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Yes, Topographic Drama – Live Across America: a Review

This post is the part of my Yes concert series of posts.  I started this series here and you can read the others here.

Yes has just released its latest live album called Topographic Drama – Live Across America documenting their 2016 tour.

The line-up Yes fielded on this album is:

The track list is as follows (the album from which the songs come in parenthesis):

Disc One:

Disc Two

  • Review:

I have written several reviews on this blog.  I have reviewed albums, concerts, movies, and books.  One of the things I have realized is that any review, whether good or bad or high quality or low, is almost always dependent upon what one expects from the thing reviewed.  Deviation from expectation nearly always leads to bad reviews while meeting expectations nearly always leads to good.  There is also the “damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t” variation of the expectations problem of making an album that sounds too much like prior albums (is this respect for an established sound or a reflection of a lack of creativity?) or sounding too little like prior albums (is this disrespect for an established sound and rejecting what Yes (or whomever) is “supposed” to sound like?); Yes’ last studio album Heaven and Earth suffered from this quandary (see here).  I have done my best to acknowledge my expectations when reviewing things, but I am sure I, too, have fallen victim to expectations.

I mention this because, as this is a Yes album purchased nearly only by Yes fans (I doubt many causal music listeners are buying a random new live album by a ~50 year old prog rock band that is largely out of fashion).   Jon Anderson, Yes’ co-founder, composer, and long time vocalist, left Yes in 2005 or so, and Yes has toured and released albums and videos without him since 2008.  It goes without saying that Anderson is enormously influential on Yes and, for many, is inherently identified with Yes.  Similarly, Chris Squire, Yes’ other co-founder who defined Yes’ sound for a generation and is the only member who never left the band and is the only member present in every official Yes iteration until 2015, died in June 2015.   Indeed, due to his constant presence in the band from its founding to his death, Squire, too, is often inherently identified with Yes.

I mention the above because, no matter what this album sounds like and no matter how good the performances are, this album will never pass muster or sound like “real Yes” for many fans.  Davison and Sherwood are different people than Anderson and Squire and, despite their similarities to Anderson and Squire, can never precisely duplicate Anderson or Squire (of course, if they did, they would be then accused as aping Anderson and Squire, which leads to an impossible conundrum: on one hand they are criticized for not sounding like Davison and Sherwood, but on the other, if they sound too similar, they are accused of being uncreative copycat hacks.  I suppose this is why some say Anderson and Squire should never be replaced and Yes should fold.).   In light of this, this album, and indeed this iteration of Yes, will never be heard in a positive way by many Yes fans due to its lack of Anderson and/or Squire.  So, just for full disclosure, while I am a Yes “fanatic,” I am of the school of thought that is willing to allow Yes to move on from Anderson and Squire and into a new reality where Davison and Sherwood are taking the band into its next phase of existence, and will judge it accordingly.

This album documents the 2016 tour.  I had the opportunity to see a show from the 2016 tour and most of my thoughts about this album mirror that show, so I will not repeat what I said about that show here; just look at my review for my thoughts on it here.  Instead, I will just focus on this album.

With the above out of the way, and in the light of the above, I can say that this album is an excellent album of well played and well executed Yes music.  The playing is at the level a Yes fan should expect.  The vocals are soaring and well harmonized.  The guitar playing is aggressive and intricate.  The drumming is solid and driving.  The keyboard playing, arguably the most questionable of the instruments in this iteration of Yes, are exactly what one should expect from a Yes keyboard player: Downes plays expertly and successfully adds his own flavors to Rick Wakeman‘s material albeit in his own style.  Finally, Sherwood’s bass playing, which is significant in Yes history as this is the first time Squire is not the bass player on an album, more than does Squire justice.  Sherwood plays all of the parts with heart and maintains a very Yes sound while giving his bass tone a sound unique to him.  Sherwood is somehow able to channel Squire, his style and sound, all the while sounding like himself at the same time.  It is really magical and exactly what one should expect from a Yes member.

The sound of this album is near perfect.  Every instrument is clearly audible, well balanced, and easily identifiable.  All the vocals, sounds, and playing are really crisp.

I loved hearing the Drama material, which from 1981 to 2008 was totally ignored, played in full here.  It was really special to hear “Into the Lens” and “Does it Really Happen?” as those songs have not been played live since 1980.  Perhaps most interesting is that this album documents a live performance of “Run Through the Light” which had never been performed live before the 2016 tour.

