from the Gary Johnson interview with Chris Squire for the release of the DVD "Yes Live At Montreux 2003".
Q - Yes had been kicking around awhile and nothing much was happening for you until you subbed at the last minute for Sly And The Family Stone at a major London club. Do you remember the name of that club?
A - Yes, I do remember very clearly. The club was called Blaises. It was one of the two most popular late-night, until 4 AM, London clubs, along with the Speak Easy. They were pretty much owned by the same people I guess. I remember clearly actually being in bed, doing some late night reading and Jon Anderson actually lived in the same building. He had a different apartment in his house, The Kensington. I think he also was asleep. It was around midnight or something. I get this phone call from someone who I knew and the manager of the club came on: "Hey, I know you guys just live around the corner and it'll take you 5 minutes to get here. Can you come down and do a set?" Of course the place is packed with people who are here to see Sly for his first ever London appearance. They had to put somebody on, 'cause he was not arriving. I got to know him actually quite well later in the 80s when Yes was recording ideas for the "Big Generator" album, and we were in Los Angeles and I became real friendly with Sly at that point. I don't think he would've remembered (Blaises) 'cause he didn't show up. Eventually they did and played the Lyceum Ballroom, which is another big Rock 'n' Roll venue. They were fantastic.
Q - What did Yes do that made the crowd love the band so much?
A - We just got on stage and did what we did. I guess we were probably applauded for the fact that we actually mobilized ourselves at such short notice. I guess people in the club were really grateful, especially the manager, a guy called Roy Flynn, that actually became Yes' first manager for about a year or two.
Saturday, April 8, 2017 1:34 PM
The gig where Yes was a last-minute sub for Sly and the Family Stone, and killed it. Keith Emerson, Pete Townshend, and Eric Clapton are in attendance and all reportedly impressed. Roy Flynn offers to be Yes' manager then and there. The next day he buys them a Hammond organ, a new drum kit, and a van.
A crucial break came in September 1968, when Sly & The Family Stone failed to show for a gig at Blaise's. At the suggestion of Tony Stratton-Smith (then manager of The Nice and future head of Charisma Records), club manager Roy Flynn headed to Yes's flat and virtually dragged the band out of bed to play. While legend may have long since overshadowed reality in terms of brilliance of that night's performance, the fact is that, as a result, the word was out.