CD Review: Yes – Like It Is: At the Mesa Art Center

CD Review: Yes – Like It Is: At the Mesa Art Center
Frontiers Music
All Access Rating: A-

Yes - Like It Is: Live At The
Mesa Art Center 2015
Those who didn't get their fill of Yes playing its landmark albums in their entirety in concert with Like It Is – Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome can go back for a second helping. In this companion audio/visual release, with its warm sound, the progressive-rock masters – now missing dearly departed bass virtuoso Chris Squire – perform 1971's exalted Fragile and 1972's equally acclaimed Close to the Edge with colorful panache, faithfully recreating that hallowed original material with pleasant reverence, joyous whimsy and deft precision.

Weaving their way through the complex, multi-part pieces that have become the stuff of prog-rock legend, Yes displays its virtuoso chops in gracefully traveling the well-worn, shape-shifting passages of some of its most distinguished, and adventurous, works. The contrast of gentle, inside-out dissonance and cloud-bursting beauty – courtesy of swirling vocal harmonies, Steve Howe's guitar intrigue, melodic flights of fancy, flowering instrumental jams and time-signature mischief – is magical as Yes wanders through the wondrous mini universe of "South Side Of The Sky" and expands the already cinematic title track to Close to the Edge. The breezy, summery intro to "Siberian Khatru" morphs into an furious march, and Squire's signature bass motors through a lightly bouncing "Long Distant Runaround" and propels "Roundabout" into Geoff Downes' dancing keyboard spirals and sunny merriment, while the dream logic of "And You And I" mesmerizes, as singer Jon Davison negotiates the sweeping emotions and sonic puzzles of Yes with expressive aplomb. And the nostalgia trip that is Like It Is: Live At the Mesa Art Center, a Frontiers Music release, sends the faithful home smiling.
– Peter Lindblad

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