Here Comes The Sun (Highland HL597/598/599)
Brighton Centre, Brighton, England – December 1st, 2001
Disc 1 (71:51): Give Love Each Day (w/orchestra), Close To The Edge (w/orchestra), Long Distance Runaround (w/orchestra), Here Comes The Sun, Don’t Go (w/orchestra), Tour Song, In The Presence Of (w/orchestra), Gates Of Delirium (w/orchestra)
Disc 2 (69:57): In The Course Of The Day / J’s Theme, Starship Trooper, Magnification, And You And I (w/orchestra), Ritual (w/orchestra)
Disc 3 (47:26): I’ve Seen All Good People, Roundabout. Bonus tracks: Corkscrew / Second Initial (National Indoor Arena, Birmingham – Dec. 2), Mood For A Day / Clap (St. David’s Hall, Cardiff, Wales – Dec. 7), Surface Tension / Meadow Rag (Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham – Dec. 8th), Vivaldi / Second Initial (Newcastle City Hall, Newcastle – Dec. 12th)
The stereo audience tape for Yes’ December 1st Brighton show is one of the best to emerge from the tour. Many others capture the electric instruments but tend to lose the orchestral arrangements. In Brighton there is almost a perfect balance between all of the instruments and the artistic vision Yes were trying to achieve becomes very clear and powerful. Since this is a DAT recording the taper captured the entire show with no cuts in the music or dialogue.
Magnification is one of their longest of the latter day tours. It began several months before the album’s release in the end of July and continued to two weeks before Christmas. The only significant difference in the set list between the North American and European legs is that “Perpetual Change” was played in the former and “Magnification” the latter and Steve Howe’s selection of solo material in his spot.
The tape begins with the European Festival Orchestra’s “Give Love Each Day” serving as a prelude to a tight version of “Close To The Edge.” The flutes and strings fill in admirably for the organ melody. After “Long Distance Runaround” they band get into an impromptu version of “Here Comes The Sun” in memory of the recently deceased George Harrison. Lasting two minutes, at the end Anderson says, “Thank God for George. Here Comes The Sun. Thank God for George. What can I say?”
“We’d like to to do a couple of new songs from the new album” he continues before describing “Don’t Go” as being about “not taking love for granted.” This was the first single from the album probably because it is the most accessible and catchy and has a silly bullhorn section in the middle which was omitted on the official video. To bring things back to seriousness they follow with the sombre “In The Presence Of.” Anderson gets into the story about the song being composed by Alan White on piano. Incongruously they get into a “tour song,” singing: “It’s so wonderful to be here in Brighton, Brighton, it’s just so wonderful. With all those lights on the pier, it must be costing a fortune. I can’t believe all those lights on the pier, sparkling all over the place. And what about that beautiful building?” Definitely not as polished as the tour songs from the past.
The orchestral arrangement is really gorgeous on this track and Anderson singles out Keitel and the European Festival Orchestra afterwards. “All the way from Belorussia…they don’t speak English but the speak music which is kind of helpful.” The orchestra again augments “The Gates Of Delirium” beautifully. The marital themes of the piece are perfectly underscored by the natural, percussive instruments behind the electric adding a startling human element to the music meant to emphasize mechanized chaos before “Soon” serves as the “light at the end of the tunnel.” The band leave the stage in “the capable hands and fingers and wonderful guitar stylings of Mr. Steve Howe.” His spot is nine minutes long with two solo pieces, “J’s Theme” and “In The Course Of The Day” dedicated to “some friends of mine here tonight, particularly Roger.”
“Starship Trooper” features the first of two very loud Chris Squire bass solo. Anderson dedicates “Magnification” to “my brother Stuart and his kids, Sharon, Craig and Shaun, and their kids and beautiful family.” Realizing he forgot his brother’s name he corrects himself, saying “Tony! Did I say Stuart? In trouble now! Serious trouble now!” The classic Yes sound is when all of their individual talents are noticeable in a song but are all in service to artistic vision, and none of their latter day songs in the nineties achieves this as well as this. Howe in particular is allowed to take a lead and he plays melodies recalling his excellent work on Drama. Afterwards Jon is still embarrassed by forgetting his brother’s name, saying “I’ll never forgive myself for that. Tony! Love ya. We used to sing together in the early days…Everly Brothers songs. Or we used to take milk around Accrington. Me and my brother, Tony. And then we got into The Goons, you see, The Goon Show.”
The show ends with a twenty-seven minute version of “Ritual” which contains both a bass solo and the “ritual of life” section where they all bang on drums in the dark. “I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Roundabout” serve as encores on what is one of the warmest and best played shows on the European tour. Highland include four additional tracks documenting the other numbers he chose to play in England. As it stands, Here Comes The Sun serves as a three disc anthology of the UK Magnification tour and is a companion volume to Symphonic Concert 2001 (Highland HL 584/585/586), a three disc set with the Vancouver show on August 2nd, 2007 and bonus tracks.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)