Legendary Works (Highland HL529/530)
Concord Pavillion, Concord, CA – June 21st, 2000
Disc 1 (64:01): opening (Young Person Guide To The Orchestra), Close To The Edge, Starship Trooper, The Gates Of Delirium, Leaves Of Green (The Ancient)
Disc 2 (59:08): Heart Of The Sunrise, Ritual, I’ve Seen All Good People, Roundabout
The build up to the Masterworks tour in 2000 was probably more exciting than the actual tour. When the Ladder tour came to an end, they decided to reintroduce the old classics and other songs they never played before. Yesworld held a poll to vote on which songs should be included in the set. There was much speculation about whether or not “Gates Of Delirium” or “Mind Drive” would be included. Even talk of a big medley like they did in 1978 was bandied about.
In the end, while the final choice in setlist wasn’t disappointing, it wasn’t as adventurous as hoped. Centered around the three big epics “Close To The Edge,” “Gates Of Delirium” and “Ritual,” it took on a shape familiar from the Relayer tours from the mid-seventies. The tour started in Reno, Nevada on June 20th. Legendary Works on Highland contains the second night of the tour the following day in Concord, California. The sound quality is very clean and detailed, but is on the flat side. It sounds a compressed diminishing the dynamics of the performance.
Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide To The Orchestra is the opening tape. The river and birds at the beginning “Close To The Edge” begin to flow and chirp while the Britten is playing. The first epic also sounds the tightest since it was played on The Laddertour the previous year. Koroshev produces a massive organ sound during “I Get Up I Get Down” and Alan While shows some restraint, only punctuating the piece at the end. Jon Anderson flubs the first verse in the “Seasons Of Man” section, mixing the first and fourth line in the stanza (singing “The time between the notes shape ascend knowledge of love” instead of “The time between the notes relates the color to the scenes.”)
The audience go nuts after “Starship Trooper” even chanting in unison. Anderson sounds genuinely touched as he introduces “The Gates Of Delirium.” This is the second performance since the 1976 tour. Koroshev introduces unique keyboard lines and sounds to the mix. The battle section sounds mild compared to the past, but “Soon” is simply gorgeous and worth the effort.
Steve Howe and Jon Anderson are left alone on stage to play the “Leaves of Green” section to “The Ancient.” Since the entire piece has not been played since the 1974 Tales From Topographic Oceantour, this part has become a stand alone work divorced from its initial meaning. The performance is gorgeous. But “Heart Of The Sunrise” isn’t. Koroshev is behind everyone throughout the song and is tries to play catch up. It’s a disaster which comes close to ruining an otherwise effective performance.
The show ends with a the long “Ritual” featuring the bass solo and drums during the “ritual of life” section in the middle. And like most of their epics ends with a soft acoustic ballad, “Nous Sommes Du Soleil.” “I’ve Seen All Good People” is added to the encore set and is followed by the expected “Roundabout.”
Overall a very good performance with some rust. It is very enthusiastically recevied by the audience who are there to hear some of the epics not performed for so long. Leading up to the event there was a lot of speculation about the setlist, but ultimately the songs not performed in a long while were the two epics “Gates Of Delirium” and “Ritual.” Yes could have been more adventurous, but hearing the two epics was enough. This is one of the few Highlands from this tour and this is worth having.