This new release from the Virtuoso label collects two of the best sounding Yes concerts of the mid 70’s, both are from the Relayer era of the band featuring Jon Anderson on vocals, Steve Howe on guitar and vocals, Chris Squire on bass and vocals, Alan White on drums and Patrick Moraz on keyboards. This is my personal favorite line up of the band, largely due to the brilliant Relayer album and the addition of Patrick Moraz into the band following the departure of keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman. His playing perfectly fit with the Jazz fusion of Sound Chaser and to the war like aggression of Gates Of Delirium, it seems like after the backlash of Tales From Topographic Oceans the band was out to prove something, the results were adventurous for band and listener alike. Progressive rock was at its peak during the mid 70’s with bands like Yes, ELP, and Genesis producing iconic records and also drawing large audiences to their concerts, ELP’s headlining set at the ‘74 California Jam in front of 250,000 fans was certainly a peak.
Boston Gardens, Boston, MA, USA – December 11, 1974
Disc 1 (41:24) KBFH intro / DJ Intro, Firebird Suite, Sound Chaser, Close To The Edge, To Be Over
Disc 2 (41:13) The Gates Of Delirium, And You And I, Roundabout, DJ Outro
The Boston show was recorded by The King Biscuit Flower Hour and is excellent quality yet is incomplete, the missing song Ritual has never circulated from this source although an excellent and complete audience source does exist. Early titles of the soundboard material were on vinyl as Affirmery (Beacon Island Records 2S710), Affirmery (TAKRL 1981), Stellar Attraction (Beacon Island Records 2S719) and Stellar Attraction (Singers Original SODD 008). The CD releases have been many, most in varying forms of completeness, Roundabout (Living Legend LLRCD 082), Siberian Khatru (Live Line LL15486), Siberian Khatru (Lobster CD 021), the aptly titles Something Wonderful (Prime Of Rarities PRCD 1009), and Sound Chaser (Chapter One CO 25140). The complete tape is found on The Gates Of Boston Garden (Highland HL339/340) and Electric Freedom (Virtuoso 008/009), the audience source is also available as Delirium Of Joy (Virtuoso 070/071).
For this new release Virtuoso use the Electric Freedom (Virtuoso 008/009) transfer as its source, CD track times are the same and it sounds like the label boosted the volume slightly but retains the excellent sound quality found on the original. Curiously the label elected to only use the soundboard source, it would have been nice to use Dan Lampinski’s excellent audience source for Ritual and give us the complete performance. It could have been easily spliced in and certainly would have helped provide a more definitive version. GS did a wonderful review of this concert and nothing needs to be added, please refer to his reviews of either SB or audience source for the play by play. Concert has it all, live versions of the complete Relayer record as well as some classics thrown in make for an incredible evening of Yes music.
Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, NJ, USA – June 17, 1976
Disc 3 (52:35) DJ Intro, Apocalypse Sound Intro, Siberian Khatru, Sound Chaser, I’ve Seen All Good People, The Gates Of Delirium,
Disc 4 (68:40) Long Distance Runaround, Patrick Moraz Solo, Clap, Excert From Olias, Heart Of The Sunrise, Ritual (Nous Sommes Du Soleil), DJ Chatter, Roundabout, DJ Chatter, I’m Down, DJ Outro
Yes played quite a few concerts in open air stadiums during the summer of 1976, the one in New Jersey was broadcast on WNEW in New York City and WMMR in Philadelphia FM radio stations. By all accounts it was a beautiful evening of Yes music in front of a raucous crowd, I was reading the recollections of attendees on the excellent Forgotten Yesterdays site with keen interest. Sounds like there was a lot of crazys letting off fireworks, throwing food and bottles as well as Frisbee’s. From all accounts it was nothing out of the ordinary or malicious, what garners some headlines is the murder of a 16 year old youth outside of the stadium that was not connected to the event but to some local kids in a street brawl. It would be this event that would effect the attendance at KISS’ concert at the same stadium a few weeks later.
An early release on vinyl was the curiously titles Mark’s LP (Dancin’ Discs DD1002) and on compact disc as Live Vol. 1 (Joker Productions JOK 026-A), Quasi-Mystical Vision (Turtle Records TR-235), Highland would release it twice as The Story Of Relayer (Highland HL034/035) and Song Of Relayer (Highland HL 348/349) both were out of sequence, the concert would finally gets its best presentation as Roosevelt Stadium 1976 (Sirene 061). The Sirene concert boasted correct running order as well as the DJ commentary mixed in to present a complete listening experience, in excellent sound quality and is the definitive edition.
As with the Boston show found on the first two discs, Virtuoso simply used the Sirene release as a foundation, the cd track times are the same, and tweaked the sound to accentuate the upper frequentness slightly to give it a crisper upper end. In my opinion this did nothing for it and in fact it reduced some of the bass and I still prefer the Sirene release. Again the differences are so minimal and the music found within is much more satisfying that the Boston show. We don’t get the complete Relayer record, just two thirds but we are treated to Moraz versions of Siberian Khatru and a blistering Heart Of The Sunrise. The acoustic version of Long Distance Runaround is simply sublime and the encore of The Beatles I’m Down is a great addition. Again GS did an excellent review of this release.
All four CDs are housed in a fat boy jewel case with a front cover throwing homage to the Sirene Roosevelt Stadium title and the Relayer record cover. The inner trays feature live and posed shots of the band, the posed shot is also used for the art on the CD’s themselves, the first two discs have a purple hue while the second two have a tan tone. Of course early copies come with the collectable numbered sticker. While no new ground is covered here, for those who do not have previous versions of these shows this is a good way to enjoy these superb concerts.