Living God (Virtuoso 026/027)
Veterans Memorial Coliseum, New Haven, CT – December 10th, 1974
Disc 1: Firebird Suite, Sound Chaser, Close To The Edge, To Be Over, Gates Of Delirium
Disc 2: And You And I, Ritual, Roundabout
Yes’ KBFH broadcast of the Boston show on December 11th is one of the more popular tapes with many different silver releases throughout the years. So it came as a surprise to find out that the previous evening’s show on December 10th in New Haven was also recorded. Since no other tape source exists for this date, this is the first time it has been heard in over thirty years. That KBFH didn’t use this for their radio show is no surprise. For some reason many Yes shows from the Relayer tours have balance and mixing problems, but New Haven has, in addition to the normal issues, many extra problems to deal with. Some have speculated that the issues might be related more to the sound engineer at the venue than radio personnel, but without a corroborating audience recording it is difficult to say exactly where the fault lies.
New Haven is the site of one of the band’s early triumphs at the Yale Bowl on July 24th, 1971. Due mostly for a soundboard recording that has received heavy circulation, that remains one of the most famous Yes concerts. It took three years before they returned to the southern Connecticut city with two shows at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The first was near the beginning of the Topographic Oceans tour on February 15th, and this one. The tape picks up with the “Firebird Suite” before kicking in with “Sound Chaser.” This song is the biggest culprit for mixing problems and there are few that can duplicate the power of the studio recording. But at 8:26 the instruments except for the bass and drums disappear for about a minute. The argument that it is the PA’s fault is given credence by Squire’s seeming reaction to the event. In “Close To The Edge” the guitar disappears at 1:30 and the instruments are mixed down during the “I Get Up I Get Down” section making the backing vocals very loud. There are also very small cuts at 18:05 and 18:10.
Afterwards Anderson says, “Thank you very much. It’s nice to be with you again. Doesn’t seem like we’ve been away. What we’d like to do is to play some new music to you for a while. We have a new album out which is called Relayer. I hope you’ve got a chance to listen to it. We’re gonna play all of it for you.” They follow with “To Be Over.” There is a huge cut at 1:53 eliminating the first verse. “The Gates Of Delirium” is introduced by Anderson as “side one of the album.” It has very small cuts at 1:00 and 1:06 and the keyboards are buried deeply into the mix for much of the song. It must be said that “Soon” sounds great in this recording. “And You And I” escapes any major damage and sounds very good. At 6:35 the chimes are brought up high in the mix as well as Squire’s harmonica, both of which sound great. “It really doesn’t sound too long ago that we were playing to you, earlier this year. We’d like to thank you all very very much for coming along and play one of the tracks from Tales From Topographic Oceans. We’d like to play a ‘Ritual’ for you.”
After the instrumental introduction they sing a verse from “Revealing Science Of God” (“What happened to this song we once knew so well / Signed promise for moments caught within the spell / I must have waited all my life for this / Moment moment.”) The track last for twenty-five minutes. During the “ritual of life” drum solo Moraz’s mellotrons are brought up high lending a creepy veil to the piece. The “Nous Sommes Du Soliel” part is beautifully recorded and is a great ending to the show. Before the only encore Anderson says, “we know you can dance along with us. We just want to hear you sing along with us. The voice of Connecticut.” They give a great Moraz version of what is essentially a Rick Wakeman vehicle. Virtuoso package Living God in a double slimline jewel case limited to two hundred copies. The artwork contains various stage shots on top of a Relayer inspired background. The imperfections might be too much for the casual collector, but it is great for Yes collectors to have a brand new show in soundboard quality.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)