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Old 03-01-2012, 03:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Yes: Yessongs- 1973


Yes Yessongs- 1973
RMR Album Rating- 10


What do you do when you’ve just released three albums containing music that is so intricate and complex that your critics claim that it could not possibly be replicated on stage?

If you’re Yes, you fire back with a triple live album that takes your most intricate and musically challenging songs and makes them more complex, more ridiculously intricate, and even longer. So, if you thought Yes had a penchant for writing long intricate epic songs on their studio albums, they extend everything on Yessongs. It’s simply amazing. “Long Distance Runaround>The Fish” goes from 5 minutes to almost 14 minutes, “Perpetual Change” goes from 8 minutes to 14 minutes, and “Yours is no Disgrace” goes from 9 minutes to almost 15 minutes. Then there’s “Close to the Edge,” which was over 18 minutes in the studio, and they play the entire song to perfection here. Yessongs is a festival of prog that takes all of Yes’ epic pieces and makes them even more epic. I will note that longer and more intricate songs don’t always equal better songs, but the extensions of these songs really enhance the original versions, and every song on here trumps its studio counterpart.

Yessongs contains over 2-hours of live music, and for an average band writing 4-minute songs, that would be roughly 35 songs. Yessongs contains only 13 tracks, which some critics claim is too many epics to take in at one time, but I disagree. The set goes by in a flash, and I’m floored by the power and energy that goes into every song.

As mentioned, all the songs equal or exceed their studio counterparts, but I’ll highlight “Heart of the Sunrise,” “Perpetual Change,” and “Starship Trooper.”

“Heart of the Sunrise” has a longer intro, and the heavy parts of the song are played faster and harder than they were on the original, making the song one the first progressive metal songs. This version of “Perpetual Change” is absolutely the seminal version of the song, and it rolls out a carnival of jamming that seamlessly switches back and forth between all the instruments— showcasing all the players. Lastly, “Starship Trooper” is lengthened as well, and it is given a new synth jam during the “Wurm” section.

My only real complaint with this album is the omission of “South Side of the Sky,” which was the only epic track to date from Yes’ “Main Sequence” of albums that is not included. The production is not perfect either, but that’s a minor complaint, especially considering the album was released in 1973.

To conclude, if you are a fan of progressive rock, live music, jam bands, or just amazing music, Yessongs is essential listening, and it will completely shatter your perception of what is possible on stage.

Post Script
As always, I have to pay tribute to Roger Dean’s artwork for the album. In addition to the cover painting, there were four additional paintings included in the original triple gatefold LP. The art is incredibly complex and surreal, and it fits the music perfectly as always.



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Old 03-01-2012, 03:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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As always, this is a fantastic review: I really can't think of very much to add!
I personally find the fact that all the live performances included in the album really are excellent, I love the idea of having live performances included in general because it allows us to listen to the songs in new way, which is particularly effective when they include them in the album. I really need to give it a proper listen, so thanks for reminding me!
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Old 03-01-2012, 06:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I love this album. One of the best live albums ever made IMO.
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by metalheadmike View Post
I love this album. One of the best live albums ever made IMO.
Agreed. I would not argue with anyone who said it was the best live album ever made. I think "Perpetual Change" is the real jewel of it. The last 5 minutes or so just blow my head off.
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:52 AM   #5 (permalink)
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just got it recently

haven't spun it yet

will let you know what I think of it
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Old 03-02-2012, 04:12 AM   #6 (permalink)
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You're spot on with the top marks you've given this album here, on first impressions a live Yes album from their most creative period (also their most chaotic period) might seem a recipe for disaster given the heavy complexity of the band and Jon Anderson's dubious voice in live performances, I read the real reason that why Tony Kaye was sacked from the band, was that he just wasn't capable of following the complex styles of the other members hence the reason why Rick Wakeman was drafted in. Yessongs though, perfectly demonstrates how Yes were capable of reproducing their studio sound in a live environment and for that alone the album is a live classic.
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