My first Rock concert at the age of 19! The light show was amazing!
During the song The Gates of Delerium the lasers started to shoot out of the central pod of the crab nebula as it has come to be known. They were a fan of 8 to 10 beams that shot out straight to the back of the auditorium as the gong hit in the movement prior to Soon the fan which was a color spectrum of blue fading to green began to expand in a plane above the audience multiplying the pattern in a circular 360 degree pattern till it existed as a series of laser lights that if viewed from above would appear as a polar graph with a repeating pattern of blue lasers fading into green that repeated every 10 degrees. This entire plane of lasers then began to rotate and the ecliptic began to raise and spin along an axis making the laser beams which were holding their position relative to one another while moving throughout the audience, beams hitting everyone. This effect was quite astonishing and made the people ooh and ahh quite naturally and the sound of the audience was such that you could actually hear it even during the performance because everyone was doing it. It was the closest thing to a mentally generated group orgasm I've ever been a part of. Then it happened! The 360 degree expnsion that had occured to the single plane of beams was now applied to all the beams in the plane and as they expanded the whole field of beams was rotated like a mirror ball effect except the lasers were more intense and evenly space and most importantly hitting everyone in the concert. This effect created the illusion of being weightless in space and orbiting the sun as a planet since we were stationary and the lasers were rotating out of and in a 360 pattern that undulated at at variety of angles. I just wish there was video of this somewere for it was the single greatest spectacle I have ever witnessed at a concert in my entire life.
Michele Marie Moore
How well I remember this show! Seeing YES in Dallas was completely unexpected.
My husband and I had tickets for the Oklahoma City performance of the Solo Album Tour. I had been first in line at Satellite Ticket Agency, and had spent the night in front of the office door to buy front row seats -- back in the days when "front row" actually meant "front row" .... before the promoters and the venue owners started withholding front row tickets to give to their pals and buddies. By the time the ticket agency opened the next day, there were about 70 people in line behind me. I got in line around noon the day before. The next people arrived around dinner time. The crowd continued to gather throughout the night. We all had wonderful time together waiting for those tickets. At 9 a.m. the next morning, the doors opened and there was a mad rush for seats.
So there we were, incredibly excited, with front row center seats right in front of Jon Anderson...... really looking forward to the show.
And then about three weeks before the performance, we learned that the owners of Satellite Ticket Agency had taken the money from the business and skipped town. The Oklahoma City YES concert was cancelled.
What a let down! There were no refunds on tickets, and there was no show.
However, we were not to be defeated.
My husband and I drove down to Dallas, purchased tickets for that show, and hung around all day at the arena. (This would have been August 6, 1976 at the Moody Coliseum.) We had with us the little super-8 movie camera we'd bought recently at a pawn shop, and five film cartridges. We were just poor skinny hippies back then, and videotaping had not yet become the hobbiest activity that is now. The cameras were very expensive and very few people owned them. None of the hippie friends in our circle had one, but we were thrilled with that little super-8 camera. One of the first things I did after we arrived in Dallas was to round up a roadie who would give us backstage passes so we could film from many different vantage points. There is a picture of this pass -- now old and wrinkled -- posted at FY at:
[Link] filmed off and on throughout the day and during the concert. We took shots of the unloading of the big semi-trucks, the road crew assembling the Crab Nebula from all of its bazillion fiberglas pieces, then hanging it from a steel assembly above the stage, then testing its lights to make sure it was working. We filmed the band guys arriving for the sound check ... Jon waving and smiling as he went inside the theater... Chris Squire walking about the lawn outside the theater wearing the most immaculate white suit on the most incredibly hot August afternoon! We filmed a little bit of the sound check itself. Then we filmed parts of the show until we ran out of film.
Even though we were just learning how to use that little movie camera, some of the visuals are still so marvelous......
But I have to say this about the still-shot photos I have seen from this show. They just don't do it justice. This was a much more interesting phenomenon than those photos reveal.
