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Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.

Friday, 14 September 2012


I have always had rather a soft spot for the ABWH splinter group of Yes who were active about twenty years ago. I enjoyed the studio album and the DVD, and now there is a second Live album for our delectation. Huzzah!


Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe – Live at the NEC Oct 24th 1989

Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe

Live at the NEC Oct 24th 1989 (Gonzo Multimedia HST006CD, 2012)

In the late 1980s, progressive rock band Yes had been reduced to an AOR stadium band and broke up into two bands. Bassist Chris Squire kept the Yes name and the other four essential Yes musicians formed Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe. Live at the NEC Oct 24th 1989 is a triple disc that contains two CDs of live music that originally came out in 1994 and a 26-minute DVD with behind the scenes footage.

I was never a fan of the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe studio album. Although the Yes luminaries were there, the album was a collection of radio oriented pop and AOR songs. Thankfully, Live at the NEC Oct 24th 1989 contains a mix of the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe songs and quite a few of the best material from early Yes. And just because of this and the video, it’s worth acquiring.

Disc 1 begins with a medley that contains the classic ‘Time and a Word’, my least favorite Yes song ‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’ and ‘Teakbois.’ This is followed by a series of solo pieces by Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman and the always fabulous ‘Long Distance Runaround’ that segues into a vibrant Bill Bruford solo. The original ‘Long Distance Runaround’ featured chris Squires excellent bass. In this occasion, the bass is played by Tony Levin (King Crimson and Peter Gabriel), who does an outstanding job. Track 6 is ‘Birthright,’ a weaker cut from Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe. The rest of the disc features three more exquisite early Yes compositions, ‘And You and I’, ‘All Good People’ and the enthralling masterpiece ‘Close to the Edge.’

Disc 2 opens with the poppy ‘Themes’. It’s an extended version with a great final instrumental part featuring a Bruford-Levin duet. The next two pieces are also pretty weak, from the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe album. The magic of Yes returns on track 5 with the popular progressive rock classic ‘Heart of the Sunrise,’ where Levin shows his skill as a bassist. This is followed by the early Yes hit ‘Roundabout’ and the classic ‘Starship Trooper.’ The album ends with the AOR song ‘Order of the Universe.’ In addition to Tony Levin, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe were supported by keyboardist Julian Colbeck and guitarist Milton McDonald.

The DVD contains interesting black and white scenes of the musicians backstage and rehearsing. The video was shot by keyboardist Julian Colbeck. The booklet includes fascinating collection of photographs, biographies, liner notes and various Roger Dean designs. Live at the NEC Oct 24th 1989 is a great opportunity to listen to live versions of Yes classics performed in the late 1980s by an unconventional line-up.

Available from http://www.gonzomultimedia.com.

Check out the ABWH Gonzo Artist Page

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