Yes – Talk 30th Anniversary Box Set: A Timeless Treasure

Thirty years later, as we look at the new Anniversary Boxset, the Talk album from Yes still sounds fresh. It’s quite telling that this box set has the original album in it. Usually a remix or remaster is done for anniversary editions but given the clarity of this original digital recording, it would have proved to be unnecessary. The songs simply shimmer from your speakers or headphones, which is a testament to Trevor Rabin’s persistence with the fledgling ProTools digital recording technology.

Yes – Talk 30th Anniversary Box Set

Spirit Of Unicorn Music / Cherry Red Records

Release Date: 24 May 2024

Words: Robert Adams 

Disc One – Talk – Original Album 

While there are still elements of the pop sound found in 90125 and Big Generator, Talk finds Yes incorporating more of their classic progressive rock techniques. This amalgamation of styles works really well for the most part throughout the album, with album closer Endless Dream being a tour-de-force of both old and new Yes styles. The track is split into three separate sections that come together to make a truly fantastic Yes track.

I Am Waiting opens with a gorgeous finger-picked riff from Rabin before the full band explodes into life. After a few bars, the solo finger-picked riff returns along with Anderson’s unmistakable vocals. This is an epic-sounding Yes track that encompasses everything that was great with this lineup of Yes.

Real Love is a song that slowly builds and contains probably Yes’ heaviest riffs. If you didn’t know any better, you’d swear it was a Black Sabbath riff.

State Of Play sees Yes at their most playful, toying with modern hip-hop style drum patterns with a driving acoustic and electric guitar riff. 

Trust me, it’s more enjoyable than my description gives it credit for. This is the sound of Yes enjoying themselves and taking a real musical gamble.

Walls was the second single from Talk and came from a writing session between Trevor Rabin and Supertramp frontman Roger Hodgson, with lyrics from Jon Anderson. It’s a wonderful slice of pop rock, and the band even got to perform the track live on David Letterman’s chat show in America on 20 June 1994.

Where Will You Be is a slice of classic Yes and is all the better for it.

The album ends with the aforementioned Endless Dream and is an amazing end to what is a fantastic Yes album. Personally, I would go so far as to say that Talk was the last truly great Yes album.

As an aside, an interviewer said to Chris Squire that a lot of the album’s riffs and passages, especially on Where Will You Be, reminded her of previous Yes albums. Squire responded, “Oh yes, we borrow from ourselves all the time. It’s part of what we do.” 

That’s not cheating; it’s recapitulation and development of themes which are standard tacks in classical music, which is an approach that classically trained Rick Wakeman brought into the mix when he joined the band in 1972.

Disc Two – Talk Tracks 

Weirdly, this disc starts off with three versions of The Calling. We have an eight-minute, seven-second Special Version followed by a four-minute, forty-second single edit, then a five-minute, fifty-nine-second single edit. 

I think The Calling is a wonderful song, but having three slightly different versions of it in a row is a bit too much to take. I think it would have been better to spread them out over the course of the disc. Just my opinion. 

Perhaps it would have benefitted from a 12″ remix version akin to Love Will Find A Way from their previous Big Generator album.

Next up is an Untitled Trevor Rabin Instrumental. Calling Trevor Rabin a good guitarist is like saying Pele was a pretty decent footballer. Rabin can play things that other guitarists can only dream about, and on this track, he makes it extra difficult for himself by playing along to what can only be graciously described as a free-form drum machine backing. 

Following that is what I can only surmise is a very early demo of Endless Dream. How the band turned this demo into the sumptuous piece of beauty that ended up on the finished album is beyond me. The demo is mainly keyboards with a drum machine rhythm. There are no finished lyrics. Instead, we hear Rabin scatting the vocal melody. 

It’s interesting to get a glimpse of the writing process, so we’ll leave it at that.

Instrumental versions of Where Will You Be and Walls follow, and they sound incredible. It just shows how good a vocalist Jon Anderson is, especially on Where Will You Be. 

This disc closes with a brief instrumental snippet from the opening of Endless Dream. While there’s not much on disc two to warrant repeat plays, it’s still interesting to hear these tracks.

Discs Three and Four – Live Canandaigua New York.

The last two discs in this box set are essential for any Yes fan or just fans of real music.

In the fantastic liner notes written by Prog Magazine editor Jerry Ewing, Jon Anderson says his two regrets from the Talk tour were that they never did an official live recording and the fact the tour never made it to Europe or the UK. 

Trevor Rabin also says that the Talk tour was his favourite tour he ever did with Yes.

This gig is taken from a soundboard recording of the second gig of the tour in Canandaigua in upstate New York and the band are really cooking. There are countless bootleg recordings available from the Talk tour, both audio and video. 

This is the first time an official recording has been made available by the band from this tour.

The only track from the Talk album that did not make the setlist is State Of Play, which surprised me, given Chris Squire’s comments about that song in interviews leading up to Talk’s release. 

All of the songs from Talk sound incredible live, with special mention going to I Am Waiting, Real Love, Walls and the simply stunning Endless Dream. 

