Yes
Yessongs


5.0
classic

Review

by e210013 USER (110 Reviews)
April 9th, 2018 | 28 replies


Release Date: 1973 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is a perfect live album. It’s simply one of the best prog live albums ever made.

“Yessongs” is the debut live album of Yes and was released in 1973. The line up on the album is Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, Chris Squire, Alan White and Bill Bruford.


“Yessongs” especially documents the live tour of their fifth studio album “Close To The Edge”. It also features two live tracks “Perpetual Change” and “Long Distance Runaround/The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)”, which were recorded during the previous tour of their fourth studio album “Fragile”. These two tracks were recorded with Bill Bruford on drums, before he left the group and before he was substituted by Alan White. “Perpetual Change” has an extended drum solo made by Bruford, which was so typical on almost all live albums performed at the time by progressive bands.

“Yessongs” became a model for live progressive rock albums that would be made in the future. It was recorded on a vinyl three disks format, with over 120 minutes, and became as one of the first triple albums in rock history. The live album includes the band’s entire stage repertoire, which included almost all of the best songs from their three preceding studio albums, “The Yes Album”, “Fragile” and “Close To The Edge”, undoubtedly their best albums at time.

“Yessongs” was a very ambitious project and a huge risk for the group and for their record label, the Atlantic Records. It was presented in one of the most luxurious album packages until then. The package features artworks by Roger Dean and inside of it there are four individual panels. The artwork of Dean, which has begun with their two previous studio albums, was spread across a triple gatefold cover that continued the same concept design motifs of their two previous works. This is one of most beautiful covers ever created. "Yessongs" was really a huge commercial success.

“Yessongs” has thirteen tracks all recorded in 1972. The “Opening (Excerpt from Firebird Suite)” is an excerpt from the classical piece “Firebird Suite” of Igor Stravinsky and was recorded at Uniondale, New York. It has been a standard opening for the majority of the Yes concerts since 1971. “Perpetual Change”, “I’ve Seen All Good People”, “Yours Is No Disgrace” and “Starship Trooper” are tracks originally recorded on “The Yes Album”. These live performances were recorded at New York City, New York; Athens, Georgia and London, UK, respectively with the exception of “I’ve Seen All Good People” where its recording place is unknown. “Heart Of The Sunrise”, “Mood For A Day”, “Roundabout” and “Long Distance Runaround/The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)” are tracks originally recorded on “Fragile”. These live performances were recorded at Greensboro, North Carolina; Uniondale, New York; Ottawa, ON and New York City, New York, respectively. “Long Distance Runaround” and “The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)” were performed live together as only a single track. “Siberian Khatru”, “And You And I” and “Close To The Edge” are tracks originally recorded on “Close To The Edge”. These live performances were recorded at Knoxville, Tennessee; Greensboro, North Carolina and London, UK, respectively. The “Excerpts from The Six Wives Of Henry VIII” is a medley from “The Six Wives Of Henry VIII”, the debut album of Rick Wakeman and was recorded at Athens, Georgia.

The performances are extremely tight and energetic, and that’s really impressive when you think about the complexity of the material. The versions of “Close To The Edge”, “Roundabout”, “Perpetual Change” and “Yours Is No Disgrace” bursts with power and energy and proved beyond any doubt that Yes was one of the strongest live acts among the progressive rock bands. The addition of Wakeman’s mellotron on tracks from “The Yes Album” is also a very pleasant feature. However, White’s drumming on “Heart Of The Sunrise” proved that he was absolutely no rival to Bruford, but I guess you couldn’t expect him to be that either. The medley of themes from Wakeman’s solo debut “The Six Wives Of Henry VIII” mixed in with some excerpts from Handel’s “Messiah” and played on mellotron is also great.


Conclusion: “Yessongs” is an extraordinary live album. What is most impressive is that after Yes just have released three studio albums containing songs very intricate, complex and long, they could make a live album with musical changes that turn it even more complex, intricate and longer. If you think Yes had a penchant of writing long and intricate epic songs only on the studio albums, you’re wrong. They extended everything on “Yessongs”. This is an amazing thing. “Yessongs” is a festival of progressive music that turns Yes’ epic pieces, even more epic. It’s true that longer and more intricate songs aren’t always a sign of equal or even better songs. However, in this case, the extension of the songs really enhances the original studio versions and every song here trumps its studio counterpart. “Yessongs” is one of the best live albums ever, actually. For me, “Yessongs” is one of my two favourite live albums of the 70’s. The other is “Playing The Fool” of Gentle Giant. Both are two of the best progressive live albums ever made.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
April 9th 2018


2208 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

My prog path through the music world of Yes would be incomplete without any live album. And with Yes that is even truer, because always was a great band performing live. Unfortunately, I never had the oportunity to see them live on a real live show. I just only had the oportunity to see them live on a couple Dvd's I own. But I could see they were trully an amazing live band. So, nothing beter than beginning by reviewing their debut live album, one of the beter live albums ever made, actually.

