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

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

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


Previously in Exposé...

Edward Artemiev - Crime and Punishment – Opera comes with all sorts of preconceptions: large women breaking glass with their voices, too much vibrato, bombastic music. Edward Artemiev's opera Crime and Punishment (based on the book by...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues