With the exception of Peter Banks and Trevor Horn, virtually all the major contributors to Yes in its various incarnations over the previous 23 years, including both of its drummers, threw their hands into the making of Union, which was supported by a massive tour that filled arenas with at least two generations of fans. So even if Union had been as good as one hoped, this was an album that couldn't possibly have met the expectations inherent in the array of talent involved. The material is reasonably solid, and under ordinary circumstances this album would have been considered just fine, if not exceptional. "I Would Have Waited Forever" shows off the group's vocalizing (by Chris Squire and Jon Anderson) at its most melodic and Steve Howe has one of the most beautiful classical guitar showcases of his Yes career on "Masquerade." But the Trevor Rabin/Chris Squire-composed "Lift Me Up" seems a forced exercise in heaviness, and "Without Hope You Cannot Start" seems more like a composed-by-numbers piece than a truly inspired song. None of the material here would rate alongside the better (forget the best) tracks from any of the group's 1971-1974 albums. Perhaps the defects revealed the real purpose of this album, which wasn't so much to make a definitive statement by any of the participants, but rather to show the flag of the reunited band, which it did. The single "Lift Me Up" topped Billboard's Album Rock Tracks chart for six weeks, with two other cuts also making the list. But the single also only limped to number 86 on the Hot 100, and although the album shot to number 15 and went gold, this was a serious falloff from previous sales.
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder