A reply to Aaron below since I'd already spewed so much on this show and its various recordings further down -
Yes audience recordings from 1976 of any real sound capture quality- forget board tapes for now - are extremely and inexplicably rare. I have yet to hear one as fabulous as some I've heard from '77 and even as early as '73, though recently came across one easily the best so far and maybe with as supurb dynamic range in its master as others mentioned [mine has at least one tape generation on it].
See my earlier post further down for details, but the Highland version of someone's audience tapes from Detroit offers the usual poor sound quality. I've heard worse, but this one's definitely in the lower percentiles. Fabulous, FABULOUS performance still discernable though, much of it immasculated on Yesshows by mixing [at least in Rituals' case]. I've never been able to locate copy of the other factory boot listed so have no idea of its platform, quality, lineage or source.
If you can find a copy of "Just Another Night in Detroit" it's probably worth your while to have the missing Ritual, even as a "C" or "D" for sound quality. A good opportunity for comparing its quality to your own tapes' too. You may even find it IS your recording - outfits like Highland are quite effective at getting their hands on things, which of course often means they put out multigenerational copy having lost much of its original D/R.
Anyhow, I've lost mine but it might be easily found on Dime or at YesSwap. Good luck.
Unfortunately, I was only 3 years old in 1976, so I did not get to see the tour. However, a friend of mine and his buddy went to this concert [at least I think that it was the August 17 date--it was one of the three Cobo dates], and recorded it on cassette. Until now, we had no idea that two 'unofficial' recordings had already been put out. Relayer is one of my favorite Yes albums, and I enjoyed hearing Soundchaser live (aside from the butchered Queens Park version).
My friend's buddy had lost one of the original cassettes, so we only have the concert from the beginning through Heart of the Sunrise. I figured that most of what was on the missing cassette had already been released on Yesshows, but it would be nice to hear Moraz's piano solo--plus, maybe the sound quality on the 'unofficial' recordings is a bit better than the cassettes we have (they are not bad, but he did not make a great effort to store them, and we did not make copies until about 10 years ago).
Still wish I could have seen the concert myself, though.
Yes improvised far more in their earliest years, than they did in 1976.
D. A. Payne
What an interesting way to have a dialog!
Mr. Dunn and Mr. Kosturko below might both be interested to know there's a rumor of more material from 8/17/76 in Detroit slated for release on the upcoming Rhino live Yes boxed set.
God willing this will include at least Sound Chaser, but either way if true it will be interesting to see how much genuine concert sound Rhino leaves intact. Keep fingers crossed, everyone.
Pete, great site as always. Should be a model for anyone else's.
Considering that YES didn't exist when 'Yesshows' was released (after the Drama tour), it is possible that Atlantic had more to do with it than necessary. No doubt they wanted some sales out of their disbanded act while they could (although we all know that 3 years later they became more popular than ever with the 90125 line-up).
'Yesshows' is one of my Top 3 favourite albums of all time -- to think it could be even better is very intriguing!
D. A. Payne
A well placed and sweetly short bombshell from Mr. Kosturko. I knew Squire produced Yesshows, but didn't know [or had forgotten] he mixed it.
Why a musician would mix down or out some of their own and/or their bandmates' most interesting moments escapes me, but it happens often enough I'm not that surprised.
Unsettling as it is, thank you Bob for the edification. Could something have been done to Squire's mix after he submitted it I wonder. Record labels are capable of just about anything. Seems Squire would have raised total hell over it though.
Oh well. Artists' and their patrons' perspectives can never be quite the same.
[As observed the mass CD issue obscured much of its audience tape's original fidelity, but still captures a sound completely flattened by Yesshows producers. Like any audience tape it delivers enough of the real concert sound and feel. In Ritual's case at least it also captures entire instrumental layers completely removed on Yesshows. Moraz and White in particular were even busier and more complex than we ever knew. A couple of Chris Squire's most adventurous moments ever pop right out during Ritual on JAND, but are nowhere to be found on Yesshows. Bad enough when record labels mutilate live concert sound and present only concert fragments. To actually remove things played by individuals during a piece they did release leaves one speechless. Yet it was done.]
