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YES - 'YESSPEAK' (2 DVD, Classic Pictures UK)

Yesspeak Yes was formed in 1968 by Jon Anderson and Chris Squire and though the band has gone through numerous line-up changes, here they are, 35 years later, still going strong. Classic Pictures UK have released this superb 2 DVD documentary, YesSpeak, which as the name implies, is Yes speaking. There is plenty of concert footage from their recent world tour, but it is the insightful, frank and humorous interviews with the individual members that makes this DVD a must-have.

The Who's Roger Daltrey narrates this 3 hour plus film, which features the current line-up of Jon Anderson (vocals), Chris Squire (bass), Steve Howe (guitars), Alan White (drums) and Rick Wakeman (keyboards). Alan White originally joined the rest of this line-up in August 1972 as the replacement to Bill Bruford during the 'Yessongs' tour. These 5 highly talented musicians recorded what many consider the ultimate prog-rock album of all-time, 'Tales From Topographic Oceans', in 1973.

This DVD does not run linearly, but rather the 10 chapters can be watched in any order, as they throw the spotlight on the 5 musicians involved and then on subjects like "Yes Music", "On The Road", "Full Circle", etc, each one a separate 20 minute or so documentary in its own right. Not sure if this is a unique approach, but I found it refreshing to be able start with "Spotlight On Rick" (chapter 8), and then jump to "There's Always Been A Yes" (chapter 3) without losing anything along the way.

The interviews are frank and open and full of anecdotes and history, like how their first album got onto the UK charts thanks to a postal strike! The musicians are interviewed individually in relaxed environments and the editing is superb in that you never actually hear a question being asked. The interviews and backstage scenes are interspersed with live footage (and audience response) which really adds to the enjoyment of this DVD.

The second disc also contains a full audio-only live set, which should be listened to like a CD, but if you do leave your TV on, it features a slide-show of pictures from the concerts.

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-- Brian Currin

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