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Yes: Live at Montreux 2003
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Yes is one of the most innovative and successful rock bands of all time with a career that now spans five decades. In 2003 the band made their first appearance at the Montreux Festival, despite having a long association with the town itself (they recorded there frequently in the seventies). It was a triumphant night and is regarded by both the band members and fans as probably the finest Yes gig ever to be filmed. It has been much in demand and is now finally cleared for release.
1) Siberian Khatru
3) Don't Kill The Whale
4) In The Presence Of
5) We Have Heaven
6) South Side Of The Sky
7) And You And I
8) To Be Over
10) Show Me
11) Rick Wakeman Solo Medley
12) Heart Of The Sunrise
13) Long Distance Runaround
14) The Fish
16) I've Seen All Good People
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Top Customer Reviews
I think there must be something special about Montreux as an event, with it's legacy of historic Jazz and Rock performers and performances, that inspires those honored to participate to perform at their very best.
This was not the usual tired and goofy end-of-tour Yes that usually ends up on video. This was a very focused performance, with a lot of subtlety, precision and improvisation seemingly inspired and elevated by the spirit of jazz which infuses the setting.
Don't expect the blistering rock of "Yessongs" or "Yesshows". For the first time in my memory, the live Yes most sonically resembled the Yes of "Fragile". A singular album in it's relatively light touch and rhythmic intricacy. If any Alan White doubters remain, they need only watch and hear this concert. White is a consummate drummer with a range of style and touch that encompasses that of even Bruford, and his dedication to a mostly acoustic kit has proven the better choice over the long run.
Every band member was in top form, with the inevitable exception of some required vocal forgiveness which is inescapable at this late date. Even then, Jon's vocal performance on the new song "Show Me", without a lot of previous history to form specific expectations, was beautiful, and was far from his only shining moment in the show.
I believe the night belonged to Steve Howe most of all. His brilliant solo interpretation of "To Be Over" proves that musicality and virtuosity need not conflict. He impressed technically, without seeming showy or hammy, because every effort was devoted to the music, rather than the musician. Throughout the evening, Steve maintained the perfect balance between hitting the licks we are programmed to crave, while providing enough improvisational creativity to make every song seem new again.
Wakeman was no slouch in this regard either, disappointing only in his by-the-numbers solo set, which while flawlessly executed, did not carry the sense of vitality that was the hallmark of most of the evening's performances. His best solo set can be found on "An Evening of Yes Music Plus", which featured a solo piano take on "Madrigal" that I found myself wishing had been included in this show.
This was perhaps my favorite "Whitefish" performance of all time, although the 9012Live CD version is a close contender. I would have to go back and check to see if they had ever previously included the beautiful extract from the seldom heard and under-rated "On The Silent Wings of Freedom" as part of "Whitefish". My only quibble is a rather abrupt and arbitrary transition back into "The Fish" at the end, especially when all of the other segues had been handled with much more subtlety. This was preceded by perhaps the most delicate and precise live performance of "Long Distance Runaround" heard to date.
Instead of trying to out-do or re-create previous live performances, Yes somehow managed to play it all like they had just written it yesterday, and that is a refreshing and unexpected gift.