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 Review: ABWH: Dutch review


Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe were a project of Jon Anderson (vocals, percussion, acoustic guitar), Bill Bruford (drums, percussion), Rick Wakeman (keyboards) and Steve Howe (lead guitar), who all played together in Yes in the early seventies. They recorded one eponymous album in 1989 (see review) and now Gonzo Multimedia released a vintage concert of these four music icons available as a Deluxe edition on two CDs and a DVD. The four musicians were 'assisted' by Tony Levin (bass), Julian Colbeck (keyboards) and Milton McDonald (guitar). 

The double-CD contains sixteen songs of which nine are classic Yes tracks. In my opinion the best tracks on this album are Close To The EdgeLong Distance Runaround and Starship Trooper. The rest of the set list consists of pieces from the 
ABWH album of which Order Of The Universe and Brother Of Mine are the highlights. Furthermore you can watch solo spots from all musicians of which The Clap and Mood For A Day by Steve Howe are the most tiresome. The keyboard solo of Rick Wakeman is okay, but the drum and the bass solo are again not of my liking. This is all so 'seventies'! Moreover, I can't listen to Roundabout anymore as it has been featured far too often on Yes live albums and it has been played on the radio too much as well. Besides these points of criticism I still like this album; it's a rather welcome addition to An Evening With Yes Music Plus. The DVD contains a 26-minute documentary recorded by Julian Colbeck about the things that happened before, during and after the gig. 

*** Martien Koolen (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Where to buy?

Live At The NEC
2CD - £11.99

Live at the NEC Deluxe Edition (3 Disc)
2CD1DVD - £19.99

Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman & Howe
2CD - £11.99

An Evening of Yes 
CD - £7.99

 Review: LINK: ABWH Review


 ----------Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe - Live at the NEC 1989
September 2012
Progressive rock archive concert.
Yes men Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe reunited back in 1989 following a series of band departures, line-up changes, side projects and solo projects. With a vibrant collection of new material that revisited a more 'traditional' Yes sound, the four released a self-titled album and engaged in a series of concerts under the name "An Evening of Yes Music Plus". The live set captured here includes plenty of unhurried soloing from each of the band members, a number of tight live renditions of crucial Yes compositions and five central tracks of Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe material. The first track from the then new album is Birthright and it follows directly after Bruford's solo performance with its tribal rhythm and understated instrumentation. Disc two begins with Themes which opens wide toward the end into a rhythmically dynamic duet between bassist for the project Tony Levin and Bill Bruford. As this section of the concert builds to a crescendo Heart Of The Sunrise Roundabout and Starship Trooper build into to Order Of The Universe highlighting the fact that the ambitious early progressive heights were still being scaled.
ARTWORK In standard DVD plastic case Live at the N.E.C. comes nevertheless with rich visual content: cover insert printed on both sides and twenty eight page booklet. The artwork holds much of Roger Dean's trademark imagery: bold graphic designs, intricate lettering and absorbing paintings. All track titles are listed on the rear, inside the cover is a page of information on the Evening of Yes Music Plus. The booklet is huge, beginning with the original tour dates and personnel. A comprehensive band members 'family tree' traces the musical careers of the quartet. There is a description of the project's inception and development; photos of relevant curios and ephemera; performance stills and promotional photography; brief biographical sections for the players along with portrait imagery; Dean's cover art and inspirational landscapes conclude the package.
OVERALL  This three-disc set presents a concert recorded Live at the Birmingham N.E.C. on October 24th 1989. Discs one and two are audio discs of Yes classics and ABWH tracks with plenty of space given over to virtuoso soloing: Steve Howe plays Clap and Mood For A Day, Jon Anderson sings a medley of three favourites over a single guitar accompaniment, Rick Wakeman delivers a passionate rendition of a medieval influenced synth montage, Long Distance Runaround provides a springboard for Bill Bruford to showcase his considerable percussive talents as does Themes. The Julian Colbeck video that fills disc three is an intimate monochrome look at the band in informal backstage setting and pre-concert rehearsals. In this way angles and details not easily found in live performance footage are explored and lingered over. Eventually, snatches from the concert itself are stitched into a compact whole leaving the impression that the viewer has shared something of the whole experience rather than simply a recorded concert. All in all this is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy this unique phase in the varied history of Yes - a package with a sense of souvenir about it. The collection can be ordered directly from the Gonzo Multimedia website, where you can also find the DVD An Evening of Yes.

