[21 April 2009]
There is no doubt that Yes is one of the all-time biggest progressive rock bands, up there with ELP, King Crimson, and Dark Side era Pink Floyd. However, by the time they recorded this concert in 2001, their age had begun to show. Some of the subtle articulations that made their original ‘70s recordings so technically marvelous are obscured by the European Festival Orchestra or simply strained and glossed over, at least on the first disk.
All the big riffs are there, though, and Jon Anderson’s voice sounds the same as it ever did. What’s more, the Wilhelm Keitel conducted symphonic interpretations add a great deal to the majority of the soundscapes, and take a less imposing, more subtly supportive role as the concert goes on. All told, Symphonic Live is a solid set, but it won’t be converting a new generation of fans. Those people will just have to let Close To The Edge find them when they’re ready.