Yes – Symphonic Live, Blu-ray

by | Dec 13, 2011 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews

Yes – Symphonic Live, Blu-ray
Studio: Eagle Vision Entertainment EE333829
Video: 1.78:1 for 16:9 1080i HD color
Audio: DTS HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital 5.1, PCM Stereo
Extras: “Dreamtime Documentary;”  “Don’t Go” video
Length: 194 minutes
Rating:  Sound **   Video  ****
The band was formed in 1968 and has gone through multiple lineups of members. The concert was recorded in 2002 in Amsterdam, Holland. They play with the European Festival Orchestra under the wand of Wilhelm Keitel. They are considered a progressive rock group with leanings toward psychedelic sound. To me it sort of leans to a new age sound. They are known for their musical playing and their harmonies.  Most of their hits are performed on this album, of which I’ve only heard a couple of the songs before. I looked them up on and was surprised by how many albums they have charted. They have 5 Top-10 albums on Billboard’s Top 200 list over the years. The reason that they are probably not that well known is that they have only had one top ten hit. They do have a very loyal following of fans. The song I like the best is “I’ve Seen All The People.”
The video quality is pretty good, especially on close-ups. Detail and color are clear. The only deficit is the artificial smoke and rock lighting do cause problems on longer shots. This is not a big problem however. The video was shot in high definition and is remarkable for its age.
The sound is a completely different matter however. The reason I am reviewing this disc is that I have a big disagreement with the sound ratings it has gotten. The main voices are intelligible but have very little sense of presence. The main instruments can be heard, but have little instrumental detail. The electronic piano should sound something like a piano, but it doesn’t. The electronic organ should produce pure tonal sounds, it doesn’t. Again the video shows what you should hear and is deadly to poor sound. The drummer is beating away on drums and cymbals. But there is no impact or dynamics. There is no high frequency ring from the cymbals. When the lead singer is speaking to the audience, you can tell that they are using lot of reverb. This on top of sound feedback to the microphones from the stage monitors, is probably responsible for the lack of presence in the voices. There are a series of chimes which are played at times by one of the band members. Very little metallic chime sound is heard on the recording. The blend with the orchestra is very poor. The orchestra is a nebulous background to the group. The winds do not sound like wind instruments and the strings do not sound like strings. A woman at the back of the orchestra crashes large cymbals to an open position, but without crash or ringout. The kettle drum is beat on, but there is no impact or resonance. The whole sound is compressed and bloated. The best sound on the disc is track 7, the Steve Howe guitar solos. They turn off the reverb, and on this cut you can tell that he is a very good guitar player. To me the PCM track is the best sound, being more focused and slightly more dynamic. The Master Audio had a bigger less-focused sound. The lack of dynamics and detail are probably the reason for my feeling about the music.
I will say that that I find nothing wrong with the music, I never felt like hitting the next or open buttons. But I also don’t find much to bring me back to this album in the future. I can only recommend this disc to big Yes fans. With better sound I might have enjoyed the album more.
Band members are Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Alan White and Tom Brislin.
1. Overture
2. Close To The Edge
3. Long Distance Runaround
4. Don’t Go
5. In The Presence Of
6. Gates of Delirium
7. Steve Howe Guitar Solo — Lute Concerto In D Major, 2nd Movement — Mood For A Day
8. Starship Trooper
9. Magnification
10. And You And I
11. Ritual
12. I’ve Seen All Good People
13. Owner Of A Lonely Heart
14. Roundabout
—Clayton Swartz

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