This album, to me, is a superb Yes album.  Unless one specifically listens for the stylistic differences between Davison and Anderson or Downes and Wakeman or Squire and Sherwood, I found it very easy to get lost in the music and sound and forget who is in the lineup.  This album, despite featuring a very new and different lineup, sounds like Yes and what Yes should sound like.

If I had to, there are admittedly some nits to pick.  The tempo in some of the songs is a tad slow (mainly the songs featuring White as the drummer).  So, “Machine Messiah” is a little slow, “Roundabout” seems a little slow to my ears (perhaps this is only in contrast to older live versions which were faster than in the studio), and “Starship Trooper” (though this is mainly Howe’s doing).  Of course, when it comes to “Starship Trooper,” its been slower since the band started trying to precisely replicate the studio version starting in 2013 (see here), and the slower tempo I hear is in contrast to older and faster live versions and not the studio version.  Some say “Tempus Fugit” sounds slow, but I think it sounds as fast as any live version I have heard and that, according to Howe, it has never been played live as fast as on the studio.  “Roundabout” is a snore to me (and usually skipped to be honest), but that is mostly due to it being utterly overplayed and over-included on collections like this.  Finally, it probably goes without saying that Davison was brought on board because he can sing Anderson’s songs well and in the same (or similar) register as Anderson and in a similar style.  Unfortunately, one of the featured albums on this collection is Drama which features Trevor Horn as lead vocalist.  Davison’s voice creates a little bit of a different feel for the Drama songs as compared to how Horn sang them.  For a lot of it, honestly, you do not notice it, but there are times, like during “Does it Really Happen?” or “Into the Lens,” where Horn’s vocals are short, crisp, trippy, or terse, as opposed to Anderson’s more soaring and melodic vocals, where Davison’s approach is a bit of an awkward fit to the music.  On one hand his vocals could be seem as an interesting approach, and a window into how Anderson could have approached this material, while, on the other, they seem ill-suited to the music which was crafted for Horn’s vocals.  Luckily those moments are fairly few and far between.  Indeed, for the heavy-duty Yes fan, Davison’s take on “Does it Really Happen?” could be an interesting insight into how Anderson would have sung the song were he to have remained in the band as it was, interestingly enough, originally an Anderson song (see here for a recording of the song with Anderson).  In fact, Davison sheds a little light on what an Anderson sung Drama could have sounded like in general.

I have to say that I really enjoyed this album as it shows a new Yes with energy that has its own stamp while, at the same time, sounding like how Yes is expected to sound.

  • Packaging:

The album is packaged as a digipak and the artwork is pictured below.  As one can see, the album artwork is standard Roger Dean work and also includes some quality photographs of the band.

  • Photographs:

Yes, Like It Is: At The Mesa Arts Center DVD/CD Set: a Review

This post is the part of my Yes concert series of posts.  I started this series here and you can read the others here.

Yes has just released its latest live album called Like It Is: At The Mesa Arts Center documenting a concert played by the band at the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Arizona, on August 12, 2014.  This concert was in the context of the Heaven & Earth Tour.  The album consists of two CDs and one DVD.

The line-up Yes fielded that show was:

The track list is as follows (the album from which the songs come in parenthesis):

CD 1: (Close To The Edge)

  • Close to the Edge
  • And You And I
  • Siberian Khatru

CD 2: (Fragile)

  • Roundabout
  • Cans and Brahms
  • We Have Heaven
  • South Side of the Sky
  • Five Percent for Nothing
  • Long Distance Runaround
  • The Fish
  • Mood for a Day
  • Heart Of The Sunrise

DVD: All tracks

As I said above, this album documents a show from the Heaven & Earth Tour where Yes played tw0 albums in toto live, as well as some a few other songs to round out the set from Heaven and Earth and The Yes Album.  This album contains the entire Close to the Edge album and entire Fragile album (the actual show featured the Close to the Edge songs in reverse order).  This album lacks any sort of introduction music that the band had live at the show.

This album serves as a companion to the live album Yes released immediately prior to this one entitled Like It Is: At The Bristol Hippodrome which you can read more about here.  Over the past two tours Yes has taken to playing complete albums. Yes’ Three Album Tour featured the entire The Yes Album, Going for the One, and Close to the Edge albums played in their entirety.  The Heaven & Earth Tour featured the Close to the Edge and Fragile albums in their entirety.  Between this live album and Like It Is: At The Bristol Hippodrome Yes has released the live presentations of all four albums.

I reviewed a show from the tour this album documents which you can see here.

