Yes' return to the music scene with 1983's 90125 was a huge success, more so commercially than critically. The subsequent tour was equally successful, attracting fans of the new sound along with those who longed to hear classic Yes compositions. Live, Greensboro, NC -- 9/14/84 is the band's performance in its entirety, and in it they manage to play every song from 90125. In addition, they play early-'70s classics, including "I've Seen All Good People," "And You and I," "Soon" (the closing section of "Gates of Delirium"), "The Fish," "Starship Trooper," and, of course, "Roundabout."
Overall, the double CD bootleg contains energetic and, at times, powerhouse performances (due in large part to White and Rabin), but their impact is lessened by the cloudy sound quality, especially by a lack of clarity on the low end (bass, drums). In addition, there is sometimes too much crowd noise, some of which is relatively clear, particularly in the higher frequencies. Even though most of the 90125 cuts are performed just as they appear on that album, the Greensboro bootleg offers plenty of worthwhile material that -- if not by its sheer length alone -- makes it valuable.
Alan White performs a brief but powerful drum solo, and Trevor Rabin's guitar showcase is one of the highlights of the evening. His electric-acoustic Spanish guitar solo (which follows Tony Kaye's uninspired solo) is a sort of "Steve Howe meets Al Di Meola" sound and style. His playing is fast and precise, and the crowd responds enthusiastically. This performance outshines most of his recorded output. Rabin incorporates some Van Halen riffs into his solo on "Our Song," and his precision guitar work, along with Anderson's strong vocals, makes "Hold On" another highlight.
Anderson's voice is strong throughout the concert. He prefaces "And You and I" by saying, "We've played this song many times, and tonight we're going to get it right." Well, they didn't; not really. While the attempt is ambitious and admirable, the band has performed and recorded more inspired versions of it with different personnel. The main weakness lies in the absence of Bruford and Wakeman; White and Kaye don't hold up well as substitutes -- especially Kaye, whose pop-oriented keyboard/synth work lacks depth. And even more injurious, Squire's bass gets muddied in the recording. Along the same lines, "Starship Trooper" falls short. It screams for Steve Howe's wonderful closing guitar lines; Kaye and Rabin combined fail to convey what Howe could in those final few minutes. The song lacks excitement and simply drags.
But the band succeeds with several other pieces: An instrumental rendition of "Amazing Grace," the powerful, heavy rock of "Instrumental Jam," Chris Squire's bass showcase, "The Fish," which incorporates "Tempus Fugit" quite successfully (a high point), and the swingin', crowd-pleasing encore "Gim'me Some Lovin'."