While many music DVDs contain mostly concert material, the 2-disc Yesspeak takes an alternate approach – it features the famous members of the prog-rock giant Yes talking about the music created during its 35-year existence (it was founded in 1969 and has never stopped performing). The other selling point here is that this DVD celebrates the reunion of popular ’70s lineup featuring guitarist Steve Howe, bassist Chris Squire, and keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman.
Narrated, oddly enough, by the Who’s Roger Daltrey (who’s Cockney accent doesn’t quite jive with Yes’s high-brow persona), the three-hour set is broken into chapters spotlighting each member of the band. There, colorful anecdotes abound. For example, Howe talks about his famous 1964 Gibson ES-175D and how much he cherishes the instrument – so much it’s still in dead-mint condition after 40 years of constant use. That axe is so prized that he even buys the guitar its own seat on commercial airliners, registering the ticket under “Mr. Gibson.”
Squire’s stories include tales of his infatuation with the Who and how his peripatic stage moves are largely based on those of his hero, Pete Townshend. Synth-god Wakeman proves to be the comedian of the group – in fact, he’s a noted stand-up comic and TV personality in Great Britain. One of his more amusing idiosyncrasies onstage comes during Squire’s long bass solo. It’s so long that Wakeman and his roadie set up a proper English tea break offstage and have a jolly time gobbling down scones and jam while Squire madly riffs away on “The Fish.”
If the extensive interviews get you weary for actual Yes music, Disc Two of Yesspeeak also packs a full audio-only concert from the band’s 2003 Full Circle tour (150 minutes).
While there’s something for everyone on this extensive DVD package, it’s clearly geared for the serious Yeshead who wants to know more about the members of the band, from the ever-serious Howe to the jovial Squire and beyond. Here’s to another 35 years!
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Apr. ’04 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.