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Yes: In the Present Live from Lyon

Earlier this year Yes released an excellent CD Fly From Here. As is always the case with this particular band there were some inter band politics to the fore and Oliver Wakeman was shoved out the door and replaced by Geoff Downes and the band made a return to the UK top 40 and US top 30 album charts. This was obviously quite a feat for a group whose collective age must be fast approaching three thousand years old. What could they possibly do to celebrate this feat?

Surely even Yes wouldn't be crass enough to release a live album with the aforementioned Mr Wakeman on keyboards would they? Hell yeah they would! Not only does this package feature a double CD of "hits" but there's a DVD as well (not offered for review.)

Musically the band are as tight as you would expect and it is interesting to hear Jon Anderson's replacement Benoit David sing songs closely associated with Accrington's finest but surely it would have been better to feature some tracks from Fly From Here and show the world the strengths of the current line up or would that be too logical?

If you like Yes and are a Yes completist you will obviously buy this but if you are a casual fan there are many, many other ways to get into the band and you'll have to think before handing over your pennies. Live from Lyon is fine, but not essential Yes.

Track Listing:
1) Siberian Khatru;
2) I've Seen All Good People;
3) Tempus Fugit;
4) Onward;
5) Astral Traveller;
6) And You And I;
7) Corkscrew (Acoustic Solo).
8) Owner Of A Lonely Heart;
9) Southside Of The Sky;
10) Machine Messiah;
11) Heart Of The Sunrise;
12) Roundabout;
13) Starship Trooper.

Added: January 17th 2012
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2375
Language: english

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Yes: In the Present Live from Lyon
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-01-17 14:51:57
My Score:

Another year, another live Yes album & DVD. In the Present-Live From Lyon features the 2009 version of the band, with new members Benoit David and Oliver Wakeman, though the keyboard wiz has since departed and been replaced by a returning Geoff Downes. Much of what you get here is standard Yes fare, which as you can imagine is much of the 'same old same old' that we've come to expect from the prog legends. Thankfully, a few nuggets have been thrown our way, in the form of "Tempus Fugit" and "Machine Messiah" from the Drama album, as well as the lovely "Onward" and supercharged "Astral Traveller", two older tracks that never really got much play in a live setting. These songs are a joy to hear, and it gives the rest of the tired old set a kick in the pants. David holds his own throughout, and turns out to be a great replacement for the missing Jon Anderson.

Speaking of tired old, Alan White and Chris Squire sound pretty old and tired, especially on the beaten to death tracks like "Roundabout", "I've Seen All Good People", "Owner of a Lonely Heart", and "Starship Trooper". Perhaps they are getting as sick of playing these songs as some of us are of hearing them. It's not that they aren't classics, but the band seems like they are going through the motions playing them, yet invigorated on the Drama tracks, which really haven't been played since that tour back in 1980.

All in all, a semi-fun live set, especially for the rarer tunes. I would have loved for them to wait until the tour for the new album Fly From Here to release a live album/DVD so we could see them tackle some tunes from the album, but I guess that wasn't the plan. For the die hard fan, you'll probably want to have this, but it's certainly not essential, especially given the DVD is not the full show and just snippets thrown into some interview footage with the band.

Yes: In the Present Live from Lyon
Posted by Jeff B, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-01-08 10:03:06
My Score:

When it comes to classic progressive rock, you'll have a tough time discussing the genre before Yes comes up conversationally. Their legacy is one that few bands can rival, and a long string of classic albums have made them a staple in nearly every rock fan's collection. The latest incarnation of Yes, which contains vocalist Benoit David in place of Jon Anderson, has been met with some controversy, but I've actually been quite pleased by what the band has to offer with their new vocalist - his performances on Fly From Here are excellent, and I also remember being quite impressed with his pipes when I saw Yes in a live setting a few years back. To showcase this new lineup, the band has also released a new double live album from their performance in Lyon, France on December 1, 2009. In the Present - Live From Lyon mostly shows the band performing their most classic tracks from the seventies', and it's clear that the band is as inspired as ever - Benoit David's vocals are consistently excellent, and the rest of these aging rockers also sound fresh and inspired. While I would've liked to see a bit more focus on new material, In the Present - Live From Lyon is still a well-performed and highly enjoyable live effort for any fan of Yes.

On this live album, you get some of Yes' mandatory classics like "Siberian Kathru", "I've Seen All Good People", "Owner of a Lonely Heart", and "Roundabout", as well as symphonic epics like "And You And I", "Southside of the Sky", and "Heart of the Sunrise". The band delivers all of the songs with a high level of professionalism, and the warmth found on the studio versions is never lost in the live setting. Killer performances of songs like "Siberian Kathru" and "Machine Messiah" prove that Yes is still far from running out of energy, and the tasteful Steve Howe acoustic guitar piece "Corkscrew" as well as the AOR track "Owner of a Lonely Heart" means that all sides of this multifaceted act are showcased throughout In the Present - Live From Lyon. While the setlist will unquestionably satisfy most Yes fans (myself included), I would've liked to see a few tunes from their more recent catalog. As difficult as it is to complain about an album with this many killer tracks, the fact that most of these songs are readily available on other live albums makes In the Present - Live From Lyon more of a fan item than an essential part of Yes' canon.

Though a few newer Yes songs would've enhanced my general opinion of In the Present - Live From Lyon, there's still no question that this is an immensely entertaining live experience. The quintet is at the top of their game throughout the full set, and the wealth of classic tunes should satisfy any fan of the band's masterpieces from the seventies'. As a sampler of what Oliver Wakeman and Benoit David are capable of as members of Yes, In the Present - Live From Lyon is a more than worthy taste of their abilities. While In the Present - Live From Lyon won't hold much appeal to Yes newcomers, it is a solid live experience of one of progressive rock's finest assets. I'd say 3.5 stars are well-deserved.

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