It is also worth noting, sadly, that this album is the last one recorded with Chris Squire in the band.  Chris Squire passed away in June 2015 right before this album was released.  You can read more about Chris’ passing here.

It is tough to review the music as this is a live album and the music really is derived from much older and established studio albums, so any review of the music could become really a review of those albums.  Needless to say, Close to the Edge and Fragile are Yes and progressive rock stalwart albums that stand on their own as classic albums which have stood the test of time.  The Heaven & Earth Tour presented these two complete albums played very closely to how they actually sounded on their original recordings.  So, the songs on that tour – and consequently this album – were not stretched out, the solos were not expanded, and there was virtually no improvisation.  So, in order to avoid reviewing the underlying studio albums, I will focus on the sound of the music more than anything else.

The sound quality of the album is excellent.  The sound is crisp and there is great separation between the instruments and between the vocals.  I am sure some audiophiles could find things to nitpick, but I have no complaints.

Ultimately, I think whether one enjoys this album depends on whether one likes this particular iteration of Yes and can accept the necessary effect age has had on these musicians who are in their sixth decade of performing.

Now, I am long term Yes fan so I have to admit that I wish Jon Anderson (original and long time vocalist) and Rick Wakeman (classic keyboardist) where back in the band and performing live.  That being said, Davison is an amazing replacement for Anderson and Downes is a quality prog rock keyboard player.  Of course, Downes’ style is markedly different from Wakeman’s at times, and I can’t say I do not miss Wakeman’s playing from time to time, but Downes’ style makes for an interesting change.  Wakeman’s playing is flashy, consistently fast, and with a lot of notes whereas Downes’ playing tends toward a lot of chording and being more understated (more cynical people would say “more tasteful” as compared to Wakeman’s choices).  In my opinion, this is a legitimate, excellent, and worthy iteration of Yes.

Does this album reflect any change in their live sound due to age?  Only a little.  I have to say that Alan White’s playing seems to have been deteriorating (at least in a live setting) since at least 2008 as he has gotten older.  He looks like a tired guy on stage once a show is over.  Don’t get me wrong, he still is a solid drummer who keeps time and provides some good coloring, but his live playing has gotten a lot less complex.  He is no longer the so-called “original thunder machine.”  In saying that, though, he does have some pretty good fills, as he does on “Heart of the Sunrise.”  Also, Chris Squire’s voice at this point in his career was not what it used to be.  I am not saying his singing is not good on this album; quite the contrary, his vocals on this album are very strong and mixed fairly high.  The effect of his age is the fact that his vocal parts have been lowered a bit; he no longer was singing in the stratosphere at this point, which provides the songs a slightly different sound than Yes fans may be used to hearing.  Some people have claimed that Yes plays the songs too slowly.  They did seem to reduce the tempo a little on a handful of songs between 2008 and 2012 (which I think was a concession to help ailing vocalist Benoit David), but with Davison’s joining the band they seem to have sped the songs back up to their appropriate tempos again.  Despite that, some still think they are playing too slowly, but I do not think that is a fair criticism at this point.  Their live tempos now reflect the tempos found on the studio albums, as opposed to their old practice of playing live a break-neck speeds.  The fact is, gone are the days when Yes ramped up the tempos on stage as they used to do in ages past (see Yessongs as an example), but the fact that modern live tempos are slower than their live tempos from the 1970s does not mean that modern live tempos are slow compared to the studio recordings.  The other thing to note is that the band’s live tone and presentation on this album is consistent with what they have been largely doing since 1991’s Union tour (with exception of the 1994 Talk tour), which is to have a cleaner and warmer sound as opposed to the dirtier and aggressive live sound they had in the 1970s and 1980s.

