Yes: Like It Is: Yes At The Bristol Hippodrome

Another year, another vocalist: revisiting classics.

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Even the most gung-ho of Yes fans wouldn’t complain that there are too few live Yes albums out there.

The prompt for this latest (which comes with a concert DVD) must be that it showcases new(ish) vocalist Jon Davison, and that Geoff Downes wasn’t on keyboards for 2010’s Live From Lyon. That one had Benoit David singing, so we’re already used to Jon Anderson soundalikes doing their best to distract us from the angelic Accringtonian’s absence.

Davison delivers a fine facsimile, while Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White amble comfortably through the trusty topography, but often a certain fire in the belly is lacking. On the plus side, this May 2014 show ignored material from the drab Heaven & Earth, with the band playing 1977’s Going For The One and 1971’s The Yes Album in full. (They also played Close To The Edge on the tour, but that isn’t represented here.)

Things liven up as Howe’s guitars ricochet brightly and everyone glides gracefully through the 18-minute Awaken. The years fall away as Yours Is No Disgrace and Starship Trooper shake off the stabilisers, locating light and heat. Still breathing./o:p

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.