RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Yes: Like It Is - Live At The Bristol Hippodrome

Rating: A-

Yes has been very busy lately. The group has released several albums and DVD’s, as well as re-releasing some old classics. In early December the band is releasing Like It Is - Live At The Bristol Hippodrome, a live album from their 2014 tour. In what has become their way, Yes put together a concert using a whole album format. In this effort they perform The Yes Album and Going For The One, playing both albums in their entirety and in sequential order. It’s an interesting approach that allows the audience to be treated to songs that may otherwise have never been played in a live situation.

One of the challenges of being a legendary band is that its history is long and very well documented. The group released Yessongs way back in 1973. This massive three album offering became one of the greatest prog live albums of all time. Releasing a live album forty-one years later with the some of the same material opens things up for strong comparison and criticism. Having listened to Yessongs about 43,000 times it is impossible for me not to compare the songs, riffs, and harmonies also found on Like It Is against it.

I’ll be honest; prior to listening to the album I had some reservations. Yes of the seventies is not the Yes of 2014. As a young musician in the seventies I was attracted to Yes by the amazing speed and dexterity of Steve Howe, the root power of Chris Squire, and the ethereal voice of Jon Anderson. But time affects rock icons the same way it affects everyone else. The priorities of the band members change. Speed may be substituted with subtlety. Flash may be replaced with grace. The decision of which aspects of the music should be emphasized and which are really not that important is approached from a completely different perspective.

And that right there is not only the saving grace of this album, but precisely what makes Like It Is a must own album for any Yes fan. Yes has changed over the years, and so have we. The showiness of youth has been replaced by the desire to present a life’s work in its best light. Yes is proving they can still get out there and bring fresh nuances into progressive music over forty years old. The listener can hear that these musicians still love their craft and are very proud of the body of work they have produced over the decades. Most of all, the album proves that Yes still puts on a great show.

The Yes Album and Going For The One come straight out of the golden era of progressive music. They are products of the progressive halcyon era before the eighties came along and shook it to its core. Fans of Yes who remember those times hearing these albums performed live will instantly throw you back to that era. Like It Is – Live At The Bristol Hippodrome lets the Yes fan hear those albums performed in their entirety one more time. It is an enjoyable album.

Track Listing:

CD 1 (Going For The One)
Going For The One
Turn Of The Century
Wonderous Stories

CD 2 (The Yes Album)
Yours Is No Disgrace
Starship Trooper
I’ve Seen All Good People
A Venture
Perpetual Change

By Roy Rahl