What does it sound like?:
An oddity, this. It’s a nice little box containing two CDs of the 2009 Yes concerts in Lyon, coupled with four “new” studio tracks. This is the line up with Rick’s son Oliver Wakeman on keys and Benoit David covering for Jon Anderson plus Howe/Squire/White.
The live stuff first. The setlist is a full career review so you get “Yours is no disgrace” as well as “Owner of a lonely heart”. The band play at the level you’d expect, Oliver W is a top notch keyboard player and sounds spookily like his old man especially on piano. Steve Howe is particularly on fire, his signature guitar parts all present and correct and as ever a total virtuoso on electric and acoustic both (“Corkscrew” from his “Turbulence” solo album is a highlight for me). Annoyingly the mix leaves Chris Squire somewhat buried which is a shame as I always thought he was Yes’s secret weapon, his high neck metallic clanking driving the sound a decade before Hooky thought it was a good idea to appropriate. This sort of line up refresh stands and falls on the vocals, and it must be said Benoit David delivers on every level – you would be easily forgiven for not realising it’s not Jon Anderson though once you are aware, the absence of those Accrington Northern vowels is obvious.
The set is spoiled for me somewhat by everything being slightly too slow – I haven’t clocked the BPM but everything sounds at a slightly statelier pace than originally which may be due to elderly gents rocking out, or shall we say savouring the moment.
The “new” tracks were song writing tapes which never made it onto a finished album exhumed by Oliver Wakeman a few years later, tidied up, bits added and hey presto four new Yes tracks (well, strictly speaking one is a Wakeman/David effort but they have the same roost). What are they like? Well, they are decent songs and applying Tig’s 6 listens rule I like them, but…but…. they don’t really sound like Yes. They’re more like an 80s power ballad band – big synths, beefy riffs etc. Not at all unpleasant, but not essential to this fan. Worth a lis, shall we say.
What does it all *mean*?
Well, to me it means those classic Yes songs were well written as they still pack a punch after all this time, don’t sound dated and I still play air keyboards to them. Not a chance of youth cut through of course but I doubt they’re the intended audience forthis set. It’s an odd package with the new stuff and a re-release but not any less enjoyable for it.
Goes well with…
In this case a roaring fire and the threat of the first snow of the winter outside. Brrrrr.
Might suit people who like…
Umm, Yes, prog, classic rock.