Keys to Ascension

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Keys to Ascension
Live album / studio album by Yes
Released 28 October 1996
Recorded Autumn 1995 - Spring 1996
Genre Progressive rock
Length 116:12
Label Essential Records
Producer Yes, Tom Fletcher
Yes chronology
Keys to Ascension
Something's Coming: The BBC Recordings 1969–1970
(1997)Something's Coming: The BBC Recordings 1969–19701997
Singles from Keys to Ascension
  1. "Be the One"
    Released: 1996
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [1]
File:Arches Mist.jpg
The painting "Arches Mist", as featured in the liner notes

Keys to Ascension is a double album by the British progressive rock group Yes and was released in 1996. It is the band's fourth live album and fifteenth studio album.

It is the first album with guitarist Steve Howe and keyboardist Rick Wakeman since 1991's Union, and the first album with the line-up consisting of Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Alan White, Howe and Wakeman since 1978's Tormato.


Album content

The first seven of the album’s nine tracks were recorded live in San Luis Obispo, California’s Fremont Theater during three nights in March 1996. The purpose of these concerts was to capture the spontaneity of a live performance under controlled conditions, similar to that of a studio[citation needed]. These performances were also filmed and released as a live video under the same title.

All three concerts were instantly available as bootlegs[citation needed]. Comparison of the bootleg recordings and the official release demonstrate beyond doubt that the "live" songs were heavily overdubbed in the studio before being released[citation needed]. Some parts (most notably Jon Anderson's vocals on at least three songs) were completely re-recorded in the studio[citation needed]. The studio tracks were reissued twice: once as part of the Keystudio compilation album on 21 May 2001 and again along with the whole album in 2010 as part of the Keys to Ascension box set along with its companion album Keys to Ascension 2.

Song info

The last two tracks "Be the One" and "That, That Is" are studio recordings of new songs made in November 1995 (with subsequent overdubs and post-production lasting into 1996). Other live recordings not released on this album were held over for release in 1997 on Keys to Ascension 2.

Track listing

Disc one (Live tracks)
No. Title Writers Length
1. "Siberian Khatru"   Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman 10:16
2. "The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn)"   Anderson, Chris Squire, Howe, Wakeman, Alan White 20:31
3. "America"   Paul Simon 10:28
4. "Unity/Onward"   Howe/Squire 5:40
5. "Awaken"   Anderson, Howe 18:29
Disc two (Studio tracks)
No. Title Writers Length
1. "Roundabout"   Anderson, Howe 8:30
2. "Starship Trooper"
  • a. "Life Seeker"
  • b. "Disillusion"
  • c. "Würm"  
Anderson, Squire, Howe 13:06
3. "Be the One"
  • a. "The One"
  • b. "Humankind"
  • c. "Skates"  
Anderson, Squire, Howe 9:50
4. "That, That Is"
  • a. "Togetherness"
  • b. "Crossfire"
  • c. "The Giving Things"
  • d. "That Is"
  • e. "All in All"
  • f. "How Did Heaven Begin?"
  • g. "Agree to Agree"  
Anderson, Howe, Squire, White 19:15



  • Produced By Yes & Tom Fletcher
  • Mixed By Tom Fletcher, Bill Smith & Billy Sherwood
  • Engineered By Bill Smith & Tom Fletcher

Chart position

Keys to Ascension (Essential EDF CD 417) reached #48 in the UK. It also reached #99 in the US during a chart stay of two weeks.


  1. Keys to Ascension at AllMusic. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  • "Top Pop Albums 1955-2001", Joel Whitburn, c. 2002