Concert Film directed by Steven Soderbergh
Studio: Atlantic Recording Corp./Image Entertainment ID2558DXDVD
Video: 4:3 color & B&W
Audio: DD 5.1 & 2.0
Extras: Special Director’s Cut (without Charlex special effects); Bonus track of “Roundabout;” “Access All Areas” backstage documentary; Band interviews
Length: 69 minutes
(Yes is Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Trevor Rabin, Alan White, Tony Kaye)
Yes is fondly remembered and still enjoyed by many of those of us of a certain vintage for their breakthru albums such as Topographic Oceans, and Beyond the Edge, with trippy illustrations by Roger Dean. They sort of dropped out for a while and then re-formed with keyboardist Tony Kaye replacing the flashy Rick Wakefield, who went on to a solo career. This is discussed in the interviews, along with the more painful experience of having had a manager who was not to be trusted. While the interviews are informative, the documentary seems not worth watching.
However I found this the best Yes video by far and one of the most creative concert videos I’ve enjoyed yet. The venue is an arena in Edmonton, Alberta – because that was the band’s first gig in North America and they had a lot fans there. Soderbergh – director of the feature Sex, Lies and Videotape – tries his best to offer fresh and unexpected shots of the performers in action. It’s good but I thought it interesting that his Director’s Cut eliminated what I thought made the concert video stand out above most others – the wild video special effects courtesy of the post-production group known as Charlex.
The tricks include many little moving “snapshots” of band members soaring around the screen and in and out of Baroque arches and windows, creative use of mirror imaging, and outer space images. However, a theme seems to be the use of clips from 40s and 50s school films or perhaps early TV shows which comment on the lyrics of Yes’ tunes. Some extended scenes inserted here and there into the concert footage include the colorizing of just one character when everyone else around them is black and white, or vice versa. The match is to lyrics about isolation, loneliness, or being different.
The Dolby surround mix is good, though I occasionally wished for Jon Anderson’s high voice to be mixed a bit more clearly in the center channel so I didn’t have to strain to understand the lyrics, which are not supplied. I guess real Yes fans are supposed to have them memorized. There’s something very up and positive about Yes’ brand of progressive rock which seems to this old codger in a similar vein to the Beatles. And makes me smile.
Tracks: Introduction, Cinema, Leave it, Hold On, I’ve Seen All Good People, Changes, Owner of a Lonely Heart, It Can Happen, City of Love, Starship Trooper
– John Henry