Going For The Best (Virtuoso DVD 001/002)
Yes achieved a height of popularity by 1976. Their exploration of spiritual themes and pushing the boundaries of symphonic rock and even jazz fusion drew massive crowds on their last US tour with the June 12th, 1976 show in Philadelphia drawing 100,000. They took a necessary change in direction later that year when they reconvened to record the follow up to Relayer.
Patrick Moraz, who contributed initial ideas to the project (specifically “High Vibration,” the precursor to “Awaken”), was dismissed from the band and Rick Wakeman was brought in to help in the studio. Although the band wanted to keep up with current musical tastes, they didn’t bother trying to go into a “punk” or “disco” direction, they were much too stubborn for that. But they wanted their new songs to be more melodic and accessible.
Going For The Best is a 2DVD collection, the first DVD title produced by Virtuoso. The first disc contains one hour of the two hour filmed sessions for Going For The One and the second contains most of the November 8th, 1977 show in Glasgow, both in best ever visual and sound quality. Both discs are NTSC format with region zero to be compatible with all DVD players.
Best of Going For The One sessions
Mountain Studios, Montreux, Switzerland Late 1976
DVD 1 (58:46): Parallels session 1, Tour discussion excerpt, Parallels session 2, Jon overdubs Parallels vocals 1, Jon overdubs Parallels vocals 2, Chris overdubs Parallels vocal, Chris & Steve Sing Positively 4th Street (Bob Dylan), Steve overdubs Going For The One, Chris overdubs Going For The One & Parallels vocals, Awaken percussion session, Steve jams (Telecaster), Parallels session 3, Vevey (Jon & Rick), Rick in the studio (new Mellotron sound), Parallels session 4, Chris & Alan with Bryan Lane, More of Rick in the studio, Parallels session 5 with church organ, Alan plays piano, Steve relaxing at the studio (silent), Awaken, Steve overdubs Turn Of The Century 1, Steve overdubs Turn Of The Century 2
The complete two hour videotape was recently released as a bonus DVDR, but the silver is a “best of” edit from the two hours. Instead of omitting large parts, they present a little of everything to get a nice overview and a detailed comparison would be tedious and ultimately futile.
Yes’ mood is certainly upbeat and happy with a lot of smiles and goofing around in the studio. The early footage for “Parallels” is interesting for revealing the arrangement before they church organ was added into the mix, offering a rare glimpse into the song’s original sound. Other interesting bits include hearing Steve overdubbing his parts on “Going For The One,” the band adding percussion to the fast part of “Waken,” and Chris adding his vocals to “Going For The One” and “Parallels.”
In addition to the footage of the band recording the songs, there are other shots included. Squire and Howe sing a nice duet on Bob Dylan’s “Positively 4th Street.”
Rick Wakeman, who didn’t officially join the group until after the sessions were completed, is shown speaking to an engineer about this Mellotrons and other keyboards and synthesizers, and there is a long conversation captured between Christ and Alan White with Yes’ manager Bryan Lane.
The most impressive footage shows Rick and Jon in the church in Vevey working out the melody for “Parallels” on the organ and Jon playing harp. Overall it’s an interesting historic record of the sessions for the promotion of the new album. Sitting through studio recording sessions can be tedious, but the editing keeps it all moving along nicely and never drags.
Apollo Theatre, Glasgow, Scotland – November 8th, 1977
DVD 2 (90:30): Firebird Suite, Parallels, I’ve Seen All Good People, Close To The Edge, Wonderous Stories, Colours Of The Rainbow, Turn Of The Century, Tour Song, And You And I, Wakey’s Magic Feat, Going For The One, Flight Jam, Awaken. Bonus footage, Pavillon de Paris, Paris, France – December 6th, 1977: And You And I (partial), Going For The One, Ending
Yes played several shows at the Apollo Theatre in Glasgow, the final dates in the UK on the Going For The One tour. Wonderous Stages features the best pro-shot footage from the era. The one camera was stationed on a tripod close to the stage to give a steady and detailed view of the action. The taper obviously knew the set and is able to produce great stage shots and close ups.
The performance is clean, sharp, and impressive. Glasgow has some of the most vocal and rowdy rock audiences in the world and they don’t calm down even for Yes. They’re very vocal in the first half of the show, giving Jon a hard time as he tries to sing “Colours Of The Rainbow.” They do eventually become transfixed with the mesmerizing performance and don’t give too many distractions.
Yes didn’t alter the set list. They play the entire Going For The One LP with other songs from the first Wakeman era. And the band decided to omit the long solos from past tours. The only exception is “Wakey’s Magic Feat.” This is a little joking routine where Rick Wakeman pretends to play the closing bars to Rachmaninoff’s fourth piano concerto with his feet.
The video runs out at the start of the final verses of “Awaken” omitting the very end of the song and the encores. It is, however, some of the most impressive video from a poorly documented tour.
As a bonus, Virtuoso include a short piece from the December 6th show in Paris, the final show of the tour. Shot by a stagehand from behind the stage, there is a short fragment of Wakeman in “And You And I,” “Going For The One” filmed from behind Steve Howe, and footage of the band’s final bow after the encores complete with party favors. In color like the Scotland footage, it’s too fragmentary to be really enjoyed but is nice to see nonetheless.
It’s a shame that a band as big as Yes were in the seventies has almost no film record. Zeppelin fans complain about the lack of film, but Yes have only a fraction of that. It’s great that Virtuoso have pressed these on silver DVD. This title is a nice addition to the collection. If the label will continue to press Yes DVDs, maybe they can produce a definitive Queens Park Rangers 1975 DVD, the only known footage from the Relayer tour.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)