Yes: Songs From Tsongas – 35th Anniversary Concert (Blu-ray Review)

Songs From TsongasThis Special Edition of Songs From Tsongas contains two different concerts from Yes 35th Anniversary Tour in 2004, the last tour by the band to feature the classic line-up of Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman and Alan White. Part One contains the whole of the concert from the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Massachusetts. This epic show features a brand new stage set by legendary designer and Yes collaborator Roger Dean and the setlist features tracks from across the band s career including an extensive acoustic section (tracks 11 18) and some tracks that have rarely been performed live. Part Two contains 70 minutes of highlights from a very different concert on the same tour filmed at Estival in Lugano, Switzerland. This outdoor concert sees a stripped down stage and full on rock versions of the acoustic tracks from Tsongas whilst the crowd wield a multitude of umbrellas against the pouring rain, which is clearly not preventing them having a great time! 

Songs From Tsongas

The Show  

Yes have been performing for almost 50 years now but this show, and they’re final tour with original and founding member Jon Anderson would be their last, with all of the original members. Songs From Tsongas was captured live in Boston way back in 2004. For one thing, you cannot tell, because it looks like it was filmed yesterday in terms of production and quality. First and foremost, and just to get it out of the way, Yes is not my cup of tea in terms of bands that I normally would gravitate towards to on my own. Now when you get an assignment then that all changes and one must set aside their preconceived notions about new bands that they normally wouldn’t bother with on a regular day. Just like Jethro Tull a few weeks ago, Yes was to be a new adventure.

Progressive rock is a guilty pleasure of mine and even though I cannot give you a proper definition – to me, it just means that the band plays on a more advanced level than your typical band does. The songs, the lyrics, the structure, tones, effects, spectrum, etc., are enhanced. That is what Yes is all about and they bring it in droves to their Songs From Tsongas show and this Blu-ray. Keyboardist, synthesizer, piano whiz Rick Wakeman and guitarist Steve Howe are the band members I gravitated towards, because they really are maters of their craft. It’s fun discovering something new and it’s fun discovering new players that have been around for many years that I knew nothing about.

As I mentioned before this Songs From Tsongas tour was to be the last tour composed of all the original members. I believe Jon Anderson took ill for a long time and was subsequently replaced by someone else and even Anderson’s direct repel cement was also replaced thereafter. The band has not yet announced a reunion with Anderson but we shall see what happened. I believe we’re at the 45-46 year mark of the band’s existence.

It is a breath of fresh air to be exposed to some artists that have been around longer than I’ve been alive even if they don’t quite fit the mold of what I’m currently into. Yes have their place and musically, they’re a great band, but they don’t necessarily do it for me on an “entertainment” level. Musical prowess, yes. Visual flare (ironically), no. I was brought up on Kiss and Alice Cooper – there’s a whole theatrical aspect to music and shows that I am into. That’s just me speaking freely and is in no way criticizing Yes. Yes is great prog-rock and they’re up there with the greats. If you’re a fan of the band then this Blu-ray edition of their 35th Anniversary is just the ticket that you have been waiting for. Okay, let’s talk about the presentation and extras. Onward!


Intro/Firebird Suite

Going For The One

Sweet Dreams

I’ve Seen All Good People

Mind Drive, Part 1 and Part 2

Turn Of The Century

My Eyes

Mind Drive Part 3

Yours Is No Disgrace

The Meeting (Rick Wakeman Solo)

Long Distance Runaround

Wonderous Stories

Time Is Time


Show Me

Owner Of A Lonely Heart

Second Initial (Steve Howe Solo)

Rhythm Of Love

And You And I

Every Little Thing

Starship Trooper


Songs From Tsongas


Encoding: AVC MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080i

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail: I made mention that this was originally shot way back in 2004 and it must have been sourced from an HD master, because the image looks spectacular. I know Eagle Rock had released a few Blu-rays with the moniker of “SD-Blu-ray” due to some of the video presentations being SD, with lossless playback. Not so with this as it is in full 1080i HD resolution. We like that.

Depth: There’s a great slick and glossy look to the performance and no, it’s not DNR or anything like that – it’s just a very clean image and you can see everything there is to see on stage and in the venue. It’s an expansive line of sight.

Black Levels: Black levels only crush a bit and that’s due to the harsh light during the show. It’s inherent to the source but what can you do?

Color Reproduction: Songs From Tsongas is a very colorful show and the palette is rich and vibrant and I did not pick up on any instances of banding or pixilation.

Flesh Tones: Everyone looks great and seems to be having a ball.

Noise/Artifacts: I did not notice any pesky instances of noise or artifacts. All is good here.

Songs From Tsongas


Audio Format(s): DTS-HD MA 5.1, LPCM 2.0

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics: The show is not a “bombastic” type of show as it is very chill type of performance. You can sit back and sip a glass of wine and enjoy the melodies as they emanate from your surround sound system. I viewed this Blu-ray with the 5.1 lossless option and it’s as if I was in the front row. Everything had proper balance as well as proper separation. The vocals and instruments were not a jumbled mess and Anderson was king of the center channel. Well played, indeed, sir.

Low Frequency Extension: The bass was a bit too reserved but that could be due to Chris Squire’s style of bass playing. Alan White on the drums provided some nice beats that the LFE channel handled perfectly.

Surround Sound Presentation: The music, vocals, crowd separation, and ambience were handled smoothly. You can here the folks in the rear channels have a good time without being disruptive to everyone down in front.

Dialogue Reproduction: As I mentioned before Jon Anderson’s vocals were on point and he owned it.


Songs From Tsongas



There’s a bonus concert on this Blu-ray from the band’s performance in Switzerland but it’s a more stripped down version than the feature presentation. It really doesn’t matter since it’s a full setlist. A bonus track and interview with stage designer Roger Dean round out the special features on this Blu-ray.

  • Live In Lugano, Switzerland 2004 (SD, 65 minutes) – Here’s the band’s stripped down set live from Lugano, Switzerland, presented in standard definition. You get more than 3 hours of Yes on this Blu-ray. The Lugano setlist is as follows:  1) Intro/Firebird Suite 2) Going For The One 3) Sweet Dreams 4) I’ve Seen All Good People 5) Long Distance Runaround 6) The Fish 7) Owner Of A Lonely Heart 8) And You And I 9) Starship Trooper 10) Roundabout.
  • Bonus Track: Ritual (HD) – A bonus track that was not in the original program.
  • Roger Dean Interview (SD, 7 minutes) – Roger Dean has been the band’s visual stylist for about as long as the band has been together and here he talks about what goes into a Yes stage production.


Songs From Tsongas


Yes is not my cup of tea as a band but that’s ultimately irrelevant, because this Blu-ray is stellar. It features a great video and audio presentation and epic special features. Yes fans will love this edition of the Songs From Tsongas tour and the price is right to boot! If you’re a fan then stop reading and start buying. Go forth!

Order Yes: Songs From Tsongas on Blu-ray!

Songs From Tsongas


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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