Yes Stoke City Football Club 17th May 1975

Yes Stoke City Football Club 17th May 1975
yesstoke75tixSupport acts: Sensational Alex Harvey Band; Ace; Gryphon.
A month after seeing Yes at Newcastle City Hall I was off to see them again, this time at Stoke City Football ground. I drove down to the concert with my mate, both of us looking forward to seeing Yes again, and the added attraction of the amazing Sensational Alex Harvey Band. As soon as we arrived we found the nearest pub, where we were surprised to meet a bunch of lads from home, who were huge SAHB fans. We then had an argument about the relative merits of Yes versus Alex Harvey and co; such matters seemed very important at the time.
We entered the stadium and found a place on he pitch. First up was Gryphon whose medieval folk amused us; for some reason a lute, a bassoon and a tin whistle made a perfect start to the day. The weather was ok, quite sunny as I recall. Next was Ace, who pleased the crowd by playing “How Long” twice; once during the set, and again as an encore. Then came Alex.
A large Glaswegian contingent had travelled South to support Alex, Zal and the lads. They got very drunk and England vs Scotland scuffles started to break out among the crowd down at the front, close to the stage. Alex was having none of this. He stopped the song, I think it was “Framed”, pointed and stared the culprits and told them “Stop! No violence, or we don’t play any more” and the fighting ceased, just like that. Such was the power that Alex Harvey held over his audience. This was SAHB at their menacing best; Alex in his hooped t-shirt and jeans, scarf around his head, reading his philosophy to us from an old leather-bound book, Chris Glen wearing a jock strap of his jeans, and Zal in his green leotard complete with full evil harlequin make-up. Wonderful. “Don’t make wars. Don’t fight wars. And don’t pisch in the water”. They stole the show.
yesprogstoke75Other memories of the day: lots of people openly smoking joints. A little guy in the middle of the crowd sitting with a stash of dope selling it to anyone who passed by. A young guy wearing a battered top hat, posing as a member of the drug squad, grabbing hold of people and “arresting them”, then laughing and telling them it was just a joke after all.
There was a long wait before Yes took to the stage, during which time the heavens opened and it started to pour with rain. The stage crew were brushing rain from the stage and trying to cover the band’s gear with polythene sheets. Yes eventually took to the stage, and had lots of problems with the sound, caused by rain on the equipment. Steve Howe, in particular, seemed to suffer a couple of small shocks from his guitar, and was obviously worried about the danger of electrocution. In the end, after soldiering on for 40 minutes or so, Yes abandoned the show, Jon Anderson promising us that they would return and play a free gig (I’m still waiting and still have my ticket stub, guys).
Then it was back into my little old red MG Midget, and up the A1. A great day.
The next time I saw Yes was three months later, this time at the Reading festival. I’ll write about that tomorrow.
Yes setlist (cut short due to rain): Sound Chaser; Close to the Edge; The Gates of Delirium; I’ve Seen All Good People; Mood for a Day; Long Distance Runaround; Clap; Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil); Roundabout

10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Andy. on March 5, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Soldering on?


  2. Posted by L'Ornitho on August 2, 2016 at 8:35 am

    What a chance !!


  3. Posted by Nigel on February 2, 2017 at 1:39 am

    When the fight broke out Alex Harvey threatened to go down into the crowd and sort them out.


  4. Posted by Paul on September 5, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    Thanks for bringing back some memories. I can still see the rain dripping down onto the stage and Steve Howe recoiling from the shocks he was getting. I may stand to be corrected here but I thought it was Steve Howe who mentioned the free gig……anyway regardless I am still waiting as well! Didn’t Alex Harvey spray some black paint on the Yes curtain the band were playing in front of? I seem to remember it was still there on subsequent gigs I saw on that tour…….it was never replaced.


    • Posted by vintagerock on September 6, 2020 at 11:34 am

      Yes Paul a great day, spoilt only by the rain. In many ways Alex Harvey stole the show, the guy had no fear, but I guess that’s what been brought up in the Gorbals gives you! Happy days cheers Peter


  5. Posted by jeff on October 19, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    I can remember a 500 a side football match between sets


    • Posted by vintagerock on October 19, 2020 at 4:50 pm

      Hi Jeff. That sounds like fun. I can’t say I can remember it. But my memory is not good these days. I wish I had a photograph of that! Happy days Peter


  6. Posted by Steve on October 31, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks Peter that’s some memory bank you have installed there. However I can confirm as mentioned above that Alex over sprayed the word Vambo onto Yess lovely white curtain and it remained for subsequent gigs. Despite that If road manager words were exchanged on the day I know who my money would be on


    • Posted by vintagerock on October 31, 2020 at 2:31 pm

      Thanks Steve I had to do it before my memory goes! Yes Alex was fearless and brave back in the day. I guess that’s what been brought up in the Gorbals does for you. Happy days Best wishes Peter


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