Archive for the ‘Yes’ Category

Yes Newcastle City Hall 26 June 2022

yes5Well it finally happened. I contracted Covid! Possibly when I went to see the Rolling Stones at Anfield (at least I was in good company as a certain Sir Mick Jagger also went down with the nasty virus). Luckily we are both clear now although it took me a week to get there, that is before I tested negative. In the meantime I missed a few concerts but I was so wiped out I couldn’t possibly have attended. Still I was feeling just about well enough to venture out last night to see one of my favourite all-time bands, Yes.

Now they say that one forms allegiances to the bands that you see when you are young. This has certainly been the case with me. I first saw Yes in 1969 when I was all of 12 years old and they were supporting the Bonzo Dog Band (who had just been in the chart with “I’m an Urban Space Man”). The music was loud, exciting, bright and like nothing else I had ever experienced before. I went on my own and I was in the front row a few feet away from the band who, in those days was Jon Anderson (vocals), Peter Banks (guitar), Chris Squire (bass guitar), Tony Kaye (keyboards) and Bill Bruford (drums). Completely different from the lineup I saw last night.

yes2From that night on I was a lifelong Yes fan and must have seen them many, many times over the years since. The lineup has changed along a winding, meandering road with Steve Howe replacing Peter Banks on guitar in 1970 and Rick Wakeman and Alan White joining on keyboards and drums respectively, shortly afterwards. Then came many lineup changes, lots of classic albums, and mega prog stardom. Along the way Jon Anderson left, as did Rick Wakeman, and Steve Howe left and then rejoined the fold. Chris Squire and Alan White both sadly passed away; local hero Alan White very recently (he hailed from Chester le Street). But the true story of Yes is much much more complicated than that!

The current members of Yes are: Steve Howe – guitars (first joined in 1970); Geoff Downes – keyboards (first joined in 1980 for the Drama album in a strange incarnation of the band where he and Buggles compatriot Trevor Horn joined for a short period); Billy Sherwood – bass guitar (since 2015); Jon Davison – lead vocals (since 2012); Jay Schellen – drums (has been playing drums with the band since 2017, sometimes deputising for Alan White who sadly passed away in May 2022).

yes1The tour had originally been billed as a recreation of the Relayer album; however (and to my delight) something changed their minds and it became a recreation of the Close to the Edge album. A much better choice! The show started with something of a very pleasant surprise. Illustrator Roger Dean, creator of the Yes logo, many of their album covers and several other progressive rock LP covers, walked on stage and took us through a slideshow of his life as an illustrator and with Yes. Fantastic! This was followed by a fitting tribute to Alan White with many nice images of the great drummer appearing on the backdrop.
The band then took to the stage and started the first half of the show with a set comprising songs from throughout the band’s career. This includes to my delight “Yours Is No Disgrace” and “No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed” the latter coming from the second album Time and a Word, an album on which none of the current members featured! This song, a cover of a Richie Havens track, with its swirling keyboards playing excerpts from the Western film The Big Country was always a favourite of mine in their early days. Other great songs were “Wondrous Stories” and an excellent rendition of “Clap” by Steve Howe. We were also treated to a couple of tracks from the latest Yes album The Quest, which seems to follow in the great tradition of Yes music. I have often asked “when is a band no longer a band?” In the case of Yes I think the latest incarnation does full justice to the great heritage of Yes music. The vocals are very reminiscent of the great John Anderson, who also fronts his own version of Yes music along with Rick Wakeman and Trevor Rabin, all former band members. Curiouser and curiouser! Anyway to answer my question “yes (no pun intended)” this grouping of musicians do indeed deserve the name. The first half of the show concluded with another great favourite “Heart of the Sunrise” from the Fragile album.

yes4During the interval I partook in a pint of lager (no Guinness I am afraid) and bought a couple of copies of the programme/book (one for my friend John in the USA) which is a sumptuous product celebrating the 50th anniversary of Close to the Edge and taking the reader through the whole history of the band.
The second set comprises the great album Close to the Edge played in its entirety. I had forgotten just how wonderful the tracks on this album are. The encores take us back to the early days and “Roundabout” followed by closing song “Starship Trooper”. A fantastic evening of Yes music. I hope I can experience many more such evenings.

Many thanks to Lisa for the photographs and Elaine for helping me into my bed. I must admit I was rather tired; to my shame I was finding it difficult to keep my eyes open towards the end of the set; Covid has taken its toll on me and it will take me some time to fully recover.


First set: On the Silent Wings of Freedom; Yours Is No Disgrace; No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed; Does It Really Happen?; Clap; Wonderous Stories; The Ice Bridge; Dare to Know; Heart of the Sunrise.

