Recorded live on the final night of the 1989 Anderson/Bruford/Wakeman/Howe tour, this two-CD set offers both oldies and improvements upon their new material. You'll probably find yourself listening only to the second CD, as the first CD largely consists of shaky solo medleys. Howe fares the best with delicate renditions of "Mood for a Day" and "The Clap." Anderson's guitar and vocal turn comes off like a coffeehouse gig -- not bad, especially when he samples "Teakbois," but not riveting. Wakeman's "Merlin" and "Catherine Parr" solo trades speed for precision, and the crowd is unaccountably thrilled when he wrenches unimpressive blow-bottle sounds out of a keyboard. Bruford blows his solo yet again, just as in Yessongs; infatuated with electronic percussion, he produces a grating assortment of clanks and conks. Once past the solos, though, this set picks up steam. The ABWH album was a soulless-sounding production; songs like "Soul Warrior" and "Brother of Mine" are both warmer in sound and more lively in rhythm when performed on-stage. Fans may also appreciate Bruford's unprecedented live appearance on "Close to the Edge"; though he played on the 1972 studio album, he had left the band before ever getting to play it live.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Paul Collins
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2