In the Present: Live from Lyon

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Following Fly from Here, the first new Yes studio album in a decade, but recorded before it, In the Present: Live from Lyon chronicles a December 1, 2009 concert performance by a configuration that, initially in 2008, was being billed as "Steve Howe, Chris Squire, and Alan White of Yes," joined by Oliver Wakeman on keyboards and Canadian singer Benoît David of the Yes tribute band Close to the Edge. By the time of this show, however, Squire (who apparently controls the rights to the name) was calling the band simply Yes. The inclusion of David, with his sound-alike vocals copying those of original lead singer Jon Anderson, completes the conversion of this long-lived outfit into what many acts of a similar vintage have become: a tribute band to itself. That is confirmed by the repertoire here, which draws heavily on the early ‘70s LPs The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close to the Edge. There are a couple of tracks from Drama (another album on which Anderson was absent) and one from Tormato, plus, inevitably, "Owner of a Lonely Heart," the most recent song in the set, at a mere 26 years old. Otherwise, the players re-create Yes music of four decades ago. Of course, there are numerous other live renditions of this material, starting with Yessongs, and these performances, while competent, are not on a par with either the studio originals or earlier recorded concerts. While ersatz bands like this are perfectly capable of pleasing nostalgic concert fans, they may not be well advised to issue recordings of their efforts that, like this one, suffer in comparison to previous efforts. [The album is also available with an accompanying DVD of video excerpts from the concert.]

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