Yesshows was mixed by Chris Squire.
D. A. Payne
Just under a year before I discovered Yes came, by my book, their crown jewel of tours. We already knew something of 8/17/76's especially powerful energy from Yesshows, but Yesshows provided only a limited and cruelly edited glimpse.
I'll admit it's hard at best to make such a claim not having actually been there but thanks to certain audience tapes, and one evening with Yes before the '70s ended at least, I'm comfortable doing so. Having just heard below-listed "Just Another Night in Detroit", and revelations it contains on the Yesshows edits, one has to speak up.
A Tormato tour concert [see Greensboro, NC 9/14/78] provided the direct experience needed to understand what live "Trooper" Yes in person meant, even though they no longer benefited from the presence or influence of Patrick Moraz. Rick Wakeman in his analog prime was awesome enough and Yes still had that certain mid-'70s energy they began developing on the Topographic tour, subsequently taken to amazing heights with Moraz. At least two Tormato numbers were riveting live if not quite so in studio. Awaken and other GFTO pieces were performed with '70s freshness and vigor - within a year of release AND as if brand new, in Yes' best '70s tradition. Wakeman played part of Gates and did a fine job. An in-the-round presentation made Tormato's tour unique, and I'd bet sound like that was never achieved before or since even by Yes themselves.
For sheer brilliance in arrangement and performance, though, the '76 tour has no equal. Whichever producer maimed Gates' and Ritual's sound for Yesshows at least left enough intact for it to be apparent. A couple of widely circulated radio broadcasts of other '76 concerts provided somewhat better evidence, but while less hindered by sound editing their sterile mixing board sources still couldn't quite convey it all. Only a handful of average to excellent audience recordings tell the full story of what it was like to see Yes in 1976, or any other tour.
"Just Another Night in Detroit" [JAND] is a rushed, volume bootleg CD production that like most didn't do its audience tape source justice. It suffers from distortion and loss of high end I'm reasonably certain were not a problem in the master tape - itself probably now lost forever. JAND [and perhaps also-listed "Alternate Yesshow"] still manages to convey an amazing performance even for its exceptional tour.
We'll start with Patrick Moraz. Much of what drives us into one keyboard player's camp or another is subjective, but Moraz has a particular combination of technical ability and creative/stylistic variety clearly unmatched by other Yes' keymen. While it's said Relayer was already well developed even before he joined, Moraz took Yes in completely new and exciting directions from the day he first rehearsed with them. It all culminated in 1976's astonishing, otherwordly concerts - esp. 17 August. Among other things Moraz played a series of breathtaking solos on the '76 tour, and on 17 August he outdid himself.
The other four were all the more astounding in their ability to dwell comfortably in whatever new and bizzare musical universe Moraz took off to explore. They even took off in their own new directions, and mutual brilliant inspiration ensued every night. From Siberian Khatru right through Roundabout things were happening no one has heard since, and by mid-August [Detroit] it had gone beyond description in any human language. More improvisation happened than at any other time in Yes' performance history. Heavy injections of jazz, ragtime, what we now call "World" music and other elements were unique. Straight classical arrangements were also even stronger than during Wakeman's several tenures. When rock was the emphasis there were no peers in space or time, and a thick, wet element of blues unlike anything Yes ever did was occasionally added to the pot.
Already a freak for '76 shows, when I heard an audience tape from Vancouver I couldn't believe it. Cobo Hall's performance topped that. As observed the mass CD issue obscured much of its audience tape's original fidelity, but still captures a sound completely flattened by Yesshows producers. Like any audience tape it delivers enough of the real concert sound and feel. In Ritual's case at least it also captures entire instrumental layers completely removed on Yesshows. Moraz and White in particular were even busier and more complex than we ever knew. A couple of Chris Squire's most adventurous moments ever pop right out during Ritual on JAND, but are nowhere to be found on Yesshows. Bad enough when record labels mutilate live concert sound and present only concert fragments. To actually remove things played by individuals during a piece they did release leaves one speechless. Yet it was done.
