I still have not got round to listening to all 7 of the identical live albums that Yes released last month as part of the Progeny box set and then noticed on Spotify that there is yet another live album out, released last week. Whereas the Progeny discs are all from are all from 1972 concerts, the new album (Like It Is) is from a concert in August last year.
This was when they were playing Fragile and Close To The Edge in their entirety, so there are some pieces that will not have been performed live often, if at all. The obvious problem is that Fragile was a collection of band songs interspersed with solo pieces and in the 2014 concerts only two people were left from the 1971 band so you have Alan White doing the Bill Bruford piece, Geoff Downes doing the Rick Wakeman piece and Jon Davison doing the Jon Anderson piece. The other obvious problem is that some of those solo pieces were very much studio work not really lending themselves to live performance, especially We Have Heaven, with all its multitracked vocals.
In spite of that it worked, even with the culture shock of having Roundabout played during the show rather than at the end.
The biggest problem overall is that Jon Anderson is not singing. Jon Davison is OK but he isn’t up to Jon Anderson in his prime, and not as accurate as Benoit David. Mind you, Jon Anderson now would have trouble matching his early 70s performances.
As this was a play-the-album tour, most of the songs are kept close to the originals, so no messing around and doing anything at a totally different tempo or a different style, but that is not to say they are carbon copies of the originals either. They even managed to find a new slant on Roundabout after all this time.
What really makes the album is the way the bass playing seems to give it a lot more muscle, particularly on Heart of the Sunrise, which makes it even more sad that Chris Squire died only days before the release because it shows him just getting better and better.
I think we would all have preferred Rick and Jon to have been there, but if you can get over that it is a decent album and a reminder, as if we needed it, of just how good Chris Squire was.