. Jon Anderson (vox) and Rick Wakeman (keys). Second, to see how the new vocalist Benoit David measured up what had long been a major characteristic of Yes contributed by Jon Anderson. Recorded in Lyon, France, on December 1st 2009, "In The Present - Live from Lyon" is a collection of hidden gems and unforgettable classics, with new singer Benoit David breathing new life into each of the evergreen tracks. The package comes with a 55 minute DVD containing excerpts from the live performance, candid interviews and behind the scenes footage. The cover art features an original design by Roger Dean, author of most YES album covers including classics 'Fragile', 'Close To The Edge' and 'Drama'.

It's still YES ...!

There was an argument around the net where Jon said that without him was NOT Yes. The fact is, my view, I still get the Yes sound as I had been experiencing with Yes. I have no major issue at all having the voice of Benoit in Yes. In fact he can bring the voice of Yes throughout all tracks performed here in this live set. Congrats! Of course there is a difference between the two vocalist as voice is a God-given thing you have to accept it. But ....let me assure you that you would not be disappointed with this record at all! In fact, I suggest you take the Keys to Ascension CDs and compare it with this live set CD. I bet you would love both of them!

In terms of classic setlist that have been regular in Yes live albums, I actually do not expect much. In this case, if the performance is as the previous ones, I would consider it as an excellent one. For example the opening live track Siberian Khatru. I think the performance is standard of Yes and I consider it as an excellent one. But if you ask me which one is the best, I would choose the legendary Yessongs live set as the best Siberian Khatru played live. That version was really fantastic and it's been the all-time favorite of Yes live track. It's probably because of being preceded by Firebird Suite. Whatever the reason, I love that 70's Siberian Khatru. But don't get me wrong, this live set version is also excellent.

I've Seen All Good People is also another excellent performance as it has been performed nicely by Yes. The other classic live set that I find it interesting is Astral Traveller as this is performed a bit different than the studio version. The thing that makes it really interesting is the Alan White's drum solo that sounds really excellent. I am amazed with his age he still can play excellent drumming plus solo in this track. Yours is No Disgrace is also excellently performed by the band with a some differences from other versions where Steve Howe's guitar solo sounds smoother in style and it has many segments that feature his guitar solo combined with Chris Squire bass work. The track is still kicking! I like the guitar solo at the ending part. For those of you who like the guitar work of Howe, you will be definitely satisfied by this track - it's quite long and not boring at all!

South Side of The Sky is also having different style performed here as there is a great instrumental piece at the end part that makes this great song sounds differently. I have always loved this track as the Fragile album represented my early introduction to Yes in 70s, altogether with the Yessongs. This track is rich in nuances and it has powerful melody backed with inventive keyboard work and piano solo. I love the parts where it has this lyrical verse: "were we ever warmer on that day a million miles away / we seemed for all of eternity" and also the part where it has piano solo. And .. Oliver Wakeman can play the piano part as Rick played it. Wonderful!. The ending part with keyboard solo and guitar solo is really great. Heart of the Sunrise is also greaaaaat ......!!!

The Drama sessions

As I said, one of my motives was to experience Drama tracks played live. In this case there are two tracks: Tempus Fugit and Machine Messiah played live and recorded in this live set. By definition these two tracks were the most wonderful ones coming out from Drama (1980) album and they have been my all-time favorites. Tempus Fugit is a heavy prog style music with great vocal line and relatively fast tempo. Jon had never wanted to play this track because it was not originally sung by him. This is a wrong ego! he should think YES and he should consider customers (listeners) satisfaction because I am pretty sure many Yes fans like this track and Machine Messiah. Steve Howe's personality is different: he has no problem performing Owner of a Lonely Heart as he has Yes in his heart, unlike Jon who has wrong ego by not wanting to perform anything from Drama album! I hate this non- progressive behavior. He should have thought with progressive mind. It's like having Ian Gillan of Deep Purple not wanting to perform 'Burn' because it was not originally sung by him. What a short sighted thinking and very ego centric.

The other great track Machine Messiah is another long awaited track that I want to listen to the live version from official release not from bootleg in the internet. This is a symphonic progressive track that has been my other all-time favorite. I think the band played this track wonderfully in this live set and I can sense total satisfaction with the performance of this track right here Steve Howe and Oliver Wakeman play their parts really great here. I always repeat this track when I spin this live set. "Machine messiah ....." .. Oh man ...... What a great track!!!!


With its not so good new album "Fly From Here" that was not quite satisfying me, I consider the release of this live set really pleases me to the fullest and I have no major concerns having Benoit replacing Jon and Oliver replacing Rick. In fact, I also enjoy the Live from the House of Blues version of Awaken played by Igor instead of Rick. That suffice to say that Yes music composition is fundamentally great and we still can enjoy the music even if the players are NOT the original members. I remember that in 2009 I facilitated a tribute to Yes nite titled as "An Evening of Yes Music Plus" performed by Jakarta-based prog band called Parallels. They could play Yes tracks wonderfully. The band was contributed by two musicians from Discus (Indonesian prominent prog band): Kiki Caloh (bass guitar) and Krisna Prameswara (keyboard). Back to his live set, it's really an excellent addition to any prog music collection with a 4+ stars rating. Highly recommended. If you are a die hard fan of Yes, this live set is a MUST! Keep on proggin' ...!!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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