Yes - Live At Montreux - 2003 - DVD/CD
Eagle Rock Entertainment
Progressive Rock
17 songs (137'00)
Release year: 2007
Yes, Eagle Rock Entertainment
Reviewed by Marty
Although the line-up of Yes that included guitarist Trevor Rabin, original keyboardist Tony Kaye, drummer Alan White and founding members Jon Anderson and Chris Squire achieved far greater commercial success with albums like 90125, fuelled by the massive hit single Owner Of A Lonely Heart, the classic 70's line-up of Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Alan White and Rick Wakeman is the definitive line-up and the one that is most revered by their very loyal fans. The Yes Symphonic Tour in 2001 was a huge success but was missing keyboardist Rick Wakeman from the ranks. In 2003, Wakeman came back to the band and the subsequent tour was nothing short of a series of major events as each show on the tour was played out. Although most of the shows had been for larger audiences during this tour, even including some festival appearances in Europe, the band took the time to play a small intimate setting at the 4000 seat Stravinski Auditorium during the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux Switzerland. Despite having spent time in the Montreux area in the past recording albums, this was their very first appearance at the festival in the over 35 year history of the band. Luckily, the cameras were rolling on this magical night as this particular show has been heralded by many fans as well as some of the band members themselves as one of their favorites and quite possibly one of the finest Yes performances ever.

Opting to drop the customary Firebird Suite intro, the band is introduced by Claude Nobs, the festival founder before launching into Siberian Khatru from the Close To The Edge album. Also from the same album, we get a truly stunning and moving version of the classic And You And I. A very spirited and up tempo version of Tormato's Don't Kill The Whale fires up the crowd and were are also treated to a rare version of We Have Heaven, the multi-voiced track done entirely by Jon Anderson from the Fragile album. Accompanied by sampled vocals and tape loops, he pulls this off perfectly. Also from that same album are some stunning versions of Heart Of The Sunrise, Long Distance Runaround and South Side Of The Sky which is highlighted by an amazing guitar, synthesizer battle between Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman. The Going For The One album is revisted with the opus Awaken and we also get a great spirited version of I've Seen All Good People. A couple of tracks from their latest album at the time, Magnification are also included in the set. The title track and In The Presence Of see a great blending of new material with the old with both fitting in very well. Jon Anderson also includes a previously unreleased track entitled Show Me which was apparently from sessions in the early 70's but was never finished until just recently. A very moving track, his solo acoustic performance accompanied by Rick Wakeman on piano truly stops everyone in their tracks with it's stark look at oppression and starvation as it affects the children of this world. No Yes concert would be complete without some solo performances and with Steve Howe, we get to see his amazing acoustic guitar prowess with an instrumental excerpt from To Be Over from the Relayer album and the perennial crowd favorite, The Clap. Rick Wakeman's solo keyboard odyssey is equally jaw-dropping and Chris Squire turns into a bass "beast" with his solo performance, accompanied by drummer Alan White during The Fish. As always, Roundabout closes out the almost 2 and a half hour show but it really annoys me that they now play the radio edit version from the 70's without the changes and instrumental bridge sections of the complete version.

Alan White is a solid as ever in conducting and driving the very complex music of this compact little symphony and Jon Anderson's voice sounds exactly the same as it did over 30 years ago. It's an amazing experience seeing a group of virtuoso musicians like this, especially having them all in the same band. The band is obviously enjoying themselves and each and every track is met with thunderous standing ovations at their conclusion. Some technical difficulties with Jon Anderson's weird cello/guitar offer some funny moments and overall, the sound is a little "soft". The mastering could've been a little better as the volume has to be turned way up to get a really solid sound from this DVD. Currently, Yes is on a self-imposed hiatus with Jon Anderson doing some solo shows and Steve Howe doing a small Asia reunion tour but there are rumoured plans for the band to release a new album and tour extensively throughout 2008 in honour of their 40th anniversary. As a long time Yes fan for almost 35 years now, I have heard literally hundreds of bootleg live concerts and have all of their official live recordings and DVDs but from an overall band performance point of view, it's pretty hard to top this particular show....a must for Yes fans! This is also available as a companion double CD set and contains the same show program as the DVD version.

Killing Songs :
Everything!! but especially And You And I, South Side Of The Sky, To Be Over/The Clap, and Heart Of The Sunrise
Marty quoted no quote
Other albums by Yes that we have reviewed:
Yes - Fragile reviewed by Jeff and quoted CLASSIC
Yes - Magnification reviewed by Dom and quoted 89 / 100
Yes - Yes, Friends And Relatives - Volume 2 reviewed by Danny and quoted no quote
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