Yes Featuring Anderson, Rabin, Wakeman, ’50th Anniversary Live at the Apollo': DVD Review
Yes, for a long time now, have been a fluid entity.
Over their 50-year history, band members have come and gone with almost alarming regularity. It's no surprise that, as of September of 2018, there are two versions of Yes on the road. Guitarist Steve Howe and drummer Alan White hold down one version, but the heart and soul of the band remains with founder and singer Jon Anderson, who, along with guitarist Trevor Rabin and keyboardist Rick Wakeman, has been leading another lineup since 2016.
Originally touring as ARW, the trio claimed the original band name and hit the road to celebrate Yes' legacy. During that tour, they recorded a stop at the Apollo Theater in Manchester, England, a show that's been preserved on the DVD and Blu-ray 50th Anniversary Live at the Apollo. (There's also two-CD and triple-LP editions available.)
The sound and visual are fantastic -- sharp and encompassing, they transport viewers right into the concert. The set list is pretty much everything a fan could ask for, from relatively obscure deep cuts like "Rhythm of Love' (from 1987's Big Generator) and "Lift Me Up" (from 1991's Union) to classics tracks "I've Seen All Good People," "Perpetual Change" and the tour de force, "Heart of the Sunrise."
Also included is the epic "Awaken," from the 1977 Going for the One LP, presented here in its full glory by Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman, who are joined by drummer Lou Molio III and bassist Lee Pomeroy. It's nearly impossible to fill the vacancy left by late co-founder Chris Squire, so Pomeroy avoids trying to be a carbon copy, while Wakeman, always a master showman, proudly sports a bejeweled cape.
Still, the star of the show is Anderson, whose signature voice still sounds warm and strong after five decades, and is clearly having a great time leading this edition of the band. For the most part, the group sticks close to the original songs, but they're not afraid to throw in some twists and turns along the way -- a forward-looking way to pay tribute to its illustrious past.