I was extremely fortunate to be centre row in the gallery for this concert,( right above Eddie Offord on the mixing desk,least I think it was Eddie). This would had to have been the best concert I have ever seen. The band was probably at their spiritual,musical and creative peak on this tour, with apologies for anyone who has only experienced Yes on later tours. I didn't get to the concert in Sydney,partly because memories of this concert were so good and you can't ever go back as they say.I am still a big Yesfan now and having since bought Yes Dvd's I will see them if they tour again. Favourite Yes Album -- Tales from Topographic Oceans.
Yes man Rick never says no to a session GO SCENE with Peter Farrell
THE dozen or so people at De Brazil nightclub in the early hours last Tuesday gawked as the tall, hairy young man climbed up on the stage with the nightclub's band and seated himself at the organ.
But moment later the were snapping their fingers and tapping their feet as he let fly with some superb improvised playing on old numbers like Stormy Monday and Lonesome Road.
When he finally left the stage after half an hour of swinging music the applause from the dozen or so was deafening in the small club.
But applause is nothing new for the young man. Those people didn't know it, but they were watching one of the world's most highly paid musicians at work.
His name is Rick Wakeman, and hours before he and the four other members of the English pop group Yes had received a 15-minute standing ovation at Festival Hall after the first concert of their Australian tour.
TEACHER At the age of 23, he has the music work at his feet. But he got just as much of a kick out of playing for 12 people in a Brisbane club as he gets out of playing for 20,000 fans at a huge American stadium.
"That was really fantastic" he said when he came down off the stage.
"I haven't played that sort of stuff for ages."
Rick Wakeman is no ordinary belt-and-bash pop musician. He has a degree from London's famous Royal College of Music and taught classical piano for a year before moving into the pop field - to make some money.
COLLECTOR His first professional engagement was playing in a jazz band, at a public baths in England.
But other - more lucrative - session work in recording studios followed. Two years ago he joined Yes, which is rapidly becoming the most popular pop group in the world with nine gold record awards for its albums in the last two years.
Those two years have been richly rewarding for Rick. He can afford to live in a $150,000 house outside London, and indulges in his hobby - collecting Rolls Royces.
He has seven of them. "The money and the fame are all very nice" he said.
"But it is the music that matters. I love my music, and I can develop it to the full in a group like Yes."
On stage he produces a barrage of music and special effects which leave the listener stunned.
Sitting in his motel room on Monday afternoon. Rick admitted in a conversation punctuated by gales of laughter at a Monty Python tape he was playing that he was terrified of coming to Australia.
"Every time a pop group comes to Australia there is terribly bad publicity in the papers back home."
"The Joe Cocker thing was the worst - but all other artists who come back to England don't seem to have a good word about the place," he said.
"I can't understand why, though. I think Brisbane is one of the most fantastic places I have ever been to."
YES THE FINEST GO SCENE with Peter Farrell
The Yes concert at Festival Hall last week confirmed what I already thought - that Yes are the finest band in the world.
Their Brisbane show was a triumph - two hours of brilliant, musicianship coupled with a stunning presentation.
The key to Yes' success both as a concert and as a recording band lies with their superb arrangements.
Nothing is repeated - there is always something new happening in the music. Coupled with the sky-high musical ability of the band, this made for a concert that had the audience roaring like no audience in Brisbane has ever roared before.
Yes attacked each song with a freshness and enthusiasm which was encouraging to see after so many groups who obviously felt they were doing the audience a favor by condescending to play for them.
From the opening bars of Siberian Khatru to the final soaring synthesizer phrases of Yours Is No Disgrace, Yes set a standard which only faltered once.
This was in Your Move where a too-slow tempo coupled with careless guitar work from Steve Howe made it end up sounding like a second-rate imitation of the original.
Apart from that the show was faultless. Howe showed in his solo spot and his general playing why he is regarded as one of the world's great guitarists. Jon Anderson sang beautifully, and Chris Squire almost stole the show with thumping inventive bass lines.
Drummer Alan White was clean and tight and blended remarkably for someone who has only been in the band a couple of months.
But the star was undoubtedly Rick Wakeman. Flamboyantly dressed in a floor-length silver cape he completely dazzled with his keyboard work.
I will never forget his fluent organ licks in the latter half of Close To The Edge nor his dramatic, theatrical solo spot.
The 3500 people who saw Yes at Festival Hall last Monday were lucky - they will probably never see another group like them.
YES EXTRA Well apart from what could have been considered a lightly disappointing crowd the Brisbane concert by Yes was a resounding success. Seldom ever (except perhaps for the Beatles) has such a standing ovation been afforded an act. There was fully five minutes of sustained applause following the completion of their set before the guys condescended to return to the stage for an encore and even prior to this every number of their act was treated to the same thunderous reception. Certainly all of it was well deserved as the group played brilliantly and this was complemented superbly by the greatest sound equipment ever heard here and totally sympathetic lighting. Even the group themselves were chuffed with their performance and Rick Wakeman declared it to be one of their best ever gigs. He really must have enjoyed himself that night because several hours later he entertained the handful of patrons that were left at a city nightclub by playing solo piano for them completely unannounced and nobody knew who he was.
I am from Brisbane, Australia and have been a YES fan for 23 years. I was 17 years old when YES played Festival Hall, Brisbane in 1973 and tragically, did not get to see them that glorious night.
I have got a taped copy of the concert though, and believe me it was a fantastic performance. Rick Wakeman slipped in a couple of bars of "Waltzing Matilda" during a rousing rendition of "Roundabout". Steve Howe squeezed in a bit of Rolf Harris's "Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport" between "Clap" and "Mood For a Day". And Jon Anderson said that the Brisbane audience was the first one ever, to actually clap, all of the way through "Clap" truly incredible, if it is true!