Cans And Brahms (Highland HL084#Y16)
Apollo Stadium, Adelaide, Australia – March 21, 1973
(65:05): Firebird Suite, Siberian Khatru, I’ve Seen All Good People, Heart Of The Sunrise, And You And I, Wakeman Solo/Cans And Brahms, Roundabout, Starship Trooper
Cans And Brahms is one of the early releases on Highland and one of the very few of Yes’ Australian shows on the Close To The Edge tour to be pressed onto silver disc. They use a very good sounding audience tape of just over an hour of the show. Four tracks, “Mood For A Day,” “Clap,” “Close To The Edge,” and “Yours Is No Disgrace” are missing and there are cut between each song. It is a shame because the performance in superlative and a two disc set with the entire show would have made a nice release.
A newspaper review of the gig states that: “The English super-group Yes gave an amazing lesson on how pop music can be presented at the Apollo Stadium last night. Dwarfed by mountains of equipment, the five-man group provided an almost limitless variety of sound from a continually changing turnover of instruments. The group proved that intelligent and imaginative pop relies on proficiency rather than amplification. The group was backed by an effective lighting system that surrounded the stage providing almost as many variations in light as there were in sound. Lead guitarist Steve Howe was outstanding. He constantly changed guitars and during ‘And You And I’ he introduced a double headed guitar. One head was a 12-string, the other a six. His fast finger work made light work of shifting from one head to the other during the number.
“Rick Wakefield [sic], resplendent in a glittering sequin cape, handled live five or six keyboards like a master. During a solo break, he moved through the surrounding keyboards, which ranged from piano to moog, playing all styles including rock, classical and a run of expressionist moog work. The group’s technique was something new. Guitars and keyboards were passed through the speakers from one side of the stage to the other giving a stereo effect and adding dimension to the music. ‘Roundabout’ and ‘Close To The Edge’ were the two outstanding numbers. Yes made the crowd earn its encore. The audience spilling into the aisles gave a thunderous five-minute standing ovation before the group returned to end what must have been the most professional act to visit Adelaide for some time.” (“Yes pleases in pop variations,” Arts and Entertainment, Ian Meikle)
It is interesting to note that the power goes off thirty seconds into “All Good People.” There is a slight delay before they start again with the piece. The rest of the show continues trouble free. “Heart Of The Sunrise” and “And You And I” are excellent in this show.
Wakeman’s solo contains a reference to “Cans And Brahms,” his arrangement of Johannes Brahm’s 4th Symphony in E minor recorded for Fragile. He played the piece only in the Australian dates (another version can be heard in the Brisbane show). The rest of the solo with excepts from “The Six Wives Of Henry VIII” is the same as found on other shows on the Close To The Edge tour. The solo segues into the set closer “Roundabout.”
The first encore “Yours Is No Disgrace” is not present, but “Starship Trooper” is. The song was introduced to the stage about this time (its live debut was actually filmed and recorded for Yessongs), and it has already superseded its studio counterpart on The Yes Album. Highland package this in a standard jewel case with nice artwork drawn from Fragile and the booklet included in the Yesssongs triple LP. They make an error in saying that Bill Bruford was in Yes at this time instead of Alan White. It’s not bad for an early effort though and is worth having.