Veldin
April 9th 2018


3798 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Love the live albums from prog bands during this time. good review, pos'd

Divaman
April 9th 2018


3374 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Very nice review, e. Glad you chose to review this one.

Digging: Seahawks - Eyes of the Moon

e210013
April 9th 2018


2208 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks, Veldin. Those were great times indeed.

e210013
April 9th 2018


2208 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It would have to be made, Diva. And nothing better than begin by their first and their best live album. Thanks, pal.

Veldin
April 9th 2018


3798 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yessongs (Yes), Playing the Fools (Gentle Giant), The Great Deceiver (King Crimson), Seconds Out (Gentle Giant), A Live Record (Camel), Bursting Out (Jethro Tull), Welcome Back to the Show That Never Ends (ELP), Roxy & Elsewhere (Frank Zappa), How the West Was Won (Led Zeppelin), The Name of this Band is (Talking Heads), Band of Gypsys (Jimi Hendrix), Before the Flood (Bob Dylan), Rust Never Sleeps/Live Rust (Neil Young), Stage (David Bowie), and Live Killers (Queen) are my favorite live albums from '72-'82. Best Rock live albums

Veldin
April 9th 2018


3798 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

made a list! check it

e210013
April 9th 2018


2208 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Man, those are all great live albums indeed and they are also some of my favourites too. Impressive list indeed.

I'm going to check your list, of course. Thanks.

rockandmetaljunkie
April 9th 2018


7755 Comments


this needed a fresh review, good job !

e210013
April 9th 2018


2208 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks, rock.

MotokoKusanagi
April 9th 2018


1738 Comments


yeah this is a classic, that opening khatru hits with such fire

TwigTW
April 9th 2018


3657 Comments


It used to bug me so much when live albums weren't recorded at one show. I'm not even sure why that was such a big problem for me now, but it means I've never listened to this album all the way through in one sitting. I should do that . . . another nice review e21.

Digging: Jungstotter - Love Is

e210013
April 9th 2018


2208 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Absolutely. A truly classic album, one of the best. Thanks, Moto.

Jethro42
April 9th 2018


15637 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I didn't know it wasn't an entire show, yet Bruford appears in two songs, it should have rang a bell lol. I owned that original album since late 70s, and I remember its sound's quality was pretty bad, but they apparently made a remastered version. It's a good thing.

The songs rendition are pretty much faithful to the originals, save for some extended instrumental passages and couple of jams that sound like improvisations. You're right e21 bro when you say; ''The performances are extremely tight and energetic, and that’s really impressive when you think about the complexity of the material.'' Yes were a fantastic live act, tight and powerful, two qualities we're looking for when it comes to live performances. Alan White is no Bruford, but he's a great live drummer, and he's at the top of his game. They all have fun to play and they all offer extra spicy passages.

Great review bro, my only gripe is that paragraph that describes where each songs were performed. I'm sure people tend to skip it.

e210013
April 9th 2018


2208 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

During many years it was the same with me, Twig. Even now, I prefer an album recorded on the same venue. Still, there are some great exceptions, and this is one of the cases. All band is great, but I think it was mainly due to this live album, I became an inconditional fan of Squire. He made some incredible things here.

Thanks, bro.

e210013
April 9th 2018


2208 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@ Jethro

Yeah, fortunately Bruford appears in two songs. And I think the same as you. Despite White be a great drummer it isn't really Bruford.

About the performance is really great, indeed. This is one of my three favourite live prog albums in the 70's. The others are "Playing The Fool" and "Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends".

"my only negative critique is that paragraph that describes where each songs were performed. I'm sure people tend to skip it."

You might be right. But I think it can tnterest some people. Besides, I've already mentioned in more detail those songs on my reviews of their studio albums.

Thanks, my friend.

Jethro42
April 9th 2018


15637 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Playing the Fool rules indeed. I love the way the drummer is rocking hard and helps to put all together the quirky, sophisticated playing of the other musicians. Album is an instant 5 for me too. Take note that it's my first review, written in 2009. I'll try to enhance it and edit it one of these days.

e210013
April 9th 2018


2208 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Playing The Fool" is my top one of live albums in the 70's. What impresses most on that album is how could they made a so impressive live album when we know the complexity of their music. How was possiblethey could bring to a live show their so complex music in a way so well and perfect? It always was a mystery to me.

"Take note that it's my first review"

I never noticed that. I'm going to read it right now.

"I'll try to enhance it and edit it one of these days."

Nice. I'm very curious about it.

TheIntruder
April 10th 2018


405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice to see another review of this album. It needed a fresh review. This is an incontournable prog album. A truly classic album. Nice to see also some love for live albums on Sput. Nice job too. Have a pos.

e210013
April 10th 2018


2208 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks Intruder. A fresh review is always good, especially when we have only one on Sputnik. And yeah. I said once it's a pity we don't have more reviews of live albums on Sputnik. I brought some already.



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