Full Of Nightmarish (Highland HL478/479)
Miami Jai Alai Fronton, Miami, FL – November 28th, 1974
Disc 1 (60:52): Opening / Sound Chaser, Close To The Edge, To Be Over, Gates Of Delirium
Disc 2 (52:52): And You And I, Ritual, Roundabout, Siberian Khatru
Yes played two radically different kinds of shows in Miami in 1974. The second concert of the US Tales From Topographic Oceans tour was on February 8th at the baseball stadium. The second, occurring early in the first Relayer tour, was on November 28th. It seems to have been initially scheduled for the Sportatorium in Hollywood (which is listed on liner notes), but was actually played at the Jai Alai Fronton in Miami before a capacity crowd of 6,500. Full Of Nightmarish documents the entire just-under-two-hours show. The tape is good but a little bit distorted in the high end during certain points. The taper paused between each track to preserve space cutting out almost all of Jon Anderson’s little speeches. There are also cuts at 6:00 in “The Gates Of Delirium” and at 17:50 in “Ritual.”
The first hour of the show is dominated by the new album which was still three weeks away from release. It is a testament to the strength of the new songs that the audience, at the very opening notes of “Sound Chaser,” are on their feet and into the music. It helps that the sound man seems to have gotten the levels right at the beginning. This is normally one of the difficult spots but on this night he nails the balance and the song is much more effective for it.
“Close To The Edge” is the first familiar track played and the audience react loudly to the opening notes. This is a good version although Moraz loses his place in the latter part of the song on the Hammond organ. The second epic of the night “The Gates Of Delirium” is a real highlight and one of the best of the early versions of the piece. The title of this release is taken from Chris Welch’s description of this track in his book Close To The Edge: The Story Of Yes where he writes: “This was neurotic, disturbing music full of nightmarish clattering and howling that sounds like a soundtrack to an Eraserhead style movie. During the final chorus Jon Anderson’s silvery vocals elevate the piece into something rather more pleasant as he sings and repeats the line ‘Our reason to be here.'”
The distortion of the tape actually enhances the insanity of the middle section and the transition into “Soon” takes an eternity. It is the emphasis upon the dramatic tension that really works to theatrical effect in the piece and the audience, despite having never heard the song before, reward the band with a loud ovation.
Jon Anderson introduces “Ritual,” the final song of the set but there are problems with Steve Howe’s guitar lead and the delay makes the audience impatient. The tape pauses the tape and picks it up again right after the band start. Like all performances, they sing lines from “The Remembering” and “The Revealing Science Of God” before the first verse.
Patrick Moraz goes nuts during the ritual of life section, playing previously unheard whooshes on the synthesizers over the heaviest Alan White drum solo imaginable. His tone simply fills the venue and the people by the taper let out roars of approval. The first encore is a rip-roaring, racing version of “Roundabout.” Yes are on such a roll they play a second encore.
“Siberian Khatru” has always been a starting number but on this tour, since it was essentially dropped, makes rare appearances as an encore. It is an interesting version too with Moraz adding colorful splashes of mellotron in the middle to augment the Hammond organ and replaces the harpsichord solo with his own spacey solo. Howe, Squire and Anderson sound especially enthusiastic during the song and this turns out to be one of the most fun versions on tape. The song’s inclusion means that Yes plays the Close To The Edge and Relayer in their entirety plus one song each from Topographic Oceans and Fragile. Full Of Nightmarish is a fascinating release on Highland and despite the tapes limitations is a fantastic title to have.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)