Yes Reading festival 23rd August 1975

Yes Reading festival 23rd August 1975
imageThis is probably my favourite Yes show. Not because it was their best performance, although it was pretty good. No, this show just felt right; one of those moments in time that worked. Yes were one of the biggest bands in the UK at the time, Reading was the most iconic festival of the mid-70s, and Yes headlined the Saturday night, which was seen as the “main” night. The rest of the line-up was strong, and the festival sold out in advance, which was unusual.
There was something special about Yes’ set that night. Although I’d already seen the band twice that year, I was still excited about seeing them. The crowd waited in anticipation, for what seemed like a long time; there was an hour or more delay while Yes set up their equipment and apparently insisted on using their own mixing desk, rather than the festival gear, which every other band used. It was worth the wait, although it started to rain, and continued to do so throughout Yes’ set. Yes had a spectacular laser show, the green lights cascading through the rain and across the field. The set was similar to that which they had played throughout the Relayer tour, although I think they played one new song “High Vibration” which was to appear on their next album “Going for the One”. Jon Anderson was amazing, his small figure picked out by the stage lights, and his gentle, sharp, shrill, sweet voice drifting over the field in the cool evening. “Close to the Edge” and “And You and I” we’re classic. Yes played until well after midnight which was the curfew, and their performance was, in the end, cut short. They returned to play a triumphant “Roundabout”. I think they also started to play “Sweet Dreams” but were prevented from doing so.
Robert Fripp of King Crimson was present and in a 1979 interview summed up his evening thus: “I went to the Reading Festival in August, 1975. A band came on stage who were actually friends of mine [I assume he is referring to Yes]. Anyway, we’d been waiting an hour-and-a-half while their laser show was being set up. I went out to the front. It began to rain. I was standing in six inches of mud. It was drizzling. A man over here on my right began to vomit. And a man over here on my left pulled open his flies and began to urinate on my leg.” A typical festival then 🙂
Dave Holmes tells a great story (on Forgotten Yesterday’s site): “Imagine my horror……,.when, at 12:23 as I recall, emerging from stage left, came the small, grey-suited and grey-haired figure of… my Dad! He walked straight up to Jon Anderson, mid-song, actually took the microphone off him, and made some kind of announcement to the audience about having to finish the concert. The rest of the band looked stunned and stopped playing. The stage lights went off, the crowd started booing and throwing cans of piss at the stage. That was the end of the set and the festival for the year. I didn’t know what to do, I was dying of shame…”
Happy days.
Setlist: Sound Chaser; Close to the Edge; And You and I; High Vibration; The Gates of Delirium; Leaves of Green; I’ve seen all Good People; Mood for a Day; Long Distance Runaround; Clap; Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil). Encore: Roundabout

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Steve Sanghera on January 2, 2018 at 12:09 am

    Yes where fined £100 for every minute they played and I remember to this day it was 23 mins past midnight


  2. It was a great night, pissing with rain and a terrific light show. Plenty of the ‘happy stuff’ went around in a metal bin, and you helped yourself! Yes did their stuff and we all had a fantastic time; we also went to Watchfield, where the scene was much more chilled man.


    • Posted by vintagerock on January 16, 2021 at 12:32 pm

      Happy days Mike. Like you I also called in to Watchfield on the way back home; but can’t remember seeing much of it Best wishes Peter


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