High Vibration Ship (Highland HL412/413)
Cobo Hall, Detroit, MI – August 22nd, 1977
Disc 1: Opening, Parallels, I’ve Seen All Good People, Close To The Edge, Wondrous Stories, Colours Of The Rainbow, Turn Of The Century
Disc 2: And You And I, “Awaken” A Prelude, Awaken, Starship Trooper, Yours Is No Disgrace
Yes played two dates at the Cobo Hall in Detroit and High Vibration Ship offers the first of them virtually complete. It is a very good audience recording that is a bit distant from the stage but captures the atmosphere of the event perfectly. There is a cut and five second gap from 4:10 to 4:15 in “Turn Of The Century” but is otherwise musically complete. The Cobo Hall is the place for several legendary Yes concerts including the February 28th, 1974, the final complete Topographic Oceans show, and August 16th, 1976 which is the source for “Gates Of Delirium” and “Ritual” on Yesshows. Of all the silver Yes titles there are more from the 1977 than any other tour on Highland and other good silver labels.
There is a bit of confusion about the set list. The Forgotten Yesterdays website claims that “Going For The One” was played between “And You And I” and the prelude to “Awaken.” There is even documentation regarding an Anderson mc before the track. Since the song is absent from this release, it lead many to believe that Highland used an incomplete tape. However there is absolutely no cut between the two songs where the song is said to be which leads me to the conclusion that the review has a tape that has the song edited in from somewhere. Or perhaps the cut is so subtle so as to avoid detection. More information will obviously be needed but since there is no discussion of this issue anywhere Highland can be taken at face value without the song.
The tape begins during the “Firebird Suite” introduction before the band segues with “Parallels.” The first song sets the tone for the entire vision of the band for this tour. The angular chords are very muscular giving a soundtrack to the futuristic artwork on the album cover and on stage, serving as a direct contrast to the crab nebula stage design and jazzy, discordant contribution of Moraz on the previous tours. After a curt “good evening” from Anderson they start into “I’ve Seen All Good People” followed by another classic “Close To The Edge.”
“Thank you very much. Thank you. Here in Detroit. Looking good. We just released an album called Going For The One. We had such a great time making it, we hope you enjoy listening to it, really. Here’s a song which came from that album. It’s called ‘Wondrous Stories.'” Wakeman’s keyboards cut out about two minutes into the piece for about thirty seconds leaving Squire to carry the melody on the bass. Before “Colours Of The Rainbow” Anderson says, “Here’s something that, a long, long time ago, this song came via a very beautiful woman, Miss Nina Simone. It just came along and…” Nina Simone is the singer who covered “The Beautiful Land” from the musical The Roar Of The Greasepaint – The Smell Of The Crowd from which this little song is taken.
Afterwards Anderson meditates upon the lyrics of the next song, saying: “Thank you. That was a song from our new album and it’s called ‘The Turn of The Century.’ Coming quickly to terms of all expression laid / emotion revealed as the ocean maid / all complete in the sight of seeds of life with you / coo coo ca choo.” (The final bit could be a recitation from The Beatles’ “I Am The Walrus.”) Wakeman’s keyboards sound strange during “The Preacher The Teacher” section of the song. Yes play two encores this evening. “Starship Trooper” features an insane dual between Howe and Wakeman in the Würm section. High Vibration Ship was released in 1999 and contains an amazing show in a very good audience recording and stands alongside all of the other great Going For The One silver titles.