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Image Entertainment presents
Yes: 9012 Live (1985)

"Hold on, hold on, sunshine shine on you."
- Jon Anderson - Hold On

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: April 17, 2006

Stars: Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Chris Squire
Other Stars: Tony Kaye, Alan White
Director: Steven Soderbergh

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:08m:19s
Release Date: April 18, 2006
UPC: 014381255829
Genre: music

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- B+DC- B+

DVD Review

Since their eponymous debut album back in 1969, Yes helped define Progressive Rock. Their epic songs and distinctively voiced front man draw strong parallels between them and Genesis, but Yes holds back from live theatrics a bit more. With a virtual revolving door, the core members of Yes—lead singer Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Alan White—released their last studio album in 1997, but 1983's 9012 was arguably their most important effort, at least commercially.

9012 spawned the mega-hit single, Owner of a Lonely Heart, but was most notable for signaling a Yes renaissance. Driven by Squire and White's desire to get the boys back together, Anderson and original member Tony Kaye were rounded up, along with a new member, Trevor Rabin, whose unique style was key to the album's charm. The "new" Yes wasn't what longtime fans expected, but, despite the more commercial feel of the songs, having the group back together was reason enough to celebrate. That the album sold millions of copies and virtually guaranteed future albums was an even better byproduct of the reunion.

Yes: 9012 Live was directed by Steven Soderbergh (Traffic) when he was on the cusp of becoming a mainstream filmmaker. A handful of directors, including Jonathan Demme (Stop Making Sense) and Martin Scorsese (The Last Waltz), can boast successful ventures in this genre. Soderbergh does a solid enough job here, but some of his stylistic choices beg to be scrutinized.

Yes fans can never get enough of their favorite group, but many were up in arms about this film when it was initially released. Aside from the notion that their beloved band had "sold out" on the album, they were equally taken aback by the "Charlex" effects that took away from the actual concert footage. These effects consist of a series of old movie clips that appear in "windows" traveling across the screen while the music is playing. Concert footage appears in a few of the windows, too, but it's can be annoying to be studying a guitar solo one minute, then taken on a trippy journey through vintage, irrelevant film the next. Fortunately, this new DVD includes a version that eliminates all of these effects and allows the viewer to study Yes in action for the duration of their set.

Most of the title album is represented, including the aforementioned hit, Owner of a Lonely Heart, although it doesn't translate well to a live setting. Leave It, It Can Happen, Hold On, and my personal favorite, City of Love, are also in the set list, but it's disappointing that Hearts isn't among the songs. While a live performance of the entire 9012 album (preferably in order of the album's track list) would have been nice, having the classic tunes I've Seen All Good People and Starship Trooper on board is a nice touch.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The original full-frame aspect ratio is preserved for this transfer, which is rather unspectacular. There doesn't appear to have been much restoration work performed, as image clarity, excessive grain, and dirt are glaring problems. Hardly any of the concert footage features sharp, detailed images, while a few bright colors do make their way into the "Charlex" footage. Overall, you wouldn't notice much difference between this transfer and an old VHS copy of the program.

Image Transfer Grade: D


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: There's the original Dolby Digital 2.0 mix and a brand new, 5.1 mix, but the results are surprising. While many fans will be chomping at the bit to hear the new 5.1, it's very difficult to hear Jon Anderson's vocals, thanks in part to almost nonexistent dynamic range. This mix was recorded at a much lower overall volume level as well, requiring one to turn the receiver way up to match the level of the 2.0 track. The dynamic range in the 2.0 mix is much more impressive, with a bit of bass making its presence felt. The lyrics are much clearer and easier to hear, meshing with the music in a much more consistent and pleasing manner.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Music/Song Access with 10 cues and remote access
1 Documentaries
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Director's Cut - Non-Charlex/No visual effects.
  2. Interviews - Discussions with the band.
  3. Roundabout - Bonus live performance.
Extras Review: Included here is the option to watch the film minus the "Charlex" effects. While the feature should have been shot without these annoying visual effects in the first place, having the ability to watch the band perform for the duration of the program is a true bonus.

There's also a bonus performance of Roundabout, arguably their most popular tune among the die-hard, which was omitted from the final version. This is seven minutes of bliss for Yes fans.

There are 35 minutes of interviews with the band, with the "9012" tour as well as the album as their main focus.

Access All Areas is a nearly 24-minute documentary that was also shot by Soderbergh. This is a great backstage look that grants an even more candid experience with this legendary group of musicians.

Extras Grade: B+


Final Comments

It took a while, but Yes: 9012 Live is finally available on DVD, thanks to Image Entertainment. Millions of fans can finally throw away their VHS copies of this concert. The option to play the film without the Charlex effect is a bonus.


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