New Yes Announcement (Highland HL080#Y15)
Tower Records, Los Angeles, CA – November 27th, 1996
(41:38): America, I’ve Seen All Good People, Roundabout, Starship Trooper
1996 was one of the strangest, but sadly typical year, in the life of Yes. It was exciting when the classic line up decided to reunite and plays songs that have not been heard live for twenty years. They played three massive shows in San Luis Obispo in March, right around Chris Squire’s birthday, and then things strangely turned silent. Instead of tour off of these shows, they planned for a summer 1997 tour and instead turned their attention to Keys To Ascension, which came out in October.
The fall was spent promoting the album first in New York, where they appeared on the Howard Stern show on October 28th among other media appearances, and then spent time on the west coast in November. Yes finished just after Thanksgiving with this appearance at Tower Records in Hollywood. New Yes Announcement is an early Highland title released soon after the event. The label uses a perfect sounding copy of a radio broadcast of the short four song set.
An DJ’s voice begins the disc, setting up the show before Yes plays a nine minute “America.” The four songs chosen are played excellently and they band translate them well for the small and intimate venue and the give spirited performances. The audience clap along and seem to have ball. But it is strange how they are promoting the first disc of Keys To Ascension, playing three live classics recorded the previous March. The new songs on the album, “Be The One” and “That, That Is,” are completely ignored.
Yes were also working on new material at the time too, as Jon Anderson says before “Roundabout”: “You’ll probably find this out in the next couple months but while we’re here in LA we’re making an album…it’s the only way we can get together is to make music. So we decided to work on our next project which will probably be Keys To Ascension 2 coming out sometime in March [eventually released in November 1997]. So we were actually working on new songs yesterday and we will be doing tomorrow. We’re working guys…someone’ got to do it.”
It would have been great if they played some new songs along with the classics. But instead they play it safe with the well known live tracks. The new songs written at this time have been in fact almost completely ignored in subsequent years. Regardless of the history, New Yes Announcement is a great release from one of Yes’ rare live appearances in 1996. The artwork is tastefully done and Highland, who started operation in the same year, didn’t apply any mastering at all. Since it is one of their first titles it is hard to find today but is well worth tracking down.