Heart Of The Sunrise (Siréne-044)
Koseinenkin Kaikan, Tokyo, Japan – March 8th, 1973
Disc 1 (67:54): Firebird Suite, Siberian Khatru, I’ve Seen All Good People, Heart Of The Sunrise, Mood For A Day, Clap, Colours Of The Rainbow, And You And I, Close To The Edge
Disc 2 (46:26): Rick Wakeman solo, Roundabout, Yours Is No Disgrace, Starship Trooper
It’s easy to forget that by the spring of 1973 Yes were one of the biggest bands on the planet. Each of their LPs The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close To The Edge gained the band more critical praise and popularity. Their first trip to Japan in March 1973 occurs right on the cusp of their rise as the most influential progressive rock band of the 1970’s.
The first show in Japan on March 8th, 1973 has been available on tape for years. Highland released the older source as An ‘Eve’ Of Autobiography several years ago. Although listenable, that tape is fuzzy with much detail lost especially Jon Anderson’s and Steve Howe’s between song conversations being almost inaudable.
The Sirene label have found and released a completely new tape of the event and it is by far one of the best sounding Yes tapes from the band’s early years. What we have here is a crisp, detailed mono audience recording making this show much more enjoyable now. What it reveals is a nervous band trying to win over a foreign crowd — and succeeding. The opener “Siberian Khatru” sounds very tenative. After a curt greeting by Anderson in Japanese the band launches into “All Good People”.
It isn’t until “Heart Of The Sunrise” when the band begin to heat up and deliver an excellent performance. Before “And You And I” both Steve and Jon joke with the audience telling them it’s too early for a concert and telling them there is “no smoking” with the audience roaring in approval. The rest of the show is brilliant and a trimphant beginning to Yes’ first tour of Japan.
Listening to this reminds one of why Yes were so huge to begin with. Unlike today where they display no confidence in their composing abilities, we hear a band who were fearless and truly believed in their work.
Heart Of The Sunrise is a title that every one should own, even if it’s your only Yes title. This is a concert demonstrating the true cutting edge of progressive rock before it became a target for the punk movement several years later. And full marks go to Sirene for releasing this. In about a years time they have produced an impressive catalogue and are setting a standard for quality releases.