Yes fans, “In the Present: Live From Lyon” is something you might want if you’re a completist or if you want a document of this short-lived lineup right before they went into the studio to record with vocalist Benoit David. Oliver Wakeman, Rick’s kid, handles keyboards here. (Geoff Downes came back into the fold later when Trevor Horn came on board as producer.) The old guard, Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White are firmly at the helm.
Overall, it’s okay – though a bit flat in some areas, especially some rather weak background vocals. Benoit David adequately replaces Jon Anderson at the mike for what turns out to be basically a live greatest hits collection. The weakness here comes from the fact that it doesn’t appear anything was later “fixed” in the studio, bad notes overdubbed, flat vocals re-recorded, as with most “live” records. So in that sense, purists might appreciate this more as a true document of what the show really sounded like.
Highlight: a dandy live version of the rarely played (up to this point) of Tempus Fugit. Jon had always resisted playing anything from the Drama album (understandable, since he was out of the group at the time they recorded it), but I’m one of the few fans who think that, musically at least, Drama was one of Yes’ strongest outings.
Another highlight: Astral Traveler gets a good workout, another song rarely included on live Yes albums. It’s my favorite pre-The Yes Album song.