 Review: LINK: Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe review


Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe

Live at the NEC October 24th, 1989

Review by G. W. Hill

I saw Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe on this tour and it was purely magical. The opening section was unusual with solos by each member starting things, but it really worked. It was kind of an interesting way to show that while there were ties to Yes, this wasn’t going to be precisely a Yes show. It’s always seemed a shame that the one live recording that was officially released of this tour featured Jeff Berlin on bass instead of Tony Levin. That’s not to say anything negative about Berlin at all. He is an incredibly talented bass player and did a great job (with very little time to practice the material). It’s just that Levin played on almost all the shows of the tour and wound up in the hospital when the big day arrived for the recording so Berlin had to fill in on bass. So, it’s great that they’ve released this set which features Levin.
The original audio recording seems to have a few audio glitches, but there are small and there aren’t that many of them. In addition, there was something weird done with the track sequence here that seems bizarre. It’s even more bizarre in that the correct sequence (the order played in concert) is shown on the label for the set. Those things, though, can’t take away from the fact that this is an excellent concert and great to have on an official release. In addition, this set is packaged nicely (other than the glitch on the cover) in a DVD styled box and includes two audio discs, a DVD (a short documentary styled black and white film) and replica of the original tour programme. All in all, it’s quite a classy set that only has a few minor flaws.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
Time and a Word/ Owner of a Lonely Heart / Teakbois
This medley is performed on acoustic guitar and presents a cool interpretation of the music. The only thing is there, are some annoying problems with the audio at points. It’s probably from the original BBC recordings.
Part one of Steve Howe’s guitar solo is this bouncy fun acoustic piece.
Mood For a Day
And, this track continues Howe’s solo. The bulk of this is another familiar piece. However, that’s after an introduction that is not “Mood For a Day.” There’s a bit more of that audio problem on this piece.
Wakeman Solo
Rick Wakeman’s keyboard solo encompasses several musical themes and moods and showcases him on various keyboards. The man is, as always, awesome.
Long Distance Runaround/Drum Solo
Wakeman brings this in with just keyboards sort of as an extension of his solo. Then the song proper is joined and they deliver a great rendition. Bruford’s drum solo comes at the end of this and features a lot of electronic percussion. I’m not a huge fan of drum solos, but I really like Bruford, so I can deal with this one.
One of my favorite tracks from the ABWH disc, this live version is great. It’s a powerful piece of music and works really well. The Wakeman driven instrumental section later in the cut seems even more powerful than it did on the studio album.
And You and I
While this rendition seems a bit slow, I really like the textures they get out of it. Of course, this has always been one of my favorite Yes songs from my favorite Yes album (which just turned forty years old this month).
All Good People
While the music on this rendition is great, for me the vocal arrangement really puts this into the “awesome” range. Yes fanatic that I am, I’ve heard a lot of live recordings of this song. This one is one of my favorites. The Wakeman keyboard dominated section later in the track is one of the coolest parts of this. When Howe screams out a guitar solo from there, it ups the ante even more.
Close to the Edge
Again, one of my Yes favorites, this epic piece really feels more lively and powerful in this live telling. The guitar is amazing here and this thing just plain rocks. I also really like the intensity of the drums here. It adds another layer of sound.s. 
Disc 2
Themes/Bruford-Levin Duet
I really like the live version of the opening song from the ABWH disc. The drums seem a bit more prominent in the mix and I’d say that at times Wakeman does, too. The duet section is awesome, and something that was (obviously) missing from the original live album from this tour.
Brother of Mine
This was the single from the ABWH and the melodic arrangement is really tasty. It’s not been one of my favorites from the disc, but I still like it a lot. This live version doesn’t really add a lot, but it does work quite well. The jam sections, though were always my favorite parts of the tune. Here they just feel a little weird, but I’m not sure why. It’s like the timing is a little off.
The Meeting
Essentially a duet between Anderson and Wakeman, this is quite pretty. I’ve heard several versions of this (including the studio one) over the years and I think this might be my favorite. The only thing is, we get another of those little audio problems near the end, marring the experience just a bit.
Heart of the Sunrise
There’s a bouncy little jam here as Jon Anderson says they will take a request. There’s a little humorous exchange before they launch into the Yes classic. We get quite a strong rendition here, that doesn’t seem to bring a lot of new stuff to the table, except a great sound. That said, there are some bits of vocals later in the piece that seem different and some of the keyboard sounds even further down the musical road seem to have a new sound. Bruford’s drums certainly rise to the fore at times, too.
The cover shows “Order of the Universe” here, and that should be the sequence based on the concert order. But, instead we get “Roundabout.” I have to admit that I’ve heard too many versions of this song and heard it live too many times. It just seems sort of obligatory a lot of the time to me. This version is adequate, but there are some annoying audio issues at times on it.
Starship Trooper
Another classic Yes tune, I really like this version a lot and while a familiar one, it’s not as over-played as “Roundabout.” That means it holds up better. They include a bit of “Soon” in the later parts of the song along with some of Anderson’s talking/singing to the audience a bit. When it powers out from there we get some new textures and feelings to the piece, but all within the standard structure. It works really well. They do turn in a bit of an expanded jam to end the piece.
Order of the Universe
Oddly enough, they tack “Order of the Universe” at the end after some silence. Parts of this feel a bit strange early on, but they pull it together from there in fine style. Bruford gets a cool solo in the middle of the track where he creates melody with his electronic drums.

