Yes

Live on Air

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AllMusic Review by

It's obvious that very little attention was paid in the production of this archival Yes CD from 1985. For one thing, the cover features a closeup of guitarist Steve Howe, who wasn't in Yes at the time; the back has an early-'70s photo with Rick Wakeman, who was likewise long gone. The inside cover shows yet another incorrect lineup, the 2009 one with BenoƮt David up front. There are further glitches in the track list, with the 1974 epic "The Gates of Delirium" being listed (they play just the closing excerpt, usually titled "Soon") and "Starship Trooper" misidentified as "Astral Traveller." The cover offers no recording or personnel details, only that it was "recorded in 1985 for a local radiostation [sic]." Local to what? The music that's actually here consists of random excerpts from a Buenos Aires concert on February 9, 1985, which has long been available in complete form on bootlegs. The age of the tape is all too clear: it sounds like a cassette from the radio, with audible drags and dropouts -- and both "Starship Trooper" and "And You & I" cut off in the middle. The latter is carelessly combined, with "Changes" and a DJ's announcement, onto one 14-minute track. There's even a gap between "Owner of a Lonely Heart"'s instrumental intro and the rest of the song. Too bad, because the performance itself is first-rate. At the time, the reunited band, with guitarist Trevor Rabin in the driver's seat, had been touring the 90125 album for just under a year, and Yes were something they would never be again: a hitmaking act with videos on MTV and a newfound younger audience. So there's an evident confidence to the playing and infectious joy in Jon Anderson's singing. Rabin's arena rock leanings may have dominated this lineup, but Yes never lost their progressive roots altogether: "Owner" was unusually tricky for a hit single, then or now, and their aggressive takes on the early-'70s material worked fine. This is the first official release to include the later tour dates' surprise encore, the Spencer Davis Group's "Gimme Some Lovin'," on which Yes make a lively little garage band (Rabin even quotes a riff from ? & the Mysterians' "96 Tears" early on). That's one good reason to own it, but probably the only one.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
Yes
4:18
2
Yes
6:26
3
Yes
13:25
4
Yes
3:42
5
Yes
4:57
6
Yes
6:57
7
Yes
9:33
8
Yes
6:18
9
Yes
3:54
blue highlight denotes track pick