YES – Like It Is – YES at the Mesa Arts
A sequel of sorts to "Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome" where the band would perform "Going for the One" and "The Yes Album" in their entirety, "Like It Is- At the Mesa Arts Center" focuses on two more complete albums from their 1970’s period: "Close to the Edge" and "Fragile". This double album contains 86 minutes of music for the UK progressive rock outfit, continuing to be one of the premiere acts in the genre this deep into their career. Epics and classics sit side by side- you can’t deny the legacy of "Roundabout" and "Long Distance Runaround", as well as the close to twenty minute master class on progressive rock that is the four-part "Close to the Edge" title track.
Vocalist Jon Davidson has little trouble replicating Jon Anderson’s original work, while I thoroughly enjoy the musical chemistry between keyboardist Geoff Downes, guitarist Steve Howe, bassist Chris Squire, and drummer Alan White. Recorded in Arizona last year as part of their "Heaven & Earth" tour, this is also the final live recording with Chris Squire who passed away earlier this year. Throwing in every element from acoustic guitars and spacey keyboards to this infectious bass groove keeps your brain and ears engaged – a quintet willing to explore sounds and challenge their listeners to join in the adventure.
Ardent fans enjoy the legendary bands who willingly reach back into their catalog and perform albums front to back – because chances are there is a deep track or two that hasn’t been performed in forever, if at all. Is this mandatory? Probably not for the casual Yes fan who desires the ‘hits’ – but how many of those exist at this stage of the game? This record makes me reach back into the Yes catalog for those studio albums – and that’s a good thing.