There are also no fewer than six tracks from 90125 played, with special mentions to Hearts and Make It Easy, which segues into a rocking version of Owner Of A Lonely Heart. Changes features lead vocals from Trevor Rabin. 

The Big Generator album only gets one song played on this tour, but it’s a cracking version of Rhythm Of Love. The set is rounded off with five classic Yes songs. Heart Of The Sunrise sees Chris Squire putting his exemplary bass work front and foremost. Roundabout also benefits from an amazing bass riff from Mr Squire. 

I’ve Seen All Good People has an exquisite vocal harmony from Anderson, Rabin, Squire and touring member Billy Sherwood, who would go on to take Chris Squire’s bass position after his death at the great man’s request. And You And I also sounds staggering. 

It’s clear from this soundboard recording that the Canadaigua crowd absolutely adore these classic Yes tracks as they go nuts for them. 

The music of Yes is very complex indeed, and to hear these songs being played pretty much perfectly live at only the second date of the tour is a remarkable achievement. It usually takes a band a week or two of live shows to fully gel with the songs and iron out the kinks. 

Not so with Yes. They hit the ground running on this tour and sound amazing. My only gripe with this live recording and it’s a tiny annoyance, is Alan White’s snare sometimes sounds like there’s a wet newspaper over it. 

Given the source of the recording, it does seem churlish of me to mention this but it is noticeable. It takes nothing away from the gig, though. That remains a treasure, and I’m delighted that it’s part of this wonderful box set.

If you’re a fan of the Trevor Rabin era of Yes, this 30th Anniversary box set is an essential purchase. 

Rabin and Kaye would leave Yes at the end of the Talk tour, so it’s great to have an official recording of one of the shows available.

It’s tragic that the Victory label went bankrupt shortly after the release of Talk, so all promotion budgets and tour support simply disappeared. H. Hence, there were there were no European or UK dates on the tour. 

I loved the Talk album when it was released 30 years ago and I still love it now. This 30th Anniversary box set is just fantastic.

Yes – Talk – 30th Anniversary Edition

Deluxe box set edition featuring 8 bonus studio tracks and previously unreleased live concertavailable as 2-LP limited edition white vinyl/4-cd/1-cd.

Expanded 4-CD Edition: https://www.cherryred.co.uk/yes-talk-30th-anniversary-4cd-expanded-edition.

Single CD Edition: https://www.cherryred.co.uk/yes-talk-30th-anniversary-cd.

Limited Edition White Vinyl:
https://www.cherryred.co.uk/yes-talk-30th-anniversary-2lp-gatefold-white-vinyl-limited-edition.

Yes - Talk 30th Anniversary Edition - White Vinyl
Yes – Talk 30th Anniversary Edition – White Vinyl

2-LP LIMITED EDITION WHITE VINYL

A1 The Calling
A2 I Am Waiting
B1 Real Love
B2 State Of Play
B3 Walls
C1 Where Will You Be
C2 Endless Dream
a) Silent Spring (Instrumental)
b) Talk
c) Endless Dream
Bonus Track
D1 The Calling (Special Version)

4CD DELUXE BOX SET EDITION

CD1
ORIGINAL ALBUM
The Calling
I Am Waiting
Real Love
State Of Play
Walls
Where Will You Be
Endless Dream
a) Silent Spring (Instrumental)
b) Talk
c) Endless Dream

CD2
TALK VERSIONS
The Calling (Special Version)
The Calling (Single Edit)
The Calling (Radio Edit)
Untitled – Trevor Rabin Instrumental
Endless Dream (Demo)
Where Will You Be (Instrumental)
Walls (Instrumental)
Endless Dream (Excerpt) (Instrumental)

CD3
LIVECANANDAIGUA, NEW YORK 19/06/94
I Am Waiting*
The Calling*
Rhythm Of Love*
Hearts*
Real Love*
Changes*
Heart Of The Sunrise
Roundabout

CD4
LIVE CANANDAIGUA, NEW YORK 19/06/94
Cinema*
City Of Love*
Make It Easy*
Owner Of A Lonely Heart*
Trevor Rabin Piano Solo/And You And I*
I’ve Seen All Good People*
Walls*
Endless Dream*

Chris Squire - Yes - "With Talk, we chose to encompass what we thought made Yes unique and incorporate that with a more commercial outlook."
Chris Squire – Yes – “With Talk, we chose to encompass what we thought made Yes unique and incorporate that with a more commercial outlook.” Photo, right, Eric Duvet/MetalTalk

CD
ORIGINAL ALBUM
The Calling
I Am Waiting
Real Love
State Of Play
Walls
Where Will You Be
Endless Dream
a) Silent Spring (Instrumental)
b) Talk
c) Endless Dream

*Previously unreleased

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Comments

  1. Here. I’ve never listened to much in the way of Yes, let alone a full album. But on the basis of this adequately written review I will give this one a try. As I type I have “I am Waiting” soaring through my ear pipes. Looks like they have made a decent attempt to make this release collectable with the amount of content etc. Any intel on the album art work – specifically the Yes logo and minimalist Talk ? Keep up the good work Roberto.
    Brought to you by the letter H.

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