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Yes - Keys to Ascension 2 CD (album) cover

KEYS TO ASCENSION 2

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.96 | 425 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Live leftovers from the San Lois Obispo shows + excellent new studio tracks

Following the success of the first Keys To Ascension live album came this second instalment featuring further live tracks from the same shows, plus further studio tracks added. The studio tracks are all excellent, but since I have already given these tracks four stars in the shape of Keystudio, the present rating and review is for the live tracks only. It is actually frustrating that there are so many different versions of Keys To Ascension out there. Perhaps it would have been much better and less confusing had they just released all the live tracks on a double live album and then released the studio tracks separately to begin with.

As I noted in my review of the first Keys To Ascension album, I usually avoid rating the same material more than once and since I have already rated the DVD version (as well as the Keystudio album) it wasn't obvious that I needed to rate these live CDs as well. However, since I gave the DVD a low rating (two stars) mostly due to its technical defects and not because of the quality of the music itself, I think that these CDs do deserve a higher rating than I was able to award the DVD. In the case of Keys To Ascension I that higher rating was four stars, but I'm going to be less generous with Keys To Ascension II.

Notoriously, no version of Keys To Ascension features the correct track order as they were performed on the actual shows. Comparing parts one and two might offers a clue to why. Generally, the more interesting live tracks were selected for the first Keys To Ascension album, perhaps under the assumption that this second part would never be? Listening to Keys To Ascension II you get the feeling that this is the leftovers from the making of the first Keys To Ascension album. By this I don't mean that what is here is bad, far from it. But (leaving aside the excellent studio tracks), Keys To Ascension II has less interesting song selections overall. The band took few chances on these shows and instead 'plays it safe' for the most part. The few surprising selections all of them ended up on the first Keys To Ascension album, leaving only the more predictable numbers for this second Keys To Ascension album. Though great music in its own right, neither Going For The One, Time And A Word, or Turn Of The Century belong to my Yes favourites, and Close To The Edge and And You And I have been included on other live albums including the classic Yessongs.

In my opinion Keys To Ascension I and Keystudio are both excellent releases. If you have both of those then Keys To Ascension II is not essential. On the other hand, if you have both Keys To Ascension albums you might not need Keystudio. (In 2010 was released a set which featured both of the original Keys To Ascension albums as well as the DVD with the original artwork restored to proper colours. Since I don't own this new release I cannot comment on whether the DVD is identical to the separately available DVD that I have, but if it is then you don't need it. The audio-discs are available for streaming on Spotify. Sadly, the opportunity to restore the songs to the correct running order was not taken advantage of.)

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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