2. We Can Fly. Horn sounds better here than on Drama, if anything. (His vocal peak would probably be Adventures in Modern Recording, though.) The intense verse with the high vocal harmonies has an almost Anderson-like purity that the original lacked. The "new" outro, however, is rather gimmicky, not to mention a blatant crib of Pink Floyd's "Echoes". (Granted, I remember thinking back in 2011 that Fly From Here was the most Floyd-like Yes album.)
3. Sad Night at the Airfield. Now this is different! I barely notice the new vocals as Howe's guitar (acoustic as well as pedal steel) really steals the show, more than on the already impressive original.
4. Madman at the Screens. I like the decision to introduce the soft piano verse earlier - this is really the crucial "unifying" moment of the suite.
5. Bumpy Ride. The more bass-heavy mix makes this work better than before.
6. We Can Fly (Reprise). Interesting decision to transplant the climax of the first "We Can Fly" here.
1-6. Fly From Here as a whole. I remember several people saying that the original "suite" just sounded like 4 (good) songs spliced together, rather than a proper side-long epic. The structural tweaks in this remix do significantly lessen that effect, so you know what? I'd actually say Return Trip improves the first side. Onwards! (through the night) ... (sorry)
7. The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be. No significant difference until the coda.
8. Life on a Film Set. The vocal in the slow first half is almost completely re-written! It's certainly a more substantial melody. The 11/8 section, then, would be almost indistinguishable from the original (where Benoît David sounds his closest to Horn) if they didn't cut out those two bars where it goes 10/8 then 12/8. I always thought that time signature change was intentional - evidently Trevor Horn disagrees.
9. Hour of Need. No real difference in the familiar part. The long intro/coda guitar solo that was cut from the original is an interesting case: musically it doesn't seem an obvious fit for the "main" song, but it seems less jarring if you keep the (admittedly somewhat clumsy) apocalyptic lyrics in mind.
10. Solitaire. Mix is a little brighter, maybe? No bad thing. What's always struck me here is that a prominent passage in this track is in the same key (A major) and time signature (15/8) as "Bumpy Ride", giving an unexpected symmetry to the album.
11. Don't Take No for an Answer. Aaaaand that symmetry now flies out of the window! Surely Horn could have put this before "Solitaire" instead? It's tempting to say that he shouldn't have bothered to include it at all, but I won't go that far. The refrain is fun, and there's some really cool guitar work here that I'm glad saw the light of day. Besides, Howe's singing has improved somewhat.
12. Into the Storm. The vocal harmonies in the verses sound much better.
Final thoughts. Return Trip deserves consideration as the definitive version of the album, but not by a huge margin.
« Back to index