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Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe: An Evening of Yes Music Plus

Most of you already know the story-in the late 1980's, Jon Anderson left Yes, then at the time featuring Chris Squire, Alan White, Trevor Rabin, and Tony Kaye, to once again work with his longtime friends and former Yes mates Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, and Bill Bruford. Since Squire owned the rights to the Yes name, this new faction simply called themselves Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, or ABWH for short. In many fans eyes, this was more of the "real Yes deal" than the existing incarnation of Yes that pumped out mega selling albums like 90125 and Big Generator. ABWH recorded a studio album and went on a huge tour, and the result is the 2CD live album, which was originally released in 1993, now being reissued by Voiceprint with a slightly different track order and the inclusion of "I've Seen All Good People".

If you've seen Yes over the years, regardless of the line-up, ,most of these songs will no doubt be very familiar to you. The four Yes veterans were augmented here by bassist Jeff Berlin, Julian Colbeck on second keyboards, and Milton McDonald on second guitar, the latter two mostly to flesh out the sound on the songs from the ABWH studio album, namely "Brother of Mine", "Birthright", "Themes", and "Order of the Universe", all fine songs and worthy of being attached to the Yes name. The performance of the entire band here is spot on, Anderson especially in fine form and Howe as always giving a virtuoso performance. Although Wakeman's choice of modern keyboard tones at times borders on cheesey, the guy still blazes through these new and classic tracks. Showstoppers include "And You And I" (when does this tune not bring down the house?), the epic "Close to the Edge" (complete with some amazing drum work from Bruford), and a blistering "Heart of the Sunrise", which lets fusion legend Berlin rip it up with the boys. In addition, the set opens up with some great solos spots which are always fun to hear.

This reissue comes housed in a lavish digipack adorned by the wonderful artwork of Roger Dean, as well as plenty of photos. Also available is a companion DVD of the event.

Track Listing
CD 1
1. Benjamin Britten's Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra
2. Jon Anderson Solo-Time and a Word/Owner of a Lonely Heart/Teakbois
3. Steve Howe Solo-Clap/Mood for a Day
4. Rick Wakeman Solo-Gone But Not Forgotten/Catherine Parr/Merlin the Magician
5. Long Distance Runaround
6. Birthright
7. And You and I
8. I've See All Good People
CD 2
1. Close to the Edge
2. Themes
3. Brother of Mine
4. Heart of the Sunrise
5. Order of the Universe
6. Roundabout
7. Starship Trooper

Added: February 18th 2008
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Yes Website
Hits: 2353
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe: An Evening of Yes Music Plus
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2008-02-18 15:25:56
My Score:

The reunion of four former members of Yes would be nothing short of historic for fans of the legendary Progressive Rock titans and when Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe and Bill Bruford formed Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman & Howe the output generated would be pure magic. The concert presented on this CD was originally a televised pay per view event and back in 1989 this was not as common as we find it being today which makes its existence all the more special. The band couldn't call themselves Yes based on the bands bassist Chris Squire owning the rights to the name but with the membership in this little enterprise being who it was the world would know the score simply by listening. This was as close to pure Yes as it would come and not only would the guys do some of their classics for the screaming audience but they would also offer up some interpretations on other material and include some new compositions as well. Way back when this first aired I remembered the anticipation I had for the reunion and plunked down the necessary monies to have this brought to life in my parents living room, but having seen the DVD I must say that unless you are an absolute diehard fan that there is no real reason to own the CD. Sure the music on the release is as vibrant and fresh as what we find on the available DVD and we get the same full show with the exception of the omitted track "The Meeting", but the truth is that a monumental occasion like this should have found release as a special edition CD/DVD item. My guess is that they aimed at serving the needs of both the video enthusiast as well as the audiophile by giving you the choice of either or both. Highlights include "Roundabout", "Close To The Edge" and "I've Seen All Good People" and it was great to hear these members doing these tunes again as a band when it came down to it. The two CD package is encased in a beautiful foldout digipak and features artwork from longtime Yes collaborator Roger Dean. There is a booklet enclosed that while proving sparse as far as band biography and history does deliver dozens of photographs from the live concert. Grab this one if you are the fan who "must have" it all as it's still quite good but be aware that the live DVD is something that should be on your shopping list if you don't already own it. Musically this is top-drawer stuff and a great reminder why Yes music is so special to millions of people around the world.

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