I think the music as played on this tour sounds very much like the original studio versions of the songs, so there are not really very many new interpretations to report for the purposes of this review.  I think Howe’s playing on this album is typical of his current cleaner style rather than the more aggressive style he employed back in in the 1970s.  Regardless of what he thinks, I think his use of a guitar synthesizer does an injustice to the coral electric sitar and twelve string acoustic guitar it allegedly duplicates.  It just does not sound right to me.  On “Siberian Khatru” it sounded like Downes got sloppy on the harpsichord solo in trying to play it as fast as Wakeman did/can. I am not sure Downes can generate the finger speed!  “And You And I” sounds as classic as ever (despite the guitar synthesizer) though, as is typical of these “whole album” presentations found on this album and the prior one, Downes does not extend the keyboard solo like Wakeman would.  “Close to the Edge” sounds a little thin, I think, as Howe’s guitar lacks the distortion he used to use and he uses that guitar synthesizer (though his sound on this track has been the same since at least 1998) which I do not think is nearly as good as the original instruments it supposedly duplicates.  The organ solo in “Roundabout” has been reworked as a Downes solo as opposed to him trying to replicate Wakeman so whether one appreciates the solo depends on whether one enjoys Downes’ playing or thinks Wakeman’s solo is “classic.”  Fragile‘s “solo tracks” “Cans and Brahms,” “We Have Heaven,” and “the Fish” we all played exactly as on the album, which is to say that they all used previously recorded tracks over which the soloist played live in order to recreate the studio recording as much as possible (these tracks are impossible to play live without backing tracks as the were recorded in the studio using multiple layers of overlaid recordings to allow for more sounds than just the five guys in the band can produce).  On a personal note, I love having an official live version of “Five Percent for Nothing” as that track is so short, so goofy, and so obscure that I would never have thought they’d ever play it live let alone release an official live version of it.  In saying that, I have to say  that having musicians play another musician’s solo track (e.g.: current drummer Alan White playing former Yes drummer Bill Bruford‘s solo track “Five Percent for Nothing”) is a little weird and does take the listener “out” of the listening experience if one is aware of it.  For that reason I found Fragile to be a really weird choice as an album to play precisely because it has so many solo tracks featuring long departed Yes members (3 of the 5 members of Yes on Fragile are not in the 2014 lineup); if the listener rankles at this, I understand the feeling.  My approach simply has been to accept the tracks as a new presentation in 2014 and to appreciate the new approach this particular lineup of Yes gives them.  To that end, it appears to my ears that the 2014 lineup recorded itself in the studio to present the studio tracks that need backing tracks instead of relying on using the preexisting recordings on Fragile.  So, that gives these live presentation of the solo tracks a little more legitimacy.  They are not relying on the old recordings.  Since 2002, “Southside of the Sky” has become a classic live track and as much as I absolutely love the Howe/Wakeman guitar/keyboard duel at the end of live version of the song (as memorialized here), Downes does not recreate Wakeman’s sound or his style here.  The guitar/keyboard duel is played in Downes’ own style and, I have to say, I think he did a great job and his soloing is really well done.  Unfortunately, as mentioned above, as is typical of these full album tours (and therefore this album), the solos were all of a rather modest length (for Yes), so it was not stretched out like on prior tours.  Finally, I really love the version of “Heart of the Sunrise” on this album.  It is really well done and has a nice dirty sound absent from some recent prior tours.

  • The Video (the DVD)

The video is of all of the songs and is an adequate document of the show.  The footage is reasonable and fun to watch, though I was a little disappointed in it because virtually none of the video images behind the band are visible, which is a shame since they had a good slide show on this tour.  Luckily, for me, the “Southside of the Sky” images and lighting is somewhat visible in the video as I think they did a really good job with it.  Unlike the video for the previous Like It Is video, this does not seem to favor any particular musician over the others.  It seems to be a much better video presentation which more often than not focuses on the musician one wants to see at a given point in the music.  I will say that I think the audio of the DVD is not nearly as good as that of the CDs.  It is quieter and far less dynamic to my ears.

  • Conclusion

As a live album, the album has a quality sound and is enjoyable to hear.  As a Yes live album, it is a very accurate document of where Yes was in 2014 and what they sound like.  If someone is a fan of and/or enjoys the Yes of 2014, then this album is worth picking up and adding to one’s collection.  This album may help people on the fence about the Yes of 2014 to become fans as it shows truly good performances of classic Yes songs and reveals that this line up can hold its own with Yes’ classic line ups in the past.  Otherwise, if someone just cannot accept a singer other than Jon Anderson and/or cannot accept a keyboardist from the Buggles and/or Asia in Yes, then this album is not for you.

  • Packaging

The album is packaged as a digipak and the artwork is pictured below.  As one can see, the album artwork is standard Roger Dean work and also includes some quality photographs of the band.

20150730_212132 20150730_212140[1] 20150730_212210[1] 20150730_212242[2] 20150730_212248[1] 20150730_212259[1] 20150730_212309[1] 20150730_212319[1] 20150730_212332[1]

Yes, Like It Is DVD/CD Set: a Review

This is part of my series of posts on the progressive rock band Yes which you can find here.

