Symphonic Concert 2001 (Highland HL584/585/586)
Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver, BC, Canada – August 2nd, 2001
Disc 1 (69:20): Overture, Close To The Edge, Long Distance Runaround, Don’t Go, In The Presence Of, Gates Of Delirium
Disc 2 (62:12): “Steve Howe” solo, Mood for A Day, Wondrous Stories, Perpetual Change, And You And I, Ritual
Disc 3 (51:34): I’ve Seen All Good People, Starship Trooper, Roundabout. Bonus track, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA – July 30th, 2001: Gates Of Delirium (“Jon” mistake)
The Yes Symphonic tour continues their effort to continue developing and taking risks. The Masterworks tour reintroduced two epics that had not been played in twenty five years. This new tour continues with that framework for a setlist but has two further developments. First is the introduction of a symphonic orchestra for the arrangements. Yes asked fans on Yesworld if they should have the orchestra and most voted “no.” But the band went on anyway and it was a great addition to the Yes sound.
The second development is the new album Magnification. It wouldn’t be released until after the north American tour but two songs were brought into the set. Symphonic Concert 2001 is the simply named Highland release with the entire Vancouver show. Highland rushed this out while the tour was still progressing to capitalize on the event.
A very good to excellent DAT audience recording is used for the show. There is a cut between “Wondrous Stories” and “Perpetual Change” but no music is lost. The tape picks up with the orchestral overture “Give Love Each Day” which melts into the beginning of “Close To The Edge.” The orchestra is well mixed with the electric instruments.
When the song ends the orchestra plays “Listen To Your Heart” as an introduction to “Long Distance Runaround.” It sounds as if the arrangement from the Open Your Eyestour is retained except the orchestra replaces Igor Koroshev’s keyboard solo.
“It feel like we spent a lot of time here” Jon Anderson tells Vancouver. “It rained a lot. Last night we were told it’s a heat wave, and it rained a lot.” He continues to say they are going to play a “couple of new songs” from the album “we finished ten minutes ago…it’s true, we’re still mixing it.” The first new song is the catchy pop song “Don’t Go.” The only real interesting part of the song is the bridge when Anderson sings through the megaphone. Otherwise it’s forgettable.
But the other new song is played right after and it’s tremendous. Anderson says: “we’ll carry on with another song from the album which is called Magnification as we magnify everything around us, it will do the same for you. I just made that part up” he jokes. “It means whatever you want it to mean.” Alan White plays the piano introduction and returns to the kit before the drums kick in (obviously). It’s a beautiful song which will improve as the tour goes on.
“The Gates Of Delirium” is the second epic played and the orchestra compliments the aggression beautifully. The brass instruments add to the military aura of the battle section, and the strings provide a bright hue and glow for “Soon.” Steve Howe has his solo section next and plays “Solar Winds” from the Natural Timbre album released earlier that year. “Mood For A Day” follows, but Howe loses his place in the middle and has to figure out how to get back on track.
The orchestral arrangement of “And You And I” is perhaps the best of all in the set. It’s the one song that transcends the studio recording. “Ritual” finishes the set and Chris Squire has some problems with the bass solo. But the shortcomings curiously enhances the performance, giving it a spooky luminescence.
Yes play three songs for the encore. The second, “Starship Trooper,” sounds extremely heavy in this recording.
Highland include “Gates Of Delirium” from the July 30th Hollywood Bowl show. It also comes from an excellent audience recording. This performance is included as a curiosity for Anderson forgetting the lyrics in the beginning. It’s not essential but good to hear. Symphonic Concert 2001 is a good release and only one of two from this tour released by Highland. They use the tour program as a front cover with photos from the tour.