This was my first Yes show and it was stunning. Doing both albums in their entirety was a real experience.
Bill you must have been pretty high as Jon was only 29 at the time of this show. The tour book only says that he was born in 1944.
@1974 My first Yes concert..Civic Arena, Pittsburgh, PA,TFTO tour. They did the entire TFTO and CTTE. They used the underwater stage and tons of fog.
It was a bitter winter's eve in the 'Burgh and about a dozen of us were headed off to see Yes for the very first time. Seventh row seats, consciousness-altering comestibles, and the promise of hearing the "muzak de la sfears" created much anticipation among our little cadre from New Brighton High School.
Arriving at The Civic Arena and seeing the remarkable Tales stage set (and leafing through the beautiful black on black tourbook - which I vividly remember informed us that Jon was already 35 years old) increased the anticipation to a pitch that Mona apparently couldn't stand. His head tilted toward the floor and elbows on knees, he pinned his eyes to his boots as the houselights went down. Yes emerged from a huge pink conch shell onto a fog-shrouded "underwater" stage. Monitors covered to look like mossy rocks pulsed an eerie green. Manta ray wings in the canopy above White's Ludwigs flapped back and forth. Smoke issued from the spine of a whale's rib cage guarding Rick's Moogs, mellos, RMIs, Hammonds and grand piano. The band took their places and slammed into 'Siberian Khatru', then 'And You And I'. Compared to the rest of the effects, the mirror wheel that spun during 'Close to the Edge' was a little cheesy, but the music was sublime and Yes flooded the stage with ridiculous amounts of fog during "I Get Up..."
Mona missed it all.
At various times throughout the first set, I nudged him, urging him to look at this wonder being displayed before us. He would shrug and shout through the music "I can SEE it!" Yet he never raised his head until the music stopped and the houselights came back up for intermission. Then he got up and walked with us to the concession area where we bought beers ("Are yunz guys 21?" "Yeah. Are you a unicorn?" "Yeah. Four beers - that'll be a buck-three-eighty.") and talked about what a great set it had been. Mona apparently believed he'd seen it all.
Back downstairs for TFTO and he did it again - eyes nailed to the floor the second the band came on. Jon announced "We're gonna do the new album now. The WHOLE new album." And the place went nuts. Roger Dean's finest was displayed on the skate wings (now projection screens) over the drums. Steve spun a lazy-susan device that held three guitars (including a DanElectro!) with his knee as he alternated tones from his ES175. Jon smashed together concert cymbals on fixed arms, shook bells, and reached far into Alan's territory to tap a crotale in 'The Ancient'. And Chris - Chris was sublime. His harmony parts were perfect and the tone from his Rick/SVT combo was perfect. He even pulled out a jumbo acoustic bass toward the end of the set - quite a rarity for 1974!
And Mona missed it all! As mellotron and steel guitar faded at the end of 'Ritual' and the crowd arose, only then did Mona look up. He stood and faced the darkened stage for the first time as flaming matchbooks and lighters invoked the band's return. His face was a mask of puzzled concentration as his addled mind attempted to make sense of the underwater seascape onstage.
Then the conch shell began to pulse with pink light again signalling the band's return. One by one they emerged from the shell. Mona's anxiety became unbearable when Wakeman emerged last, his cape and long hair flowing to make him look like a bizarre version of Botticelli's Venus. As the big guy strode to the front center of the stage, Mona became terrified.
Then it happened - Rick leered out at the audience and spread his cape as his arms raised to wave to us all. When his enormous paws spread out above us in greeting, Mona could stand no more. "He's going to KILL us," screamed Mona, and he slammed himself back down into his seat. He didn't raise his head until the band was long gone and the safety of the houselights returned.
Karen, Andy and I would be off to Europe in less than two months - spoiled brats on a language club trip across France and Switzerland. The sum total of our attempts at "Francais" for those two weeks would be "Je wanna bouteil de vin rouge, s'il vous plait" and "Nous sommes du soleil." Since portable tape equipment was virtually nonexistent back then, I had to play TFTO in my head throughout the trip, but what a wonderful soundtrack it was! The sweeping mellotron sections in 'The Remembering' still play in my mind anytime I think of the Swiss Alps and Steve's classical in "Leaves of Green" was perfect accompaniment for the Spring scenery throughout the Alsatian region. Posters all over Paris heralded Yes' appearance a week after we left the city and Andy and I plotted a hitch all the way from Luzerne to see the show but lost our nerve on the walk down the mountainside from our hotel. Oh well, the Pittsburgh show would have to be enough.
"High the Memory" indeed!
I can verify the Feb 21st Date for TALES as being in Pittsburgh PA, The Civic Arena. It was the same set list from the previous night show. Great Show.