Yes – Solo Chaser (Highland HL657/658)

Solo Chaser (Highland HL657/658)

MECCA Arena, Milwaukee, WI – August 16th, 1976

Disc 1 (54:30):  Apocalypse, Siberian Khatru, Sound Chaser, I’ve Seen All Good People, The Gates Of Delirium

Disc 2 (66:41):  Long Distance Runaround, Patrick Moraz solo, On Wings Of Gold/Clap, Jon Anderson harp solo, Heart Of The Sunrise, Ritual, Roundabout

Yes’ 1976 Solo Album tour is perhaps the most misleading and bizarre tour of their entire thirty-five year career.  Ostensibly to promote the individual band members solo albums they began their merry way in the final week of May 1976 with the set list featuring a song from each of the five LPs. 

There was great latitude in the sequence of songs, which songs from the solo albums played, and in which epics would be played (“The Gates Of Delirium” from Relayer and “Ritual” from Tales, but also “The Remembering” appearing for two shows in West Virginia and Tennessee). 

By the time they hit Cincinnati on June 8th, they had (more or less) settled on a set-list that was very similar to the previous two tours.  In effect this isn’t a tour to promote the solo albums at all but rather the THIRD Relayer tour for the band (winter ’74, summer ’75 and summer ’76).  The only vestige of the original plan was Jon Anderson’s harp solo before “Ritual”.  With all that being said, this new release from Highland comes from the final week of their tour when the set list had been solidified and they were hitting a hot streak in performance. 

This show from Milwaukee is the evening before the Detroit show (Alternate Yesshow Highland HL492/493) and where the two epics come from for the official Yesshows double LP. 

The tape used on Solo Chaser is very good to excellent, close to the stage with some evidence of equalization by the manufacturer making it sound a bit too compressed for some tastes.  There are no cuts in the tape giving every available second of the show.  And during this era Yes gave some of their best ever performances.  The highlights of the show are the epics “Gates of Delirium” (where Patrick makes a rare mistake, coming in a beat too late for the “victory” section) and “Ritual”.  

The middle section (“Long Distance Runaround” to the harp solo) is very relaxing between “Gates” and “Heart Of The Sunrise”. 

Anderson gets into a long introduction of the roadcrew (just like in Detroit but without the funk).  The finale of “Ritual” is as intense as always on this tour with both the bass and drum sections sounding particularly heavy in this recording.  This is a very nice release from Highland and it’s great to see them dipping into Yes’ history again to produce more gems.  Definitely a nice addition to the Yes catalogue and worth having! 

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