Together Again Unplugged (Highland HL622)
(71:31): XM Radio, August 10th, 2002: South Side Of The Sky / Rick solo / And You And I, mc 1, The Ancient, mc 2, All Good People / Long Distance Runaround / mc 3, Show Me, Awaken. Bonus tracks, The Backyard, Bee Cave, TX – August 16th, 2002: We Have Heaven, South Side Of The Sky, Rick solo, Jailhouse Rock
Together Again Unplugged contains an XM radio broadcast in excellent stereo quality. Since it’s from digital radio there is no intereference and no commercial interruptions in the broadcast.
This is a live telecast on Deep Tracks hosted by the late George Taylor Morris on the morning of August 10th, 2002. The studio is located in Washington DC and follows Yes’ show at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland on August 9th. It is an interesting document to hear how Yes promote themselves during on of their final tours. The tape opens with Morris speaking about the rather large studio audience there to see Yes. Rick Wakeman jokes a bit about being up so early (“what is that orange thing in the sky?” he quips). Morris suggests they play “South Of The Sky” and they play the first part, a bit of the solo which segues into Wakeman playing “Happy Birthday” and “And You And I” with Anderson singing along.
Morris asks why “South Side Of The Sky” wasn’t played live until now. Anderson mentions the two attempts in the seventies but says they couldn’t because Wakeman wasn’t in the band. Wakeman quips, “it was amazing that after thirty years I thought it would be really really hard to remember what I played and I sat down and it was.” Wakeman continues by saying how he liked arranging the orchestral score of Magnification and Steve Howe speak optimistically about recording new material the following year (which of course never occurred).
Howe is next “in the hot seat” and plays “Leaves Of Green,” a regular part of the setlist. Anderson comes in with the words as Wakeman accompanies them on piano. Afterwards Morris asks Howe if he could play The Ventures’ “Walk, Don’t Run.” He does so with Wakeman playing but flubbing it until Howe tell him “back to C.” They speak about the two latest Yes releases, The Word Is Live and the Symphonic 2001 DVD. Again it is Wakeman who has the studio laughing with is wit, mentioning how when he plays with orchestral musicians they are men in their nineties but with Yes they look like “the Spice Girls with violins.”
Morris asks them to play “All Good People,” a number which isn’t in their set list. Wakeman plays a pretty accompaniment to the song. The broadcast ends with Anderson telling the story of how Howe wrote the heavy riff in “Awaken” and they play the tune for the studio audience.
Highland include several tracks from the August 16th show in Bee Cave Texas as a bonus. It is sourced from a good to very good audience recording. Included is “We Have Heaven” and “South Side Of The Sky,” Wakeman’s solo which includes “Wondrous Stories” and “And You And I.” The final bonus track is the very strange and wonderful and spontaneous playing of “Jailhouse Rock.” It occurs in the set at the point where Anderson is introducing and reciting the opening words to “Magnification.” This is the only known time they ever played the song and it is strange hearing Anderson imitating Elvis. This is a rare treat indeed and a very nice bonus by Highland. Given the sound quality and fascinating material this is an excellent document to own.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)