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YES Update - ' In The Present - Live in Lyon' (2CD/DVD) Review (Dec 2011)  

"Live in Lyon" is the first fully-fledged Yes live album without vocalist Jon Anderson and it was recorded in Lyon, France in December 2009 by the lineup of Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Benoit David & Oliver Wakeman. The attractive fold-out cover design by Roger Dean echoes some of the images on the earlier Yes live releases "Yessongs", "Yesshows" and "Keys To Ascension". The full concert is contained on the two CDs while the accompanying documentary DVD features band interviews along with complete performances of 'Roundabout' and 'Machine Messiah'.

The central question for many listeners will be how adequately does David fill the formidable shoes of Anderson? This basic issue has fuelled many a passionate debate on the Yes fan sites since Yes went back on the road in late 2008. Chris Squire is correct when he says in the documentary that it's "impossible to replace Jon Anderson". It's obvious that anyone who takes on the task has one of the most difficult assignments in rock music. Yet on this release Benoit David gets close enough to the qualities of Anderson's voice to give satisfying renditions of several classic Yes songs including 'And You And I', 'Heart of the Sunrise' and 'Starship Trooper'. Unfortunately he doesn't deliver the same results consistently across all of the material and the likes of 'Siberian Khatru' and 'Your Is No Disgrace' are somewhat less convincing. The performances of Howe, Squire and White are still generally to the high standards Yes fans have come to expect while Oliver Wakeman displays substantial ability in comfortably handling the keyboards role.

The spirited versions of the seldom played 'Astral Traveller' and 'Machine Messiah' demonstrate that there's still some fight left in Yes yet. Additionally, the sound quality throughout is crisp and powerful. Overall, however, "Live in Lyon" won't be regarded as the greatest Yes live release although it's still a more than decent offering that showcases this incarnation of Yes on stage.