47 years and 1 day ago
Thursday, June 3, 1976
Omni Coliseum, The
My first Yes show. I was 15 years old and stayed with my older brother who lived in Atlanta and took me to the show. The band made an appearance at Peaches Records and did their handprints in cement outside the store. Patrick Moraz had a video camera and was video-taping the fans taking pictures of the band. They were nice and hung out, signing autographs and mingling.
Instead of the traditional "Firebird" opening loud rumbling sounds played as the curtain rose and the Roger Dean shapes above the stage moved into position. The band were playing along at that point (we called it stampeding elephants) and my brother jokingly thought a cloud of amyl nitrate was released. I was thrilled to death. My favorite thing they played that night was "Gates of Delirium". Good times. Man, it is hard to believe it was that long ago.
Cecil Turner - Rabbittown
Went with some friends just after returning from Germany. Again the keyboards as a staircase, just unbelievable.
One of the best shows. My friends didn't even know who Yes were, they thought I was a little nuts for the band but they hadn't seen me in about 4 years so they went.
I remember sitting in a Hardee's on the way back to Anniston. Everybody was just stunned. I remember one of the girls saying, "Those guys are so good, I bet you can't hold a conversation with them!"
God, you boys were (are) good!!!
That was the best day of my life. I was 17 years old. I had never been to the Omni before and never seen Yes in concert. We had been at six Flags park in Atlanta all that day and it was the beginning of the most magical day of my life. We arrived at the Omni complex about 5:00 PM and entered the complex from the parking lot. As I entered I was astounded at the grandeur of the complex from the third floor's "The World of Sid and Marty Croft" giant pinball ride to the (at the time the world longest) escalator leading up to the ride to the green laser bouncing around the complex via the strategically placed mirrors. I was in alive and in awe! We then made our way to the Omni Hotel. I was astounded at the beauty and complexity of the entire complex. We had a few drinks and ordered an excellent meal (steaks) and we then made our way to the Omni coliseum. As I stepped into the elevator who should I meat but Alan White and Steve Howe! I shook their hands and told them of my excitement of the upcoming event. We entered the venue and made our way to our seats. The shows was nothing less than that of a religious experience. From the sound of the opening music of "Firebird Suite" to the encore version of "I'm Down" our hearts soared with excitement. I had never seen a better show or experienced such marvel. When the last audience clap sounded and the lights came up we sat in astonishment for about 10 minutes. We then made our way to the complex and back to the Omni hotel after the show. We took a short break and decided to take a chance and send new band member keyboardist Patrick Moraz a bottle of champagne via room service. We called the desk and asked for Patrick's room to receive the gift and low and behold they did not refuse our wishes. They even verified the room number to us before we told them its number. This alone amazed us. Probably granted because we never asked for the room number itself but requested the item delivered without question on his being there. About 40 minutes later there was a knock at our door with the appearance of a room service person with a bottle of champagne in his hand saying there was no answer at Patrick's room location. We thanked him and tipped him for his efforts. We then decided to set out to the complex to explore the wondrous shops and various restaurants and businesses. We were standing on the third floor overlooking the complex and we turned to see Jon Anderson standing there viewing the same scene! We walked over and shook his hand and invited him up to the room for a party in honor of the band. He said he would try to attend and smiled then thanked us and told us he then was on his way to get something to eat. We looked around for a few minutes and returned to our room for our ongoing festivities. It was about and hour from the time we met Jon to the time we heard a knock at our room door. We opened the door and there stood Jon with a smile on his face. He joined us for a while and then said he had to leave to attend other matters. We were in YES heaven! Three of us then made a pact to deliver the bottle of champagne to Patrick's room in person. We went to Patrick's room and knocked on the door. We waited for a minute with no answer. We were just walking away when he opened the door with a smile and a very inquisitive look on his face. We handed him the champagne and wished him well and thanked him for the show. He shocked us with an invite to come in and have a drink with him.There were three of us talking to Patrick. He was so nice to us. he asked us about our places of origin and our lines of work. Of course he did not realize we were not even out of our last year of high school. Luckily we were all co-ops in school and did have jobs to tell him about. Patrick poured us drinks after mentioning that he had tried to not drink any alcohol on that tour. I asked him about his Ochestron synthesizer and he told me a few details about its design. We then had a few drinks and thanked him and made our way back. That was truly a great evening to remember, an evening that our group of friends and very avid YES fans will never forget as long as we live.
