Title - 'Symphonic Live' (Eagle Records)
Artist - Yes
Formed in London in 1968, the very English progressive rock band known simply as quickly allowed their music to become marked by sharp dynamic contrasts, extended song lengths, abstract lyrics, and a general showcasing of instrumental prowess.
Amazingly, given the way bands come and go these days, Yes are still one of the most innovative and successful rock bands of all time, with a career that now spans five decades.
And as if to prove that point, on November 21st and 22nd back in 2001, Yes visited the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam and gave two spectacular concerts. The main event starts with an overture by the orchestra (and, as I've seen the DVD of this second show myself, I can safely add that the band are not even visible at this stage!), but after this intro the band illuminate and we get 'Close To The Edge.'
Next is 'Long Distance Runaround' (from the Fragile album) with a beautiful orchestra opening that is really an asset to the song. They follow this with 'Don't Go' and then came 'In The Presence Of' (both from the new album Magnification), before, finally, after all these years, 'Gates of Delirium' is been introduced!
And yes, this is still the mother of all Yes epics! A Steve Howe guitar solo rounds out the first disc, but we're quickly off and running again on the first track of the second disc, with the golden oldie of, 'Starship Trooper.'
During this song the orchestra has leave of absence and immediately you get an "unplugged" feeling when they are not there. The harmonies are perfect in this song. The title track of their last album, 'Magnification' is next, followed by 'And You And I.' 'Ritual,' from the Tales album is one of the four tracks of this double album and one of two, for me, most accessible. The drum part in the middle with Anderson, Squire, Brislin and White makes it an attraction of the first order.
Always a great rock song, 'I've Seen All Good People' is next with 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' brought to the fore thereafter. 'Roundabout' from the Fragile album is the last song sung, during which the stage is filled with all the members of the orchestra waving and dancing on the music and expressing their joy of being part of performing in timeless music by a timeless band - trust me, you have to see the DVD to really get the full picture!