Like FY I don't wish to encourage anyone to pay money for any bootleg recording. What industry does with live recordings, particularly 8/17/76 as demonstrated by JAND, is so monstrous it has to be pointed out. The concert in any case was so amazing it had to be written up based on the most accurate record available. Would that industry do Yes and all of us justice by making this kind of recording available legitimately.
I had purchased 10 tickets for the show. I think they were only $8 each then. So I brought a caravan of friends and a couple of my brothers to Detroit from the west Michigan area's of Grand Haven and Grand Rapids. So the three to four hour drive was a party in itself.
A premise to going to this show was the reality that they considered canceling the event at Cobo Hall. Two days earlier a concert headlined by Kool and The Gang and warmed up by the Average White Band, was ravaged by a local gang called "the Errol Flynn Gang". Word was that they didn't like the AWB performing with the african american Kool and the Gang. Whatever it was, it was ugly. they stormed the gates and proceeded to beat anyone in their way. It was a violent riot. More than 200 people needed medical attention. It was the press's top story and received a lot of deserved attention. Detroit's a great place to rock, but this rare violent insurgence had shut down the downtown area a bit.
Well they decided to let the show go on at Cobo Hall on the 17th. I was a little concerned as I was going to take my first concert slides with my best friends very expensive and new Canon camera. I held on to it tight. Some street person tried to sell me some hash, that was some strawberry smelling gum substance. We laughed as "My Momma didn't raise no fool". As we walked from the roof parking lot and onto the street to Cobo we noticed around 150-200 police officers walking in groups of 2 or more keeping the peace. That was a re-assuring feeling, in that the show would occur with out any violence.
Onto the the show. I believe the warm up band was called "Natural Gas". They featured Mountain's Felix Pappalardi singing lead while Mark Clarke played bass. That band only released one album (in 1976). We had main floor seats in a rear section, but this section was elevated and we actually had a decent view and locale for good sound.
Before Yes took the stage I wandered over to the right of the soundboard and struck up a proposition to an usher. He agreed to take me and my camera down front during the show in exchange for a couple of hand rolled cigarette's :-). So with that in place and the anticipation growing, I was numbed to a degree.
I don't remember the opening song. I think they used something 'other' than Firebird to open though. I do remember being excited to have my older and younger brothers with me. I believe it was the second or third time I had seen Yes. It was my older brother's first and he had quite an influence on my teenage years. When he was going to college 69-73, he gave me many promo records and got me into a lot of concerts he helped produce. So his presence alone had it's reward.
While the show was going on, a few feet from us was the soundboard. I distinctly remember seeing a large reel to reel deck in motion. So I was curious on idea they were recording this show and I was going to get some good shots down front. During "The Ritual" I got up and "true blue" the usher brought me down front. Here I am a few feet from Chris Squire during that bass solo, preceding Alan White's 'good vs evil' drum solo. Man it was energetic!!!! Goose bumps, wobbly knees and yet I was able to hold the camera still enough for sharp pictures shot a 1/125th sec. By the time Alan was into his solo I had gone from the front to the center of the floor and took some great, but optically strange shots of his solo and the laser and smoke screen effects turned out kind of wild.
Well "enough focus on the photography" I thought and back to my seat I skipped along, with an extra bounce in my step. Back to enjoy this very wonderful moment in my life. So here comes The Gates Of Delirium. Wow Wow Wow Wow. This place was on needles and pins during 'Soon', after the band mesmerized the crowd with this incredible power drive. I swear some people were drained from the level and height of the energy and intensity in the music. So as the band hits those chords and letting the birds eye hold notes fade and decay enters Steve on his peddle steel.... the notes piercing the air with clarity and resonance that caused tears ducts to swell and the jaw draw tight with emotion, wonderful emotion with tears of joy. As Steve's light dims, out saunter's Jon in his white flowing apparel and acoustic guitar strumming. And as the red gels illuminate him and as he soothes our souls and pacifies us with his lullaby, a stream of green laser beams shoot out from behind him and into the audience in a fan or sunbeam like pattern. We all held up our hands and watched the green dots slowly cross our palms and felt the presence of serenity that, frankly I'm having a hard time describing right now. There's an intangible entity that's always existed and was brought into focus in that moment and it still exists to this day. Like the tangible experience of biting into an orange is this intangible feeling I have when I describe this show, this experience. Isn't life wonderful?
