The Word Is Love (Tarantura TCDY-1~5)
The Word Is Love is one of the more interesting products released from Japan in recent years. The detailed liner notes explain:
“Yesmusic is complex and demanding. It requires special attention, not only to the sound of the music, but also to the presentation of it. Dedicated Yesfans and especially collectors of Yes (and there are many) understand this. Unfortunately however, for many years now collectors of live Yes recordings have been frustrated. First of all there were the relatively small number of vinyl boots which appeared – most with terrible sleeve designs and quite often containing the same music copied from previous versions. Then, we had the CD era. Whilst bootleggers generally started becoming adventurous in the early ’90’s with multiple box sets and elaborately packaged and designed products, the long-suffering Yescollector found the release of the same old concerts yet again pressed and repressed time after time with hardly any effort put into aesthetics.
“There have of course been some great Yes boot releases over the years but for the most part these appeared in the last 5 – 10 years thanks largely to the efforts of the Japanese labels who recognized both the demand and integrity to putting out unofficial recordings by groups such as Yes. It is a tribute to these guys (Highland, Sirene, etc) that an official live 3CD set The Word Is Live was released by Rhino in 2005.”
The set focuses upon some of the tapes produced by the famous Mike Millard in Los Angeles in the seventies. Throughout the five shows spread over ten discs one can hear not only the evolution of Yes music during their most adventurous and progressive period, but also the evolution of Millard’s taping technique. The first two shows from the Topographic Oceans tour fall outside of what we usually associate with him. It wasn’t until March 1975 that he started using a stereo mike producing the stellar tapes we all love. These two shows are in mono; sound like ordinary tapes from the era (maybe a bit better), and contains conversations between the taper and his girlfriend. The final three shows of this collection are in the usual amazing stereo quality and are a joy to listen to.
The Forum, Inglewood, CA – March 18th, 1974
Disc 1 TCDY-1-1 (62:20): Opening (Firebird Suite), Siberian Khatru, And You And I, Close To The Edge, The Revealing Science Of God
Disc 2 TCDY-1-2 (44:30): The Ancient, Ritual
The first two discs, covering the March 18th show in Los Angeles, is very good and clear mono audience recording. Its quality is just below the February 28th Detroit tape. It sounds great for the Close To The Edge half, but becomes slightly distorted for “The Revealing Science Of God” and Howe plays slightly out of tune for about a minute six minutes into the piece.
The very end of “The Ancient” is missing, (the return to the theme on the pedal steel guitar is omitted) and the taper failed to record the two encores “Roundabout” and “Starship Trooper”. An attendee claims they played “The Remembering” that night but there is no evidence of that on the tape. By this time on the Topographic Oceans tour side two was dropped only to reappear for two shows two years later. Richard Cromelin reviewed this show for the Los Angeles Times and wrote:
“Yes’ performance on Monday night was virtually flawless, and though it offered little in the way of surprises it managed, miraculously; to avoid dryness and sterility. Abetted by a magnificent sound and lighting setup, Yes played current, middle-period and old (a tantalizing gesture that whetted the appetite for more of the earlier, more pop-oriented songs) material…Like all of Yes’ music, it features bold shifts, from angelically ethereal to primeval violent, and it functions on a multitude of levels.”
Yes’ performance on Monday night was virtually flawless, and though it offered little in the way of surprises it managed, miraculously; to avoid dryness and sterility. Abetted by a magnificent sound and lighting setup, Yes played current, middle-period and old (a tantalizing gesture that whetted the appetite for more of the earlier, more pop-oriented songs) material…Like all of Yes’ music, it features bold shifts, from angelically ethereal to primeval violent, and it functions on a multitude of levels.”
Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA – March 19th, 1974
Disc 3 TCDY-2-1 (65:08): Opening (Firebird Suite), Siberian Khatru, And You And I, Close To The Edge, The Revealing Science Of God
Disc 4 TCDY-2-2 (65:07): The Ancient, Ritual, Roundabout, Starship Trooper
Discs three and four cover the following evening, March 19th, 1974 in Long Beach. An alternate tape source (not Millard’s) was used for the vinyl 2LP set Live At Long Beach (Pig’s Eye PE-YES) containing only parts of the show: “Close To The Edge”, “The Revealing Science Of God”, “The Ancient”, “Roundabout”, and “Starship Trooper”, and is not very good. Millard’s source is more complete and better sounding, although is the worst sounding when compared to the other tapes in this set.
There is significant top end distortion sounding like the levels weren’t set correctly and the overall effect is quite muddy. There is a very small cut at the tail-end of The Ancient, and some minor tape damage during Ritual and Roundabout, but that’s it.” and a strange noise right after Anderson introduces “And You And I” which sounds like either radio static, tape distortion of someone dropping a drum kit.
“Close To The Edge” is dedicated to Llewelyn, who was “with the band for a long time”. The crowd is very loud in their appreciation for the mirrored ball throwing light around the auditorium. In general the Close To The Edge songs sound great whereas the Topographic songs suffer from some frustration in the band. It was well known that both Wakeman and Squire weren’t completely enthusiastic for this material and it shows. It isn’t until the encores before the band show some happiness, with Anderson laughing throughout “Starship Trooper.”
Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA – June 23rd, 1975
Disc 5 TCDY-3-1 (72:07): Opening (Firebird Suite), Sound Chaser, Close To The Edge, To Be Over, The Gates Of Delirium, Your Move, Mood For A Day
Disc 6 TCDY-3-2 (62:44): Long Distance Runaround, Patrick Moraz solo, Clap, And You And I, Ritual, Roundabout, Sweet Dreams
Discs five and six cover Yes’ Long Beach show during the Relayer tour on June 23rd, 1975. By this time Millard was producing excellent sounding tapes and this is no exception. (He also taped the June 21st show at in Hollywood and released on Highland as Same Old Yessongs.)
This tape perhaps the highlight of the entire box set. It was previously released as Soon The Light on Highland (HL099/100#Y19) but they used a high generation tape that sounded terrible with many cuts and distortions. Tarantura, by contrast, used a low generation tape that sounds amazing.
The concert itself is great to hear with none of the hesitancy of the first two concerts in this set. “Sound Chaser” is one of the best opening numbers for any band and is devoid of the usual mixing problems on other tapes although there is a small cut at the end of the second verse. Jon Anderson sings a bit of happy birthday before a sublime version of “To Be Over”.
After an aggressive version of “The Gates Of Delirium” the band play an acoustic set, something which they didn’t do up to this point (Steve Howe excepted) and wouldn’t do again until the 35th Anniversary tour in 2004. “Ritual” contains a lyrical reference to “The Remembering” (“out in the city running free”), is greatly expanded from the preceding year, and would be further elaborated on with the bass solo the following year. “Sweet Dreams” is the second encore as usual for this tour and is extended with Steve Howe throwing in the guitar solo from “America”.
The Forum, Inglewood, CA – October 5th, 1978
Disc 7 TCDY-4-1 (71:03): Young Person’s Guide To The Orchestra, Siberian Khatru, Heart Of The Sunrise, Future Times/Rejoice, Circus Of Heaven, Time And A Word, Long Distance Runaround, Survival, The Fish, Perpetual Change, Soon, Don’t Kill The Whale, Madrigal, Clap
Disc 8 TCDY-4-2 (61:25): Starship Trooper, Madrigal/On The Silent Wings Of Freedom, Rick Wakeman solo, Flight Jam, Awaken, I’ve Seen All Good People, Roundabout
The October 5th show on discs seven and eight cover the first of two shows from the first Tormato tour in 1978. The vinyl release Periphet (or Peripet) on Impossible Recordworks released in 1979 claimed to be from this show, but is really sourced from the evening show at Wembley, London on October 28th and broadcast on KBFH.
This concert is the source for “Circus Of Heaven” and the “big medley” on the official The Word Is Live released last year. Tarantura uses an excellent stereo complete recording that is actually on par with the soundboard. It picks up all the dynamics of the performance of which there are many.
“Siberian Khatru” returned as the opener after “Sound Chaser” and “Parallels” filled that slot on the previous years. The emphasis is upon the newer songs that are played throughout the entire show, with “Madrigal” serving as introductions to “Clap” and “On The Silent Wings Of Freedom”. This tour is famous for the “oldies” medley.
Before it Jon says: “As you know we’ve been traveling to the States for quite a while now. Every time we come, we come and play to you. We come and see you. We’d like to thank you all very much for the many times we’ve got together. We’re going to keep on trying. This set of songs you might remember.” There is a small cut during the “Survival” section of “The Fish” but otherwise complete.
The Forum, Inglewood, CA – October 6th, 1978
Disc 9 TCDY-5-1 (72:25): Young Person’s Guide To The Orchestra, Siberian Khatru, Heart Of The Sunrise, Future Times, Rejoice, Circus Of Heaven, Time And A Word, Long Distance Runaround, The Fish, Survival, Perpetual Change, Soon, Don’t Kill The Whale, Madrigal, Clap
Disc 10 TCDY-5-2 (62:03): Starship Trooper, Madrigal/On The Silent Wings Of Freedom, Rick Wakeman solo, Flight Jam, Awaken, I’ve Seen All Good People, Roundabout
The final two discs document the October 6th show at the Forum and is a virtual twin, both in performance and sound quality to the previous evening’s show. Jon says, “Okay. Thank you very much. Here’s a song that started off as a poem and we going to put a few hexes on the old whaling ships. Take two of those. Here’s a song called ‘Don’t Kill The Whale'” before a strong version of that show.
This is the first time that either of these shows have appeared on bootleg before and is definitely a welcome addition.
The Word Is Love is packaged in a thick, sturdy box. The discs fit onto a long plastic tray that is attached to the bottom. The artwork is very much Roger Dean inspired on the front, but the bottom inside has a humorous cartoon poking fun at their manager Brian Lane. And the title is an obvious reference to the officialy live set The Word Is Live.
Several years afterwards Tarantura released a sequal called The Word Is Love II which focuses’ upon Mike Millard’s comprehensive collection of tapes from the 1977 Going For The One shows in the Los Angeles area.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)