Yes – Swan Lake Stories (Highland HL354/355)

Swan Lake Stories (Highland HL354/355)

Scandinavium, Gothenburg, Sweden – November 12th, 1977

Disc 1 (58:22):  Firebird Suite, Parallels, I’ve Seen All Good People, Close To The Edge, Wondrous Stories, Colours Of The Rainbow, Turn Of The Century, And You And I

Disc 2 (71:24):  Rick introduction, Going For The One, Awaken A Prelude, Awaken, Roundabout, Yours Is No Disgrace.  Bonus tracks, Deutschlandhalle, Berlin, Germany – November 28th, 1977:  Tour song, And You And I, “Swan Song” jam, Going For The One

After the UK dates, Yes took the Going For The Onetour up to Scandinavia for their first visit to that region in more than seven years.  On November 12th they played the only Swedish date in Gothenburg, bypassing the capital Stockholm altogether.  Both Gothenburg and Copenhagen, the following night, exist in excellent sounding tapes but, thus far, only the Sweden show has appeared on silver boot. 

The recording is very good to excellent stereo with very nice presence.  The bass is loud in the mix and the vocals are pushed a bit back and are soft.  There is a painful cut at 4:52 in “Turn Of The Century” but is otherwise complete.

Yes didn’t change the setlist at all for this visit but the energy coming from the stage makes this one of the best Going For The One shows available.  This has to do with, for a great extent, from the audience who are seeing these songs performed live for the first time.  There is a buzz in the venue revving through “Parallels” and “I’ve Seen All Good People.” 

“Close To The Edge” is likewise fantastic and the Swedish audience claps along during the soft “I Get Up I Get Down” part.  The mention of Europe before “Wondrous Stories” drives the crowd into delirium.  “Colours Of The Rainbow” is for the children in the audience.  Yes did, however, drop the tour song before “And You And I,” a tune they played at almost every other stop in the preceding four months. 

Before playing “Going For The One” they have a bit of musician humor.  Jon Anderson says that Rick Wakeman has been practicing the last four bars of Rachmaninov’s piano concerto in D.  Wakeman plays it, screams, and the whole gag is lost on the audience.  “These kinds of jokes don’t go down in England, never mind Sweden” Anderson quips.  

The show ends with the five minute “Awaken Prelude” followed by “Awaken.”  The prelude, or “flight jam,” was never recorded by the band but is a stunning piece of work developed for the stage.  It also was not played on subsequent tours.  Wakeman’s solo served as an intro on the Tormato tours the following two years. 

Gothenburg are rewarded with two encores.  A seven minute “Roundabout” which again drives them into a frenzy followed by a fifteen minute, devastating version of “Yours Is No Disgrace” which features Howe and Squire dueling in the middle. 

The bonus tracks are a four song snippet from the November 28th Berlin show.  The tape is distant from the stage and hollow sounding.  The music is audible but it rates a fair to good.  The “Tour Song” is the standard song with “Berlin” inserted. 

Between “And You And I” and “Going For The One” they play the two minute “Swan Song” jam.  It is Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” suite played in 1960’s beach music style like The Ventures.  It’s a fun little ditty lead by Wakeman on organ and Howe on slide guitar and deteriorates by the end.  Anderson jokes they practiced this piece before coming on stage and calls the performance “terrible.”  “We were having a great time in the dressing room…we didn’t learn it very well.”  A guy by the recorder shouts “bravo.” 

Swan Lake Storiesis one of many shows from 1977 that Highland released.  The label focused upon many of the shows  in Germany, and even place Gothenberg in Germany on the cover art.  Given the tremendous sound quality and energy of the shows, this is recommended.  But it’s also a rare chance to see the musicians joking around onstage.  

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