Yoyogi Olympic Pool, Tokyo, Japan – April 7, 1988
Disc 1 (66:11) Rhythm Of Love, Hold On, Heart Of The Sunrise, Big Generator, Changes, Shoot High Aim Low, Holy Lamb, Tony Kaye Keyboard Solo, Solly’s Beard, Make It Easy, Owner On A Lonely Heart
Disc 2 (63:09) Yours In No Disgrace, Donguri Koro Koro, Nous Sommes Du Solei / Amazing Grace, And You And I, Wurm, Love Will Find A Way, I’ve Seen All Good People, Roundabout
I discovered Yes in the mid 80’s after hearing Starship Trooper on the radio, the Wurm section blew me away so I bought Classic Yes on cassette. Intrigued by what I heard I did the next logical thing, bought a live album, Yessongs and it was that record that hooked me. Hearing the music from their essential period was quite different from most Yes played on radio, 90125 had been very popular and not only a radio staple but made waves via creative videos on MTV. Nonetheless I was excited to hear new music via Big Generator and was equally excited to buy tickets for their Detroit stop on the tour at Joe Louis Arena in November of 1987, my first of would be many Yes shows. Finally the folks at Virtuoso present a Big Generator show, their first I believe.
Yes would play 7 dates in Japan during April of 1988, the subject of this new release is the third and final show in the capital city of Tokyo. There has been a single release from this date, The Big Tour In Japan (Ayanami 193) is a CD-r title with good quality, for this new release the folks at Virtuoso present a newer source that is excellent in quality, yet sadly incomplete missing the last three songs Love Will Find A Way, I’ve Seen All Good People and Roundabout which are taken from the Ayanami source. Yes folks you are hearing it here, this is truly excellent sound! Clear, detailed with all instruments and vocals balanced nicely in the mix and if one was to get picky the only thing this recording needs is a touch more bass. The energy of the music and atmosphere inside the venue are perfectly captured.
The first half and first disc is largely made up of newer music, there is a bit of intro music based upon Rhythm Of Love, like some sort of dance mix that was popular back in the day that lasts about two minutes until the band takes the stage. Jon gives a quick intro to Alan that leads into Hold On, dig this song as it has a great heavy guitar riff in it, the music from this era is well crafted with the virtuoso playing from Rabin, very enjoyable. The vocal harmonizing from Anderson, Rabin, and Squire gel to give a very full sound that it needs. What is interesting for me is listening to Tony Kaye’s playing as it comes through crystal clear in this recording, especially during there classic Yes music. During Heart Of The Sunrise it is very simplistic where he plays a note a with it using a Hammond organ sound, both he and Trevor have no problems putting their own stamp on it while staying somewhat faithful to the original.
My absolute favorite song from Big Generator is undoubtedly Shoot High Aim Low, the lyrical content speaks of war, live versions do not lose the ethereal feeling of the song and the vocal interplay of Rabin and Anderson is spot on. As with many Yesshows, there is time for individual spotlight time, Jon does a great rendition of Holy Lamb, leading Jon to introduce the “Master of modern keyboard” Tony Kaye” who does a bit of mood setting musak before Trevor is introduced and the duo play the instrumental Solly’s Beard. Make It Easy is nothing more than a minute long tease for Owner Of A Lonely Heart, a song that has the band playing with a rock star swagger and is Yes perfection.
Yours Is No Disgrace is the first song on the second disc, the band do a more or less traditional version of the song yet slightly updated. Rabin certainly has the chops to pull this off live and rises to the occasion playing some simply scorching leads, he gets into a note duel with Kaye that is wonderful. Donguri Koro Koro is a Japanese children’s song, wonderfully sung by Jon, his love for cultures and their music is evident and introduces it as “something from 2,000 years ago”. The audience is very happy and claps along and you can here faint joyful laughter from the audience and they sing along with Jon…wonderful. “The amazing bass of Mr. Chris Squire” is next, his solo is simple yet effective.
Wurm is the final song of the main set, Squire plays an almost funky rendition of the bass line and Tony Kaye plays an almost erratic sounding solo, one can picture his moves as he plays. The song heats up as Rabin enters the fray with a nod to Howe and unleashes a blistering barrage of leads that goes into an all out fast jam that ends the set in fine fashion. The transition between the two tape sources is thankfully between songs and other than the quality changes is very smooth. The second source is a bit more distant yet is clear with very nice sound and just a touch of tape hiss. The encores end with a rousing version of Roundabout, curiously after the last song there is about two minutes of applause and some Yes music comes over the PA as the lights come up and announcements signal an end to the evenings festivities.
The packaging is typical Virtuoso, full color inserts that use relevant Big Generator style graphics and live shots of the band, love the cover shot of Jon looking like an American Indian messiah of sorts. You get the numbered sticker, mine is number 80, and the CD’s have the cover shot of Jon on them. A recording like this deserves a title like this, the quality, mastering, and presentation are excellent and for me this title is a must have. Hopefully the label will give us something from the 90125 tour now.