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Yes - Progeny: Seven From Seventy-Two

Posted on March 4, 2015 at 7:40 PM

 Anthony Firmin is less than affirmative about a Yes live boxset

Prog fans and box sets seem to go together these days. In October 2013 King Crimson released their Road To Red box set containing 24 CDs at the eye watering and wallet emptying price of £128! Additionally, Pink Floyd have re-released their albums as ‘experience’ and ‘immersion’ sets. Yes haven't quite been in the same league so far as their CD rereleases have tended to be single disc affairs….until now!

A leak on Amazon has forced an announcement of sorts regarding a live album. Or should that be live albums as there are seven of them in total in one box covering 14 discs! From what we can see of the covers it looks like Roger Dean has been involved in the process making the product look very Yes-like.

The story behind this release is that in 1998 the trucking company the band used for their tours back in 1972 found a stash of old tapes belonging to the band. Not a lot was done with them until last year when they were prepared for release, and they have been ready since last summer.

The gigs they cover are three from the Bill Bruford era at the beginning of 1972 including two shows in New York at the same venue several days apart. These are the shows which will provide the greatest interest to fans as there is little in the way of live Yes music available featuring Bruford. Unlike King Crimson, Yes were not inclined to improvisation so unless there was some variation in the set lists the shows on each of the tours are likely to be very similar. There are another three shows from the Alan White era from mid 1972. What is on the seventh disc is somewhat of a mystery at the moment.

Live Yes albums are a regular occurrence these days. They have already put out the triple album Yessongs - a perfectly good live album that captured the band at their best in ’72, along with the accompanying film of the same name, together providing a fine historical document of the band at their prime. The downside to Yessongs was that it was sonically patchy, something which would hopefully be resolved with some remixing/remastering but that doesn’t seen to be happening anytime soon. There are also a plethora of other live albums from the band - the appallingly edited Yesshows, 9012Live, Keys to Ascension Pts 1 & 2, House Of Yes, Live From Tsongas, Live at Montreux, Symphonic Live, Union Live and In The Present. Finally there is Like It Is which was only released in December 2014 giving us a grand total of 12 live albums, surely that is sufficient.

So why do we need a box set like this? The majority of us don’t. These box sets are obviously aimed at completests and wholly dedicated fans of the bands who just go into auto buy mode is when these sorts of things is are released. And for most people it is the sort of thing you only listen to once.

The anticipated release date is currently mid-May. There is highly likely to be a cut down 2CD version which should be lighter on the wallet, but details are somewhat sketchy at the moment.

We are hoping to review this box set at some point in the future - will you be able to contain your enthusiasm for long enough?

Words: Anthony Firmin




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