Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Yes: 9012Live

Thanks to the Internet Movie Database, Steven Soderbergh fans have known for years that 1989's sex, lies, and videotape isn't really his commercial moviemaking debut. In 1986, Soderbergh garnered a Grammy nomination for directing and editing 9012 Live, a long-form home video of Yes' big comeback concert tour. And now it's available on DVD after an extended run on the bootleg circuit. It isn't a documentary per se—it's a straight concert film, featuring a super-slick performance heavy on polished pop-rock from Yes' hit album 90125, peppered with only a few of the prog epics that made Yes' members into '70s arena studs. Meanwhile, Soderbergh—or someone involved in the post-production—goes ape with the video effects, squeezing the frame and superimposing footage from old '50s educational films.


The DVD adds a less adulterated version of the concert, advertised as the "director's cut," which may indicate Soderbergh's true culpability in the super-effecty version. It also includes a true find: a dry-witted 20-minute backstage documentary. There aren't many signs of Soderbergh's directorial stamp in the concert, but the documentary contains a lot of Soderbergh style, from the jumpy, elliptical editing to the fascination with how Yes and its management team behave in the drab surroundings of an arena dressing room. And anyone not gripped by the absurd mundanity of the rock-star life should still be gob-smacked by the relentless '80s-ness of everyone's wardrobe, which—outside of the dude in the sleeveless "Where's The Beef" T-shirt—looks like a visitation from a future that never was.

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