Yes: Keys to Ascension (CD/DVD, Proper/Southbound)

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Yes: Roundabout (live)
Yes: Keys to Ascension (CD/DVD, Proper/Southbound)

San Luis Obispo isn't a name you readily associate with rock music. The picturesque coastal town in northern California -- near Hearst's castle -- still isn't on the radar despite it being the place where Yes -- the original line-up -- relaunched their career in '95.

Well, "relaunched" might be overstating it, but they certainly re-formed in their San Luis Obispo studio (world headquarters of Yes, I believe) and then played a series of concerts in the town's Freemont Theatre in '96.

The result is Keys to Ascension (a typically grandeloquent Yes title, no?) which is a four CD and concert DVD set in a fold-out cover by Roger Dean, the man responsible for some of their finest sleeve art.

In a way it is Yes' greatest . . .What? Hits, pieces, progressions? I guess it isn't their hits because they had only one that I recall (Owner of a Lonely Heart, and that isn't here) but certainly large chunks of Tales from Topographic Oceans, Close to the Edge and such are -- along with some new studio tracks. It is the complete collection which was previously spread over two separate double CD sets.

The DVD -- singer Jon Anderson in what looks like a billowing silk caftan, lots of earnest heads-down playing, background images and other footage of album covers and Nature spliced in -- is . . .

To be truthful this is an awful lot of Yes and if, like me, you thought that double vinyl Tales from Topographic Oceans of '73 was one side too long then don't venture here.

I did my best (two CDs, about half of the grindingly dull DVD) and began my life again.

This has been a consumer service/warning. 

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Phillip Magee - Oct 2, 2010

I thought Tales from Topographic Oceans was actually four-sides too long. As a fourteen year-old the gate-fold sleeve seemed the best thing about it.

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