Exposé Online banner

Yes — In the Present - Live from Lyon
(Frontiers Records FR CDVD 537, 2011, 2CD+DVD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2013-12-19

In the Present - Live from Lyon Cover art

In the Present is a three-disk audio and video document (2 CD, 1 DVD) of Yes on stage in Lyon, France during their 2009 tour. In retrospect this was not Yes’ finest hour. Online sniping dogged the band as they crossed the globe, primarily due to the absence of singer and founding member Jon Anderson, but also because of the shaky quality of many of the shows, which this package unfortunately captures. From the opener, “Siberian Khatru,” singer Benoit David – plucked from a tribute band the previous year – struggles with pitch and is clearly straining in places, made all the more obvious by a mix that ironically enjoys marvelous separation and clarity. The band also obviously thought having a Wakeman — Rick’s son Oliver in this case — on keyboards would lend some legitimacy to offset Anderson’s absence. Except his performance is largely unremarkable, despite some earthy organ work on older songs like “Starship Trooper.” Perhaps most troubling is the lack of fire and the snail’s pace tempos throughout the set. Guitarist Steve Howe is playing behind the beat on many songs and drummer Alan White seems capable of only the most rudimentary of time keeping. On the whole the band is a plodding, aged shadow of their former selves. The highlight in the lineup is Chris Squire, whose familiar harmony vocals and bass work anchor the performances. Plus the set list offers a break from some of the tired chestnuts with the inclusion of songs like “Machine Messiah” and “Astral Traveller”.

The package improves on the DVD side, which takes a quasi-documentary approach with short interview segments slotted in between chunks of the band performing on stage. The lack of complete songs probably won’t be missed (though a complete “Machine Messiah” was nice) because most Yes fans already have umpteen video records of them. The interview material is good, though many of the usual suspects crop up (“What was it like playing with John Lennon?” for example). As an audio-visual offering In the Present has many things to commend it. Unfortunately for Yes, their abilities as a performing band isn't one of them.


Filed under: New releases, 2011 releases

Related artist(s): Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Yes, Oliver Wakeman

Latest news

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Glass Hammer - Journey of the Dunadan – This debut album from a Floridian duo of multi-instrumentalists leaves a host of unanswered questions. First, after the '90s have already proven to be a prolific breeding ground for new and...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues