Yes – The Model For Success (Highland HL409)

The Model For Success (Highland HL409)

(76:26) Crystal Garden Party IV, London, England – July 31st, 1971:  Yours Is No Disgrace, I’ve Seen All Good People, America, Clap, Perpetual Change.  Plumpton Jazz Festival, Essex, England – August 9th, 1970:  Astral Traveler, I’ve Seen All Good People, Clap, America

The Model For Success collects two interesting documents from the beginning and end of The Yes Album era.  The bulk of this release is their appearance at the Crystal Garden Party IV on July 31st, 1971.  (Highland misstate this tape as August 23rd).  Also on the bill were Fairport Convention, Rory Gallagher, Hookfoot, Elton John, Dee Murray, Nigel Olsson, and Tir Na Nog.  The forty-five minute audience recording is very good and, despite being bass-heavy is very enjoyable.  It cuts in at the very beginning of “Yours Is No Disgrace,” has a big cut in “America” eliminating the final five minutes, and cuts out thirteen minutes into “Perpetual Change,” cutting out the rest of that song and the encore “It’s Love.” 

Four songs, “Yours Is No Disgrace,” “I’ve Seen All Good People,” “America” clocking in at 16:21 and the eleven minute “It’s Love” are included on the official release The Word Is Live.  This show was a one-off appearance about a week after their first tour of the US and captures the band with infectious enthusiasm and confidence.  They played some of their best shows in New York and New Haven and it carries over to this one as well.

After opening with “Yours Is No Disgrace,” Jon Anderson speaks to the audience and tells them about their trip, saying:  “we’ve just been to America and did a few things, dates over there. It’s nice to be able to come back to such a beautiful looking place and play, fantastic, and see so many people. We’re going to do a song, also from the third LP, featuring thrasher Steve over here, on his vachalia. And this song is in two parts.  The first part is called ‘Your Move’ the second part ‘I’ve Seen Good People.'”

The highlight of this tape is the full version of “America” with extra verses and musical interludes.  It is fortunate that it is cut off in this recording, but the official release more than makes up for this tragic cut.  It would be played in the first show on the Close To The Edge tour in Dallas on July 30th, 1972 (almost a full year later) but would disappear for twenty-five years.  This is the last time the full version would be played live, however, with subsequent performances being the edited nine-minute version.  Steve Howe plays “Clap” with the “Classical Gas” interlude.

There is a short delay before “Perpetual Change.”  Steve Howe mentions “there’s a baby crying.”  Anderson is trying to discuss the next song, saying “it’s all about nature.  The forces of mother, I think nature I guess.  There’s an incredible film, it was on in America over there it’s probably coming over here.  If it does please do.  It’s a film called The Hellstrom Chronicle.  Very very strange film.  It’s about nature.  This is called ‘Perpetual Change.'”  The depth of the recording is very good in emphasizing the power in Bruford’s drumming, something that is not always obvious in listening to the audience tapes from this time and it’s a shame the tape cuts out.  But, as is the case with “America,” the encore “It’s Love” is present on the official live album.  

As it turned out Tony Kaye would be fired after this gig to be replaced by Rick Wakeman and they would spend the rest of the summer recording Fragile and go off on tour in September.  Kaye would of course rejoin Yes a decade later but this show really is the finale of the particular form of progressive rock which was defined by the strong sound of the Hammond organ.  Wakeman would expand the vocabulary greatly with subsequent Yes recordings. 

The final tracks on The Model For Success date from the preceeding summer.  Yes played the 10th Plumpton Festival on August 9th, 1970 and Highland use a good but distorted audience recording of their set.  “I’ve Seen All Good People” and “America” appear on A Venture Seeker (Highland HL341/342) but the entire tape appears on this release which cuts out seven minutes into “America.” 

It is a shame it’s incomplete because this is the second earliest tape in circulation with Steve Howe as guitarist in the band (the earliest obviously is the July 17th Lyceum tape from which “Clap” on The Yes Album is taken, but unfortunately the entire show has never surfaced either officially or from an audience recording).

The tape starts with Jon Anderson saying, “We’re going to start off with a song from our second album which is on release now in thousands of shops. It’s a nice evening isn’t it? We’re going to do a song called ‘Astral Traveller’. So here we go.”  Time And A Word was their latest release, having just been released in June, and this was one of their more progressive songs.  Their new album with Howe wouldn’t be recorded until the fall, but they follow with what is probably the first song written with Howe “I’ve Seen All Good People.”  Even at this early stage it is divided into two parts, but the first “All Good People” has a different arrangement than would be finally recorded in October.  The opening statement of the title goes on longer and both the vocal and vachalia melodies differ.  The second part remains however.

Anderson introduces Howe for his solo piece, saying:  “Steve, our guitarist, recently joined us. We have many a happy hour playing in Devon listening to his funky guitar playing and here’s a song he used to play to us, to send us to sleep, or send us on our way to sleep and this song he calls ‘The Clap’.”  There has been discussion about whether the song is titled “Clap” or “The Clap,” with the definite article with some claiming that Anderson’s introduction in the Lyceum show heard on The Yes Album is simply misheard.  This tape illustrates that isn’t the case and that after two weeks of playing he is still introducing it as “The Clap.”  Howe plays it as it sounds on the album without any “Classical Gas” embellishments.

Before “America” the mc comes on stage and  makes an announcement, saying:  “I think maybe we’d better dedicate the next one, set of two fine gentleman who want a lift to..uh Scotland. Hope you have your railway tickets. Just tell them that we can give them a lift to the Charing Cross Road.”  It was a chilly evening and people took the wooden chairs from the press area to make a bonfire about 30 yards from the stage.  They were extinguished by this time and Anderson acknowledges it, saying, Well those bonfires are out. Well the most beautiful songs that Simon and Garfunkel have actually written, Paul Simon has written. This next one is our favorite and we hope you all like it. It you want to sing along please do.  It’s called America.”  This is the earliest recording of their cover and unfortunately cuts out after five minutes.  Except for a few details in the arrangement it is close to the recorded version.  Overall, these are two essential documents and this is another must have.   

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