Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Music Review: Yes “In The Present–Live From Lyon”

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Yes In The Present - Live From Lyon

Formed in 1968 by bass god Chris Squire and singer Jon Anderson. They reached world wide success as pioneers of progressive rock employing an art and symphonic style. Today the band consists of Chris Squire and Steve Howe, guitar (who arrived in 1971 and became the guitar sound of the band) Alan White on drums, who joined the band in ‘73, The singer now is Benoit David, who breathes new life in to the classic tunes while still being faithful to the originals and finally, they are joined by Oliver Wakeman, the son of Rick Wakeman, on keyboards.

Always known for their lengthy songs, mystical lyrics and live stage sets, this album does not disappoint. recorded live in 2009 in Lyon,

In The Present - Live From Lyon brings us not only those great FM Radio hits from the ‘70s but plenty of hidden gems.

Yes “In The Present- Live From Lyon France”

This is a marvelous package and I was very pleased that the sound and the stage act (the set includes a 55 minute except of the concert) was still fresh and exciting. Chris Squire was and still is an exciting bass player. One of the first to play bass as a lead instrument, his sound is unique as his main bass has always been a Rickenbacker. The Rick is famous for its ringing sustain, and Squire still makes great use of that.

Steve Howe is still one of the best guitar players in rock. His virtuosity on the instrument, both electric and acoustic, stood out and punctuated the groups classic period sound.Howe’s approach was always more intricate than flash and his ability to play to and off the singers voice was astounding.

Alan White’s drumming is the thing of legend. His first international exposure came in The Plastic Ono Band in ‘69. besides his signature sound with Yes, he’s also worked with George Harrison, Joe Cocker, Ginger Baker, and The Ventures.

The second keyboard player for Yes was Rick Wakeman who joined the band who joined the band along with Howe in 1971 and was responsible for being one of the first synthesizer players in rock. Although Wakeman is a noted player of the grand piano, electric piano, Hammond organ, Minimoog and many later models of synthesizer, he is well known as an exponent (for a time) of the Mellotron. In June 1969, he played Mellotron on David Bowie's single "Space Oddity”. It was while doing session work with Bowie that he joined Yes. On this album he is replaced by his son Oliver, who learned a lot from his father and seems to know every nuance of the bands catalog.

Vocal duties are covered by Benoit David who has been with the band since 2008 when Jon Anderson became ill. Chris Squire is responsible for ‘discovering’ David, a Canadian that Squire found on YouTube when David was leading a Yes tribute band, Close To The Edge (named for a Yes album). David is more than a stand in for Anderson, h brings a wealth of vocal talent and an obvious respect for the bands music.

Machine Messiah

This ‘set’ is, as you would expect, very good and filled with the familiar and some surprises. Excellently produced and mastered, it contains two CDs and a 55 minute DVD video of the best of the performances.The DVD also includes informative interviews. It was a pleasure to hear these new presentations of classics like ‘I’ve Seen All Good People” Owner Of A Lonely Heart” , “Roundabout” and “Machine Messiah” and also some gems that aren’t performed that often, “Siberian Khatru”, Tempus Fugit” , “Astral Traveller” to mention a few.

If you followed and were blown away by Yes back in the 70s and want a trip down memory lane, you’ll simply get lost in this collection, and if you are young and interested to learn where bands of today like Flaming Lips, Moth Vellum, Magenta and anybody playing melodic instrumental rock, got some of their ideas, then you’ll love this album too. It’s good to see these guys still able to excite an audience some forty-plus years after their initial impact.

 

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Copyright © 2011 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

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