Yes have reformed in their most celebrated line-up, Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman and Alan White and this reunion has been greeted with anticipation by millions of fans worldwide. Keys To Ascension was recorded in March 1996 during a series of brilliantly staged live concerts at The Fremont Theatre in California's San Luis Obispo. The band gelled magnificently and Keys To The Ascension proves that the magic is still there, great vision, stunning technical ability, incredible improvisational skills and imaginative presentation of ideas.....timeless Yes music.
AllMusic Review by Bret Adams The definitive version of Yes re-formed to film and record concerts on March 4, 5, and 6, 1996, at the Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo, CA. The stellar highlights are collected on the 2000 DVD Keys to Ascension. Vocalist Jon Anderson, guitarist/backing vocalist Steve Howe, keyboardist Rick Wakeman, bass guitarist/backing vocalist Chris Squire, and drummer/backing vocalist Alan White were clearly appealing to their rabid core fan base and waving the progressive rock flag proudly, since Keys to Ascension features some of Yes' most complex and rewarding music from 1970 through 1978. The selections are culled from Time and a Word, The Yes Album, Fragile, Close to the Edge, Tales from Topographic Oceans, Going for the One, and Tormato; there is nothing from 1974's Relayer (with Patrick Moraz serving briefly as Wakeman's replacement). Several of the songs are non-hit album cuts. "Siberian Khatru" and "Close to the Edge" make for a powerful opening. "Time and a Word" is gorgeously hypnotic. The mere performance of the epic "The Revealing Science of God" from the notorious double album Tales from Topographic Oceans -- the epitome of excess as cited by prog's detractors -- is a defiant statement. "Turn of the Century" and "Onward" are the biggest surprises. The underrated "Awaken" is another lengthy piece highlighting Yes' signature style. Strong performances of the all-time classics "Roundabout" and "Starship Trooper" wrap up the DVD. Director/producer Steve Mitchell deserves praise for the visual presentation, which often incorporates nature, sky, and space scenes; for the most part these bits are quite effective and smoothly rendered with only occasional, abrupt heavy-handedness.