7 April 2010, gsparaco @ 7:01 am
Tales From Two Frankfurt Shows (Tarantura TCDY-7,8)
Messegelände Halle 1, Frankfurt, Germany – April 11th, 1974
Disc 1, source 1: Firebird Suite, Siberian Khatru, And You And I, Close To The Edge
Disc 2: The Revealing Science Of God, The Ancient, Ritual
Disc 3 source 2: Firebird Suite, Siberian Khatru, And You And I, Close To The Edge, The Revealing Science Of God
Disc 4: The Ancient, Ritual, Roundabout, Starship Trooper
Tales From Two Frankfurt Shows is the latest Yes release on the Tarantura label. Despite what the title says, Yes played only one show in Frankfurt at this time and this release has two tape sources for this one concert spread over four compact discs. Yes played ten shows in Europe for Tales From Topographic Oceans. Seven are known to have been taped and three have been released on silver before.
They are the April 14th Ludwigshafen show on Tales From The Edge (Highland HL141/142#Y23), the April 16th show in Dortmund on Tales From Playing The Oceans (Highland HL638/639) and the April 19th show in Paris on Paris ’74 (Highland HL132/33#Y26). The first two discs on the Tarantura release is a new tape source which has never circulated before. It is a very good stereo audience recording with wonderful dynamics and liveliness but with significant distortion that gets worse during ”Close To The Edge”.
Jon Anderson’s vocals sound buried in the mix of the other instruments. There are several cuts in the tape between most of the songs and one at: 48 in “The Revealing Science Of God” (omitting Jon Anderson’s introduction) and at 6:22 in the same. “Ritual” has a small cut at 13:22, and the tape ends after Anderson’s ”thank you” at the end eliminating the two encores “Roundabout” and “Starship Trooper”. These two tracks were taped but the taper is still holding on to them for reasons unknown. In fact he still has a much better sounding version which, if it were ever released, would rank among the best sounding tapes from this period.
The second audience recording on discs three and four has been in circulation longer and contains virtually the complete performance. It is very distant and compressed sounding very similar to the Ludwigshafen tape, earning perhaps a six out of ten at the highest. The tape is on the whole steady with the end of the “Leaves Of Green” section in “The Ancient” sounding a bit muffled and slight distortion in the louder sections of “Ritual”. Frankfurt is the first show of the European tour and was delayed for an hour, beginning at nine o’clock due to equipment problems. It is notable for being a fascinating personality study of keyboardist Rick Wakeman.
It was well known he played the tour under protest and would quit the band the following month. These shows represent his final live contributions to Yes before his first departure and he uses oddball arrangements scattered throughout the well-rehearsed numbers. It makes one wonder if he was voicing his disapproval with the band or was trying to push the band to the limits of improvisational creativity.
The better sounding tape captures only a minute of the four-minute “Firebird Suite” opening right when Wakeman is augmenting the backing tape with swoops on the synthesizer. “Siberian Khatru” is the opener and at the three-minute mark, when Wakeman usually plays his harpsichord solo, he chooses an electric piano instead. This is the only known variation of the piece during his tenure with the band and it sounds very strange and flat. There is a cut in the tape right before Anderson’s opening words, “Danke Schoen. It’s nice to be back in Frankfurt…. Thank you for being so patient waiting while we fixed the equipment. ”
After “And You And I” Anderson says, “we’d like to carry on with the title track from that album…called ‘Close To The Edge’” (which is cut from the better sounding recording). Wakeman carries on his improvisational streak by introducing heavy electronic swoops to the opening frenzy. The second set begins with Wakeman’s majestic keyboard soundscape as Jon Anderson says, “We’d like to carry on by playing the first side of our new album. These are based upon the Sanskrit scriptures. Side one is called ‘The Revealing Science Of God’” before a tight version of the twenty minute piece. ”The Remembering”, side two of Tales From Topographic Oceans, was dropped long ago and the band continue with “The Ancient”.
The live versions are an improvement over the studio sounding much more raw and spontaneous. The “Leaves Of Green” section sounds beautiful in the newer recording. “Ritual” begins with the two-minute prelude as most shows from the tour (but not all – the prelude wasn’t played in Paris). Between 10:55-11:05 Wakeman plays a unique, skipping little keyboard motif for some variety. Yes play the usual two encores “Roundabout” and “Starship Trooper”. It is a shame they were not released with the rest of the show on the better sounding tape since the latter sounds legendary.
Tales From Two Frankfurt Shows is packaged in a four-fold cardboard gatefold sleeve with a variation of the official LP cover art. This would be a recommend release except that the cuts on the good sounding tape are intentional for some reason Tarantura released it anyway. Perhaps in the future the complete tape will surface, but this title is rubbish and not worth having.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)