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Yes: Symphonic Live

Originally presented to the fans of Progressive Rock giants Yes on the DVD that bears the same name comes the audio release of this very concert. The recording was initially done in 2001 as the band toured for their own orchestral album Magnification and if you think that you have enjoyed Yes in the past just wait until you hear them do their thing with the added power of a symphony orchestra behind them. These days the idea of bands releasing albums with an orchestras help is not so new or often even exciting but one of the true musical sounds that works with this idea best is the sound of Yes. If you are one of those fans that have been following Yes for a long time then there is a good chance that you already own the DVD companion piece for this album. That fact alone makes the appeal of owning the audio companion for your stereo, music player or just to leave in the car for those long trips somewhat of a necessity. In 2001, the lineup of Yes was John Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe and Alan White and they are joined by the European Festival Orchestra which was conducted by Wilhem Keitel. The music of Yes has always been big in scope and often took the listener to different worlds based on just how many musical doors it was opening in their minds and that made my hearing these classic tunes with the accompaniment of the orchestra a wonderful thing. I did enjoy the new tunes from the Magnification CD that were performed but when it came down to it I was more keen on the time honored classics like "Long Distance Runaround", "I've Seen All Good People" and the tune of tunes "Roundabout". What comes through crystal clear on every song is just how perfectly Yes seem to mesh with the orchestra and neither one overpowers the other as we have found happening on a number of other similar releases.

They include a simple booklet which only folds out to reveal the song titles and really offers no glimpses of the band or the recording as it was done, and I think that this risks getting a little extra interest in ordering the DVD for those who don't have a copy already. I can however safely recommend this release for not only the progressive minded listener but also the tried and true fan of Classic Rock because it offers everyone a fresh take on some wonderful tunes from the genres history. The two disc set spans a healthy amount of time and it was nice to have this finally delivered on CD for the bands acolytes to enjoy.

Track Listing:

  1. Overture
  2. Close To The Edge
  3. Long Distance Runaround
  4. Don't Go
  5. In The Presence Of
  6. The Gates Of Delerium
  7. Steve Howe Guitar Solo
  8. Starship Trooper
  9. Magnification
  10. Of You And I
  11. Ritual
  12. I've Seen All Good People
  13. Owner Of A Lonely Heart
  14. Roundabout

Added: April 9th 2009
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: Yes Website
Hits: 2069
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Yes: Symphonic Live
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-04-09 08:14:33
My Score:

On Symphonic Live and with the assistance of the European Festival Orchestra Yes naturally bridges the narrow gap between classical music and the band's own brand of lush prog. The orchestra actually allows listeners to hear such stale in-concert staples as "Long Distance Runaround" and "I've Seen All Good People" with fresh ears, and three songs from the then-new album, Magnification, further distinguish this from other live Yes albums. It boasts the almost-classic lineup (Anderson, Squire, Howe and White, minus Wakeman) and proves that Yes was still a viable entity at the turn of the century. The sparse liner notes don't say so, but this 2001 set was recorded in Amsterdam, Holland. (Diligent fans will note that one version of the Symphonic Live DVD also included a CD, but it did not contain the entire performance.)

Yes: Symphonic Live
Posted by Christian Bernier, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-03-17 06:39:55
My Score:

In recent years it has become popular for rock bands to play live with a symphony, some more successful than others have been. Some of these efforts have been a little disjointed because the addition of the symphony did not blend well with the original music. Here we may have one the best examples of where it works very well. Yes is one of the all time greatest symphonic progressive rock bands of all time. The band created music that was symphonic in scope and the addition of a symphony is almost natural for their music. This is a two CD set that was previously released as a two DVD in 2002.

A band that has such a large back catalog can sometimes have a difficult time picking a set list. The set list here is excellent and the songs sound great with the symphony, I especially enjoyed "Close to the Edge" and "The Gates of Delirium". In the song "The Gates of Delirium just after the battle segment the addition of the harp and strings with Jon's voice and the pedal steel is just gorgeous sounding. That is just one of the many examples where this collaboration really excels. After a few listens I almost did not notice the symphony sometimes it mixed so well with the music. The symphony enriched the sound and created more depth to the songs. The playing during this concert is awesome Alan, Chris and Steve shine through out. As for Jon's vocals they are very strong and powerful and in my opinion his voice seems to get better with age.

What else can be said about YES one of the greatest bands of all time? This live performance is excellent and showcases their songs with an added depth of a symphony. Obviously I would recommend these CDs to YES and Progressive rock fans. I would also recommend the CDs to anyone whom would like to know how a rock band and symphony collaboration sounds when done correctly.

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