Solo Tour ’76 (Highland HL371/372)
PNE Coliseum,Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – July 22nd, 1976
Disc 1 (53:39): And You And I (Apocalypse), Siberian Khatru, Sound Chaser, I’ve Seen All Good People, The Clap, Gates Of Delirium
Disc 2 (52:15): Long Distance Runaround, Moraz Solo (incl. except from ‘The Story Of I’), Dance Of Ranyart (excerpt from ‘Olias Of Sun Hollow’), Heart Of The Sunrise, Rital, Roundabout
Yes’ “solo” tour in 1976 is one of their greatest tours and the July 22nd, 1976 Vancouver tape is one of the most atmospheric, dynamic and potent documents to emerge. A first generation copy is now in circulation, although Highland use a higher generation for Solo Tour ’76. There is an emphasis upon the higher frequencies but the bass is still audible and very effective on “Sound Chaser,” “Gates Of Delirium” and “Heart Of The Sunrise” especially. There are several cuts on the tape, notably cuts that surround “Clap” and two during the track at 3:33 and 3:59, at 15:03 in “Gates Of Delirium,” flutter about 1:40 in Moraz’ solo, and “Roundabout” cuts out after three and a half minutes.
The biggest problem is that Highland got their hands on a defective copy of the tape where Steve Howe’s solo spot “Clap” is moved from being after Moraz’ solo to before “Gates Of Delirium.” This can charitably called a mistake, but the label, especially at the point in their run when this was released, should have spotted the error and placed the track in its proper sequence. This ruins what is otherwise a solid release.
Vancouver were treated to several legendary gigs in the early to mid seventies and this must rank among them. 1976 were Yes at one of their artistic and certainly commercial peaks and they play with that kind of certainty. The show begins with the “apocalypse” bombast from “And You And I” leading into the other Close To The Edge track played that night “Siberian Khatru.” “Sound Chaser” works much better as an opener but is pushed back on these dates to be played second.
“I’ve Seen All Good People” is for “you all and the beautiful mountains and you beautiful people” and is a wonderful, restful moment before one of the most aggressive, chaotic and schizophrenic “Gates Of Delirium.” Moraz adds considerable presence to the piece with additional off the wall jazzy melodies during the carnage.
Afterwards Yes play the acoustic/solo section of the show. Yes never before had a proper acoustic set and wouldn’t do it again for twenty-eight years. And on previous tours the solos were scattered throughout the show but this year they are grouped together along with an acoustic set. “Long Distance Runaround” in the new arrangement segues into Moraz’s solo which in turn leads into Steve Howe playing “Clap” with a “Wings Of Gold” interlude. Anderson ends the segment with a harp solo, playing “Dance Of Ranyart” from his solo LP Olias Of Sun Hollow.
“Heart Of The Sunrise” is introduced as “a song we did five and half years ago here in Vancouver one time” and was a new addition to the set. The final piece of the main set is a half hour long version of “Ritual.” The ritual of life section in the middle is expanded to include not only bass and drum solos, but Moraz adds very nasty, ugly demonic sounds to the cacophony suggesting the evil side of life in addition to the sunny. The only encore on the tape is three and a half minutes of “Roundabout.” Yes were also playing “Starship Trooper” and / or “I’m Down” during this time too but with the tape running out it’s impossible to determine if they were played in Vancouver too. Overall Solo Tour ’76 could have been a classic Highland release but their failiure to place “Clap” back to its proper sequence really sinks it and a revisiting of this tape would be much welcomed.