Du Soleil (Highland HL090/91#Y18)
Sheffield City Hall, Sheffield, England – November 27th, 1973
Disc 1 (63:02): Opening (excerpts from “Firebird Suite”), Siberian Khatru, Heart Of The Sunrise, Close To The Edge, The Revealing Science Of God
Disc 2 (67:08): The Remembering, The Ancient, Ritual
Several weeks before releasing the anticipated follow up to the classic Close To The Edge, Yes chose to bring their new album onto the road to an unknowing audience. It displays tremendous trust in both the new material and in the audience and thirty years since this remains one of the boldest moves which has passed into legend. Even the acts of protest by Rick Wakeman are still remembered today including his eating chicken curry during “Ritual” during the November 29th show in Manchester. Sheffield is the twelth show of the tour occuring a couple nights after the important London shows at the Rainbow Theater. The earliest audience tape captures about two-thirds of the November 18th concert in Bristol. Sheffield is the second earliest and Du Soleil was released by Highland in 1997. This remains the only silver release of this, or any UK show from the Topographic tour.
The sound quality is good but distorted in the beginning. There is a small cut after “Heart Of The Sunrise” and another eliminating the final two minutes of “Close To The Edge” and Anderson’s introduction to “The Revealing Science Of God.” The sound quality improves after this cut since the distortion disappears. The final cut in the tape occurs at 16:45 in “Ritual.” The sound quality improves mightly after this cut for the final six minutes of the song suggesting that another show is used to complete the song. If Highland did this, it begs the question of why they didn’t also include the encore. The improvement in sound quality could also be due to the taper moving closer to the stage and until the fragment is recognized as being from another show this explanation seems sufficient.
The tape picks up with the “Firebird Suite” introduction leading into a scorching version of “Siberian Khatru.” “Thank you very much” Jon Anderson says afterwards. “It’s nice to be back in Sheffield again. It’s been two years since we’ve played here. We’d like to carry on with a song from our Fragile album called ‘Heart Of The Sunrise.'” Yes played “Heart Of The Sunrise” as an encore at the two Bournemouth shows and in Bristol but in Sheffield it is played in the main set replacing “And You And I.” Wakeman’s grand piano is very loud in the mix during this performance and the first half of the show ends with “Close To The Edge.”
Anderson routinely gave a long introduction in the second half, explaining the origins of their new work but that is lost in this recording. Instead it picks up with the subtle keyboards before the “Dance Of The Dawn” chanting before starting into a perfect version of “The Revealing Science Of God.” The audience in the small venue become very vocal while Anderson is trying to introduce side two. “second movement is titled…”Anderson is saying when someone interrupts him, shouting “When is it coming out?”
“Next Friday, sorry. Hopefully we got Friday or next week on Monday.” “How much does it cost?” someone else shouts. “A three pound forty-nine. It’s a double album so it’s not too bad” Anderson replies. Steve Howe get involved and says, “You want to know how much it cost us? A fortune!”
“Thank you, what was that?” Anderson then says. After some inaudible shouting Anderson observes, “it’s very cold in here. We’re very sorry about the heating in here” and while he is saying this, Wakeman plays “White Christmas” on the piano. He continues, saying “we should put the lights on you and we’ll listen to you.” Someone by the stage shouts, “it’s about time.” “This is the second part which is a quieter movement. It’s called ‘The Remembering.’ Remember your past and the history of the past three thousand years because that is what we relate to and got to be where we are these days.” There is inaudible heckling as the band start the song. It is obvious the audience were having a difficult time digesting the new album and people who attended this show say that many left halfway through.
Anderson sees the reaction and before “Ritual” says defiantly, “We started something and we’d like to finish it. The fourth side is titled ‘The Ritual Of Life.’ As we all know life is a fight most of the time between the forces of evil and love. The title of this is ‘Nous Sommes Du Soleil.’ We are of the sun so we can see.” Whether the ending of the song on this release is authentic or not is debatable, but this is a fascinating document to judge the public’s reaction to one of the most arcane pieces of popular music ever written. Highland use the Roger Dean artwork very well on the artwork as a backdrop to several very common photos from the era.