The 1984 lineup of Yes -- Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Trevor Rabin, Alan White, and Tony Kaye -- left behind this filmed account of their tour, which was made by no less a figure than Steven Soderbergh, about four years before he released Sex, Lies and Videotape. It found a following among Yes fans of the period, cleverly intermixing excellent live footage of the band with conceptual material and graphics, which seemed state of the art at the time and today seems a quaint relic of its era. MTV was what was happening then, and Yes, with "Owner of a Lonely Heart" as a chart-topping hit in this incarnation, was suddenly competing in that medium. Of course, what then happened was that following the hit and the tour documented here, it was three years before another Yes album showed up, by which time their lineup and sound had shifted again -- 9012Live became the only full-length concert document by the "comeback" version of the band. And then, across the 1990s and beyond, as Yes endured and evolved further, the particular version of the group represented here came to be considered more of an aberration than anything else, a flukey incarnation, despite the fact that, at the time, its success probably saved the band. And to make matters even more complicated, the master materials for this movie -- in particular the underlying sound elements -- were lost. As a result, for quite a few years, 9012Live was only traded as a bootleg DVD on the underground market.
Fortunately, at some point usable video materials were found -- though the multi-track audio source is, indeed, still missing -- and the concert video was remastered for this official 9012Live DVD release. Additionally, director Steven Soderbergh , who had since gone on to be one of the most honored and influential filmmakers of his generation, proved willing and able to come back into the project. He prepared a revisionist "Director's Cut" of the concert feature in which all of the conceptual footage was removed, allowing the viewer to watch a version of the movie in which there are no cutaways from the band itself performing. Both versions are on this DVD, which also includes an extensive selection of highly illuminating interview material with the bandmembers, and the Soderbergh-directed "Access All Areas" featurette, a behind-the-scenes look at the band and the tour, which is fun, though even more of a period piece than the concert feature is (some of the goofier fans are a hoot). The material is all presented full-screen (1.33 to 1) and is all very crisp, and though the sound is a little more compressed than would be considered ideal today, this is still an enjoyable listening experience. Watching this version of Yes present their own repertory is interesting enough, and seeing them revive early numbers such as "I've Seen All Good People" in superb form is fine, but the most quietly surreal moment is when this version of the band -- in a welcome bonus track -- embraces "Roundabout." Suddenly, it's the Trevor Rabin lineup with Tony Kaye not only putting their own spin on Steve Howe guitar parts but a keyboard part originated by Rick Wakeman, and they don't do badly -- Rabin does well with the Howe-originated material and is a much more animated and engaged figure on-stage, and Kaye proves himself quite capable of emulating Wakeman's larger-than-life keyboard orchestrations. Both versions of the film use the same chapter-marker pattern, keyed to the songs. And the disc opens to an easy to use two-layer menu.