This was the only YES concert I had ever attended that actually had a proscenium curtain in front of the stage. So the audience arrived and took their seats and saw only a stage with a large white curtain in front of it. (I am told that there was an opening act, but frankly I have no memory of that at all... but it has been 25 years, and the YES show was so amazing, it's no wonder I would forget anyone else who may have appeared on that stage!)
The overture for that show was the "Apocalypse" section from "And You and I." The band took their places on stage while the curtain was still down and the houselights were lowered. Then the theater went dark, and the curtain was raised in darkness.
During the last section of the overture, the Crab Nebula stage set began to come to life. In the photographs at FY, you see it in a fully raised position, high above the stage. But when the curtain opened, all three of the "heads" were down low, looking out right into the audience. The creature began to glow with red, green, blue and golden lights, and the "eyes" of the creature seemed to scan the auditorium in front of it. Then the rest of its body began to light up with different colors, flashing lights, etc.
Then suddenly it "awoke" and began to raise its heads upwardly......
...... I guess you would have had to have lived in the 1970s to really understand just how incredibly trippy this was! The audience went crazy with enthusiasm for this! It was just riveting in its spectacle!!
As the three heads and "necks" began to rise above the band members, a big laser machine, located at the center back of the stage, began to shoot out these multiple beams of green laser light all the way to the back of the theater. The rays fanned out and then the fan rotated. It was incredibly cool! Much ooohing and ahhhing from the crowd, and people stretched up their arms to try to intercept a laser beam.
Meanwhile, the Crab Nebula was reaching its apex height above the stage, where it served as the overhead light source for Jon, Steve and Chris. Moraz and White were lit from other theatrical sources. Then suddenly the laser machine turned off its projection, and the band exploded into "Siberian Khatru." Of course, you could hardly hear it for the cheering and screaming and huge audience applause in appreciation for this incredible spectacular stage set and opening presentation. It was simply amazing!
Then, throughout the performance, the Crab Nebula pulsated and changed colors and accompanied with lighting effects the rhythms played by the band. One of the most astonishing moments was -- (...well.... astonishing for back in the days when lighting was just beginning to be coordinated with stage sound... it was a technology then in its infancy...) -- that section toward the end of "Siberian Khatru" when the band sings the rhythmic syllables:
"da... da... do da do da... da... da... do da do da do da... da da da... da.. da... da do de da do de da do..."
(I know you know exacty what I'm talking about )
....during this section, the Crab Nebula flashed and pulsated in exact timing with the vocals, and the lights were hanging just right over the heads of Jon, Chris and Steve.
This, I have on film. Just amazing! And so beautiful to watch! The colors are so brilliant and vibrant! Incredible luminescence! The films bring it all back.....
Steve was an extremely animated performer back in those days... bounding and bouncing and jumping all over the place. Very energetic. He was wearing an amazing backless gold satin jumpsuit with half-cape sleeves. Chris had on a long, wildly decorated cape, and was all over the stage all the time. Then there was Patrick Moraz' wild hair bouncing in every direction as he swiftly changed from one keyboard to the next.... the ethereal red lighting filtering through the harp strings during Jon Anderson's solo set..... just beautiful! ..... and Alan's seemingly endless energy and projection of emotion as he played with a strength level that would tax even an Olympic athlete! ..... Wow!
"Ritual" in the 1970s was not quite the "major production number" that it now is. Alan had a much smaller drum kit in those days, and he and Jon only carried about a tenth of the amount of percussion that they now take on the road. But it was unforgettable! ....and you have to remember that "Ritual" was, at that time, still relatively new music. It had only been released in 1973, so it was only three years old. And "Gates" was still considered very new material. "Relayer" was, at that time, the most recent YES album on the market, and the individual solo albums had come out in 1975 and 1976. So, this was just the most exciting music and the most visually spectacular show ANY of us had ever seen before....... or since.
It truly was the end of an era for theatricality in rock show production.
