Yes – In The Present – Live From Lyon

Without a doubt one of the best known and loved classic prog rock bands, Yes have a legacy and influence in music that few could parallel. Like a few of their lucky contemporaries, regardless of what they do now, they are virtually guaranteed a status as legends, not to mention one of my favourite bands. Despite being around for several decades going, Yes has struck a chord of controversy this past year over one major change in their sound; a new vocalist. While ‘Fly From Here’ showed the band playing ‘somewhat’ fresh material however, it’s not until this live album where fans of Yes around the world will get to hear how new addition Benoit David matches up to the original Jon Anderson. Barring this point of interest, ‘Live From Lyon’ is a strong Yes concert experience, reliving some of the band’s best-known and greatest songs.

Although only guitarist Steve Howe and bassist Chris Squire remain from the classic Yes lineup, the sound of this band is tight and suitably authentic. Although the music is aging, I hear it played here with an energy that proves that the band has still got it. As with any live album, the song choice is an important factor here, and with decades of music to choose from, Yes seems to have balanced their set between the best-known tunes, and some of their most classic prog pieces. It is also worth mentioning that, at over two hours in length, ‘Live From Lyon’ gives a pretty start-to-finish concert listening experience for Yes, or at least Yes as they are today. With that in mind, it is a time-consuming effort to get through the entire thing in one sitting, but for a fan intent on reliving the concert experience, ‘Live From Lyon’ gives a better ‘live’ impression than most live albums to have come out this year.

‘Siberian Khatru’ and ‘Yours Is No Disgrace’ both tear down the house, whereas softer works like the immortal ‘And You And I’ balance off the sound with a softness and warmth that isn’t lost in translation to the stage. Of course, the main thing fans of Yes are going to notice- and possibly attack- the performance for is the fact that, despite playing the songs of Yes, this is not the band as they are classically known. Fractionally speaking, ‘Live From Lyon’ is more un-Yes than Yes, with three members- including vocalist Benoit David- coming in to replace. Musically however, there is little truly lost; in fact, there are many times throughout the album where I think it is the real band playing, and I think other listeners will run into this as well. Especially impressing is Benoit’s vocal delivery, who often sounds spot on for Jon Anderson’s distinctive high register. Having played in Yes tribute bands (as well as his own band Mystery), Benoit has nailed the impersonation, although he sometimes lacks the feeling in his voice that makes Anderson’s singing so warm to me.

Live albums are often a fans-only ordeal for me. After all, what newcomer to a band would want to hear a less-pristine recording of a song, over the belch and wail of a crowd? Although ‘Live From Lyon’ would be far from the first place I would point to a Yes initiate however, the production value and musical quality here, as well as the contrast between old and new, makes this one of the most notable live albums to come out in progressive rock this year.


1. Siberian Khatru (10:40)
2. I’ve Seen All Good People (7:17)
3. Tempus Fugit (6:06)
4. Onward (4:39)
5. Astral Traveller (8:49)
6. Yours Is No Disgrace (13:23)
7. And You And I (11:27)
8. Corkscrew (3:49)
9. Owner Of A Lonely Heart (6:06)
10. South Side Of The Sky (10:44)
11. Machine Messiah (11:42)
12. Heart Of The Sunrise (11:43)
13. Roundabout (9:35)
14. Starship Trooper (13:08)


* Chris Squire – bass guitar, vocals
* Steve Howe – guitars, vocals
* Alan White – drums
* Oliver Wakeman – keyboards
* Benoit David – lead vocals

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