Tour De France (Highland HL232/233/234)
Palais Des Congrès De Paris, Paris, France – March 6th, 1998
Disc 1 (61:14): Opening (excerpt from “Firebird Suite”), Siberian Khatru, Rhythm Of Love, America, Open Your Eyes, And You And I, Heart Of The Sunrise
Disc 2 (47:08): Mood For A Day, Django Reinhard homage, Masquerade, Clap, Nous Sommes Du Soleil, From The Balcony, Wondrous Stories, Igor Koroshev’s keyboard solo, Long Distance Runaround, The Fish (including Tempus Fugit, Ritual, Sound Chaser), Owner Of A Lonely Heart
Disc 3 (54:33): The Revealing Science Of God, I’ve Seen All Good People, Roundabout, Starship Trooper
Yes played Paris on the eighth night of the European Open Your Eyes tour. It was their first appearance in the French capital in seven years since they played two nights on the Union tour. The show was booked for the 4,000 capacity Palais Des Congrès De Paris. The tape used on Tour De France is an excellent stereo audience DAT recording of the entire concert. It is rich in detail and is one of the more enjoyable recordings Highland released from this era.
It is enjoyable concert as well. Clocking in at almost three hours, Yes presents one of their best setlists and and extremely well paced show with great interaction with the audience. This tour was characterized by the band members just being glad to be on the road after a tumoltous year and a half. Although they were ostensibly promoting the new album, this is more of a greatest hits show with several long solo set pieces.
After the Firebird Suite taped opening, both “Siberian Khatru” and “Rhythm Of Love” function as energetic set starters and it isn’t until after the second song until Jon Anderson greets the audience, saying, “Thank you so much. Merci. It’s really wonderful to be with you here in Paris, beautiful, beautiful Paris. Crazy traffic, crazy people but beautiful Paris” before introducing “America” as a song by “the great songwriter Paul Simon about coming through America into the 21st century.” The following song “Open Your Eyes” includes a long introduction for Bill Sherwood who helped produce the album. While it is true that the LP was weak, the title track is one of the strongest of the bunch and sounds great live.
Steve Howe has the first long solo set and one of the longest he’s had in Yes. “Mood For A Day” is the first number and is followed by the Django Reinhard tribute, playing his most well known song “Nuages.” There is a direct segue into “Masquerade” from Union. Howe says some puzzling words before “Clap,” saying: “That was an excerpt from ‘Masquerade’ my Grammy nominated acoustic piece and before that of course I had to bring a little of the hot club to Paris in Jenga and of course before that ‘Mood For A Day’ which I wrote for my wife Jan. And I’d like to play this piece tonight for some friends of mine, Margaret and Sydney. Close my little set and this is call ‘Clap.'”
Anderson joins Howe onstage and they play two duets, “Nous Sommes Du Soleil” from “Ritual” and “From The Balcony,” the only other song from Open Your Eyes with any significant stage life. Jon tells a long story about cows before a gorgeous “Wondrous Stories” where Koroshev provides interesting fills between the verses. Koroshev plays a short piano solo which leads into “Long Distance Runaround.” “The Fish” is brilliantly constructed with passages from “Ritual,” “Tempus Fugit” and “Sound Chaser” appearing before a short Alan White drum solo.
The set closer is a pretty version of “The Revealing Science Of God,” augmented by tiny little bells throughout the piece. “I’ve Seen All Good People” is the first encore. While Yes are starting “Roundabout” the audience sing a round of “Happy Birthday” to Chris Squire whose fiftieth birthday was two days before. “Roundabout,” as tired as it may be, has inventive new passages withe Howe in particular throwing in some Spanish fandangoeque arpeggios. A fourteen minute version of “Starship Trooper” closes the event. Tour De France is packaged in a standard fatboy jewel case with good artwork and use of tour pictures. Of the titles from this tour, with the great sound quality and laid-back performance, this is one of the better ones available.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)