YES – Yes 50 Live
As its title so neatly suggests, this magnificent double live album by the legendary Yes marks and celebrates the renowned outfit’s 50th anniversary, and man, do these insanely skilled musicians and visionaries pull it off in style!
For one thing, the sound across these two discs is to die for and is unarguably one of the most crisp and pristine ones that I have come across lately with respect to live records. As to the vibe and feel of “Yes 50 Live”, it is so intimate and warm that listening to it with your eyes closed will make you believe that you are standing right there in the front row watching the inspired ensemble magically weave their way through some of their most adventurous and passionate compositions ala “Close to the Edge” and “Awaken”. There is absolutely no reason for me to elaborate on the musicianship or how much I cherish Jon Davison’s emotionally charged and yet delicate vocals, because…well, let’s face it, we are talking about Yes here, damn it! The mix is extraordinarily balanced and each instrument is allowed to shine and breathe throughout the two terrific hours that “Yes 50 Live” lasts.
“Yes 50 Live” is essential for all you prog lovers out there and a fantastic representation of a great band whose songs are as timeless as the band itself, and the artwork by the talented Roger Deam is eminent and is one than enough reason why you ought to invest in this one. Although I consider “Topographic Drama – Live Across America” (2017) slightly superior to this anniversary release due to the former having a more exotic set list (but that is merely a personal preference and not a critique of this new offering, mind you), the quality of this 2019 live document is outstanding and serves as a great reminder of just how rich the Yes canon of songs is as well as how impressive the band’s legacy is. I sure do envy the people who attended this particular concert in Philadelphia. Favorite track: the tender and stunningly beautiful “Soon”.