The second official concert package from Yes contains tunes recorded over a span of two years (1976-1978) and two different incarnations of the band. Like its live predecessor Yessongs (1973), Yesshows finds the combo during one of their states of perpetual change. Jon Anderson (vocals), Steve Howe (guitar), Chris Squire (bass/vocals), and Alan White (drums) are joined by Rick Wakeman (keyboards) on a majority of the selections. The exceptions being "Gates of Delirium" from Relayer (1974) and the Tales from Topographic Oceans' (1973) epic "Ritual" -- which is presented in two parts -- and has Patrick Moraz (keyboards) in Wakeman's stead. The original concept contained a few features that would have been akin to Yessongs. They debated as to whether they should make it another triple-LP and feature Tales from Topographic Oceans in its entirety, like Close to the Edge had been done on Yessongs. Undecided, they made a rough mix of a two-album incarnation, but then shelved it in order to focus their attentions on creating new music. Purportedly, that unapproved (by Yes, anyway) version was cleaned up by the record company and released for the holiday shopping frenzy of 1980. As issued, the seven tracks hang well together and provide enthusiasts an opportunity to hear a mixture of older and newer material. Best of all, Yes retain their enviable ability to ably re-create the complex and challenging passages with a soul that is occasionally lacking from the studio counterparts. Reaching back nearly a decade is an excellent update of the optimistic "Aquarian Age" anthem and the title composition of their second platter, "Time and a Word." It is enveloped by a pair of equally well-executed sides from Going for the One (1977). Here, both the opener "Parallels" and the song "Going for the One" exceed the comparatively sterile non-live readings. Particularly endearing and inspired is Anderson's off-key voice crack during the high-octane chorus of the latter. The more involved works -- especially the Moraz performances on "The Gates of Delirium" and the nearly half-hour "Ritual" -- are fuelled by a continuous energy. They build on the structure established from the respective long-players, yet even the most intricate elements and dynamics are amplified in their decisiveness and command. Anderson's intimacy and passion fuse on the closer "Wondrous Stories," almost as if releasing the audience from one last embrace.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2