Wonderous Master (Siréne-197)
Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA – September 26th, 1977
Disc 1: Firebird Suite, Parallels, I’ve Seen All Good People, Close To The Edge, Wondrous Stories, Colours Of The Rainbow, Turn Of The Century, Tour Song, And You And I, Going For The One
Disc 2: Flight Jam, Awaken, Starship Trooper, Roundabout
Wonderous Master is the newest Yes release on the prolific Sirene label and uses the Millard tape for the Long Beach concert on September 26th, 1977. This is one of three of his tapes that exist from the Going For The One tour along with the September 23rd and 24th Los Angeles shows. An older source for Long Beach is also in existence and was used for the 80’s vinyl release Yesshows 1977 on Ruthless Rhymes which contained only “Parallels”, “Wondrous Stories”, “Colours Of The Rainbow”, “Turn Of The Century”, “Tour Song”, “Going For The One”, and “Roundabout”.
That source was good to very good but his new one is as good as can be expected from the famous taper. It is a complete, excellent three-dimensional stereo recording. There is a small digital flaw during the “Firebird Suite” that lasts a second or two and is not really important but is there. Musically this complete and there is no interference from the audience so we have a great record of the concert that night.
This concert lies in the middle of Yes’ US and European tours in support of the new album. This night has no rarities but rather the usual set-list for this time which is the entire album and some classics from the first Wakeman era.
Also included is the first verse of “The Beautiful Land” from the musical The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd as an introduction to “Turn Of The Century”. (This arrangement was used at every show and to use the introductory words from a play about classes in England for a re-interpretation of the Pygmalion myth is a topic never addressed by Anderson). The “tour song” was played at about three-fourths of the shows and for Long Beach Anderson sings:
“Making our way here, down the road apiece.
Get to Long Beach, where the Queen Mary lies.
Here in Long Beach, gettin’ plenty of sunshine.
Here in Long Beach, plenty of pretty girls you know.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Came in this afternoon, to be here to play to you.
Get a good ride, lots of traffic from LA.
But we’re going to Long Beach California.
Long Beach California.
We’re going to Long Beach California.
Near LA. Near LA. Near LA. Near LA. Near LA.”
Siréne released a great tape because many of the audience sources from this tour have difficulty in picking up the dynamics of the performance, but this one doesn’t. “Parallels” sounds very close to how it was recorded. Also captured is Alan White’s use of the tympani during the “I Get Up I Get Down” section of “Close To The Edge”.
The “flight jam” is another unreleased piece of music played at every date as an introduction to “Awaken”. “Starship Trooper” is the first encore and contains a great duel between Howe and Wakeman in the “Würm” section, and “Roundabout” is the obligatory final number of the evening. Sirene use the press photo of a very seventies looking Yes on the front cover but have an out-of-focus photo on the internal insert.
Wondrous Master is printed on the thick glossy paper and is limited to three hundred copies as most titles from this label. It was a puzzle why Tarantura ignored these tapes for their The Word Is Love box set earlier this year, but Sirene have done something to rectify that situation and hopefully the Los Angeles tapes will follow.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)