Close to the Edge Set: Close to the Edge; And You and I; Siberian Khatru.

Encore: Roundabout; Starship Trooper.

Quintessential Yes: the 50th anniversary tour Newcastle City Hall 12th June 2018

So this was my second Yes experience within a few months. My conundrum continues…….When is Yes not Yes? Now this version of Yes was the intriguing yes tix 3combination of Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman and Trevor Rabin. Jon Anderson is, of course, a founder member of the band and Rick Wakeman a member of the “classic” Yes line-up. I never saw the line-up of Yes with Trevor Rabin in the band and, I must admit, it was not one of my favourite incarnations of Yes. To me, and I guess many other fans, Jon Anderson epitomises Yes. I have an image in my mind of Jon singing “Close to the Edge” on a warm balmy evening at the Reading Festival, rising out of a smog of dry ice and smoke, wearing a smock top; his vocals soaring above the field and up into the sky. That was probably one of the best times I saw Yes, along with some wonderful shows in the early days when they were still playing covers like “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story and “Eleanor Rigby” by the Beatles. So Jon Anderson holds a special place in the Yes hierarchy for me. So was this be the true Yes that I was about to see? Why, even the ticket called the band “Yes”!

I have seen Yes many, many times and they will always hold a special place in my heart, as the first band I ever saw and still one of my favourite bands of all time. So I can’t help but get excited each time I see them. This time the set list was a mixture of classic Yes and several (some of which I didn’t really know) songs from the Rabin era Yes. So it was the old favourites than I focused on, I really enjoyed and that I hoped would help me in my search for the true soul, spirit and ethos of “Yes”. The concert was in the form of two sets, just as the Steve Howe led Yes concert was I had seen a few months earlier. Similarly, the set comprised favourites and less familiar songs.yes prog 2

This time the first classic song was “I’ve Seen All Good People”, but it was “And You and I” which epitomised Jon Anderson and Yes, and was sung in the way in only Jon can sing it. In the second half “Heart of the Sunrise” again convinced me that there are certain songs that are so entwined with 1970s Jon Anderson that no one else can do them justice. “Owner of a Lonely Heart” saw Trevor Rabin come into his own, with some tremendous guitar solo work. The encore was a rocky version of “Roundabout”. And that was the root of the difference; that is the “rocking” nature of this band. This version of Yes were a little too classic rock, as a result of Rabin’s influence, for my liking. Somewhere along the line they had lost the prog rock, jazzy feel that epitomises the band for me. So which version of Yes is Yes? For me the Steve Howe incarnation of the band continues the lineage of the true spirit and ethos of Yes. But this version does justice to certain songs in a way that only Jon Anderson can. The truth is both bands are excellent in their own way and there is room for both; and of course it gives us two chances to celebrate the wonderful thing which is Yes music. Now I would love to see the two bands merge in a way that brings together Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe and Alan White. But perhaps I can only dream. But then you never know, time heals many wounds and stranger things have happened.

Setlist. Set 1: Cinema; Hold On; South Side of the Sky; I’ve Seen All Good People; And You and I; Changes; Rhythm of Love. Set 2: I Am Waiting; Heart of the Sunrise; Awaken; Owner of a Lonely Heart. Encore: Roundabout

A Rick Wakeman concert I couldn’t attend: and a mystery solved!

On searching through my ticket stubs, my elder daughter Ashleigh came across this signed ticket, for a concert by Rick Wakeman at South Shields Customs House. Looking at the date; the concert came a few days after my accident. In fact so close to my accident that it was impossible that I had attended the show. Now I can recall going to see Rick Wakeman with my younger daughter, Laura, at a fantastic concert at Newcastle City Hall which we both greatly enjoyed. But I have no recollection of ever having tickets for this concert in South Shields. Reading the ticket stub, it seemed that someone had gone along to the concert, met Rick Wakeman and asked him to sign the ticket with a kind “Get Better!!!” message dedicated to me. rik

To my shame I have no recollection of any of this, and I could not remember who on earth had got the ticket signed for me. In my defence, I was in intensive care at the time, high on morphine, and didn’t really know what was going on! I racked my brains which of my friends could have done such a kind thing for me. But I could not identify the friendly culprit.

I happened to mention my predicament to Laura, who managed to solve the problem immediately. “It was Ian” she said. Now Ian is a friend of both Laura and me, a fellow rock fan and concertgoer and also a very accomplished musician who leads a band in which Laura sometimes accompanies him on vocals. So the problem is solved and a big Thank You to Ian for being so kind to me at a very difficult time, and to Rick Wakeman for signing the ticket for me. Ian apparently told Rick the full sorry tale of my accident and the extent of my predicament at the time. I hope I get the chance to see Rick Wakeman again one day and thank him myself personally.

