It was 20 years ago today (assuming you’re reading this on Halloween 2019) that Yes recorded this set at the House Of Blues in Las Vegas. And there’s nothing that says “Twentieth Anniversary” more than a triple deluxe, 180gm, virgin vinyl album, bundled with a 2 CD version, inside a low carbon, super multi pixel gatefold sleeve (slight exaggeration). And it’s only one of the 200 classic titles planned by enterprising German Label, EarMUSIC Classics, to be released in the coming months. As well as Yes, this first phase sees the same treatment given to many more genre giants and their milestone recordings/releases. Like The Who’s ‘Live At The Isle Of Wight’, Deep Purple’s ‘In Concert With LSO’ and Rainbow’s ‘Monsters Of Rock, Donington 1980’, and several others, all on 25 October (full list of releases here ).
Alternating between Live From The House Of Blues‘ vinyl version and the CD version is endlessly fascinating. There has been some reshufling of tracks in order to accommodate the limitations of an “LP”. For example, the whole of Side E is required for ‘Awaken’s 18 minutes. And it’s worth noting that the vinyl version has been mastered directly from the original tapes. The audio is superb.
So why is this live album considered a classic? Why did this live album, one of many released by Yes, capture the attention of fans on the periphery as much as the would-buy-it-anyway hardcore?
New boys Billy Sherwood and Igor Khoroshev had joined Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe and Alan White, and it’s immediately clear they gelled perfectly with the regular first team guys. The band were touring The Ladder at the time, and that helped enormously, in terms both of that album’s relative accessibility, and the sheer energy of performance it generated. Progrock often gets a bad press, but the setlist for this gig ensured an entertaining feast for the curious and a few surprises for died-in-the-wool Yes fans. Plenty of the group’s signature sounds are present, and they form the backdrop to an unexpectedly wide range of styles and approaches. The band stopped short of reinvention, but breathed new life into an enduring manifesto.
- Reviewed by Brian McGowan
- Released by Ear Music, Germany, 25 October 2019
- Band Website
- Yours Is No Disgrace
- Time And A Word
- Lightning Strikes
- Homeworld (The Ladder)
- Perpetual Change
- The Messenger
- Ritual – Nouse Sommes Du Soleil
- And You And I
- It Will Be A Good Day (The RIver)
- Face To Face
- Your Move/I’ve Seen All Good People
- Owner Of A Lonely Heart