1989 - Anderson, Bruford,Wakeman & Howe - Birmingham

October 24th, 1989 - Birmingham, England
Venue/City: National Exhibition Centre,
Source: Soundboard

In the late 80s, Jon Anderson was pretty tired of the Trevor Rabin dominated Yes. As described Steve:
Jon called and asked me if I thought it was the right time to start working together again. Speaking to him, I felt pretty instantly that something good could be gotten out of it. Certainly, that's what I'd hoped for, since Jon and I had always had a lot of fun writing together. (...) Jon's creative powers and imagination are quite enormous, so they need to be listened to like everybody else's ideas. When Jon spoke to me, he was calling Wakeman and Bruford as well. He got the same feedback from them that we could do it. At the first meeting we just talked about it, then we took it to the next stage by collaborating on the songs.
This way, ABWH was born. They released an album with new material (described by Bill: They're essentially Jon's songs. I had very little to do with them. I thought that Jon was on strong form for that album, yes, I thought he was on strong form.) and then they started touring.
To replace Mr. Squire on bass, the famous Tony Levin (who played with King Crimson, Peter Gabriel and more hundreds of people) was chosen. Steve says: He was a very logical and wonderful choice because of his association with Bill. We'd all admired im tremendously. The bass department was vacant, and Tony was a marvelous choice.
Did Tony replace Chris well? Many say yes, I have to say no. He's an accomplished and respected bassist, but he's not suited to Yes style. This concert here, from 1989, shows many things, and one of them is Squire's decisive role in Yes music, more evident when he's not around. Other complaints I do are about Rick's and Bill's modern timbres... Some keyboards have a rather new-age feeling that doesn't fit well in songs like Starship Trooper. I'm glad Rick would return to his moog in the 90s! Bill uses some electronic drums in Close to the Edge that spoilthe experience of finally hearing him playing this song live...
Sorry but I can't help being critic about ABWH. To counterbalance my opinion, I'll quote a review by Prosciutto, in Progarchives:
The performances on most of the songs are great specially on the ABWH numbers which are the highlights (...) About the Yes songs, the standout is without doubt Close to the Edge, this epic never had sounded so bombastic and powerful before, in addition the vocal performance of Jon Anderson is incredibly inspired, I think this is the definitive version of Close to the Edge. The rest of the Yes numbers are just OK.

ABWH are:
Jon Anderson > Vocals
Bill Bruford > Drums
Steve Howe > Guitars
Rick Wakeman > Keyboards
Julian Colbeck > Keyboards
Tony Levin > Bass
Milton McDonald > Guitars

Disc 1:
1. Time and a word / Owner of a lonely heart / Teakbois
2. Clap
3. Mood for a day
4. Wakeman Solo
5. Long distance runaround/Drum Solo
6. Birthright
7. And you and I
8. All good people
9. Close to the Edge
Disc 2:
1. Themes / Bruford-Levin duet
2. Brother of mine
3. The meeting
4. Heart of the sunrise
5. Order of the universe
6. Roundabout
7. Starship trooper

(some interviews quoted from Notes From The Edge)
Links on comments!


Martini said...


Anonymous said...

Is there a problem with Disc 1 Track 1? The sound seems to be distant until approx 6.04 when it kicks into full stereo.

Anonymous said...

i was such a huge yes fan in my teens and the the rabin period came along and killed my love stone dead..so when awbh came along i was overjoyed...though then i was not that keen on the album...this attempt to be current was a failiar to me, and unlike the seventies classic which still sound fresh and vibrant as the day they were made, the awbh has dated very badly....much of the playing is anonimous to me, the songs lack original melodies and the few good riffs are lifted wholesale from the bodast album...lyrically ive got a problem with the change in style that started on some of going for the one onwards, that more straight forward lyrical style bothers me...yes were always about something more than that..something unique......word patterns with resonance and depth were you really have to explore to grasp the meaning...i still dont know what say siberian khatru is about but it still says a hundred time more to me than long lost brother of mine ever good.
someone gave me a front row ticket to see them at wembley and i thought why not...bill bruford on drums...tony levin on bass (though really there is only one yes bass player and thats squire)..lots of old yessongs what could go wrong? well from where i was sitting everything....firstly why the two extra players? this was yes as near as damn it so why the extra guitarist and keyboard player? howe was half hearted most of the time...levin..well i couldn't hear a single note he was so far down in the mix..wakeman..shrill polymooged weediness...horrible and bruford, the grest drummer ive ever seen live was playing his white elephant electronic drum kit through out...it was by far the biggest dissapointment of a dreadful evening.....i left brokenhearted........i hated it
mick d

Martini said...

Very interesting review...
I didn't know about the Bodast riffs, and I agree about the lyrics... Jon's complex lyrics sound great but the more stright-forward seem to be written by a small child.

Camarillo Brillo said...

Thanks for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for this show!

Anonymous said...

I'm getting an error on the link.

Please reup if possible.


Unknown said...

Would you please reupload link? It is just gone by now. Thanks in advance.