Yes – The Guardian Of Heaven (Virtuoso 142)


The Guardian Of Heaven
(Virtuoso 142)

(64:32) The Assembly Hall, Champaign, IL – April 23rd, 1979:  The Young Person’s Guide To The Orchestra, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Siberian Khatru, Future Times, Rejoice, Circus Of Heaven, Happy Birthday, Time And A Word, Long Distance Runaround.  Quebec Coliseum, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada – April 18th, 1979:  The Fish, Survival, Perpetual Change / Survival, The Gates Of Delirium, Soon, DJ outro

Yes The Guardian Of Heaven edits together a soundboard fragment and a radio broadcast from two show on the Ten True Summers tour to present half of a complete show.  

The first forty minutes of the disc contains the April 23rd, 1979 Champaign, Illinois soundboard.  This recording was first pressed as a bonus on Anniversary Of Decade (Highland HL210/11) along with the October 28th, 1978 Wembley radio broadcast.  Virtuoso is much more clear and less hissy, has “Heart Of The Sunrise” which is missing on the older release and the defect five minutes into “Future Times / Rejoice” has been fixed.  

Anderson’s vocals hover in the middle of the stereo separation while Squire is in the right channel and Howe in the left. The tape is focused upon the first half of the show beginning with the “Close Encounters” opening and cutting out after “Long Distance Runaround” in the big medley. 

It is a shame the tape is so incomplete because there is no audience recording and the performance is very good. It comes in the first couple weeks of the Ten True Summers tour where they were fresh and delivered energetic sets. “Thank you, thank you, thank you very much Illinois. Are we in the state of Illinois? Are you sure? Champaign-Urbana. We’re going to play one or two songs we recorded last year” Anderson says before “Future Times / Rejoice.”

The recording is good in emphasizing the different bass tones Squire uses during the first half of the piece, ranging from bouncy to biting. Wakeman’s keyboards become dominant during “Rejoice” with more fascinating colors in the piece.

After “Circus Of Heaven” Anderson says, “Thank you very much. As you probably know, this is our tenth anniversary folks. Woo! Yo! Alright. Thank you. Thank you” and while he is saying this Wakeman plays “Happy Birthday” on the piano.  Virtuoso tracks this separately and it clocks in at a minute long. “Time And A Word” and “Long Distance Runaround” are the first two songs of the big medley.

On the Highland the tape fades out right before they get into “The Fish” but Virtuoso seamlessly edits in the April 18th Quebec City radio broadcast.  The entire show was released by the same label on For The Type Of Encounter (Virtuoso 111/112).   

Chris Squire leads the band through the middle with an aggressive version of “The Fish,” with quotes from “Survival” and “Ritual,” leading into “Perpetual Change.”  The transition into the latter part of “The Gates Of Delirium” including the gorgeous “Soon” is startling in contrast.  Going from early progressive hard rock into an undefinable jazz fusion shows the amount of flexibility and creativity the band had in the early to middle seventies.  

The Guardian Of Heaven is a strange release.  It’s understandable that the label wanted to pressed the new and improved Champaign tape, but edited it with the Quebec City show wasn’t the best idea.  It might have been better to include it as a bonus for another Tormato era show which has never been out before.  Nevertheless this is a very nice sounding disc with excellent performances   

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