Yes featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman
Live at the Apollo


4.0
excellent

Review

by Divaman USER (140 Reviews)
September 27th, 2018 | 9 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A thoroughly enjoyable listen for any Yes fan who doesn't out-and-out loath the Rabin era.

This year is the 50th Anniversary for Yes, but for longtime fans, it's a little like being the child of an ugly divorce. For the second time in their history, Yes has split itself into two competing versions of the band. And unfortunately, there seems to be some bad blood between them, which has caused some fans to feel they have to choose one or the other.

The Steve Howe version, which simply calls itself "Yes", is a continuation of the band that Chris Squire left behind when he passed. It includes Howe on guitar, Alan White on drums (in a limited role, due to health reasons), Geoff Downes on keyboards, Squire protege Billy Sherwood on bass, and Jon Davison on vocals. They put out a pretty good live album in 2017, Topographic Drama - Live Across America, which mostly focused on a pair of albums from Yes' back catalog, Tales of Topographic Oceans and Drama.

The second version of the band consists of original Yes lead singer Jon Anderson on vocals, Trevor Rabin on guitar and Rick Wakeman on keyboards. It bills itself as "Yes featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman", which doesn't exactly flow effortlessly off of the tongue. Prior to Squire's death, they were calling themselves "Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman", or" ARW", which is a lot easier to say, but doesn't contain the golden "Yes" name. (I'm going to give these guys the benefit of the doubt and assume the name change was more about pride and feeling they have a legitimate claim to the "Yes" name than it is about money.) Live at the Apollo is their new release, a live double album recorded from a March 2017 performance in Manchester, England. They've also released a DVD of the concert under the same name.

Live at the Apollo has two major things going for it. The first is the proficiency and energy level of the band. At the time this show was recorded, ARW had been touring for nine months, so all of the kinks were worked out, and the band was firing on all cylinders. This is a high-energy performance where it feels as though the band is really having fun.

The second major plus is the choice of material. Many of the band's most popular songs are here, so you'll get to hear this lineup's takes on such classics as "And You and I", "Roundabout", "Owner of a Lonely Heart", "Heart of the Sunrise" and "I've Seen All Good People". What makes the album special for me, though, is the inclusion of live versions of some Yes material you don't always get to hear. So they've included "Hold On" and "Changes" from 90125, "Rhythm of Love" from Big Generator, and a particularly nice version of "Lift Me Up" from Union.

This isn't the perfect Yes live album. They're translating a lot of the material in their own way, and while the changes aren't drastic, odds are you'll appreciate some of the musical choices more than others. And like a lot of Yes fans, happy as I am to hear Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman again, I'm just not that big a fan of Trevor Rabin. I give him his due -- he was a driving force for the 90125 album, which completely revitalized Yes' career. Without his contributions, there might not be any version of Yes still active today. But as proficient a guitarist as he is, Rabin isn't Steve Howe. I find him to be a much more conventional musician. Nevertheless, while the Trevor Rabin years weren't my favorite era of the band's existence, I still found a lot of the music they put out at that time enjoyable.

So which of the two Yes lineups put out the better live album in 2017-2018? I'm not going to choose. I don't really see a reason to. I enjoyed both LPs for different reasons. The main thing to know is that Live at the Apollo will be a thoroughly pleasurable listen for any Yes fan who appreciates the positives of the Rabin era. And if you really have to choose which lineup is better, I'll let you choose for yourself.



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user ratings (1)
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Divaman
September 27th 2018


2937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

As much as I love Roger Dean, I kind of like the album cover for this one, especially the shades of orange color scheme and the logo. I've seen some people complain about it, but I think it jumps out at you and tells you this isn't the same old Yes you've gotten used to.

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e210013
September 27th 2018


2068 Comments


Another good review, my friend, and another one about the "new" Yes. Two reviews about two live albums of Yes released in the same year. This is a very nice thing, especially when I'm reviewing the Yes' discography, the solo albums of Yes' members and some albums with Yes' friends.

As happened with the other one, I need to check this one, too.

Good review as always. You excited my apetite, again. Pos.


Divaman
September 27th 2018


2937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks e. The Rabin era wasn't my favorite, but I think they've picked some of their best material from that time, and the band seems to be playing with much joy and enthusiasm.

Jethro42
September 27th 2018


15550 Comments


I prefer Topographic Drama for the setlist, but i wish - in my dreams -Wakeman an Anderson were a part of it. I think that Howe and Wakeman are not in good terms. so yes. For Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman, it's a mish mash to follow on spotify, cos songs are not in the good order. It includes pointless songs such as ''Hold On'', ''Lift Me up'' (that would be better acoustic imo), and the two overplayed ''Rhythm Of Love'' and ''Owner of a Lonely Heart''...There are a big amount of good old classics left aside, but hey, I assume they wanted to satisfy the two poles of their fanbase. The good old classics sound good of what I've heard. I'm not a Rabin fan either.

Review is excellent, Divaman, dude.


bigguytoo9
September 27th 2018


477 Comments


Rabin is still so damn good. I would love to grab the Bluray of this at some point.

Divaman
September 27th 2018


2937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I agree Jethro. You wish you could combine aspects of both of those live albums. I like having "Hold On" and "Rhythm of Love" and "Life Me Up" live, though.

I'm ordering the DVD for this one myself, bigguytoo9. It's a fun, energetic concert. Saw the Howe lineup live a few months ago, and as much as I enjoyed it, I felt like Howe is feeling a lot of pressure to carry the day. It was only in the last few songs when Alan White and Tony Kaye joined him on the stage that he seemed to relax and enjoy himself.

Dewinged
September 27th 2018


11345 Comments


A good way to go back and listen to good old Yes. Thanks for writing this up Diva!

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Divaman
September 28th 2018


2937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You're welcome, Dewinged.

Divaman
October 5th 2018


2937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm actually raising this one half a star. I've continued listening, and outside of Rabin getting a little over the top once in awhile, this album is just pure pleasure.



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