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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 September 2011
Yes have about 19 different concerts available on the market, from all different eras, with countless different line-ups and of differing quality. Yes Symphonic Live has the unique selling point of being performed live in conjunction with a Symphony Orchestra.

The sound and visuals are top notch (apart from some cheesy, but thankfully short animations) and there are no major complaints to be made about the camera work or editing. The sound is equally impressive, balancing your need to hear the band's performance with your desire to hear the Orchestra's addition well.

The actual performance is strong too, this concert stands on its own merits and is not worthwhile only because of the Orchestra's involvement. Howe, White, Squire and Anderson are on rare form and deliver classic material like "And You And I" and "Long Distance Runaround" with passion and precision.

The tracklisting too, is perfect for this type of event. The material concentrates on Yes's grander and more symphonic works, the band manage to play three of their longest compositions "Close to the Edge," "The Gates of Delirium," and "Ritual" all in the same three hour concert. The track listing comprises primarily of material from the band's classic Wakeman/Howe/Anderson period (from `The Yes Album,' until `Going For The One') although there are one or two songs from their post millennial, orchestral album `Magnification,' in addition to the 1980s smash hit "Owner Of A Lonely Heart," which is the sole Trevor Rabin composition in the set.

Despite the heavy leanings on Wakeman era material, Rick himself is absent from the band during this recording and the keyboards are handled by the talented Tom Brislin, who makes a more than capable replacement.

Many other bands release Orchestral concerts (Kansas, ELP, Ian Anderson, Deep Purple, Kiss, Metallica and Serj Tankian, to name a few) and they usually deliver something interesting, providing a new spin to the music and inspiring the original musician's to give it their all. This is no exception and could even be described as one of the best examples of this sort of collaboration. After all, their albums `Time And A Word' and `Magnification' have given Yes Orchestra experience before and their music is so frequently described ad grand or symphonic on its own merits.

