High Vibration (Siréne-216)
Civic Center, Providence, RI – August 15th, 1977
Disc 1: Firebird Suite, Parallels, I’ve Seen All Good People, Close To The Edge, Wondrous Stories, Colours Of The Rainbow, Turn Of The Century, And You And I
Disc 2: Flight Jam, Awaken, Starship Trooper, Roundabout, Yours Is No Disgrace
High Vibration is another audience recording from New England during Yes’ Going For The One tour. It follows the release The Sound Of The Rainbow on Scorpio. Since there are no known tape sources for the August 13th Boston and August 14th Portland, Maine shows Providence is the following show in sequence of available tapes. The sound quality is on the whole very good to excellent. The taper was located in the fifth row using a Nakamichi 550 cassette deck and Nakamichi CM-100/CP-1 microphones. He captures the atmosphere and dynamics of the performance very well.
What plagues the tape, and given the proximity the taper picks up very well, is the constant disruption by the audience. One eyewitness said at the beginning the people in the front row stood on their chairs to get a better glimpse of the stage thus forcing the rows behind them to do the same obscuring the view of those in the back. There are constant shouts of “sit down!” during the first two numbers and between songs. Anderson himself even addresses the situation from the stage saying, “I know it’s very difficult to the people who are sitting down, to the people who are standing up.” There is a definite negative attitude in the venue which the band tries to fight and succeed by the end.
The taper reflects on this show by saying, “As hockey rinks go, the Providence Civic Center has good acoustics. However, the PA system levels and the mix were all over the place. Later on, I read that Yes had a substitute sound man on that tour. He had high-end hearing loss which explains why the mix is so bright. As far as levels, the ‘Firebird’ opening was okay, but when the band started playing ‘Parallels’, you could hardly hear them.
The soundman was trying to let people get used to the volume slowly and overdid it. He kept nudging up the volume during ‘All Good People’. It actually got a little too loud at one point, and then came back down. I was taking photographs and had an experienced friend (a Deadhead) monitoring the levels on my deck. He did his best to compensate for what was happening. ‘Close to the Edge’ and ‘Wondrous Stories’ were okay but the soundman jacked up the volume for the silly tour song (‘Colours of the Rainbow’) and then dropped it way back down for ‘Turn of the Century’.
I think my friend was wasted by then. The levels were a little on the low side for the rest of the show. When the show started, the ushers allowed all the rowdies from the cheap seats to rush down to the stage and jam themselves into every inch of space. They were all jumping up and down, the whole building was literally shaking, and the crowd noise was unbelievable.
“Then, the people in the front row decided to stand up on their rickety wooden chairs, which was completely unnecessary. You can hear the people behind them yelling at them to sit down. In spite of all that, the band was on fire that night. Steve played wailing solos on ‘Starship Trooper’ and ‘Yours Is No Disgrace’. I think they’re the best versions I’ve heard other than the Close To The Edge tour in 73. Rick was superb on ‘Close to the Edge’ and ‘Awaken’. ‘Awaken’ was recorded on a C120 tape so it’s a complete, uncut version. I’ve also been told by several Yes traders that it’s one of a very few 100% complete Going For The One concerts with no side change in ‘Awaken’.”
The arrangements are identical to the Boston show on August 12th as well as some of the same problems. Wakeman’s organ sounds still sounds a bit out of tune during “Parallels”. Yes also play the funky introduction to the set closer “Starship Trooper” and a guitar solo in “Yours Is No Disgrace” reaches an unbearable intensity. Sirene placed Steve Howe on the cover which is appropriate since he really stands out and leads the band to deliver what is, in the end, a very effective concert.
High Vibration comes packed with glossy paper inserts with several recycled pictures from the tour. It is limited to three hundred copies and is another recommended Yes release.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)