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Yes - Yessongs
There are moments in time when legendary musical performances happen. Yes Songs is one of those moments. The film (which follows the band's album released under the same name) has extraordinary music performances by the legendary rock group. It's an electrifying mix of the band's signature style, wrapped neatly together with care.
The concert has long been considered as a defining moment in the history of Yes as a band. The film was produced with a recording of the performance at the London Rainbow Theatre in 1972. The film was released theatrically throughout the UK but has long since been unavailable to fans outside of altogether poor quality bootlegs. For fans hoping to revisit this performance or to see it for the first time on home media, this release provides the opportunity to do so.
This live performance release includes the band performing many beloved songs in the Yes pantheon: I've Seen All Good People, Clap, And You and I, Close to the Edge, Excerpts from 6 Wives of Henry VIII, Roundabout, Yours is No Disgrace, and Starship Trooper.
You can feel the energy and emotion behind every song's performance. The film has an undeniable rhythmic passage to it which allows audiences to experience the concert in all it's glory. It's great to hear the band's stunning performances. The group's commitment to rock music is on full display: it's thunderous dedication to their art and craft carries this concert to legendary heights.
I've Seen All Good People is a particular favorite of mine; it's one of the best rock songs ever written. The song is a classic in every sense of the word. The rich imagery of the songwriting, the rhythmic backdrop, and the superb vocals blend to form a masterpiece of rock music. Seeing the band's performance is a real treat for fans of the band.
Without a doubt, any music fan who has ever fancied listening to Yes will want to give a resounding "YES, please" to this concert film experience. While it might not be able to match the sheer energy attending the actual concert in person (anyone have access to a time machine?), viewing the concert film is the next best thing. You can't help but be entertained as the music washes over you (exactly as intended).
The concert film is presented on Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded high definition master. This is the first time the film has been presented with a higher quality high-def presentation. This is something that should please dedicated fans who might be more familiar with low-quality bootleg recordings of the concert. This release was restored from the the original 16mm camera negatives. Resolution is significantly better on this Blu-ray release. Although the film still maintains a certain level of grittiness and softness which is inherent to 16mm sources the jump in quality is apparent and impressive.
I won't sugar coat it: the audio on this release is disappointing. Although the disc is noted as having a brand new 5.1 DTS-HD MA presentation this is false. No such option exists. Even when navigating to find the audio track on the menu, the disc has no such audio mix option available. The only options are a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital audio mix and a 2.0 uncompressed PCM stereo track. One would hope that for an anniversary restoration there would be more of an effort on the audio front for a concert film. Instead, the audio quality is scratchy, altogether poor, and lacks strong fidelity. When comparing the two options, there is a minor uptick in resolution quality on the 2.0 PCM track but it still sounds as though little effort was made on restoring the audio track. It's too harsh sounding. The music itself is terrific but the quality of the audio definitely underwhelms.
The release includes 4 art-cards featuring art work illustrated by Roger Dean. These are colorful and inventive pieces of art which are a nice bonus for the release.
Beginnings (HD, 12 min.) is a short film featuring Steve Howe of YES. It's an interesting musical short film journey which is fascinating to behold and experience. This feels like a highly experimental piece which fits the music sensibility of the band perfectly.
Yes Songs: 40 Years On (HD, 60 min.) is a new documentary film about the concert's significance, featuring interviews with band members Steve Howe, Roger Dean, and Chris Squire. For those interested in hearing the band discuss the significance of the concert, it's worth a look.
Yes Songs is a excellent performance from a legendary rock band. For anyone who has ever enjoyed their music, it's a worthwhile experience made better with restored picture. Unfortunately, the poor effort on the audio underwhelms and makes this release less essential and more preferential.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.