Yes - House Of Yes: Live From House Of Blues
This two-disc set is the companion soundtrack to the DVD of this live show recorded on Yes' The Ladder tour. There are a lot of really good performances here, but also a few complaints. The first thing that seems out of place here is that the album really has much more of a studio feel than live. It would have been nice for the production to have been left feeling more live. Another complaint is that a few of these tracks are definitely over-represented in the Yes catalog. The upside to that though, is that by leaving those tracks in, this represents a truer capturing of a full show from the tour.
The lineup here is the same as that of The Ladder album - Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Billy Sherwood, Chris Squire, Alan White and Igor Khoroshev. Of course, by the time this album was released Sherwood was out of Yes and Khoroshev followed soon afterward. Although the set is packed with strong performances, really the most essential stuff is the material without previous live entries and the cuts that seem a bit “different” from earlier versions.
A very solid rendition of the powerful cut “Homeworld (The Ladder),” this is a new live treasure. At over nine minutes of great Yes music, what could there be to complain about? In the monologue between this track and the next, Jon Anderson dubs the venue "The House of Yes.” With a straightforward and faithful intro, the verse section to “Perpetual Change” seems to take on a more playful texture and Khoroshev 's fills really add a lot to the piece. The jam at the end is especially strong in this arrangement. Another song from The Ladder disc, the live rendition of “Lightning Strikes” is quite true to the studio version. The bridge segment comes across particularly well here with White's drumming and Squire's bass work really shining. Anderson introduces “The Messenger” with a story of how this song came to be written and that the inspiration is Bob Marley. It is another that is done quite true to the original. The instrumental break here really works well and the "one voice" section is also very strong.
Also noteworthy, is a brief, nearly a cappella section of Tales from Topographic Ocean's “Ritual-Nous Sommes Du Soleil.” Although the live take of “And You and I” is quite faithful to the studio work in many ways, but still features some nice freshness. Firstly, I for one have always loved the live arrangements (like this one) that features Squire's harmonica work. Also, the latter parts of the song are extremely strong. Anderson introduces “It Will Be a Good Day (The River)” as being for his wife, Jane. It is a solid rendition, but really sounds quite a bit over produced and not very "live.” “Face to Face” is another overly produced rendition, but it is still nice to have a live version of this fine cut.
Although I’m often frustrated with live versions of “Roundabout,” just because I’ve heard the song so many times, this is a good performance of the number. The arrangement here is the shortened version that has been done on quite a few Yes tours. At the end, the band breaks into a blues jam with the lyrics, "Have you heard the news? Yes is in the House of Blues." This charming little diversion is one of the highlights of the album.
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