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The Word is Live Box set

4.0 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, August 23, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This retrospective features three discs spanning 1970-1988 and offers almost four hours of masterful live performances.

ELP has come and gone (twice), while Genesis is but a fading memory. Yet Yes improbably soldiers on, as much enduring artistic/philosophical state of mind as stubborn prog rock holdout. This three disc, multiple band lineup spanning collection of (mostly) previously unreleased live performances pays apt tribute to that proud, expansive mindset. While it skips almost entirely over the band's mid-‘70s prime (a period already amply chronicled on the double-disc Yessongs), the band's formative era and first line-ups get showcased on raw ‘70-'71 performances from the BBC and Swedish Radio (the latter pair capturing some of guitarist Steve Howe's first performances with the band) on disc one, a chapter highlighted by their sprawling, if still evolving version of Paul Simon's "America"and a rare, nearly as grandiose cover of The Rascals' obscure "It's Love,"both from London '71.

Disc two focuses on arena performances from the late ‘70s, featuring an ambitious "Sound Chaser"from the Patrick Moraz line-up, as well as a "Big Medley"of reworked versions of some of their defining songs, with Rick Wakeman back behind the keys. The final chapter is the set's most varied, chronicling not one, but two band revampings via a trio of live tracks from the short-lived tenure of former Buggles Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes and a quartet of performances from the band's surprisingly successful, Trevor Rabin -sparked ‘80s pop reincarnation, including the rarities "Rhythm of Love" and "Shoot High, Aim Low." If the overall sound quality varies considerably, spanning mono radio recordings of indeterminate generation to soundboard cassettes from Howe's collection and professional multi-track (most of disc 2), it's the ever-forceful, often ambitiously reinventive performances they capture that's more the point. The set's ample booklet reinforces the notion that it's a collection aimed squarely a longtime fans, more than a few of whom contribute their insightful reminisces within. -- Jerry McCulley

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Then (BBC 1970)
  2. For Everyone (BBC 1970)
  3. Astral Traveller (Gothenburg 1971)
  4. Everydays (Gothenburg 1971)
  5. Yours Is No Disgrace (London 1971)
  6. I've Seen All Good People (London 1971)
  7. America (London 1971)
  8. It's Love (London 1971)

Disc: 2

  1. Apocalyspse (Detroit 1976)
  2. Siberian Khatru (Detroit 1976)
  3. Sound Chaser (Detroit 1976)
  4. Sweet Dreams (London 1975)
  5. Future Times/Rejoice (Oakland 1978)
  6. Circus of Heaven (Oakland 1978)
  7. Big Medley (Inglewood 1978)
  8. Hello Chicago (Chicago 1979)
  9. Roundabout (Chicago 1979)

