Blu-ray Review: Yes -- 35th Anniversary Concert: Songs From Tsongas

Prog rock giants celebrate their 35th anniversary
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In 2004, progressive rock legends, Yes, Celebrated their 35th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, the classic lineup of Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Alan White, Chris Squire and Rick Wakeman took to the road, playing songs from their storied career. A show at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, MA, was filmed and makes up the Blu-ray Yes -- 35th Anniversary Concert: Songs From Tsongas. While the Tsongas show had been previously released, the Blu-ray also includes 70 minutes of highlights from a 2004 gig in Lugano, Switzerland.

After an orchestral intro, the band takes to the futuristic-looking stage for a potent "Going For The One." The song includes some excellent slide guitar from Steve Howe and vocalist Jon Anderson is in fine form, pushing his upper register. Howe switches to Strat and delivers a great solo on the song "Sweet Dreams." With its jangly guitars and killer harmonies, it's an excellent pop tune.

The band further shows off their harmonies on their classic "Your Move"/"All Good People," including a brief vocal quote of "Give Peace a Chance" in the process. Known for their musicianship, Howe and Rick Wakeman show off their considerable chops for the very enthusiastic crowd.

The show includes a lengthy acoustic set that features stripped down versions of many of the band's biggest hits. Smiles abound onstage for a lively "Long Distance Runaround" that finds Howe and Wakeman delivering the song's intricate melody lines with ease. While "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" loses much of its punch in this setting, "Roundabout" is reworked as a bluesy number, giving the song a different, yet fresh, feel. The band returns to electric and closes out the show with an exuberant "Starship Trooper."

For those fans missing the electric Yes, they will find full rock versions of the acoustic Tsongas tracks in the Lugano concert. Playing on a stripped down stage, the band delivers a potent set as the crowd braved a heavy rain to watch their heroes in action.

The Blu-ray is presented in 16:9 (1.78:1) and looks great. While The Tsongas show is in high definition, the Lugano show is not. Still, the video quality, while not up to the Tsongas standard, is very good. Audio options include LPCM Stereo and DTS-HD Master Audio for Tsongas and LPCM Stereo for Lugano.

The 2004 tour was the last to feature the band's classic lineup. Yes -- 35th Anniversary Concert: Songs From Tsongas finds the band in strong form and having a good time, delivering classic songs for an eager crowd.