Saturday, July 24, 1976
46 years, 8 months ago
Thursday, February 21, 2013 12:02 PM
The date of this show is actually July 24, 1976. I was there and still have the ticket stub (plus it was the day before my birthday so it's easily remembered).
1st off I'd like to state that until finding this website yesterday, I've never thought of this tour as the "Solo Album" tour, possibly because I don't remember them playing 1 song from any of the solo albums (which, while I'm on the subject, I rank (from favorite to least) Jon Anderson's, Chris Squire's, Patrick Moraz's, Steve Howe's, Alan White's), I've always thought of this tour as an extention of the "Relayer" tour.
The opening band was none other than the mighty Gentle Giant, whom I discovered quite by accident in '72 when they opened for Ozzy's Black Sabbath (!), Sabbath was touring "Vol. 4", Giant was touring "3 Friends". After that show I'd quite forgotten about Black Sabbath (although I did sort of "re-discover" the Ozzy era Sabbath albums in the early '90's, but still...), that was the beginning of my love affair with all the prog bands that ruled that era, Yes, Tull, ELP & Giant.
Unlike the year before when the non-descript Ace opened, at this show the opening band was every bit as capable as the headline band. Giant was on their "Playing The Fool" tour & did not disappoint. The only element of Yes' show that improved upon Giant's set was the stage & lighting, Giant's music was *fabulous*. I can't imagine a more perfect opening band for Yes.
If the snakey apparatus on the previous tour's stage was a puzzler, the bizzare contraption that took it's place on this tour was kinda frightening. It looked like some kinda space dinosaur, the middle "head was raised like you see in the stage photos, but the left & right "heads" were in a lower position that made them look like arms, with a kind of hoof where it's hands would be. As soon as the house lights went dark, the interior lights of the "dino-alien" turned on, spotlights in the front of each "hand/hoof" turned on, placing a spot on the crowd immediately stage left & stage right. Then the 2 outer "arms" slowly raised up to the position you see them in, sending the 2 spotlights through the house, as soon as they reached the "head" position that you see in the pictures, the spotlights in the "hand/hoof/heads" turned off & the lasers came on. I & everyone else in Portland's Memorial Coliseum was *completely* blown away, I thought the previous tour's stage was trippy but this went *way* beyond any stage I've seen before or since.
Once again Yes' performances, both individually & as a unit, were brilliant. While I don't have a setlist (there may have been 1 or 2 songs that weren't played the year before, no more than that), it was basically the same show as the previous tour, & I mean that as a good thing. Like really good sex, it's the kind of thing that doesn't get boring! ;-)