Can’t Say No to This YES 50th Anniversary Release

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Yes 50th at the Apollo

This new release from Eagle Rock Entertainment captures a 50th Anniversary concert of the classic Prog-Rock band YES, held in Manchester, England’s famed Apollo Theater.

As you can imagine, over a 50 year spread there have been several personnel changes to the band’s line-up. This current one is billed as “YES Featuring Jon Anderson-Trevor Rabin-Rick Wakeman." Jon, one of the originals, formed the band in 1968. Rick Wakeman first joined in 1971, and Trevor Rabin back in 1983. Performing with them for this concert is Lee Pomeroy on bass and Lou Molino III on drums.

Having seen several concert videos from Eagle Rock, I expected a lot from them here, and I am happy to say that the band and Eagle Rock delivered in spades. The band played spot on. Jon’s voice I can only best describe as "forever young." He sang and sounded as if he was 30 again, with all the passion and emotion as if he was singing these songs for the first time. Trevor’s guitar playing was exceptional. I had forgotten what an incredible guitar player he is, as you don’t get to hear much of his virtuosity on the radio hits--all the more why I say YES is a band to definitely see live. I will say though as he’s gotten older he looks strikingly similar to David Hasselhoff now!

Rick Wakeman played as he always has, with an effortless, flawless fluidity that is as incredible to see as it is to hear. Surrounded by a nearly 360-degree array of keyboards, watching him work the dials, fine tuning and changing and adjusting the sound as he played, all the while with the look of having fun on his face, was a treat to watch. Replete with his signature cape, he too has visually morphed into a cross of David Gilmore and Terry Gilliam as he has gotten older. I know, I’m weird, but I couldn’t shake that comparison.

What makes this DVD work so well is the impeccable way it is filmed. I loved the way the opening was just in the style and color of something that would be indicative of a concert filmed in the 70s, and then magically comes into razor sharp color and focus. The camera angles and shots really enabled me to watch the members play as a band, as well as focus on them individually throughout every song. I was able to not only see Trevor play his guitars from the audience's viewpoint, but then also, in a blink of an eye, watch his fret work up close, which put me in complete awe of his playing. Same, too, for Rick and Jon. Lou and Lee played seamlessly; you felt they had always played together.

From opening to end, the video flowed smoothly and conveyed the feel of the concert.

The sound too was mic’d and mixed very well. You could clearly hear every instrument being played with crystal clarity, right down to the tiniest cymbal-like bells Jon played. The audience noise was minimal, but this I believe mostly because everyone there came to listen and not act the fool, as so many people do these days, Don’t take me wrong, it was very apparent everyone there was into the show--you just didn’t hear them that much, which, for me, is a good thing. A little is good, too much is distracting. This was just right.

The band played many of the hits, but for me it is probably “Awaken” that made me think of them again as the Prog-Rock titans they were, with harp, tambourines with bells on them, and those poetic Prog-Rock lyrics that flow so eloquently and yet somehow you're not ever truly capable of understanding what the song is actually about; this is in contrast to “Hold On” where the lyrics are so spot-on poignant for today’s world.

From start to finish, this DVD is a winner and a must-have for any classic rock, Prog-Rock, YES fan. If your only experience with the band’s music is what you’ve heard on the radio, I urge you to get this DVD and prepare yourself to be blown away. You may see YES as they are today, but you will hear YES as they have always been: a consummate band of exceptionally passionate musicians.

Run Time: Approx 120 minutes

Songs:

1-Intro/Cinema/Perpetual Change

2-Hold On

3-I’ve Seen All Good People: (i)Your Move (ii) All Good People

4-Lift Me Up

5-And You & I: (i)Cord Of Life (ii)Eclipse (iii)The Preacher, The Teacher (iv) Apocalypse

6-Rhythm Of Love

7-Heart Of The Sunrise

8-Change

9-Long Distance Runaround/The Fish (Schindlena Praematurus)

10-Awaken

11-Make It Easy/Owner Of A Lonely Heart

12- Roundabout

Grade: 
5.0 / 5.0