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Yes – Special Request’s Night (Highland HL634/635)

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Special Request’s Night (Highland HL634/635)

International Forum, Tokyo, Japan – September 15th, 2003

Disc 1 (70:49):  Opening (Firebird Suite), Siberian Khatru, Magnification, Don’t Kill The Whale, In The Presence Of, We Have Heaven, South Side Of The Sky, And You And I, Steve Howe solo (To Be Over, The Clap)

Disc 2 (74:47):  second half opening, Tulip, Show Me, Rick Wakeman solo (excerpts from Six Wives Of Henry VIII), Heart Of The Sunrise, Long Distance Runaround, Whitefish (incl. Tempus Fugit, Soundchaser, On The Silent Wings Of Freedom), Awaken, Owner Of A Lonely Heart, Roundabout

Yes’ Full Circle tour was the reintroduction of the classic five piece line up with keyboardist Rick Wakeman rejoining the band for the fourth or fifth time in the past thirty years.  The dates in Japan were originally scheduled for February 19th through February 23rd but were cancelled (along with dates in Singapore, Jakarta, Melbourne and Sydney) because of Jon Anderson’s ailing back. 

The rescheduled dates occurred between  September 12th and September 16th and Special Request’s Night is a document of the second Tokyo concert (and third overall).  The band performed at Hall-A of the International Forum, the largest of the seven halls in the complex with a capacity of 5,012.  The taper was sitting, according to Highland, in the second section close to the stage and produced this stereo DAT recording.  It is clear and listenable but sounds somewhat distant and picks up a tremendous echo.

The show begins with the familiar “Firebird Suite” recording followed by the Close To The Edge track “Siberian Khatru”, which has opened more than half of the total concerts with this line up.  Afterwards they present a set that isn’t a complete nostaliga trip as might be expected but is adventerous.  “Magnification” is the title track from their latest cd and is followed by ”Don’t Kill The Whale”, a song not played since the 1978 Tormato tour. 

“In The Presence Of”, another song from the latest cd is introduced as begin about “surrounded by so much beautiful energy every day”.  During the Symphonic Tour Alan White came out from behind the drumkit to play the piano introduction but Rick Wakeman handles it on this tour and gives the song a stately majesty only hinted at with the studio version.  “South Side Of The Sky” is the most impressive addition to the set since it was only played live twice before the Full Circle tour.

Steve Howe closes the first set with “To Be Over” and ”The Clap”.  The former is a beautiful acoustic reduction of the Relayer track that has not been played by the band since 1975 and was released on Howe’s solo album Natural Timbre.  It has been mentioned for set list inclusion for years but with Wakeman’s well known dislike of that material Howe plays it here as a compromise. 

The second half opens with the Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes theme song played through the PA and Anderson explaining his love for Daffy Duck before playing “Tulip”, a popular Japanese children’s song followed by “Show Me”.  The rest of the show is standard until the encores where ” I’ve Seen All Good People” was dropped and replaced with “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” at the request of the famous Japanese promoter Mr. Udo.  Overall this is a good document from the tour but there are better tapes Highland could have released. 

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