If you think the SQ of Yessongs is bad, you should hear Live in Philly- makes Yessongs sound good. Then there's the QPR video, taken from a TV simulcast, where the SQ is not too bad, but the soundman must have ingested some powerful stuff, because some of the songs are ruined by the mixing, which had to take place at the board. For some reason, Yes at its peak was never able to get recorded well; such a shame, as they were truly magical. Maybe that magic is too elusive to be captured on video...
Thank goodness for the more recent releases, which sound great, though the guys are all up there in years, so not much to look at. Also, even though they still play very well, the true fire from their glory days is diminished, esp. Howe, who was a guitar God in his prime. He won Guitar players best guitarist 6 years in a row until they said that was the limit and took him off the ballot. He still plays with much feeling and beauty, but he has definitely lost some of his chops- understandable at his age. The tempo of songs like CTTE have slowed considerably over the years and the consensus among the hardcore is that Howe is the main reason why. That’s why it’s such a shame that Yessongs was so poorly recorded; he was absolutely incendiary.
No video that I know of w/ AHSBW line-up, though there is video of the later incarnation of Yes that JA started when he grew tired of Trevor Rabin’s version and started Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe (ABWH). No Squire, of course, as he was still with TR in what is often called Yeswest. But Tony Levin played bass and was awesome in the live show (only time I’ve seen him live using his “funk fingers”). The ABWH video is very good, called “An Evening of Yes Music Plus,” but it’s a shame (a seemingly recurring theme with this band) that TL was sick on the night they had scheduled a pay-per-view presentation of what I believe was their last US date of that tour, which ended up being becoming that release. There is also a video called “In the Big Dream” that has a couple of music videos from the ABWH album, as well as some discussion with the band. Bruford’s dry sense of humor is very apparent in this and there is some footage of ABWH with TL, though the one concert video it contains is from An Evening With… and so doesn’t have him. There is also a video of the Union tour, where Yeswest and ABWH “united” and played as an 8 piece band, which includes your favorite line-up, but also has AW, TR and Tony Kaye (the original keyboardist before RW, who was resurrected for TR’s Yes). So, you can see AHSWB, but not by themselves. I really loved this show when I saw it, but watching the video is less satisfying than most others I have- just too congested. Also, TR and SH did not “play well” together. I also dislike TR’s wanking up classic Yes bits, but YMMV.
Wakeman’s solo is presented in full; it’s titled excerpts because he played excerpts from his solo album 6 Wives of Henry VIII, along with other things. I know its on the album, can’t remember if it’s in the movie, where he played a bit of Handel’s Halleluiah Chorus. All the songs except ST are complete, though there are some now laughable images that are shown over some spots, esp. in CTTE, as well as some "trippy effects" (sarcasm) added that were I guess supposed to express the cosmic aspect of the music. I actually thought they were pretty cool when I was 16.
Doctor O, I look forward to your review; I hope they found a way to improve the SQ.
For anyone interested in Yes concert video, they have recently released a BR of “Yes Symphonic Live,” the tour they did accompanied by different orchestras, after releasing the Magnification album, where an orchestra was used to replace RW (very under-rated album IMO and available as a DVD-A, though now OOP and a bit pricey, though nothing like most OOP DVD-A’s). The SQ on my DVD is great and reviews I’ve read of the BR’s DTS-HD MA track have been stellar. Great performances and an excellent setlist, if you like the epics (CTTE, GoD, Ritual, AY&I, ST, etc.). The orchestra really added a lot to familiar songs and it was a great show. I enjoy it a lot, but prefer my Yes straight up. There is another BR of them “Live In Montreaux” which is good, though the sound has some problems. SQ is good, but there are a number of places where the mix seems off, esp. having JA too low at times. But still a very good video. My favorite Yes video is “Songs from Tsongas,” which I hope gets the BR treatment soon. Great AQ and SQ on the DVD, though the setlist might not appeal to the non-hardcore as much. Best version of And You and I I’ve ever seen. Starts off with a rockin Going for the One and one of the encores is an awesome version of their cover of the Beatles Every Little Thing, which they did on the 1st album. The songs span their whole career and they were in great form- RW had just rejoined them the previous year.
Speaking of ridiculous boxsets (still holding out for WYWH to come down to around $50), I would pay those exorbitant prices for all that other crap if they would release a deluxe version of CTTE with a good quality hi-res 5.1 mix. This is my all-time fave album and I believe the zenith of modern musical composition (not at all biased).