Yes Sage Gateshead 18th March 2018

yes prog fWhen is Yes not Yes? (or is it No?). Having lost founder member, some would say leader, and unique bass player Chris Squire; Yes have now no original members in the band. I realise, of course, that guitarist Steve Howe has been in the band since the early 70s and that he was a member of the classic lineup of Yes. However, when I first saw the band in 1969, the guitarist was Peter Banks. And of course keyboard player Geoff Downes was a member of the band at the time of the Drama album when he and Buggles colleague, Trevor Horn joined the band in quite a strange incarnation of Yes. And drummer Alan White remains in the band and was a member of the classic line-up. But the fact remains that, since the sad passing of Chris Squire, the current line up of Yes contains no original members. Now there are many classic rock bands with one original member including Deep Purple (drummer Ian Paice), the Moody Blues (drummer Graeme Edge), Uriah Heep (guitarist Mick Box) and Status Quo (singer/guitarist Francis Rossi). But I can think of no other well-known rock band with no original members. In the case of Deep Purple and the Moody Blues it was the second incarnation of the band who are recognised as the classic lineup and the same is somewhat true of Yes. There are a few 60s bands with no original members including The Fortunes and Marmalade.

yes tix 2Anyway back to my conundrum: when is Yes not Yes? I have written elsewhere (Smith, 2016) about how the soul and spirit of a band can transcend the members, using The Who as an example; and I think only in performance can this truly be judged. So I went along with great interest to see if the current lineup maintained the spirit, soul and ethos of what I recognise to be Yes. A few weeks later I was due to see Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman and Trevor Rabin play “Quintessential Yes: The 50th Anniversary Tour” at Newcastle City Hall. So I was bound to make comparisons between the two incarnations of the Yes band.

The publicity for the tour said: “The year 2018 marks half a century since the formation of the legendary group YES, one of the biggest bands in prog-rock history and true pioneers of the genre. To celebrate this remarkable milestone, YES will embark on a 10-date UK Tour in March 2018 – #YES50. On this not-to-be-missed tour, YES [Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes, Jon Davison (vocals) and Billy Sherwood (bass)] will feature not only many of the band’s classic hits, but performances of Sides 1 and 4 and an excerpt from Side 3 of their 1973 album, Tales From Topographic Oceans, which was the first YES album to top the UK Album Charts.”

“Much has changed since I joined Yes in 1970, but the core elements of the band have remained consistent,” shares guitarist Steve Howe. “We want to mark this anniversary with a tour that encompasses some of our best-loved work and revisit a few classic pieces that have been lost for a while. We look forward to sharing the 50th anniversary with the fanbase, playing classic songs that celebrate the broad musical style of Yes.”

So back to my conundrum again; when is Yes not Yes, or rather is Yes still Yes? As I say, the answer lies somewhere in the performance. Now this time, the tour was publicised as a set of greatest hits and excerpts from Tales from Topographic Oceans. Now, Tales from Topographic Oceans was never my favourite Yes album. I saw the tour and was somewhat bored that evening. I do possess a vinyl copy of the album (which I have played once or twice). yes prog b

So I went along to the concert, with my carer Hannah, with some trepidation. As it happened the concert was much better than I expected. There were two sets, the first comprising well-known Yes classics and the second comprising excerpts from Tales from Topographic Oceans. So we took our seats in a box close to the stage and soon the concert started with a familiar opening song: “Yours Is No Disgrace” performed just as it should be and just as I remembered it. Excellent. This was followed by another Yes classic, again performed well: “I’ve Seen All Good People.” Then we were right back to the start, with “Sweet Dreams”, a song written and recorded before any of the current members were in the band and bringing back so many happy memories to me. The next song “South Side of the Sky” was less familiar to me but we were soon back on familiar territory with Steve Howe performing his guitar solo extravaganza “Mood for a Day”, which I spent many an hour trying to learn how to play on my old 1962 Fender Stratocaster (why did I ever sell that? 😦 ) Then we were treated to the truly wondrous “Wondrous Stories”, followed by another unfamiliar song “Parallels” and then a song which has grown on me over the years and is now one of my favourites “And You and I”, which closed the first set. After a short interval, and a lovely butterscotch ice cream, the second set featured excerpts from the aforementioned Tales from Topographic Oceans. I must say I enjoyed it much more than I expected. The encores were a wonderful, swirling, version of “Roundabout” and an uplifting “Starship Trooper.” My verdict? This was a powerful performance by Yes that was true to the jazzy, progressive rock roots of the band. So yes, Yes remain Yes and to my mind, deserve the title. Wonderful, uplifting, soaring and classic, bringing back memories of so many happy, happy days. Next up an evening of “Quintessential Yes.” So more to follow: yes yet more musings of Yes for another blogging soon.


