Yes – Wonderous Mystery Tour (Highland HL248/49)

Wonderous Mystery Tour (Highland HL248/49)

Springfield Civic Center Exhibition Hall, Springfield, MA – August 10th, 1977

Disc 1 (60:10):  Firebird Suite, Parallels, I’ve Seen All Good People, Close To The Edge, Wondrous Stories, Colours Of The Rainbow, Turn Of The Century, And You And I

Disc 2 (68:25):  “Awaken” A Prelude, Awaken, Starship Trooper.  Bonus tracks, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY- August 6th, 1977:  Parallels, Close To The Edge, Wondrous Stories, Colours Of The Rainbow,  And You And I

The first month of the Going For The One tour had seven dates in and around New England early on including Yes’ first ever appearance in Springfield, Massachusetts’ capitol.  They played in the in the 8,000 capacity Civic Center Exhibition Hall before a sold out house.  They would appear there on the next three tours (1978 to 1984).  All of the shows have been taped but this is the only one appearing on silver.  (The 1978 show is important for being one of the very few live performances of “Release, Release.”)

The sound on Wonderous Mystery Tour is very good bordering on excellent.  It captures the chaotic atmosphere very well and has a great live sound to it.  The taper conserved tape by pausing between the songs.  It cuts out six minutes into the first encore “Starship Trooper” just as they begin “Würm,” and the second encore “Roundabout” is missing.  This recording would have been so much better if it didn’t have the cuts, but the sound quality makes up for it but this is a show that appeals more to yes completists than casual collectors.  

Firebird suite opens the show, played through the pa before the band come on stage with “Parallels.”  Jon Anderson’s microphone goes out for a bit at the beginning of the second verse (“I’ve been all around the world…”)  There is such a commotion that afterwards Anderson has to engage in crowd control.  “I know it’s very, very difficult here but I’d just like to say….So if you can move back a little bit you’ll give everybody… And when your moving you need elbow room. Here’s a song for you and if you can move back a little bit it really, really would help a lot. Just keep trying.” 

The taper pauses the tape three times during the long interlude so it’s not clear how long the delay was.  There are tremendous shouts and hand clapping throughout “I’ve Seen All Good People”  –  nothing distracting.  In fact, it’s great to hear eight thousand people stamping along to the classic.  Straight into “Close To The Edge” and in the opening instrumental, before the words begin, Steve Howe seems to lose control of his guitar.  It’s not clear if he’s lost or is trying to develop a new melody.

“Wondrous Stories” sounds great, but the audience seems to grow impatient with the slower material that follows, “Colours Of The Rainbow” and “Turn Of The Century.”  The title track of the new album “Going For The One,” which was played in the middle of the set, wasn’t in Springfield.  The audience react to “Awaken” as well, getting into the melody and the long harp solo in the middle of the piece.  They play a funky little tune as a prelude to “Starship Trooper.”  

Highland include five songs from the first half of the August 6th New York show as filler on disc two.  It is a good but muffled audience tape.  This is the second of three shows at Madison Square Garden and has been described as utter pandemonium.  Madison Square Garden erupts as the classic line up hits the stage for “Parallels” and even Anderson acknowledges the response, saying afterwards:  “this must be Saturday night in New York City.”  “I’ve Seen All Good People” and most of “Turn Of The Century” are cut out.  This fragment is a nice bonus, but hearing the entire show would be great.  Overall Wonderous Mystery Tour is a good release but there are much better silver titles from this tour. 

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