Wonderous Show (Fragile JY22A/B)
Sporthalle, Cologne, Germany – November 29th, 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
Disc 2: Going For The One, Flight Jam/Awaken, Yours Is No Disgrace, Roundabout
Yes’ stop in Cologne occurs in the final week of the Going For The One tour and one of the last in Germany, a country where they heavily promoted the album. Wonderous Show utilizes an audience recording that is very good bordering on excellent and very loud. All of the instruments are clear and perfectly balanced and follow the adjustments throughout the show.
There is a cut at the very end of “Colours Of The Rainbow,” a tape wobble 1:16 in “And You And I” and some mic handling noise during “Yours Is No Disgrace.” All are very minor issues and none distract from the enjoyment of the concert. The Germany concerts on this tour are very well covered by Highland (Heidelberg and Berlin), but the sound quality for Cologne is superior.
The tape cuts in by the end of the Firebird Suite (with Wakeman playing along on keyboards) before the segue into “Parallels.” It is a shame this song would essentially disappear after this tour because it is one of their most effective set openers.
“Danke schoen. Many more thank you-s. It’s good to be in Köln with you. This is called…no. This is a song for you” Anderson says before a “I’ve Seen All Good People” sounding very much like it does on Yessongs. “Close To The Edge” is the first epic of the set and Howe locks onto a strange nursery rhyme melody during the initial attack and before the first verse. The “I Get Up I Get Down” section is very delicate and stands in contrast to the volume of the rest of the piece.
“That was a song called ‘Close To The Edge’ which we got on record five years ago, but it seems like yesterday. Here’s a song that we did this year on record. A song about, how do you way, wunderbar morning. I can’t even remember what German is for morning. It was a beautiful morning. Morgen! Thank you. A wunderbar morgen called ‘Wonderous Stories.'” Thus begins the laid back portion of the show with “Wondrous Stories,” the “Colours Of The Rainbow” interlude and the sublime “Turn Of The Century” which, in this recording, is crystal clear in the contrast between Anderson and Howe’s guitar lines.
“Tour Song” is three minutes long as Anderson sings:
“We’ve been traveling traveling for what seems like a long time, yes we have / You’ve been traveling traveling today to see the show / For what seems like ten thousand years or more you keep building up the score / Of course it’s always good to know, it’s good to be with you / It’s good to be with you, it’s good to be with you, it’s good to be with you. It’s good to be with you, it’s good to be with you.
“We’ve mentioned it a couple of times but I think we got a way with it / It’s been such a long journey just getting to make a bit of it / To make it to Cologne to make it to Cologne to come and play for you to come and play for you to come and pay for you
“Is this Germany? Is this Germany? I can’t hear Germany. It’s really good to be with you, it’s really good to be with you, it’s really good to be with you.
“Is this America? Is this England? Is this Scotland? Is this Copenhagen? Is this Germany? Is this Germany? Is this Germany? Is this Germany?
“It’s good to be with you, it’s good to be with you, it’s good to be with you. / It’s good to be with you, it’s good to be with you, it’s good to be with you. / One more time: Is this Germany? Is this Deutschland??”
The band play a three minute pastoral introduction to “Going For The One” with Anderson chanting something incomprehensible before introducing the song as “a bit of rock and roll.” The “Awaken” prelude is four minutes pushing the entire epic to about twenty. There is a heavy echo on Anderson’s vocals in the beginning and ending “High vibration” verses making an already ethereal music even more ethereal. Yes reward the audience with two long encores “Yours Is No Disgrace” and “Roundabout.”
Wonderous Show was released in the late summer of 2001 and is the only release on the Fragile label whose biggest flaw is misspelling the word wondrous. Whether it was intended to be a one-off or not, it’s a shame they didn’t continue because this is a fantastic release and is worth having.
Highland and TDOLZ labels are surely missed. As are Swingin’ Pig, Great Dane, Vigotone and Kiss The Stone.
It is still a crying shame Highland stopped producing silver titles and switched to CDR. They were definitely my favorite of all.
This release comes from HIGHLAND label. The tape provider asked HIGHLAND to release this show on a unique label.
The release number JY22 has a meaning as well: j is the first character of the tape providers forename, y is the first character of the HIGHLAND label owners forename. 22 means that the two met twice.