Yes has just released its latest live album called Like It Is: At The Bristol Hippodrome documenting a concert played by the band at the Hippodrome in Bristol, England, on May 11, 2014.  This concert was in the context of the Three Album Tour.  The album consists of two CDs and one DVD.

The band fielded the following line up for this concert:

The track list is as follows:

CD 1: Going For the One

  • Going For the One
  • Turn of the Century
  • Parallels
  • Wonderous Stories
  • Awaken

CD 2: The Yes Album

  • Yours is no Disgrace
  • Clap
  • Starship Trooper
  • I’ve Seen All Good People
  • A Venture
  • Perpetual Change

DVD: All tracks

  • The Missing Album

As I said above, this album documents a show from the Three Album Tour where Yes played three albums in sequence in toto live, which means, obviously, one album is missing from this album.  This album contains the entire Going for the One album and entire The Yes Album album, but the actual show also included the entire Close to the Edge album with “Roundabout” from the Fragile album as the encore (naturally).  It also lacks any sort of introduction music.

Word is, among Yes fans, is that Yes is going to soon release a live album from their Heaven & Earth Tour in 2014 in the spring of 2015.  The set list for this tour included the entire Fragile album and entire Close to the Edge album.  So, evidently to avoid duplication on successive albums, Yes decided to not put the Fragile and Close to the Edge live material on this collection.  As an aside, the rumor is that Yes will include the live Heaven & Earth material on a bonus disc with the live album to be released in 2015.

  • The Music

It is tough to review the music as this is a live album and the music really is derived from much older and established studio albums, so any review of the music could become really a review of those albums.  Needless to say, Going for the One and The Yes Album are Yes and progressive rock stalwart albums that stand on their own as classic albums which have stood the test of time.  The Three Album Tour presented complete albums played live very closely to how they actually sounded on their original recordings.  So, the songs on that tour – and consequently this album – were not stretched out, the solos were not expanded, and there was virtually no improvisation.  So, in order to avoid reviewing the underlying studio albums, I will focus on the sound of the music more than anything else.

The sound quality of the album is excellent.  The sound is crisp and there is great separation between the instruments and between the vocals.  I am sure some audiophiles could find things to nitpick, but I have no complaints.

Ultimately, I think whether one enjoys this album depends on whether one likes this particular iteration of Yes and can accept the necessary effect age has had on these musicians who are in their sixth decade of performing.

Now, I am long term Yes fan so I have to admit that I wish Jon Anderson (original and long time vocalist) and Rick Wakeman (classic keyboardist) where back in the band and performing live.  That being said, Davison is an amazing replacement for Anderson and Downes is a quality prog rock keyboard player.  Of course, Downes’ style is markedly different from Wakeman’s at times, and I can’t say I do not miss Wakeman’s playing from time to time, but Downes’ style makes for an interesting change.  Wakeman’s playing is flashy, consistently fast, and with a lot of notes whereas Downes’ playing tends toward a lot of chording and being more understated (more cynical people would say “more tasteful” as compared to Wakeman’s choices).  In my opinion, this is a legitimate, excellent, and worthy iteration of Yes.

Does this album reflect any change in their live sound due to age?  Only a little.  I have to say that Alan White’s playing seems to have been deteriorating (at least in a live setting) since at least 2008 as he has gotten older.  He looks like a tired guy on stage once a show is over.  Don’t get me wrong, he still is a solid drummer who keeps time and provides some good coloring, but his live playing has gotten a lot less complex.  He is no longer the so-called “original thunder machine.”  Also, Chris Squire’s voice is not what it used to be.  I am not saying his singing is not good any longer; quite the contrary, his vocals on this album are very strong and mixed fairly high.  The effect of his age is the fact that his vocal parts have been lowered a bit; he is no longer singing in the stratosphere, which provides the songs a slightly different sound than Yes fans may be used to hearing.  Some people have claimed that Yes plays the songs too slowly.  They did seem to reduce the tempo a little on a handful of songs between 2008 and 2012 (which I think was a concession to help ailing vocalist Benoit David), but with Davison’s joining the band they seem to have sped the songs back up to their appropriate tempos again.  Despite that, some still think they are playing too slowly, but I do not think that is a fair criticism at this point.  Their live tempos now reflect the tempos found on the studio albums, as opposed to their old practice of playing live a break-neck speeds.  The fact is, gone are the days when Yes ramped up the tempos on stage as they used to do in ages past (see Yessongs as an example), but the fact that modern live tempos are slower than their live tempos from the 1970s does not mean that modern live tempos are slow compared to the studio recordings.  The other thing to note is that the band’s live tone and presentation on this album is consistent with what they have been largely doing since 1991’s Union tour (with exception of the 1994 Talk tour), which is to have a cleaner and warmer sound as opposed to the dirtier and aggressive live sound they had in the 1970s and 1980s.