Overall, I highly recommend this Blu Ray to a first time buyer, however if you already have the DVD it isn't really all that essential for Upgrading, sure the sound is marginally better and the picture is a higher resolution obviously, if that is enough then by all means get the Blu Ray version, otherwise don't pick it up if you are happy enough with your existing copy; Yes put in a brilliant performance, it looks and sounds good, they play The Gates Of Delirium and the Orchestra adds considerably to the experience, but all that applies to the DVD edition as well.
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on 4 January 2005
I was 'lucky' enough to have seen Yes live in 2004 at Wembley Arena on their 35th Anniversary tour. It wasn't the best concert I've ever seen, but then it was Wembley with its famous accoustics (if it takes you 8 bars to recognise 'going for the one' you're in trouble). However, I'd have given my eye teeth to have been at one of the Symphonic concerts if this DVD is any indication of what they were like! It's recordings like this which make you want to weep with frustration that you weren't there. Personally, I thought the chappie playing keyboards (a young Ben Stiller look-alike) was not only talented but also enthusiastic which made him an improvement on the perenially miserable Wakeman (sorry Rick - but the BBC don't have you on 'Grumpy Old Men' for nothing - even if you do manage to crack the odd smile on the YesSpeak documentary). The band were positive and very 'together' and the orchestra - any time they're having a party, I'm in there! Nobody - at all - seemed to be having anything other than a good time! Especially the oboe player and the French horns! I've never seen an orchestra get up and start dancing along before this... We've had the DVD for about three weeks and have watched it about 15 times by now.
If you're pondering about which concert DVD to get - don't. House of Yes is OK. 35th Anniversary Tour is OK. But this is sublime. AND you get the bonus of a CD of some of the concert too.
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VINE VOICEon 21 September 2003
Symphonic probably marks the high point of Yes DVD's so far. If you love Yes, you'll love this. If you dislike them, you will loath it beyond all comprehension. Good! I loved Keys to Ascension (the last one), but here things are lifted to the next level. But -I'll get it over with now; this is basically the tour for the Magnification album. No bad thing, but it does mean, of course, that Rick Wakeman isn't on board. Which is a pity for Wakeman-heads like myself. I appreciate that not everyone likes Rick -fine. You won't worry then. Me, I miss him. Tom Brislin is great, no question, but for me, Rick was always the greatest keyboardist of all time. (with Yes, or solo. If you choose to disagree, then fair enough -I would be the last to impose my views upon anyone). Tom does a worthy job however, albeit without quite the subtlety (yes, I did say that) creativity and delicate touch Rick brings. Good for all that though.
But this concert is wonderful. All the classic Yes members are on top form -Jon is in the best voice I've ever heard him; Chris is his usual ballistic self on bass, and particularly with Ritual, we finally have a visual of his use of bass as a lead instrument (rare indeed). Alan is as quick and crisp as he's ever been, and Steve is floating off somewhere in the majority of tracks with that beautiful touch only he can provide since the tragic death of Rory Gallagher. Oh, and the European Festival Orchestra is with them. Did I forget to mention that? (shark-like grin). And they are terrific; they lend a power, creativity and a depth to the huge scale of Yes's always classically influenced music that brings it into a new dimension, and their enthusiasm is astouding. The selection of tracks is fascinating, with a fine mix of older and more recent, all presented with an addictive bite.
The DVD quality is good, with a crisp picture and decent production. Stereo mixing is fine, Dolby 5.1 good, but DTS streets ahead. Worth every penney. The second disk is fun, too, but its the concert, recorded in Amsterdam, that will remain with you. Gloriously excessive (come on, be honest now, it's Yes, and Yes are progressive-rock. Of course it's excessive!), yet it is also musically uniquely unpretentious, for the music is what this disk is about. A real high-point. Buy!
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on 23 June 2004
With so many dodgy concert DVDs around I'm grateful to the other Amazon reviewers of this disc for convincing me to part with my hard earned cash to purchase this DVD.
If ever there was or is a band that really should play with a full orchestra it has to be the complex and classically structured musical style of Yes. The blend of individual musical expertise interwoven with the sympathetic and tasteful orchestral arrangements is nothing short of breathtaking in it delivery. I was a little suspect of a line-up without Mr Wakeman but when you think about it - with a full orchestral backing, would he not have been either swamped or a little redundant?
Anyway, what you have here is 4 of the original musicians, each at the peak of their powers delivering the performance of a lifetime. This is a CD you (and you and I) will probably watch again and again. Fortunately, it contains a good mix of material old and new. As a guitarist, I of course, cannot help but slaver over both Steve Howe's skill and his guitar collection. Being able to watch his technique close up, will be a major delight of this DVD if the guitar is your instrument of choice.
However, that said, I derived as much pleasure watching the impeccable drumming and bass playing of Mssrs White and Squires, respectively. And Jon Anderson must be doing something right because his voice is still as entrancing as it was 30 years ago when I was fortunate enough to catch the entire Tales of Topographic Oceans live, at the Guildhall Portsmouth.
OK, if you are a Yes fan, you'll need this - don't bother with some of the other Yes DVDs, this IS the real deal. If like me you are returning to the music of your youth, sit down, tune in, turn on and have a great evening. A generous (194 minutes), well produced, quality audio DVD worth every penny of the admission price.
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on 8 February 2005
Get this DVD, find three hours of spare time (some good wine may also come handy), and enjoy the Yes magic: you will be amazed at the quality of this show!
At last the magic and power of Yes performance was caught on DVD with proper quality both of video and audio - the picture and sound are both great, DTS surround track is incredible.
I am not going to give you the details - you will see it yourself, here is just my impression of this magnificent show.
The band is at its best - the musicians are enjoying the show, and the orchestra gives the band as good as it gets, really having a good time on stage. The interaction of the band and the orchestra is a creative one; they complement each other giving Yes music another dimension: just check the brilliant performance of my all-time Yes favorites "The Gates of Delirium" and "Close to the Edge"!
Standing ovation of the audience is its way of sincere appreciation of timeless music and unforgettable evening.
This DVD is an exemplary case when everything's in proper place: excellent performance of the band/orchestra and exceptional quality of DVD itself. This is definitely the best Yes DVD so far.
This DVD is a must - you will enjoy the show over and over again!
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on 28 November 2004
I really just want to confirm what has been written by the previous reviewers. The music of Yes lends itself so well to orchestration. You can see them all, Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Alan White, Tom Brislin (keyboards) and the entire orchestra relishing this concert. A truly magnificent sound, especially the epics "Gates of Delirium" and "Ritual".
Buy this DVD, put it in the machine, turn on the telly, settle down in your favourite chair with perhaps a beer or two, turn up the surround sound and let Yes and the European Festival Orchestra take you away.
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On the strength of the rave reviews for this DVD (oh, and 'cause it cost under a fiver!), and being a fan of 'classic' (i.e. 70s) Yes, I thought I'd take a punt on this.