I still get chills just thinking about it...... and fortunately, so many of those wondrous moments are captured on my few reels of silent color film. I hope to be able to make those available someday to fans. For those who were not living in 1976, they'll never really realize just how astonishing it truly was. And for everyone who ever saw the Crab Nebula show, it was a hallmark... a performance that no one has ever forgotten.
Ah, the memories.......
It was July 1976 at Moody Coliseum in Dallas, Texas. It was the RELAYER tour.
What an incredible show! That was the tour where the lights were all laser and synchronized to each song, and there was a three headed scaly looking "monster" which loomed about 50'over the band members. The individual scales lit up in one color, then switched to different colors....All made from Plexiglas...There was a spiraling stairway which was lined with various bells and percussion instruments which led to a platform where Jon would play his harp. (That was impressive with the lasers in sync directed out into the audience. When Jon would strike across his harp, the laser colors would "fan" up and then down; fast or slow according to how he played). There was a backdrop behind the band which was a Roger Dean creation (Matter of fact that whole stage was...I remember reading about how that stage was created...quite a feat...Me being a theater major at that time that really impressed me!) I remember that Patrick Moratz was with them and did a admirable job of taking over the then currently departed Rick Wakeman. They did a lot from RELAYER, FRAGILE, and TALES FROM THE TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS... about two hours. They had a opening band which I felt they should not of had due to the complexity of their stage and show.
We had to wait 45 minutes for a set up, but it gave me a chance to get aquatinted with other Yes fans We could not view the stage until after the show close (I like to do that because equipment, stage etc. interests me) because it was shroud in secrecy behind a curtain until show time. There was however a tremendous crash heard when a roadie dropped Jon's series of bells...all we heard was a "CRASH!!!! TINKLE!!!! JINGLE!!!! BOINGBOINGBOING...THUD followed by a panicked SHIT!!! SHIT!!! SHIT!!! from a roadie.
I also remember a small boy tugging at my pant leg and grinning. I wondered why a boy age 4 would be wondering alone at a Yes concert. I asked him if his parents were near and if they were point them out and I would walk him back.. About that time he started crying and a roadie from the stage saw him and exclaimed "Damion...come on what are you doing out there!" It dawned on me it was Jon's son who was then 4.I also looked and saw Jon peering out from the curtain stage left... Damion had "escaped" and was wandering lost! Damion's sister Deborah came and got him and escorted him backstage, scolding him.
During the concert I went up front to get a close up view. The stage was almost level with the floor there. But there was a barrier bar between the audience and band. I was standing in front of Chris Squire when my purse broke, and the contents of my purse fell out and rolled under the barrier. (I was going back to where I worked with a theater troupe then and had things like toothpaste, brushes etc,. in my purse that I used as a suitcase). When the contents fell out, my toothbrush had rolled under Chris Squire's platform! I tried my best to reach as far as I could under the barrier to retrieve it. I was crouched way down and my arm stretched as far as it could go. Suddenly there was a roadie who was stooped over on the other side of the barrier. His face was inches in front of mine and I grinned at him. He looked at me in the eye and quietly, but firmly, said "Shoo..Shoo,shoo!" and waved his hand in a "shooing" gesture under my nose! I stared at him blank! Very startled I was! A friend who went with me saw what happened and thought it was funny. For a long time after that anytime my friend was "annoyed" with me or wanted me to hurry, he would say "SHOO! SHOO! SHOO! and wave his hand at me! (I learned to HATE that! Still do!)
I also remember when the concert was over and the curtain closed a very excited groupie grabbed Steve Howe's ankle and would not let go! It was sort of funny all you could see from the audience was this groupie clutching a wildly wiggling ankle! (You could not see the rest of Steve since the curtain was already down!)
A good time was had by all. I did not make it back to the theater residency where I was living until 5 am due to everyone getting lost...I had to be at morning rehearsals at 7...So I did not go to sleep....Until after midnight the next day when I got off work and someone made me a couple of wine coolers and I fell asleep!