Setlist: The Firebird Suite (intro). Set 1: Yours Is No Disgrace; I’ve Seen All Good People; Sweet Dreams; South Side of the Sky; Mood for a Day; Wonderous Stories; Parallels; And You and I. Set 2: The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn); Leaves of Green; Ritual (Nous sommes du soleil). Encore: Roundabout; Starship Trooper

Smith, P. (2016). An analysis of The Who in concert: 1971 to 2014, in Gennaro, R & Harrison, C. The Who and philosophy, Lexington, pp 209 – 222


Yes Manchester Arena 19th June 2004

Yes Manchester Arena 19th June 2004
yestix2004In 2004 Yes reverted back to the classic 1970s line-up of Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman and Alan White. They celebrated their rich musical legacy by going out on 35th anniversary arena tour, complete with a new massive OTT Roger Dean stage set. I feared that the massive 20,000 capacity Manchester Arena would be empty, as it was many years since Yes had performed in large venues in the UK. However, I needn’t have worried. Yes fans from all over the North turned out for the occasion, and although the upper tier of the arena was curtained off, the turn-out was impressive, with the lower tier and the floor area almost full. Marie and I went to Manchester for the weekend and had seats about half way back on the floor, with a great view of the stage. I was quite excited about seeing the classic band again, and with a big show.
yesprog2004This was Yes on full power, with a set which took us Right through their career, including going back to “Sweet Dreams” and “Your is no Disgrace”. The show was in two sets, the second set including acoustic versions of some of the classics. An excellent concert.
Set 1: The Firebird Suite (intro); Going for the One; Sweet Dreams; I’ve Seen All Good People; Mind Drive (Part 1); South Side of the Sky; Turn of the Century; Foot Prints; Mind Drive (Part 2); Yours Is No Disgrace
Set 2: The Meeting; Long Distance Runaround; Wonderous Stories; Time Is Time; Roundabout; Show Me (Steve Howe guitar solo); Owner of a Lonely Heart; Second Initial (Steve Howe solo); Rhythm of Love; And You and I; Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil)
Encore: Starship Trooper

I saw Yes on three further occassions; in 2009, 2011 and 2014. I have already blogged about those concerts; so this concludes my coverage of Yes. I am going to spend the next few days catching up on a few bands/gigs that I have overlooked, before completing “Y” (I have Paul Young to cover) and then moving on to the letter “Z”.

Yes Symphonic (or Magnification) Tour Newcastle City Hall 12th December 2001

Yes Symphonic (or Magnification) Tour Newcastle City Hall 12th December 2001yestix2001
For the Magnification album and tour Yes were accompanied by an orchestra. It had been many years since I had seen the band, and what better way to do so. The line-up of Yes for this tour was Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White. They were accompanied by Tom Brislin on keyboards. The orchestra was conducted by Wilhelm Keitel. I remember that I’d had a terrible day at work, and I was unsure whether to go to the concert at all. However, the thought of seeing Yes again raised my spirits and I enjoyed the concert and was pleased that I went.
yesprog2001The set was a mix of songs from throughout their career, including several newer ones which were totally unfamiliar to me. Classic Yes tracks which they played were “Close to the Edge”, “Long Distance Run-around”, “Starship Trooper”, “And You and I” and “I’ve Seen All Good People”. The encore was “Roundabout”. The orchestra added greater depth and richness to the Yes sound which suited some of their more expansive pieces such as “Ritual”. However, I felt that some of their songs, “Starship Trooper” for example, were better suited to their original “band” sound and that the orchestra added little to them, and sometimes detracted from the purity of the song. Having said that, I enjoyed the concert and it was great to see Yes again, after such a long time.
yes2001The concert at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam on 22 November 2001 was recorded and released on DVD in 2002 and on CD in 2003.
Setlist: Give Love Each Day; Close to the Edge; Listen to Your Heart; Long Distance Run-around; Don’t Go; In the Presence of… Concerto in D (2nd Movement) (Steve Howe); Second Initial (Steve Howe); Starship Trooper; Magnification; And You and I; Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil); I’ve Seen All Good People
Encore: Roundabout
Many thanks to Mitch for the image of his flyer from the concert.

Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe Whitley Bay Ice Rink 20th October 1989

Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe Whitley Bay Ice Rink 20th October 1989
YesabwhBy 1988 Jon Anderson had become disillusioned with Yes, who now consisted of himself, Trevor Rabin on guitar, Tony Kaye on keyboards, Chris Squire on bass and Alan White on drums. Rabin and Squire were taking the band in a more rock-oriented direction, and Anderson wished to return to the more traditional Yes sound. He left the band, initially intending to record a solo album. He was soon joined by previous Yes members Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe. The band recorded one album, “Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe” and went out on tour, advertising the shows as “An Evening of Yes Music Plus”. Chris Squire and co filed a law suit which attempted to prevent them using the name “Yes” in any of the publicity, however the tour went ahead. The UK leg of the tour started with a concert at Whitley Bay Ice Rink, then visited Edinburgh Playhouse, Birmingham NEC and closed with three nights at Wembley Arena. The Whitley Bay show was not very well publicised: I think it was added to the itinerary at the last minute, and as a result it was poorly attended. The cold, cavernous ice rink was never a great concert venue, and the sound wasn’t good. However, it was wonderful to hear those Yes classics again. They started by going back to the early days with “Time and a Word”, played “And You and I”, “Close to the Edge” and “Heart of the Sunrise”, and the more recent “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. Steve Howe performed both “Clap” and “Mood for a Day”. They also played several new songs which featured on the “Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe” album. The encores were “Roundabout” and “Starship Trooper”. The four Yes members were augmented by additional musicians including Tony Levin on bass. The concert reminded me just how great Yes were; “Heart of the Sunrise” is a particular favourite of mine, and I remember being knocked out by Jon’s performance of that song in particular at Whitley Bay.
Set 1: The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (intro); Time and a Word; Owner of a Lonely Heart; Teakbois; Clap/Mood for a Day (Steve Howe); Gone But Not Forgotten/Catherine Parr/Merlin The Magician (Rick Wakeman); Long Distance Runaround; Birthright; And You and I; I’ve Seen All Good People;
Set 2: Close to the Edge; Themes; Brother of Mine; The Meeting; Heart of the Sunrise; Order of the Universe; Roundabout
Encore: Starship Trooper

Yes Newcastle City Hall 2nd December 1980

Yes Newcastle City Hall 2nd December 1980
testix80I missed the next couple of Yes tours. I had tickets for the “Going for the One” tour (with Donovan support) at Glasgow Apollo, but passed on it to see the Tubes at Newcastle that night. I also missed out on the Tomator Tour in 1978, which stopped off for four nights and a matinee at Wembley Arena; Yes’ only UK dates on that tour. I remember one of my mates went down to London for the matinee, returning the same evening. The next time I saw Yes was when they returned to Newcastle City Hall for three nights, as part of the Drama tour. By then Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman had departed and been replaced by Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes of Buggles and “Video Killed the Radio Star” fame. The line-up was thus Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Horn and Downes. Horn took vocal duties and Downes keyboards and synthesisers.
We went to the first concert of the three night run, and the City Hall was far from full. The line-up change was just too much for many Yes fans. There was (and still is) a very strong allegiance to Jon Anderson, and any line-up without him can never feel quite right. The fact that Jon and Rick had been replaced by Buggles seemed a step too far; the musical gap between the two bands was far too great. It didn’t feel right. We wondered what on earth this new line-up of Yes could possibly be like. yesprog80
Actually it was pretty good. Trevor Horn looked nervous, and his voice didn’t quite fit the Yes classics, but he did a great job in what must have been a very difficult situation. Geoff Downes was surrounded by keyboards and synths including a computer; which was probably the first time I’d seen anyone use one on stage. The set drew heavily from their new album “Drama” which featured the new line-up. I remember wondering if they would play “Video Killed the Radio Star”; they didn’t, but they apparently did play the song one night on the USA tour. They did play “Yours Is No Disgrace”, “And You and I”, “Starship Trooper” and “Roundabout”. I remember one of the new songs; “Into the Lens” was particularly good. An interesting concert. Chris Squire (now the only original member) definitely saw himself as the leader of the band; the programme made this very clear, starting with a picture of Chris and a statement about how he founded Yes. Yes split shortly afterwards, and would soon enter a very confusing phase of endless line-up changes. I lost touch with the band during that period. Their visits to the UK would become less frequent, as they concentrated on the American concert stage.
Setlist: Apocalypse; Does It Really Happen?; Yours Is No Disgrace; Into the Lens; Clap; And You and I; Go Through This; Man in the White Car Suite; We Can Fly From Here (a Buggles song); Tempus Fugit; Amazing Grace / Whitefish; Machine Messiah
Encore: Starship Trooper; Roundabout; White Car (a cappela)

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

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