Following the breakup of the superstar band Yes, vocalist Jon Anderson entered into a period where his musical identity became somewhat lost, or at least confused. Voiceprint have started started to release what they call ‘the twenty lost tapes’, these are all live recordings from the time that have been lost for many years.

I am not sure that Jon Anderson really fit in with The New Life Band. There are sparks of brilliance, and reflections of better times, but for the most part I found it a fusion of styles that was too complicated to really get into. Jon tried to take the Yes sound and rework it, but without the creative genius of Wakeman he never quite made it. Wakeman is a chameleon, he has reinvented himself many times, and each time it has been new and refreshing, Jon stayed in the groove that he knew and thought the fans would like.

Please don’t be put off by those comments, this is a double CD that should be part of every Yes fans collection, and it certainly demonstrates a musical backing style that is completely different from Yes. Horns are in, Trumpets, Sax, probably even a Trombone or two, in also are piano’s, they are all there.

To me though this represents a low spot in the career of a very gifted musician. The band just do not do justice to Jon Anderson.

One of the flashes of brilliance has to be Far Away In Baagad this is a track that combines the very best of Prog Rock with a unique Folk Music feel. This is the track to listen to. Completely different from Yes, it stands alone, it towers above the rest of the album. I would love to have seen Jon head in this direction, his voice is perfect for this genre.

Jon Anderson With The New Life Band – Live In Sheffield 1980 is due for an October 30 release date, if you cannot find it in your local record store you can get a copy from MVD.

Simon Barrett

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