Topographic Ocean View (Highland HL384/385)
Baseball Stadium, Miami, FL – February 8th, 1974
Disc 1 (63:39): Opening (Excerpt from “Firebird Suite”), Siberian Khatru, And You And I, Close To The Edge, The Revealing Science Of God
Disc 2 (74:50): The Remembering, The Ancient, Ritual, Roundabout
Yes’ Tales From Topographic Oceans tour of the US started on February 7th in Gainesville, Florida. No tape circulates for that night, but the second show at the Baseball Stadium in Miami the following night does and was pressed by Highland on Topographic Ocean View. This is a good but flat audience recording in which the taper pointed the microphone towards the PA to produce the cleanest possible sound. Because of the tinny quality and distorting echo, its origins in an outside venue are very apparent. Highland also use the February 28th Detroit tape for “Firebird Suite” and the first fifty seconds of “Siberian Khatru” and for the introduction and first eleven minutes of “The Revealing Science Of God.” There is also a cut at 4:06 in “The Ancient.” The don’t mention this anywhere on the artwork making a first listen very confusion, especially with the switch in sound quality between the sources and the duplication of Anderson’s “jungle of trips” comment at the start of the second half of the show.
This is a good but problematic early in the tour performance beginning after the second song of the night. There is a distraction after “And You And I” when a jet flies over the stadium (which is barely audible on the tape). Anderson jokes, “on to the next DC9 that goes over whilst they’re serving hot herbal tea. This is the title track from the same album. It’s called ‘Close To The Edge.'” The taper drops his recorder six minutes into the song and it takes him a while to pick it up. There seem to be more problems at the end of the song which Anderson mentions, saying, “I’d like to thank you for being so patient earlier. We need you to be a little more patient for about…ten minutes because some of the things on stage are going to blow. So we’re going to check a few things and then we’ll be back. We were originally going to have a break we’re going to do that. So see you in a minute.”
The second half of the show is a bit smoother than the first except for “The Remembering.” It’s been said that Wakeman’s solos at the end of the piece caused enough friction between he and Anderson to prompt its removal from the set later in the month. This is an excellent example of what Anderson was complaining about. Although Wakeman plays an interesting piece, it is completely at odds with the spirit of the song. What is supposed to be a representation of the ebb and flow of human consciousness is transformed by Wakeman into a descent to the frozen city of Dis from Dante’s Inferno. The tape becomes noticeably more distorted during the clanging “The Ancient” and “Ritual” which curiously enhances the pieces. Highland, who normally utilize double slimline jewel cases use instead a thick cardboard gatefold sleeve. Topographic Ocean View is a flawed tape of a flawed concert and for those who are looking for a complete live Tales show should look elsewhere. It is however a curious piece of Yes history to hear.