Same Old Yessongs (Highland HL 470/471)
Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, CA – June 21st, 1975
Disc 1 (66:29): Opening (excerpt from “Firebird Suite”), Sound Chaser, Close To The Edge, To Be Over, The Gates Of Delirium
Disc 2 (65:39): I’ve Seen All Good People, Mood For A Day, Long Distance Runaround, “Patrick” solo, Clap, And You And I, Ritual, Roundabout, Sweet Dreams
When Yes first took the new Relayer material on the road in late 1974 they played a basic, stripped back set list with the new songs as the centerpiece and several older songs. When they toured again, this time starting in the UK with twenty-four shows in April and May 1975, they kept the basic set list but expanded it with a long acoustic set in the middle and added “Sweet Dreams” as a second encore. They brought this show to the States the following month. The Hollywood Bowl show was the fifth date on the tour and is also the first to have a tape reference. “Gates Of Delirium,” “And You And I” and the acoustic set in the middle of the show appear on the famous vinyl release Sorcerer’s Apprentice (IMPYES4, Idle Mind Productions) and on compact disc “Gates Of Delirium” can found on The White Album (LSCD51015 ).
Same Old Yessongs is the same source and, for the first time, complete. It is an excellent stereo Millard audience recording. Since it was recorded in an outdoor venue there are “wooshes” on the tape but nothing too serious. The older titles ran too slow but Highland corrected that so it now runs at the correct pitch. There is a cut in the tape after “Close To The Edge” and there is a five second gap between 19:47 to 19:52 in “Ritual” which sounds like one of Millard’s markers to keep track of who he traded the tape to.
The performance itself elicited quite a positive review in the June 23rd edition of the Los Angeles Times. Richard Cromelin, in an article titled “Yes Plays With Eloquent Energy,” writes:
“The atrophy that has descended on the progressive branch of rock ‘n’ roll has taken some steam out the continuing debate between the experimentalists and the heavy-metallurgists, the spaceman and the traditional pop manufactures, but then something like Yes’ Hollywood Bowl concert on Saturday comes along to mix it all up again. Because despite the band’s rejection of such essential rock attributes as simplicity and rebellious spirit, its performance was so breathtakingly good, its standard of professionalism in both sounds and visuals so high, that theoretical reservations seem insignificant.
“Recovering handsomely from last year’s forgettable Topographic Oceans show, Yes sounded fresh and exciting again, displaying such passion and aggressiveness that one might suspect they’ve been eating meat on the sly. The prodigious, orchestral music is eloquent enough to the offset abstruse lyrics, while the energy and intensity mow down any possible self-indulgence. The members of Yes, obviously aware of the need for exaggerated gesture in a venue like the Bowl, project exceptionally well (unlike so many of their ilk who would rather be in a cocoon than on a stage), and the physical expressions of their concentrated musical rapport substitute nicely for a flashy lead singer.
“They don’t weather their lack of humor so well, and the weekend’s impossible dream was to see them become mere mortals and throw in something like ‘All Shook Up’ or ‘My Boyfriend’s Back’ at encore time. Yes deserves all the admiration that came its way that night, but a move like that would make the group downright lovable.”
The show’s first hour is identical to the the previous tour with “Firebird Suite” opening the show before they start with “Sound Chaser.” The sound-man has problems with the balance at the beginning (a normal occurrence) and Alan White’s drums predominate in the mix. The Moraz-colored “Close To The Edge” follows, the first of three epics played. “To Be Over” is one of their prettiest songs and would be dropped after this tour, never to surface again except when Steve Howe would quote the main theme in latter day tours. Before “Gates Of Delirium” Anderson says, “Merci bien. Thank you. Next song we’re gonna play for you is side one of the Relayer album. It’s for old Mr. Mirth up there. It’s called ‘Gates of Delirium.'” The reference is rather obscure but the performance is outstanding, replicating the explosions of sound Howe wanted.
The middle of the show is a welcome respite from the intensity of the rest. Playing two twenty minute epics and two ten minute songs is demanding on the audience. “Your Move,” the first half of “I’ve Seen All Good People” is played with only three acoustic guitars as accompaniment before Howe plays “Mood For A Day.” The new arrangement of “Long Distance Runaround,” again with only three acoustic guitars, trades the hostility of the original for a dreamy, ethereal tone in keeping with the Relayer ethic. Moraz plays several styles on the grand piano including a fun boogie, getting the audience going. Of all the Yes keyboardists, he was the most versatile and interesting.
“And You And I” is played as a return to the serious pieces and before the final number Anderson says, “Thank you very much. I’d just like to say thank you very much for coming along this evening. Hope you have enjoyed yourselves. We’d like to show our appreciation for two gentlemen that help us so much, putting on the show. We show appreciation for Michael Tait on lights and Eddie Offord on sound. Here’s a song from Topographic Oceans called ‘Ritual.'” The twenty-five minute epic includes the quote from “The Revealing Science Of God” “out in the city running free…” The bass and drum solo shakes the rafters but the “Nous Sommes du Soleil” ending is beautiful.
The first encore is the overplayed but effective “Roundabout” followed by “Sweet Dreams” from Time And A Word. This was a really nice surprise and is a fun way to end the show. Moraz adds his touch to the keyboard melody of the track. They would begin to alternate this with “Starship Trooper” by the end of the tour. Some nights on the solo album tour in 1976 would also feature “Sweet Dreams,” where it would then be dropped for almost fifteen years, only to return for the ABWH tour in 1989 and fifteen years after that for the 35th Anniversary tour in 2004. The artwork is simple but clean and proved to be a popular title when first issued in 1999 and remains one of Highland’s crowning achievements.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)