Whilst I'm happy I did, I have to admit I was also a trifle disappointed. Footage of the band in the mid-seventies finds them - to my eyes - looking a lot hipper. It's not just that they look older per se, as age can bring dignity and gravitas etc., and isn't at all incompatible with style, it's just that the original members do look (sorry guys) like classic 'old rockers', with mullets and duff duds. Anyway, since fashion is mostly b****cks anyway, and this is all really about the music, I'll move swiftly on.

So, the music: mostly it's the classic-era stuff, and at times it's absolutely sublime. In places the orchestra really does add something wonderful, but there also some moments where it seems a little redundant. Yes themselves, whilst clearly having a whale of a time, which is great to see (Anderson is all blissed out on a slightly kooky love trip, whilst Squire gradually works himself into a low-frequency reverie, with White and Howe mostly looking serious in their work) aren't at the peak of their powers at this point. Having said this, Anderson is in (almost suspiciously) fine voice, and the harmonies are so perfect I wondered if auto-tune had been used on mix down, and the band do play very, very well.

As a drummer I was disappointed at how the drums have too muddy and thuddy a sound, proper 'arena rock' style. Super dry clarity is what I favour, but that's very hard live, and gets harder as the venue gets bigger. Mind you, direct feeds to the desk should help circumvent some of the problems. Michael Shrieve's drums on Santana's Lotus are closer to the benchmark of clarity and presence I prefer, and that was (if I recall rightly) recorded in '73. This is no criticism of Alan White of course. But it IS a production flaw. At least as far as I'm concerned.

So, I'm not giving this the unconditional love-in rave-review some are, but nevertheless, Yes were (and still are, judging by this and their current tour itinerary - why no UK dates?), a musical force to be reckoned with. And here you get over two and a half hours of their very distinctive brand of intelligent, challenging, progressive rock music. It's always good, sometimes great, and occasionally sublime. And at less than fiver!? Whilst not perfect, it's still a no brainer... Like Yes? Just get it!
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Yes have about 19 different concerts available on the market, from all different eras, with countless different line-ups and of differing quality. Yes Symphonic Live has the unique selling point of being performed live in conjunction with a Symphony Orchestra.

The sound and visuals are top notch (apart from some cheesy, but thankfully short animations) and there are no major complaints to be made about the camera work or editing. The sound is equally impressive, balancing your need to hear the band's performance with your desire to hear the Orchestra's addition well.

The actual performance is strong too, this concert stands on its own merits and is not worthwhile only because of the Orchestra's involvement. Howe, White, Squire and Anderson are on rare form and deliver classic material like "And You And I" and "Long Distance Runaround" with passion and precision.

The tracklisting too, is perfect for this type of event. The material concentrates on Yes's grander and more symphonic works, the band manage to play three of their longest compositions "Close to the Edge," "The Gates of Delirium," and "Ritual" all in the same concert three hour concert. The track listing comprises primarily of material from the band's classic Wakeman/Howe/Anderson period (from 'The Yes Album,' until 'Going For The One') although there are one or two songs from their post millennial, orchestral album 'Magnification,' in addition to the 1980s smash hit "Owner Of A Lonely Heart," which is the sole Trevor Rabin composition in the set.

