As a longtime Yesfan, I have a confession to make:
I never liked Yessongs, the concert film that caught the band live in 1972 at the Rainbow Theater in London while touring their masterpiece album, Close to the Edge.
My first time seeing the film was when I spent too much money on buying a VHS copy in the early 90s, probably 1991, just as I was becoming a burgeoning Yesfan. The film was grainy, the sound subpar, and it just didn’t do anything for me at all. In fact, if I’m completely honest, it turned me off of that post-Bill Bruford era of the band altogheher four a time. I preferred listening to drummer Alan White on 90125, Big Generator, and Talk, than hearing him play Bruford’s parts on concert albums. And since we’re sharing, it even took me some time to get into Tales From Topographic Oceans and Relayer (that latter of which I’m still not enamoured with the way others are). All this because of what I thought was a pretty crappy concert film.
It’s amazing how technology can give things a second life. Because there’s a 40th anniversary edition of Yessongs that’s just been rereleased on Blu-ray, and it’s a far more pleasurable watch than that videotape ever before. For those fans who skipped out on it originally like myself, this Blu-ray is pretty much as good as it gets when it comes to this film, and chronicling this era of Yes.
The visuals are so much more striking, as is the sound, which you can hear in either 5.1 DTS or in Mono. The band, featuring singer Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe, keyboardist Rick Wakeman and drummer White, are on absolute fire, demonstrating what they were and remain the most influential progressive rock band of all time.
The Blu-ray are also bonus features, including a long thought lost Steve Howe documentary, Beginnings, along with a 2012 documentary featuring Howe, Squire, and Yes cover artist Roger Dean.
For the prog rock fan in your life who is looking to celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary year, Yessongs on Blu-ray is a perfect gift that won’t find them debating band members and their merits. I’ve enjoyed rediscovering it, and they will to.