I think the music as played on this tour sounds very much like the original studio versions of the songs, so there are not really very many new interpretations to report for the purposes of this review.  Their effort to sound like the album was even down to mimicking the fade out for “I’ve Seen All Good People,” to having a short guitar solo on “Yours is no Disgrace,” and to truncating the jam during the “Wurm” section concluding “Startship Trooper.”

For me, the biggest things to note are “A Venture” and “Awaken.”  “A Venture” is special, of course, as this tour is the only time this song has ever been performed live.  I always had a soft spot for that song and Yes, despite playing it a little conservative with the other songs, allowed Downes to stretch out the long extended piano solo fade out into a nice smooth jazz jam.  “Awaken” is a Yes epic classic and, for some, the true test of Downes’ worthiness as Yes’ keyboard player.  I have to say that he turns in an excellent performance all around, but he makes two decisions that I found to be a little disappointing.  The first is that he shortens the opening piano introduction a little for some inexplicable reason.  The second is his keyboard arrangement during Howe’s first guitar solo.  Wakeman’s keyboards are very active – as Wakeman tends to be generally anyway  – during this first part of the guitar solo.  Wakeman plays ascending and descending scales very quickly almost to double Howe’s fast runs on guitar, which, I think, makes this section sound even more frenetic and exciting.  By contrast, Downes opts not to play anything at all during this section in order to allow Howe to have the entire spotlight, and it gives this section a sound that is somewhat more sparse than to what one may be accustomed.  Conversely, however, during the second part of Howe’s solo, Wakeman’s playing becomes somewhat understated whereas Downes elects to play hard edged and rapidly played chords when Howe quickly swipes chords on guitar, to make his accompaniment of the solo in this section a lot more exciting and aggressive sounding than Wakeman’s arrangement.

The only other things notable with the songs is that there is no intro music – presumably because it segued into Close to the Edge, which is not included with this set – but instead there is low synthesizer drone that leads into “Going For the One.”  Finally, Downes plays a short intro to “Wonderous Stories” which does not appear on the album.

  • The Video (the DVD)

The video is of all of the songs and is an adequate document of the show.  The footage is reasonable and fun to watch, though I was a little disappointed in it for a few of reasons.  First, virtually none of the video images behind the band are visible, which is a shame since they had a good slide show on this tour.  As an aside, the DVD menu screen has a short montage that is the same as the one that opened the show.  The other thing I was disappointed about is the shaky camera work that happens from time to time when a mobile cameraman walks around doing close ups of the band.  Finally, the footage clearly favors Howe, who has the majority of screen time, followed by Davison, and then Squire.  Downes and White get the short shrift.

  • Possible Commentary

When the discs are inserted into the CD player on a computer the titles and artwork for the discs are not this album but are Going for the One and The Yes Album respectively.  I wonder if this is the current line-up’s subtle message telling fans that this is Yes and not a Yes line up of the past.  Some fans have expressed some consternation with the title of this album thinking it reflects some sign resignation by the band of their state and their line up.

  • Conclusion

As a live album, the album has a quality sound and is enjoyable to hear.  As a Yes live album, it is a very accurate document of where Yes is now in 2014 and what they sound like.  If someone is a fan of and/or enjoys the Yes of 2014, then this album is worth picking up and adding to one’s collection.  This album may help people on the fence about the Yes of 2014 to become fans as it shows truly good performances of classic Yes songs and reveals that this line up can hold its own with Yes’ classic line ups in the past.  Otherwise, if someone just cannot accept a singer other than Jon Anderson and/or cannot accept a keyboardist from the Buggles and/or Asia in Yes, then this album is not for you.

  • Packaging

The album is packaged as a digipak and the artwork is pictured below.  As one can see, the album artwork is standard Roger Dean work and also includes some quality photographs of the band.  As a funny aside, the photographs of the band found in the packaging as show below depict them playing material from Close to the Edge which was specifically not included in this set!

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Social Media Sites “Likes” New Law’s Status

Here is an article, by Theodore Y. Choi, Esquire who is a former associate at my firm.  This article can be found on my website here and was originally published in Upon Further Review on January 11, 2012, and can be seen here.

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