Yes – Live at Montreux 2003, Blu-ray

by | Mar 19, 2008 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Yes – Live at Montreux 2003, Blu-ray

Performers: Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman, Alan White
Studio: Eagle Vision EVBRD 33311-9
Video: 1.78:1 enhanced for 16:9 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS-HD 5.1, DD 5.1, PCM stereo
Length: 137 minutes
Rating: *****

Eagle Vision has released a number of excellent videos from the Montreux Jazz Festival, and many of them are obviously non-jazz artists, which will appeal to a much wider audience.  This 2003 event is considered one of the best sets by the progressive rock ensemble with their classic lineup of original members. In their DVD release filmed in 1985 – YES 9012Live. – they had lost keyboardist Rick Wakeman and although that’s a good DVD too, he was missed. Now he’s back, behind a mammoth assembly of keyboards and electronics and dressed like the keyboard wizard he purports to be.  The lossless hi-res surround is a big improvement over the Dolby surround of the earlier DVD, plus now we have not only a widescreen display but the visual enhancement of Blu-ray for superb resolution which makes for a much more involving musical experience. I was reminded of the Stones when I saw the closeups of the band members 23 years later. At least one of these guys looks pretty decrepit, but lead vocalist Jon Anderson looks best of all.

There’s a Steve Howe solo number and a Rick Wakeman solo medley, the band moves smoothly thru all 17 numbers in the concert, ending in their big hit Roundabout.  They’re mostly from their hits of the 70s, and will be a nostalgic trip for most older viewers. It’s basically their Fragile LP in a different order, with added selections. Wakeman’s solo is a standout – the guy still rocks! I was occasionally wishing the subtitles button would bring up the lyrics on the screen, because I didn’t want to go thru my old Yes LPs in the garage to find out if any had the lyrics printed out.  I also appreciated the optimistic and positive slant of most of their lyrics, as opposed to the depressing lyrics of Pink Floyd, who I liked so much musically. Though the sound was excellent it wasn’t always possible to understand Jon Anderson completely.  I was wondering if one phrase was censored or something.  I suppose the real fans have every word memorized by now.  This concert didn’t need the old movie clip intros to tunes which added interest to the earlier DVD – it’s a straight-ahead powerful concert without any gimmicks at all.  The only thing really missing was some of those trippy Roger Dean graphics.

Siberian Khatru, Magnification, Don’t Kill the Whale, In the Presence Of, We Have Heaven, South Side of the Sky, And You and I, To Be Over, Clap, Show Me, Wakeman’s solo medley, Heart of the Sunrise, Long Distance Runaround, The Fish, Awaken, I’ve Seen All Good People, Roundabout.

 – John Henry

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