I got a chance to meet Jon Anderson later that evening after the concert in the Omni Hotel. A friend of mine and I were staying on the 10th floor, and the band had reserved all of the rooms on the 14th floor. We actually bumped into Jon earlier that afternoon, when the elevator we were on stopped and the door opened and Jon and another guy were standing there! Jon smiled at us, but his friend (a big guy, maybe a roadie or bodyguard) grabbed Jon's arm before he stepped into the elevator and said, "We'll take the next one", and the door shut. My friend Dave and I looked at each other and started laughing like crazy! Dave announced right then and there that he was going to try to get Jon to visit us later that night after the concert was over. I just smiled as said, "yeah, right, Dave."
After the concert, we staggered back to our rooms, still dizzy from the wonderful performance by the band. Dave walked over to the phone and said, "Now for the invitation to Mister Anderson", and called the front desk and asked for Jon's room number, and to my surprise, they gave it to him. He grinned and then promptly called Jon's room and asked him if he wanted to drop by our room for "a drink and a smoke". Dave had even bought an expensive bottle of Pinch Scotch whiskey earlier that afternoon before the concert to sip on after the concert, and planned to offer Jon a drink. Dave hung up the phone and grinned and said, He said he'll be here in about 15 minutes." I replied, "Come on, Dave, he was just saying that to be polite. He won't show up here. He has no idea who the hell we are!" Dave replied, "You just wait and see." I was a little buzzed from a couple of beers and a little pot, and laid down on the bed and closed my eyes and said, "OK, we'll see."
Well, to my complete and utter surprise, there was a knock on our door after about 15 minutes. Dave opened the door, and who should be standing there but Mr. Anderson himself! Dave quickly introduced himself and shook Jon's hand and began gushing about how much he enjoyed the concert. I was momentarily stunned. He was actually in our room!!
I jumped up from the bed and said, "Damn!" I recovered from my shock quickly and shook his hand and introduced myself. Jon was dressed in white pants and a white peasant shirt, hair still wet from a shower, and he was carrying a three foot long bamboo flute. Jon smiled and said to me, "So, you enjoyed the show?" I nodded and grinned and said, "Man, it was the best concert I've ever seen!" Jon grinned and thanked me for the compliment. Dave gestured for Jon to have a seat, and hurried over to the dresser, where the bottle of scotch sat, and opened it. He then turned and asked Jon if he cared for a drink, and Jon answered, "Do ya have any Bourbon?" Dave replied, "No, but I have some fine Pinch Scotch here!" Jon then shook his head and said, "No, but thank you." I could see Dave's disappointment in his eyes (because earlier that day in the liquor store, he almost bought a bottle of bourbon instead).
I began to ask Jon questions about his songwriting, where he got his inspiration, and what his listening tastes included. He talked for several minutes about these subjects, and even asked me what my musical interests were.
I worked up the nerve to ask him if he would be willing to play us something on his flute. He said he would be delighted to, and began playing a slow, melodic tune that seemed to last for hours, although it probably wasn't more than about one minute long. I closed me eyes and just seemed to drift away while he played.
When he finished, he got up and said he was sorry he couldn't stay longer, but had to get back up to his room to meet with the rest of the band to discuss the show, because it was the first show of the tour. Dave had been trying to talk his way into getting on with the band as a roadie or gopher of some sort the entire time Jon was in our room, and I was surprised that Jon was a kind and diplomatic as he was with Dave, gently letting him down without making him look like an idiot. I shook Jon's hand again and told him how much I enjoyed getting to meet him in person and just talk, and he said smiled and said to me, "You know, you remind me a lot of a very good friend I have back home!" I was smiling from ear to ear as he left our room. As soon as Dave closed the door, he spun around and laughed and said, "What did I tell you!?! I told you he'd come down here!" "I don't believe he was actually here", I said, still shaking.
Jon only spent about 15 minutes with us, but I'll never forget that evening as long as I live!
September 13, 1976
Another surprise happened at the Omni, in Atlanta, where the band encored the Jimmy Carter constituency with a rousing version of the Beatles' rock classic, "I'm Down." Even the bands are being struck by the new wave of Beatlemania.
[Squire] "That was pretty crazy. We may even do it again at some point, but it was spontaneous. We always try to surprise people. It was an idea we had back in England. I don't know why, it's just one of those things. We just did it one day in rehearsals as a laugh, you know, and we enjoyed it so much that we said 'Hey, we may even play that on the tour as an encore number.' But we really didn't think we would, seriously, then just one night we did it. It's a good song, that."