Despite the heavy leanings on Wakeman era material, Rick himself is absent from the band during this recording and the keyboards are handled by the talented Tom Brislin, who makes a more than capable replacement.

Many other bands release Orchestral concerts (Kansas, ELP, Ian Anderson, Deep Purple, Kiss, Metallica and Serj Tankian, to name a few) and they usually deliver something interesting, providing a new spin to the music and inspiring the original musician's to give it their all. This is no exception and could even be described as one of the best examples of this sort of collaboration. After all, their albums 'Time And A Word' and 'Magnification' have given Yes Orchestra experience before and their music is so frequently described ad grand or symphonic on its own merits.

Overall, I highly recommend this DVD; Yes put in a brilliant performance, it looks and sounds good, they play The Gates Of Delirium and the Orchestra adds considerably to the experience. What more could you ask for ?
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on 16 January 2012
There are so many "Classic Line-up" Live DVDs knocking around, these days, that it's always good to see/hear something a bit different. Yes, sans Wakeman, never really seems complete but, in this case, the results are more than acceptable.

With the exception of a mere three tracks included from the "Magnification" album, plus "Owner of A Lonely Heart", the rest of the 157 minutes all originates from the 1970-74 era including full versions of "Close To The Edge", "The Gates Of Delirium" and "Ritual" as well as essentials such as "Starship Trooper", "Roundabout" and "And You And I".

The European Festival Orchestra - a young and mainly female orchestra - seem to have fun with it as well as bringing out the best of the band. Tom Brislin's keyboards are generally understated - being part of the orchestra rather than a band member - although he does get to play rockstar in the encore and during the "to and fro" of some of the traditional crowd pleasers. On the whole, the balance between orchestra and band seems to work quite well. Jon is in his element and Steve Howe's playing just gets better with every passing decade - although he does, just occasionally, have to defer to the orchestra in places where, normally, he'd be taking the lead. Chris Squire still manages to fit in all the usual stage routines that the audience have come to expect and Alan White does his job as well as ever.

This is a single disc version of the original 2-disc set from 2002 - minus the half-hour documentary and video of "Don't Go" which comprised Disc 2. It retains, however, the optional animations which, personally, I found unnecessary, annoying and just "not very good" additions - on "Gates of Delirium" and "And You And I" particularly. Watch them once, for sure, but I'd rather just stick with the concert footage.

A good compliment to some of the more routine Yes DVDs out there with a finale like no other. It's got to be worth the ridiculously low price for that alone.
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on 14 February 2016
This is probably one of my favourite live concerts by any band, ever. So much joy and passion simply flies out of the screen and hits you in the right spots.The orchestra is fantastic. On a personal note, the lovely ladies of the orchestra are a pleasure to watch and it's almost worth buying the bluray for that alone! Especially the two clarinettists, who are having an absolute blast! You'll see what I mean. ;)

I'm probably having a mid-life crisis. Anyway....

The band and orchestra are locked in for the whole time - there is nothing sloppy about this performance and the orchestra adds so many new dimensions to what are already much-loved classic Yes songs. For me, the performances are flawless - the band were certainly at their peak during this tour. Their session keyboard player is fantastic, paying attention to the keyboard sounds and parts and emulating them beautifully.

The bluray looks very nice indeed - certainly looks good on my Samsung 55" LED and it's only a mid-range telly. Nice, sharp and clear. Colours look good too. Definitely worth the upgrade if you already have the DVD.

The audio quality is very nice and clear - all the instruments are well defined and mixed. It certainly sounds very live - if any post over-dubbing was done, then it's not very obvious to me.

All in all, a highly enjoyable concert - wish I could've been there. Highly recommended!
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