At the tender age of 15 I discovered YES in the choicest way possible, in concert -- my very first real rock concert, in fact... as I -- this very minute! -- listen to TGOD from Yesshows, I can hear my own whistling -- which may or may drive other fans crazy, but hell I was only 15...
You see, I was a bummed out and very puny teen in those days...my first girlfriend had just dumped me while at summer camp (I, myself, was not from a rich-enough family for camp, which is totally ok with me, but I digress)... the point is, I was hurting and in need of something spiritual that I could cling to and call my own... music was important to me, and most of my friends were huge kiss fans in those days; I was skeptical of the pyrotechnics and all the greasy face-paint, but I wanted to fit in and so I bought into the whole thing... there was the Who, Led Zep, Pink Floyd and the rest, and they were good... but until I found Yes I would not know how music could touch me in a way that I still have trouble putting to words.
My brother, a year older, had a friend who'd come up with tickets to the 8/17, 1976 cobo hall show (much coveted by the members of their high school clique -- I was still in junior high and, at the time, couldn't name a single Yes tune)... at the last minute someone cancelled and I was invited along... we lived in the vanilla suburbs, and our parents were totally against us going to downtown Detroit; the reasons are perhaps obvious, but made more so by the fact that the night before the first of the Detroit Yesshows that summer, a Kool and the Gang concert had taken place at Cobo Hall... a riot had broken out on the floor of the auditorium and many people were hurt (women were raped, I heard, but cannot confirm); it was whites on blacks and blacks on whites and needless to say, it scared the shit out of a lot of fearful parents, including our own -- perhaps it was the reason the other boy backed out.
This friend who supplied the tickets also had seats to a Detroit Tigers game that night... so we all lied to our parents and told them we'd scalp the Yes tix and go to the baseball game -- of course, we did the opposite.
When we got to Cobo Hall there were probably as many cops there as there were Yes fans... it was a sea of blue uniforms... we saw all the microphones and realized they would be recording the show, and so, throughout the quiet periods, I let out a powerful whistle (again, my apologies to fellow fans)... the lasers were phenomenal, a total surprise... the stage was cool, freaky, far out... the snake heads moved up and down, depending on who was soloing and who was idle -- stage lights blared from underneath them, I can see it now, almost 25 years later... but most of all, the music was so beautiful and bountiful and pure and artistic and like nothing i'd ever heard... Jon's voice was angelic and Steve's guitar was like an intricate and always beautiful maze... Chris was bouncing and flowing, as I'd later discover was his usual style... Alan and Patrick filled it out perfectly... I'd found my new favorite band.
My brother also became an overnight Yeshead... we looked for years for the live Yes album recorded at Detroit's Cobo Hall, which we never found... we of course caught the 77 and 78 tours, and our hearts broke when the band changed musical directions and basically broke up (in 80 was it? when Jon left?)...
Then, in 82, my brother was killed in a car accident... about a year later, I found YESSHOWS, which confounds me -- how had it eluded me for 3 years? When I saw that it incorporated tracks recorded at cobo that fateful night I cried -- for myself and for my lost brother...
The music is so special to me, as I know it is to so many yesheads... we are indeed blessed.
"Gates of Delirium" from YESSHOWS is perhaps one of the most inspired live performances I have ever heard. True, Yes is really not an improvisational band, but at the same time the raw, abrasive, AGRESSIVE quality of "Gates" keeps me seated, eyes closed through the end. Definitely a lot more inspired than the studio version. (Anyone notice that Squire ROCKS on that cut!?!)