It’s Love (Highland HL308)
Gaelic Park, New York, NY – July 23rd, 1971
(52:32): Introduction, Yours Is No Disgrace, Clap, Perpetual Change (incl. drum solo), It’s Love (incl. bass solo)
Yes’ first tour of the US was twenty-seven days long and they played with many different bands including Black Sabbath, Grand Funk Railroad and Jethro Tull. Only four shows were recorded. Their New York debut in Port Chester, where they played two shows on July 14th and 15th, the final date in New Haven on July 24th (an excellent tape released most recently on Best Of 1971 (Siréne-243)), and the penultimate gig in Gaelic Park in the Bronx on It’s Love, the only silver release of this tape.
Yes play a short set in support of Humble Pie and headliners Mountain. The tape is very good, taped reasonably close to the stage, and is very bass heavy. Yes’ enthusiasm from being on their first American tour is more than evident in their exciting set. In the full light of the afternoon they play one of their most intense short sets committed to tape and they were so exciting that, according to eyewitness, people were still calling for them to return during the other bands’ sets.
Scott Muni of WNEW-FM introduces the band calling them a “very unique talent from Britain.” The set list for these shows is the same, starting with the opening song “Yours Is No Disgrace,” the first song off of The Yes Album. This performance is tenatitve with Tony Kaye in particular having a difficult time keeping up with the rest of the band. Jon Anderson introduces “I’ve Seen All Good People,” saying: “Thanks a lot. We’ll do a little bit of change of scenery. Steve’s going to do a quick tune up and then get on with the vachalia, which is like a Portuguese monstrosity for thrashing with your bare hands. We’re going to do a song for that young lady that I was speaking to before, bless her. Right on. It’s nice to be here. Our lightman’s got a real easy job tonight. Yes, beautiful. We’re happy to play outside — we haven’t played outside for so long. Here’s a song called ‘Your Move’ and the second part is ‘I’ve Seen All Good People.'”
They play a version identical in arrangement to the studio album. One could imagine the impact this had upon an audience who were unfamiliar with the band for the most part. The two contrasting halves of the song fit so naturally that it’s hard to imagine them having a different writer. Its is the earliest of the songs on this album to be written and displays a fundamental leap in writing over the first two albums. Following this Steve Howe has his spot in the set. He complains a bit before, saying “we’ve really got some competition tonight with the wind here.” “Clap” contains the “Classical Gas” interlude in the middle.
The set closes with the last song on The Yes Album. Howe handles the announcements before the song, saying, “we might have one more to do this evening. It’s bit of a long song, so hopefully it keeps you satisfied. This is another track. Right on yeah.” There are some issues with the keyboard. Responding to some noise Howe continues: “We’re just checking a few funny things like this synthesizer deal. It really is nice to be playing like this kind of side of the country again, really fine. Thanks especially to Howard Stein, somebody we like very much — he’s promoting us tonight. We’ll carry on with another track from our current Atlantic album, we’ve got going tonight. This is the last track on the whole album, if you’ve..uh bought it. If you haven’t, you should do and listen to this particular track on the record. This one’s called ‘Perpetual Change.'” Clocking in at fifteen minutes, it contains Bruford’s four minute drum solo. Both Anderson and Howe thank the audience and Howe in particular thanks those who attended the two Port Chester shows the previous week.
The encore is a cover of The Rascal’s “Its Love” in an arrangement written specially for the tour. Anderson thanks the audience, saying: “Thank you, I don’t want to give you any bullshit but we’ve had fucking good time while we’ve been over here. Yeah, we hope to see you all very, very soon. We’re gonna do a, boogaloo, and get up and rock ‘n roll, we’re going to do something called..an old Rascals number, do you like The Rascals? ..whoo.. it’s called ‘It’s Love’.”
Enthusiasm being what it is, but is very rare to hear Jon Anderson use profanities on stage. However, the ten minute track contains a long bass solo and even though it conflicts in style to the rest of the show, it is a fun way to end. There are so few versions recorded, although the last time it was played live on July 31st in London was released officially on The Word Is Live. It’s Love is recommended, along with New Haven the following day and London the following week, as excellent documents in very good sound quality of the intensity of this important era in both Yes and progressive rock history. It’s an opportunity to hear one of the important rock bands finally breaking through with a hit and finding their voice.