|Too often dismissed as dinosaurs of the progressive-rock movement of the 1970s, Yes aimed to revive their former glory with their 1999 album, The Ladder. Veteran producer Bruce Fairbairn specifically urged the band to return to the sound that made it famous--poetic lyrics, thickly layered fusion of guitar, bass, keyboards, and sophisticated melodic structures. Whether Yes achieved its goal is subject to debate, but die-hard Yes-philes will surely agree this is the finest video presentation of this enduring band and its music. The Dolby Digital 5.1-channel audio is exquisitely distinct, showcasing the seasoned musicianship of guitarist Steve Howe, bassist Chris Squire, drummer Alan White, and next generation Yes members Igor Khoroshev (replacing Rick Wakeman on keyboards) and Billy Sherwood (who later left the band) on guitar.
After 30 years as Yes frontman and vocalist, Jon Anderson leads in fine form. His mellow enthusiasm is genuine, and this 15-song set (recorded at the Las Vegas House of Blues club) catches the band on a very good night. Squire is a playful match to Howe's reliable precision, and the best of the new songs (particularly "Homeworld" [The Ladder]) are almost as good as the classics. And while the Bob Marley tribute song "The Messenger" is best forgotten, few could deny that Yes has indeed retained its vitality after all these years. In addition to interviews with all the band members (except White), impressive extra features on the DVD include a Dolby 5.1 version of the "Homeworld" album track, accompanied by computer-animated excerpts from the "Homeworld" CD-ROM game, and an HTML version of the Yesworld Web site. A conspicuous effort to attract a new generation of cyber-savvy fans? Perhaps, but if this terrific DVD is any indication, Yes needn't worry about passing into obscurity. --Jeff Shannon