Considering that Yes celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, it was high time the 40th anniversary edition of the “Yessongs” concert film received a stateside release.
Previously only available as an import, the 70-minute film was released on Blu-ray with 5.1 surround sound in October.
“Yessongs” captured the British prog-rock band at its prime. Singer Jon Anderson, guitarist Steve Howe, keyboardist Rick Wakeman, bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White performed material that would anchor Yes shows for decades to come, including “Roundabout,” “I’ve Seen All Good People,” “Yours is No Disgrace” and the epic-length “Close to the Edge.” The 1972 concert was released theatrically in the UK the following year.
Bonus material includes a 60-minute documentary produced in 2012 that features interviews with Howe, Yes album artist Roger Dean and Squire (who died in 2015), as well as a 12-minute promotional film produced for Howe’s 1975 solo album, “Beginnings.”
Over the years, Yes have toured in multiple incarnations — with two versions of the band on the road to celebrate its 50th anniversary. A version that included Howe and White performed at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom last summer.
“Live at the Apollo,” released in September, features Anderson, Wakeman and guitarist/singer Trevor Rabin, whose songwriting chops produced the band’s only No. 1 hit, “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” in 1983.
Joined by new recruits Lee Pomeroy on bass and Louis Molino III on drums, this edition of Yes recorded a two-hour show at the Manchester Apollo in the UK in 2017. With Rabin at the helm, the band rocks hard with such ‘80s mainstream cuts as “Hold On” and “Lift Me Up.” A few songs overlap with “Yessongs:” “I’ve Seen All Good People,” “And You and I” and, of course, “Roundabout.”
The concert’s highlight is a thunderous version of “Heart of the Sunrise,” with the group deftly handling the song’s frenetic tempo changes.