Keys to Ascension 2

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Keys to Ascension 2
Live album / studio album by Yes
Released 3 November 1997
Recorded 4–6 March 1996 at the Fremont Theater, San Luis Obispo, California (Live)
March–November 1996 at The Office, Van Nuys, California (Studio)
Genre Progressive rock
Length 101:51
Label Essential
Producer Yes and Billy Sherwood
Yes chronology
Something's Coming: The BBC Recordings 1969–1970
Keys to Ascension 2
Open Your Eyes
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
Vox 2/5 stars[2]

Keys to Ascension 2 is the fifth live album and sixteenth studio album by the English rock band Yes, released as a double album in November 1997 by Essential Records. It is the successor to the critically acclaimed Keys to Ascension 2-CD set from 1996.

It is the final studio album to feature the "classic" Yes lineup consisting of Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Alan White, Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman (with the studio tracks being the last to feature Wakeman in any capacity). The album reached No. 62 in the UK.


Album content[edit]

Like the first seven tracks on the previous album, the first six tracks on Keys to Ascension 2 were recorded live in San Luis Obispo, California in March 1996. The second disc features studio recordings made in November 1996. Rick Wakeman wanted these studio tracks to be released with Jon Anderson's working title Know, with the disc of live tracks thrown in as a bonus. Wakeman's preference was not honoured and by the time Keys to Ascension 2 was released, he was no longer in the band. [1]

Song info[edit]

"Mind Drive" would be Yes' eighth and last song over 18 minutes until "Fly from Here" in 2011. The song was originally a concept that the band XYZ, which featured Chris Squire, Alan White and Jimmy Page, wrote and demoed in 1981. It was later incorporated in a drum duet between Alan White and Bill Bruford on the 1991–1992 Union tour.

"Footprints" includes a bass solo section (about 2:07 - 2:18, and repeated) written on the fly by Squire whilst filming the Star Licks instructional video devoted to his bass playing.

"Bring Me to the Power" references the original title of Talk, History of the Future.

"Children of Light" was originally written by Jon and Vangelis in 1986 as "Distant Thunder". "Distant Thunder" was later demoed by Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe during the recording of their self-titled album, later appearing as a hidden track on the 2011 limited edition of the album. The lyrics to "Distant Thunder" ended up in Yes' Union tourbook in April 1991. On 8 May 1994, Jon Anderson performed the song via radio on the Tommy Vance show. During a Mother's Day concert on 12 May 1996, Jon Anderson performed "Children of Light" and said he hoped it would appear on a Yes album, which it did.

"Lightning", Rick Wakeman's introduction to "Children of Light", was mixed out before the album's release. "Lightning" was restored to the track on the 2001 compilation Keystudio. The "Distant as the distant thunder..." introduction, as heard on Keys to Ascension 2, was mixed out on the Keystudio version.


Keys to Ascension 2 features cover art by Roger Dean on an outer sleeve that fits around the package. On the sleeve, the image's predominant colour is magenta, but the booklet features the painting in its original blue colouration.


The studio tracks from this album and Keys to Ascension would be re-released on Keystudio. The whole album was reissued in 2010 along with its earlier companion album Keys to Ascension and the concert video of the same name as part of the Keys to Ascension box set.

Track listing[edit]

Disc one (Live tracks)
No. Title Writers Length
1. "I've Seen All Good People"
  • a. "Your Move"
  • b. "All Good People"
Jon Anderson, Chris Squire 7:15
2. "Going for the One" Anderson 4:59
3. "Time and a Word" Anderson, David Foster 6:23
4. "Close to the Edge"
  • I. "The Solid Time of Change"
  • II. "Total Mass Retain"
  • III. "I Get Up I Get Down"
  • IV. "Seasons of Man"
Anderson, Steve Howe 19:41
5. "Turn of the Century" Anderson, Howe, Alan White 7:55
6. "And You and I"
  • I. "Cord of Life"
  • II. "Eclipse"
  • III. "The Preacher the Teacher"
  • IV. "Apocalypse"
Anderson; themes by Bill Bruford, Howe, Squire 10:50
Disc two (Studio tracks)
No. Title Writers Length
1. "Mind Drive" Anderson, Squire, White, Howe, Rick Wakeman 18:37
2. "Foot Prints" Anderson, Squire, Howe, White 9:07
3. "Bring Me to the Power" Anderson, Howe 7:23
4. "Children of Light
  • a. "Children of Light"
  • b. "Lifeline"
(a) Anderson, Squire, Vangelis; (b) Howe, Wakeman 6:03
5. "Sign Language" Howe, Wakeman 3:28


  • Produced By Yes (disc 1), Billy Sherwood & Yes (disc 2)
  • Engineered By Bill Smith, Tom Fletcher & Billy Sherwood
  • Mixed By Tom Fletcher & Billy Sherwood
  • Mastered By Joe Gastwirt


  1. ^ Keys to Ascension 2 at AllMusic. Retrieved 5 May 2009.
  2. ^ Ewing, Jerry. Vox, February 2008. Albums. YES - Keys to Ascension 2 P. 77
  • "Top Pop Albums 1955–2001", Joel Whitburn, c. 2002