After recording one of their classic albums, 1977's Going For The One, in Montreux, Switzerland, Yes finally graced the stage of that city's famous Jazz Festival in the summer of 2003. Back in 2002, legendary keyboardist Rick Wakeman had returned to the band to join them on a well received world tour. Along with this Montreux gig, Yes also celebrated their 35th anniversary in grand fashion with a magnificent world tour of 2004 that featured the classic lineup of Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman, and Alan White, which was also captured on the excellent Songs From Tsongas DVD.
Yes is, by far, the most reviewed band on my website. It seems like every year they force me to spend my hard earned money on at least one or two new concert DVDs, whether it be something new like Tsongas, or something older like 9012Live. So we may ask ourselves, do we really need this Live At Montreux 2003 concert DVD, when we already have the Symphonic Live DVD from the previous tour, and the Tsongas DVD from the following tour? Well of course we do. For one it's Yes, one of my all time favorite bands in the world, and two, because each of these performances provide a very different look at the band and their amazing music.
Symphonic Live featured the European Festival Orchestra, instead of Rick Wakeman, and focused on the new Magnification material along with such monstrous epics as "Close To The Edge", "Gates of Delirium", and "Ritual". Tsongas featured the same classic lineup as you see on this Montreux video, performing under an overwhelming Roger Dean-designed stage show, which featured giant inflatable alien beings and choral reefs - or whatever the hell it was supposed to be. You also got to hear such rarely played gems as "Sweet Dreams", "Mind Drive", and "Rhythm Of Love". The Montreux performance offers a more stripped down, intimate performance by the band, and sticks mainly to the essential Yes classics.
Live at Montreux 2003 was recorded on July 14th, 2003 at the Montreux Jazz Festival during Yes' Full Circle tour, which was billed as "Together Again...Classic Yes". Classic Yes is certainly what you get here too - there would be no 90125 crap this night. Just kidding, I love that one as much as the classic stuff. If you worship the Fragile album as much as I do, then you are going to be in hog heaven watching this baby, because every song except Bill Bruford's "Five Per Cent For Nothing" is showcased here. I'm not sure if Wakeman's "Cans and Brahms" was covered during his extended keyboard solo, but damn near everything else was. Two of the best songs from Yes' excellent 2001 Magnification album, the title track, and the epic "In The Presence Of", are also performed and offer a more stripped-down, soulful account of the songs than what you got on the Symphonic Live performances.