...and check out the ABWH artist page at Gonzo

 Review: LINK: Album Review - Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe Live at the NEC


There’s an old joke – admittedly not a rip-roaringly hilarious one – about band names sounding like law firms:Crosby, Stills, Nash and (sometimes)Young was the first to be the butt of comments about too many egos for one band (or band name). The tortuously convoluted history ofYes resulted in a late 80s aggregation with an even more unwieldy moniker: Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe. “It’s a mouthful…and how,” went one of the jokes. (Tip your server and try the veal.)
Because estranged bassist Chris Squire somehow ended up with they keys to the logo and brand, four members of arguably the most-revered lineup of Yes enlisted the talents of Tony Levin, bassist extraordinaire of King Crimson and veteran of more than 500 sessions. They didn’t give him top billing, but he didn’t seem to mind: “I don’t care about the billing at all,” he told me in September 2011. “My mind was occupied on that tour by trying to fill the shoes of Chris Squire, without sounding like a guy who’s just copying Chris Squire.” An additional keyboardist (Julian Colbeck) and guitarist (Milton McDonald) were added to the lineup for the inevitable world tour.

Read on...

...and check out the ABWH artist page at Gonzo

 Review: LINK: ABWH Greek Review


Live at the NEC
Gonzo Multimedia
Certainly the names of Anderson, Brudford, Wakeman, Howe will evoke a lot of memories to the progressive fans around the world. These talented and premiere musicians formed the alter ego of YES back in 1989 under the name of ABWH, just using the initials of their names. Some legal problems regarding the use of the name YES made them go on with ABWH for a couple of years till all the differences were resolved finally and they produced the YES album “Union” in 1991.

The 2CD/DVD “Live at The NEC” captures, in its entirety, the concert that was held on October 24th, 1989 in Birmingham. Except for the vocalist Jon Anderson, the drummer Bill Brudford, the keyboardist Rick Wakeman, and the guitarist Steve Howe we have Tony Levin on bass Julian Colbeck on keyboards & Milton McDonald on guitars. The first disc features mostly medleys of songs from YES & ABWH and a few solos from Wakeman & Brudford. The second disc starts with “Themes” which turns into a Brudford & Levin duet. The other 6 songs are closer to the original ones without any solos/medleys. Finally, the third disc features the “Off the Wall” short film by Julian Colbeck. On that film we see the band backstage celebrating Jon Anderson's birthday on the 25th of October and also onstage, both during the soundcheck and the actual concert. Of course, due to the technical equipment of the time, this bonus footage is not quite meeting the today BR, HD standards but it will give you an idea, especially to the younger ones, of how things were done almost 20 years ago. It's good actually and is giving the chance to the fans of the band to see some more personal moments of the artists they love.

This 2CD/DVD also features a 28-page booklet with lots of photos and biographical and not only material, concerning the members of the band. The whole package is greatly made, offering wonderful music and satisfactory video quality. Definitely, the loyal fans of the YES & ABWH will get it no matter what… but, undoubtedly, if you’re into progressive rock music then “Live at the NEC” will be a good addition to your collection.

PS: This box set is EXCLUSIVELY available only from Gonzo MultiMedia and won’t be distributed to any shops or on-line sites. You can order it here.

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