Handle With Care (Siréne-187)
Disc 1, Swing Auditorium, San Bernardino, CA – March 17th, 1972: Firebird Suite, Roundabout, Heart Of The Sunrise, Clap, Perpetual Change (incl. drum solo), I’ve Seen All Good People
Disc 2, Academy Of Music, New York, NY – November 24th, 1971: Firebird Suite, Roundabout, I’ve Seen All Good People, Clap, Wakeman piano solo, Long Distance Runaround, The Fish, Perpetual Change (incl. drum solo), Yours Is No Disgrace
Handle With Care is the latest Yes release on the Sirene label and contains two very good and short documents from the Fragile tour. The first disc is the complete forty-eight minute set from March 17th, 1972 at the Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino. Yes were opening for Black Sabbath and Wild Turkey and played a very short set. The tape comes from the same one who produced the Deep Purple tape from January at this same venue and the March 22nd Long Beach Emerson Lake & Palmer tape (five days after this show).
Black Sabbath’s set was also taped and released on the cdr label Power Gate as on San Bernardino. Blue Cafe recently produced this on cdr as California Sunrise but Sirene is the first silver release of this important new tape. Like the others from this taper the sound quality is slightly distant but clear and powerful and he adds his comments to the action on stage like when Squire is playing the lead at the beginning of “Heart Of The Sunrise” saying “this is going to be heavy!”
Since Yes were the opening act for many of these dates we get truncated yet intense sets. They only had forty-five minutes on stage and had to drop “Mood For A Day”, “Long Distance Runaround”, “The Fish”, “Yours Is No Disgrace” and Rick Wakeman’s solo, all staples of their act on the Fragile tour. There is a small cut in the tape during “Firebird suite” but contains all of Yes’ music. After “Roundabout” Anderson says, “I hope you’re enjoying yourselves. We’re going to do a song from the Fragile album.
A song about big cities like L.A., places like that.” Steve Howe interrupts Anderson with cryptic remarks by saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, these humanoids you see are refugees from Dr. Who”. After the song Anderson introduces Howe but there is trouble with the microphone on his guitar. “Get this fucking microphone on! Maybe it’s not plugged in” before resolving the issue and playing “Clap”. “Perpetual Change” is dedicated to “mother earth” and Squire forgets a cue at 7:40, but the band recovers nicely. “I’ve Seen All Good People”, which was usually earlier in the set serves as the closer.
The second disc is Sirene’s version of the November 24th, 1971 Academy Of Music tape that was released recently by Tarantura as Live At The Academy. The musical content, quality of tape and timing are all identical to the previous release so nothing here is gained except having a second option for this show. It might have been better if Sirene used the March 16th Tucson tape, which has never been released, instead of duplicating Tarantura’s work.
Since it was the previous evening’s show it has a stronger thematic link to the tape on the first disc and would have made more sense. Sirene use a photo for the front taken during the Close To The Edge recording session at Advision studios in the summer of 1972. The inside has the band pictures from the Fragile booklet and some live shots including the same three pictures taken at the Ohio high school from November, 1971 that Tarantura used for the poster in their release. There are so few tapes and even fewer titles from Yes’ groundbreaking Fragile tour which make releases like this very important for Yes collectors and is recommended.