Yes – Cracks Appeared In The Air (Highland HL486)

Cracks Appeared In The Air (Highland HL486)

Deutschlandhalle Berlin Arts Festival, Berlin, Germany – March 27th, 1971

(41:00):  Opening (Also Spracht Zarathustra), Yours Is No Disgrace, I’ve Seen All Good People, Clap / Classical Gas, Perpetual Change

Cracks Appeared In The Air is one of the many Highland releases from The Yes Albumphase of Yes’ career and there are several misconceptions surrounding this tape.  It is listed on the cover as the March 27th, 1971 show at the Deutschlandhalle Art Festival in Berlin.  Some have argued that the bonus tracks on Down At The Edge (Highland HL110/11#Y20), listed as being from April 16th in Stuttgart, are really this tape.  That is not true; the April 16th Böblingen fragment is used instead.  Others have claimed this is a mixture of the Böblingen and June 5th Berlin tape.

All of the speculation and confusion is not true.  The tape that Highland claim to  use is the one they actually use and this release, advertised as the March 27th, 1971 Berlin show, is really the March 27th, 1971 Berlin show.  

It is another very good tape from this era, one of the few that survived in reasonable quality.  It begins distorted but clears up during the show and turns out to be very enjoyable.  Unfortunately it cuts out after “Perpetual Change” eliminating the final two songs of the set, “Everydays” and “America.”  At 2:13 in “Perpetual Change” the taper stops the tape to check how much he has left and that slow down and pause remain on the tape.  It lasts about two seconds and doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the show, but it is there. 

This show appears during a month of heavy tour promoting the new album which was released the previous month.  Yes had already toured with Iron Butterfly right before the album’s release in January and were playing all of the UK then they traveled to Europe for this appearance.

The tape begins with the long “Also Spracht Zarathustra” tape leading into “Yours Is No Disgrace” lasting about twelve minutes and lacking the energy of other performances from this era.  Perhaps they were tired from the trip over from England. 

Jon Anderson greets the audience, saying:  “Yeah, thank you. I’d like to say it’s nice to be here in Berlin. We finally got out of the studio and there’s life that, that may exist. We’re going to do a song from our third LP, a song that features Steve on a vachalia, here, thrashing away.”  There seems to have been a problem with the house lights taht were finally fixed.  Anderson reacts, “We’re getting the lights now” and Steve Howe can be heard saying “The lights, at last!”  Anderson continues to describe the next song with the cryptic description, saying it’s “a song about people gathering, whatever… A song called ‘I’ve Seen All Good People.'”

It somes off much tighter than the first song and is fun to listen to.  Anderson gives a long introduction to Howe who has his solo spot, saying, “Steven to my right, he’s going to play some acoustic guitar things, which you can just relax to, listen to, for us guys. And, he’s going to play, this is another track from the LP, this is a song, songs, lots of songs, if I do a tap dance.  A song called ‘Clap.'”  His song contains an interlude with Mason Williams’ “Classical Gas” as was the custom. 

The final song on the tape is “Perpetual Change” which is “a song written down in Devon.”  Bill Bruford’s drum solo sounds extremely heavy in this recording and at the end of the song Chris Squire acknowledges it saying:  “That’s Bill Bruford there on that one, performing a drum break, drum solo, on drums” and Anderson chimes in “He’s so good I thought it was spot on right, son. It was.”  The tape unfortunately runs out on what turns out to be a very good performance.  Cracks Appeared In The Air is another recommended Highland release from this busy and important era for Yes.

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