Roundhouse ‘71 (Highland HL392)
Roundhouse, London, UK – February 27, 1971
Yours Is No Disgrace, I’ve Seen All Good People, The Clap, Perpetual Change, Everydays, America
Yes’ appearance at the Roundhouse in London on 2/27/71 is captured here in an audience recording and comes from The Yes Album lineup featuring Bill Bruford and Tony Kaye. The recording sounds very good but features mostly mid-range frequencies however crowd noise is almost non-existent adding to the enjoyment of the show. Jon Anderson’s comments between tracks are rather muffled and hard to make out but the music shines through well, especially the louder portions which come through loud and clear. All instruments are audible in the mix but guitar and organ come across the strongest.
Roundhouse ‘71 starts right at the first notes of “Yours Is No Disgrace” omitting the introduction. This is a great strong opening number for Yes that would later be featured as an encore and would return as their opener in latter years. There is a quick drop out about two minutes in and a few very minor tape glitches scattered throughout the track. At the 9:10 mark there is also a three second silent gap where a few seconds of music are lost. Steve Howe seems distracted for a few bars in “I’ve Seen All Good People” where he switches from acoustic to electric guitar but is otherwise a good version with some impressive sounding riffs from Howe.
“Classical Gas” is sandwiched into the middle of “Clap” and suffers a bit from muffled sound where the piece is so quiet. A 15 minute “Perpetual Change” is laced with intertwining melodies and counter rhythms and has great interplay between the members with lots of chops displayed and the last 5:30 features Bill Bruford’s drum solo. Tony Kaye shows off his talents at the beginning of “Everydays”. This track is guilty of being a little mellow and also suffers in the recording as a result but gets much clearer during the stronger parts when the band kicks in. “America” has a brief drop out one minute in and another at about 6:30 eliminating a few seconds at both and unfortunately fades at 7:40 during the start of the funky section. What a shame as this is a really good sounding version.
This is a fantastic performance from a band just beginning to fully blossom. After this tour Kaye would be replaced by Rick Wakeman with astounding results, solidifying Yes’ place in rock history. Roundhouse ’71 is a single disc from Highland and is the only time this has been released on silver and could possibly stand to see an upgrade if perhaps a lower generation or more complete version exists. If it doesn’t than the sound quality here is more than acceptable for a recording of this age and for Yes collectors this is a worthwhile show to add to your collection.
I attended this show. I had seen them about a month before this at Kingston Polytechnic in Surrey England, in a hall that held about 500 people. They were fantastic. Jon Anderson wore a pair of blue boots with silver stars on them. The set on that occasion was the same as the Roundhouse performance, which was part of the ‘Camden Easter Festival’ and took place, I recollect, at the end of March 1971 on a Sunday rather than February. The Roundhouse was a fantastic place. I imagine it was similar to Bill Graham’s Fillmores. They played with real attack and Jon Anderson mentioned it was great to be performing in a bigger venue. Unfortunately I lost interest in them when they stopped doing great punchy -and short – songs, so I never saw them again.