CD Reviews

YES - 'In The Present - Live From Lyon' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 09, 2012    
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As good as this release is, there's nothing really new on offer.

I have to admit to being a little non-plussed by and cynical about this release because, as good as it is, there's nothing really new on offer and therefore it can only be seen as an exercise in getting the band's fans to buy the same thing one more time.

Like Journey, Yes have found themselves a replacement vocalist from a tribute band, consequently Benoît David sounds, for the most part, uncannily like Jon Anderson throughout this two CD collection and therefore doesn't bring any of his own personality to the songs. It will be of greater interest to me to see the band on the tour in support of the 'Fly From Here' album, on which I felt David tried not be a clone of their former singer and of course got to put his stamp on the new material.

Also, I can't help but think that the set list is rather predictable with all the old chestnuts being delivered in very fine style but all of which have appeared on various live releases put out over the years. I'd have thought that a better option would be to wait for the aforementioned tour when presumably they will inject some of the new songs into the shows and therefore providing some variation. Needless to say, the performances are pretty close to flawless, as you'd expect from a band of this pedigree and Oliver Wakeman does a fine job of recreating his father's inimitable keyboard flurries. Mind you, I certainly could have done without Alan White's drum solo during 'Astral Traveller'. He's a great drummer so it's no reflection on his playing but drum solos are almost without exception dull as dish water. Steve Howe (guitars) and Chris Squire (bass) are still masters of their craft, although I'm rather surprised they didn't do a studio repair of what I assume to be Squire's attempt at singing Lennon's 'Give Peace a Chance' during 'I've Seen All Good People', which is horribly out of tune.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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The points of particular interest for Yes fans will be the inclusion of 'Onward' from the 'Tormato' album, which sounds a little pedestrian in its delivery, in my opinion they're better with up tempo tracks, and two songs from the 'Drama' album, namely 'Tempus Fugit' and 'Machine Messiah'. Of course, that album had Trevor Horne as vocalist so here we get to hear how these songs would have sounded had Anderson still been in the band and taken that role.

As a bonus the album comes with DVD content, that I've not seen, which includes interviews and footage from the show featuring the ubiquitous 'Roundabout' and the aforementioned 'Machine Messiah'.

I suspect that dyed in the wool Yes fans will be at the front of the queue to spend their money on obtaining this release but for the casual observer I can't see the attraction. I think I'll stick to 'Yessongs'.

Gary Marshall 

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