Yes – Guessing Problems Only (Highland HL414/415)

Guessing Problems Only (Highland HL414/415)

Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, Scotland – September 4th, 1972

Disc 1 (48:59):  Excerpt from ‘Firebird Suite’, Siberian Khatru, I’ve Seen All Good People, Mood For A Day, Clap, And You And I, Heart Of The Sunrise

Disc 2 (44:24):  Close To The Edge, Excerpts from Six Wives Of Henry VIII, Roundabout, Yours Is No Disgrace

What characterizes Yesshows from this era is the air of exploration and the novelty of finding a new style of progressive rock.  The progression from Fragile to Close To The Edge is arguably one of the greatest leaps in artistic development in rock.  The advancement was such that Yes didn’t even play their new epic, the eponymous “Close To The Edge” on their US tour that summer.  It’s live debut had to wait for September, right after the album was released, at their appearance at the Crystal Palace Bowl.

Right after the London date Yes played two shows at the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow, Scotland on September 4th and 5th.  Yes would play four additional dates in England before starting their second US tour of the year.  Guessing Problems Only contains the audience recording for the first Glasgow concert.  It is a good recording that captures the atmosphere very well.  Many tapes from Glasgow in the early seventies (Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Wings) are tough to listen to, but this one is enjoyable. 

Although most of the show is present, there is a big cut in the middle which cuts “Close To The Edge” off during “I Get Up I Get Down” and eliminates the latter half of the song.  Other than this cut the show is intact.  

The tape picks up with the Firebird suite introduction leading into “Siberian Khatru,” one of the best opening numbers in Yes’ live career.  The band are greeted with an extremely loud response.  Glasgow audiences were some of the wildest in the UK and you can hear it on this tape, especially when Anderson says:  “amazing, thank you.  It’s really nice to be back in Glasgow.”

Because the London show two days before was a festival, Yes had to shorten the set.  But in Glasgow they play the entire show, which means Steve Howe plays both “Mood For A Day” and “Clap.”  After the latter Anderson tells the audience:  “I’ve got to say something.  We’ve been playing, very busy over the last three months and you’re the first people to clap in time.  Amazing.”  He goes on to give a convoluted explanation about the new song “And You And I” saying it’s a:  “searching for a little bit of truth in this crazy world.  Reasoning that starts within each individual and how we live .. what you eat .. and why you eat it, you are what you eat.”

But the centerpiece of the set is the epic “Close To The Edge.”  Anderson describes it, saying:  “We’d like to try something we’ve never played before.  Well, we played it a couple days ago.  It’s a new song for us and I hope you sing along because we need a bit of help.  It’s a song from the new album.  If you listen very closely it starts off with the sound of a river and it relates to a whole lot of things from Herman Hesse and things the fact that we all come from the sea.  The sea is alive and we should look after it…”

It’s a shame half of it is cut off because it’s a gutsy performance of the piece.  It’s much tighter than Crystal Palace with none of the mistakes.  Rick Wakeman’s solo piece returns after being dropped for London.  Anderson introduces Wakeman as the resident keyboard man and whisky drinker.  In addition to the excerpts from “The Six Wives Of Henry VIIIth,” he plays a boogie woogie piano in the middle. 

“Roundabout” closes the set to a wild response from the audience who start a rhythmic chant of “WE WANT MORE.”  Yes obliges with a thirteen minute version of “Yours Is No Disgrace” which starts off with grating, heavy metal riffs from Howe.  Guessing Problems Only is a very good and solid release by Highland.  There are so few tapes in circulation from these dates and their importance is affirmed by the fact that Highland pressed both of them.  They are both very good concerts in listenable sound quality and with Highland’s usual good packaging and artwork. 

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