Disc: 3

  1. Heart of the Sunrise (Oakland 1978)
  2. Awaken (Chicago 1979)
  3. Go Through This (New York 1980)
  4. We Can Fly rom Here (New York 1980)
  5. Tempus Fugit (New York 1980)
  6. Rhythm of Love (Houston 1988)
  7. Hold On (Houston 1988)
  8. Shoot High, Aim Low (Houston 1988)
  9. Make It Easy/Owner of A Lonely Heart (Houston 1988)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 23, 2005)
  • Imported ed. edition
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Elektra / Wea
  • ASIN: B00080COV0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,711 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Philip A.Cohen on August 26, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Disc one open with two poor sounding mono BBC concert tracks by the original Anderson/Banks/Kaye/Squire/Bruford line-up;musically good,but they sound like they've been taped off the airwaves.Sound quality improves for two Swedish Radio concert tracks recorded shortly after Steve Howe joined the group.Then you get 4 excellent(mono enhanced for stereo) Live tracks from London by the Anderson/Howe/Kaye/Squire/Bruford line-up including "Yours is No Disgrace","I've Seen All Good People",an embryonic 15 minute version of Paul Simon's "America",and a 10 minute rendition of an obscure Rascals tune "It's Love".The group was wise to wait(and add Rick Wakeman) and fine tune the arrangement of "America" before recording it in the studio.The box skips over the 1972-74 period(covered bythe "Yessongs" set),and Disc 2 is almost entirely professionally recorded full-fidelity material by the Anderson/Howe/Wakeman/Squire/White & Anderson/Howe/Moraz/Squire/White line-ups.The only mono track on Disc 2 is "Sweet Dreams",nicely remastered from the unreleased in America "Live at QPR" video(It's been offered on Japanese Laserdisc or spread across two volumes on Hong Kong DVD).Many of the disc two tracks are unreleased selections from the same concerts heard on "Yesshows" 2-CD set.Disc three opens promisingly with two more selections from those concerts,but goes downhill because of sound quality.Three soundboard cassette tracks from a concert by the Horn/Downes/Squire/Howe/White line-up reveal two previously unheard songs,but the source has murky sound,a bad mix and obvious cassette pitch flutter.The set closes with selections recorded on a Westwood One radio concert("Big Generator" tour,I think) by the Anderson/Rabin/Squire/Kaye/White line-up.Good performances marred by a very reverberant mix.If this were a bootleg,we would be raving about it,but I have higher sound quality expectations from Rhino.
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Yes, it seems, just did not seem keen to keep great archives of their shows over the years. This box set looks fantastic on paper, 3 full CD's covering '71-'88, but should really be called `The best of Steve Howe's personal collection of live tapes that don't always sound the best'. This set is really for Yes live completeists only, not for the casual live Yes fan. Sound ranges from mono, OK sound to pretty darn good, but not perfect sound. Selection misses a lot of the more popular songs (on purpose though as not to repeat what is already out there) which is fine for the completeist, but not the casual fan.

The 2 BBC tracks are good mono, as are the 2 Gothenburg tracks. The London '71 tracks are gems. They are stereo, but it's hard to tell if they are a mono source with some echo added or not. At the beginning a capella start of Your Move, is that really the halls reverb, or a little studio after effects? Don't know for sure, but a great set of song never the less.

Sweet Dreams on side 2 is a lousy mono version from the QEP show. I do not have the DVD's, but the sound quality on those are routinely panned, and this is right up there with it.

The rest of disk 2 and the first 2 songs of disk 3 show the late `70's Yes akin to the Yesshows album. There are no repeats to the Yesshows album (save for Time and a Word) so, with it, you get the bulk of songs performed in the late `70's. If you expected better quality then the very good but not excellent Yesshows, don't look here. The quality on all this material is very good, but it does sound like it came from old, improperly stored, tapes, cleaned up as best as possible. Ironically the one overlap on both, Detroit '76, sound better by a smige on the re-mastered Yesshows CD!
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Format: Audio CD
Well, it's finally here: the long-anticipated "new" live Yes set. The hype was superlative. It caught us hoping beyond hope for those live Yes moments we have heretofore only wished were laid down for posterity:

"Sound Chaser" with Moraz.

"America" with Bruford.

Yet on first listen one gets the sense that this is a box full of colored glass for the masses, with a few diamonds mixed in for the shrewd investor.

One shakes one's head at times and wonders aloud, "Is THIS the Yes that once graced those hallowed halls of yesteryear?"

Well, Yes.

And, No.

Truly, there are moments to marvel at: Disc 1's set with Bruford, Kaye, and Howe is astonishing.

"America" rolls along like an art-rock juggernaut, propelled by Mr. Bill's frenetic stylings (a foreshadowing of his performance years later as a Genesis sideman). It's only after the first 6 minutes have gone by that it hits you: Yes didn't just record this on a whim as a single with Wakeman! They were playing this FOR YEARS with Kaye!

And Kaye gives the song hair!


And then we stumble upon "Sound Chaser". The lead-in track to disc two, "Apocalypse", is brilliant live Yes as only Yes can do, but "Sound Chaser" sounds like it was cut by a high-school band on acid.

The guitar solo is great, but the sound is appalling. The desire to share this magic with others, pointing and shouting, "See! See!" is severaly tempered here; it would be almost embarrassing to play this for friends.

You would find yourself sorely tempted to apologize, "They're really much better than this. Really.
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