Dreams Supreme (Highland HL378/379)
Wembley Arena, London, England – October 28th, 1978 (afternoon)
Disc 1 (70:58): Opening, Siberian Khatru, Heart Of The Sunrise, Future Times / Rejoice, The Circus Of Heaven, Time And A Word, Long Distance Runaround, The Fish incl. Survival & Ritual, Perpetual Change, The Gates Of Delirium incl. Soon, Don’t Kill The Whale, Madrigal, Clap
Disc 2 (62:33): Starship Trooper, Madrigal, On The Silent Wings Of Freedom, Excerpts from “Six Wives Of Henry VII” & “The Forest,” Awaken, I’ve Seen All Good People, Roundabout
Yes played some of their tightest, most exciting and legendary gigs during the Tormato tours in 1978 and 1979. With seventy-seven gigs played spaced out over two years, this was among their most extensive touring in their career up to that time. Almost all of these shows were concentrated in the United States and Canada. There were no dates in Japan or continental Europe and England were given only six shows at Wembley between October 24 to October 28th. These were actually scheduled to be the final Tormato shows before work on the follow up in Paris, but the 1979 Ten True Summers tour was booked to provide more opportunity for live tapes for their planned live album Yesshows (with nothing from those shows making the cut).
Dreams Supreme presents the complete stereo audience recording from the 3pm matinee show on the final night of the Wembley engagement. Overshadowed by the more popular evening show, this is a very good concert and recording. There are several cuts between tracks which eliminate some of Jon Anderson’s introductions but musically it is complete. The tape favors the higher end lending it a light and airy feeling. It is definitely a loud recording with faint upper end distortion during “Awaken” and the encores. Some might consider this to be too shrill for their tastes but it is excellent in capturing the dynamic atmosphere of Yes’ Tormato set.
The tape begins with the “Close Encounters” introduction, a beginning they used instead of the more well known “Firebird Suite.” This music is more appropriate for late seventies Yes, with the popularity of Star Wars, Close Encounters Of The Third Kindand their own “celestial travellers” and “Arriving U.F.O.” “Siberian Khatru” is blazing and is remarkable for the strength of Wakeman’s harpsichord solo in the middle. He would favor a more electronic sound in the evening show but in the afternoon he goes more organic.
“Thank you very much and welcome to Wembley. Anybody here from outside of London? Welcome to London, gateway to the Thames” Anderson says by way of introduction. His words are similar in both shows that day. “Heart Of The Sunrise” again is very aggressive. Squire misses a cue at seven minutes but Wakeman’s quick reflexes quickly bring them back. The short medley “Future Times / Rejoice” follows, the first of the new songs. Generally lost in the general criticism of the new album is that “Future Times / Rejoice” is one of Yes’ greatest songs. The musical wit hearkens back to the Fragile era and the lyrics are among Anderson’s most interesting. The juxtaposition of the two songs suggests a plea to look forward to the future with optimism instead of fear with the final words of the piece “gently hold our heads on high.” Although the song is probably two unfinished fragments brought together into a suite, it works very well and defines late seventies Yes perfectly. It’s a shame this song didn’t survive into the new decade.
“Circus Of Heaven” is “…for all the children here today. I think that means everybody. This song needs a little bit of illusion. It’s about the day the circus of heaven came to town.” Although it is perhaps the weakest of the new songs it is a good live piece and the audience cheer during Damien’s spoken part in the end. The big medley stretches to almost a half hour long and is a clever way to quote some of the older material they wouldn’t have time for like “Ritual” and “Gates Of Delirium.”
The second half of the show starts out with a strong version of “Starship Trooper,” dedicated to “all you space travellers.” Wakeman’s generous use of the mellotron during the transitions gives the song an ethereal quality absent from the studio recording and, in this recording, sounds tremendous. This is perhaps one of the best recorded versions of the song ever. Anderson introduces Wakeman as the man with the “golden fingers and the golden elbow” before his solo spot, where he plays melodies from his solo albums including “The Six Wives Of Henry VIII” and “Journey To The Centre Of The Earth” which leads into a tired version of “Awaken.” Before the second encore “Roundabout” Anderson tells the audience to “dance the afternoon away.” Highland released Dreams Supreme in 1998 and remains the only silver pressed version of this tape. It serves as good compliment to the more popular evening show that night.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)