Total Mass Retain (Highland HL577/578)
Festival Hall, Brisbane, Australia – March 19th, 1973
Disc 1: Opening (excerpt from “Firebird Suite”), Siberian Khatru, Heart Of The Sunrise, I’ve Seen All Good People, Mood For A Day, Clap, And You And I
Disc 2: Close To The Edge, Excerpts From “The Six Wives Of Henry VIII” (incl. “Cans And Brahams”), Roundabout, Yours Is No Disgrace
After a highly successful first trip to Japan Yes traveled to Australia. Brisbane is the first of five concerts. Three more shows were scheduled for New Zealand but were cancelled for reasons unexplained. Total Mass Retain on Highland was released in the summer of 2000 and contains the complete performance. The sound quality is good to very good but also very flat and lacking in dynamics. Highland also unfortunately use an incomplete source. The label claims on the artwork that “Starship Trooper” is the encore but it is in reality “Yours Is No Disgrace.” “Starship Trooper” was played as a second encore and does exist on tape, but it does not appear on this release. There is also a massive cut in “And You And I” at 6:58 eliminating most of the “The Teacher The Preacher” section of the piece.
The tape begins with an almost full “Firebird Suite” before Yes play a sloppy version of “Siberian Khatru.” A mysterious, unique synthesized drone is a short prelude to “Heart Of The Sunrise.” Before “I’ve Seen All Good People” Anderson says, “Thank you. That’s a wild piano work with it. I understand it’s a grand piano and it’s beautiful. It sounds like a pop piano. Play some pop music for us.” Rick Wakeman plays a little tune on the piano to accommodate Anderson’s wishes.
Afterwards Steve Howe plays his two solo pieces “Mood For Day” and “Clap.” Unlike previous tour where they were played in a short medley they are separated with a quick rendition of Rolf Harris’ “Tie Me Down Kangaroo Sport” used to link the two together. “Clap” includes a short reference to “Classical Gas” and Howe gets a bit lost by the end playing a completely improvised, unique ending. “Fantastic, fantastic. Honestly, you are the first audience that’s ever clapped all the way through that. Really. It is fantastic. It shows you’ve got rhythm” Jon says, congratulating the audience.
“We’d like to carry on with another song from the last album we made. It’s a song about possible political situations in the future which obviously as things are going, there’s going to be some radical changes over the next twenty years in our lifetime and the song is a dream for the future of our children and our children’s children and the song is called ‘And You And I.'” It is a shame almost half of the song is cut since it is a great version. Wakeman’s solo spot includes a rare reference from “Cans And Brahms” and the final song of the night is “Roundabout” where Wakeman throws in some lines from “Waltzing Matilda” during the organ solo.
An article about the show claimed, “Seldom ever (except perhaps for the Beatles) has such a standing ovation been afforded an act. There was fully five minutes of sustained applause following the completion of their set before the guys condescended to return to the stage for an encore and even prior to this every number of their act was treated to the same thunderous reception… Even the group themselves were chuffed with their performance and Rick Wakeman declared it to be one of their best ever gigs.” The label utilizes many photographs from the booklet that was in the vinyl issues of Yessongs to great effect. Total Mass Retain is a good release that could have been so much better if they included the missing encore.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)