Yes- The Word Is Live (Elektra)
review by Jim Clark

Track Listing

Disc One

  1. Then
  2. For Everyone
  3. Astral Traveller
  4. Everydays
  5. Yours Is No Disgrace
  6. I’ve Seen All Good People
  7. America
  8. It’s Love

Disc Two

  1. Apocalypse
  2. Siberian Khatru
  3. Sound Chaser
  4. Sweet Dreams
  5. Future Times/Rejoice
  6. Circus Of Heaven
  7. The Big Medley
  8. Hello Chicago
  9. Roundabout

Disc Three

  1. Heart Of The Sunrise
  2. Awaken
  3. Go Through This
  4. We Can Fly From Here
  5. Tempus Fugit
  6. Rhythm Of Love
  7. Hold On
  8. Shoot High, Aim Low
  9. Make It Easy/Owner Of A Lonely Heart



To follow up 2002’s 5-CD career-spanning box set In A Word, Yes have decided to issue the live, 3-disc The Word Is Live. Yes, long known for putting on a great live performance, show that with this release of some great performances, many of which will be familiar to bootleg collectors. But here, the sound quality is immaculate and other than the 1970 BBC recordings of “Then” and “For Everyone,” all of the tracks on this set were never before officially released. Showcased here is that BBC recording, 1971 performances from Gothenburg and London, a 1975 performance from London, 1976 recordings from Detroit, 1978 performances from Oakland and Inglewood, 1979 recordings from Chicago, 1980 New York performances and 1988 recordings from Houston.

The packaging is stellar as well with a lengthy, full-color book featuring essays by fans of seeing their favorite band live, as well as lineup information for each of the tracks, which is quite important for a fan of Yes. The keyboardists featured at various points here are Tony Kaye, Rick Wakeman, Patrick Moraz and Geoff Downes while Peter Banks, Steve Howe and Trevor Rabin are all present on guitar.

Now on to the downside of this box set. Inevitably, when collections like this get issued, tracks get left off. Here, those tracks are some of the cornerstones of the band’s repertoire. Absent are such standouts as “Close To The Edge,” “Starship Trooper,” “The Gates Of Delerium” and many of the Rabin-era classics. And interestingly, nothing is featured on this collection after 1988. So while the Union disc of 1991 sucks big time, the ensuing tour was quite enjoyable. And the Talk, Masterworks and 35th Anniversary tours offered lots of interesting material as well. Perhaps The Word Is Live would have been better suited if it were like the In A Word box with five discs instead of three. It just seems odd to omit the last 17 years of this band’s live career when the studio box set covered it all.

Still, if you’re a fan of Yes, this should still make for an enjoyable listen. And it will also leave you wonder how much better it could have been.

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