Anderson/Wakeman: The Living Tree In Concert: Part One

Former Yes-men unplugged.

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In the absurdly convoluted Yes family tree, Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman are key figures. For many, the Yes currently recording and touring, impressive as they are, aren’t the real deal without them. So ‘the other two’ have, not for the first time, formed a breakaway rival faction.

This live album captures their 2010 UK shows, in which they reinvented some Yes anthems and played their own new material.

Anderson’s still-cherubic voice and Wakeman’s time-honoured tinkling ensure the recent songs are never less than pretty, but it’s the classics that dazzle in fresh clothes here.

You might think epics like And You And I and Long Distance Runaround would suffer from stripped-down, acoustic arrangements, but they enjoy shining in a new light. Even surging rocker South Side Of The Sky relishes fresh intimacy, its urgent undertow exposed.

Proof here that Yes songs stand up without bells and whistles.

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.