By S. JOEL MYERSON California Aggie October 11, 1978
It was awesome. The house lights inside Oakland’s Coliseum dimmed as Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite played triumphantly over the loudspeakers. A nervous titter ran through the crowd as the piece closed with Rick Wakeman’s sweeping mellotron solo introducing Siberian Khatru. Yes's first song of the evening. This Yes tour promoted their latest effort, Tormato. They played a few songs from it. Future Times Rejoice, Circus of Heaven, but kept them short. I saw Yes a few years ago, right after they released Tales of Topographic Oceans. They played the entire album in concert and, the truth is, I fell asleep. Tormato, in my opinion, is just as boring as Tales and I hoped that they would keep this new material to a minimum. And they did. They showed appreciation for the years’ cult-like following by playing what they thought the audience wanted to hear. Jon Anderson thanked the crowd warmly after their first three-song set and said, "Here’s something you'll all remember’ a they swung into Time and a Word then played Long Distance Runaround, short and tight with no unnecessary frills (re: Yessongs) and a spectacular version of The Fish. For ‘space-people’ they played Starship Trooper (many Yes fans fall into this category, shown by the evening’s crowd.) And of course they played Roundabout. Jon Anderson (vocals, acoustic guitar, lute, some percussion) was the most interesting. He played like a minstrel: dancing, waving and smiling on a raised circular platform in the center of the stage. He sang strong and clear, amazing for such a high voice. Steve Howe played impeccable guitar riffs. His style often sounds disjointed, but Saturday night, he played a unified set. Chris Squire, elegantly dressed in a tux, tails and sequined vest, played intensely. His bass guitar style is unique and exciting and helps distinguish Yes from just another band. Rick Wakeman dressed like Klatu from "The Day the Earth Stood Still.” He was surrounded by 11 different keyboards, ranging from a simple RMI electric piano to an advanced ‘Sequential Circuits’ synthesizer. Otherwise, he was unimpressive. His leads were short, perfunctory and easily fingered. At one point he complained that his playing was hindered by some equipment which was not working well. I didn’t mind. I thought it ironic that Rick Wakeman, Merlin the Magician of electronic keyboards, was betrayed by his own circuits. Alan White played the drums Saturday night. He was not particularly interesting to watch, but performed quite proficiently. Still, though, there was a feeling that everything was too tight. Yes played with energy, inertia and brilliance, but with little feeling. I felt no tears, no chills went down my back. They seemed bored at times (consider how many times they have to play the same material over again), but tried hard not to show it In a word, wow. In two, really wow. Yes played with such professionalism and style Saturday night, that they give the term 'affirmative action’ a whole new meaning.
[Photo by Steve Oberste: Yes played their best material before an appreciative packed crowd at the Oakland Coliseum last Saturday night. Left to right are Steve Howe, Jon Anderson, Alan White, and Chris Squire. Rick Wakeman is out of the photo to the right.]
Monday, August 7, 2017 2:24 PM
I remember it well. I was with my husband. the show was in the round and the raiderettes came on much to everyone's surprise. What I remember most was Jon clapping in time to a rhythmically very complex section of music, probably either in Heart of the Sunrise or Awaken and watching intensely and by watching him at that moment I felt everything pull together in a way I hadn't before. Sort of like when you try to learn a piece of music and when you finally get it and see it come together. Oh hell, I can't explain it. It was what hit me the most. Great memories.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 6:14 PM
My fourth Yes show, and first MAJOR road trip. Came down from Portland/Vancouver to see the show while visiting friends in Reno, so road trip from Portland to Reno, THEN the standard Reno to bay area trip that was necessary at the time for Renoites to see a major act.
The "In the round" concept was a lot of fun, save for Rick having some trouble that night during one song. I remember the Raiderettes, and the party atmosphere of Roundabout. It was great fun. This time, Awaken was transcendent for me. I guess it should have been at the GFTO show, but I guess it just took a while for me to embrace that song like I should. Anyway, by now, I had fully embraced Rick's return, though Tormato wasn't as good of an album as GFTO, imho, they were playing as well as they ever had. I loved that they included "Soon" as part of the "big medley", and was reminded of my first live experience with the band when I heard Steve's spine tingling and beautiful steel steel guitar pierce the air.
Thursday, May 22, 2014 10:26 AM
How do you remember this so all well? I was 20 years old and remember very little of the concert. My only semi-clear memory is that of the Raiderettes suddenly appearing out of nowhere. But I also remember them being booed and I thought that they were whisked away for their own safety. My brother-in-law (before I knew him) was there as well and remembers the Raiderettes incident much the same way. Otherwise it is all sort of a haze. I am sure glad I was there though.
Saturday, February 15, 2014 1:51 PM
i do not believe Roundbaout was released on Classic Yes (which i always thought was 10-28-78) nor on Yesshows Expanded (2011) which simply says "Oakland 78" on the liner notes, so i think it was from the 8th not the 7th.
Thursday, February 21, 2013 12:14 PM
Set list incorrect. Here is actual song order:
Young Persons Guide To The Orchestra Siberian Khatru Heart Of The Sunrise Future Times/Rejoice Circus Of Heaven Time And A Word Long Distance Runaround Survival Fish (Schindleria Praematurus), The Perpetual Change Soon Don't Kill The Whale Clap Starship Trooper Madrigal On The Silent Wings Of Freedom Wakeman Solo Awaken I've Seen All Good People Roundabout
I remember Rick having problems with his piano for a few moments before Heart of the Sunrise and he ended up having to play the piano parts on his Minimoog. Then the Word Is Live track list was announced, I was hoping they would use this version as it was, um, different. Alas, they used the recording from the next night.
Then, later in the show, another of Rick's keyboards crapped out and they couldn't do Madrigal which segued into On the Silent Wings of Freedom at other shows. Jon said something like, "Bear with us, we haven't done this before," as they jammed for a bit and went into Silent Wings. Rick was not pleased.
The version of ROUNDABOUT from Classic Yes cuts out the unbelievable long ending they did on the 1978 & 1979 tour. To bad they edited it.
The Raiderettes came out and were shaking their "pom pom's" and prancing around the stage on the floor RIGHT in front of us. I could reach out and touch them. I crossed my fingers wishing that somehow Jon would motion the crowd to the stage, as he always did near the end of a show back then.
Then my wish came true. The crowd pushed forward to the stage, The chairs were collapsing, and there I was, squished in between 2 smiling and 2 extremely pissed off Raiderettes :) then the roadies (damn them!!) lifted them over the barricade onto the stage.
Those were the days.....
This was my all-time favorite yes tour. we had 2nd row 1st night, 1st row 2nd night.
My friend Tim and I had "decorated" a bedsheet with art from various albums: Relayer on the far right and left, the island from Tales in the center, planet fragments from Yessongs, the different colored "tubes"from GFTO shooting out of the Tales island, and a big blue dean Yes top center.
On the first night we put the bedsheet up, draping over a tunnel leading off the floor. the lights went down, the crowd roared, and a lone spotlight shone on our bedsheet. then the band came out from behind it!! amazing!!
The show was great, till Rick started throwing stuff at the roadies, then it was great again. we got to our bedsheet just as someone else started to take it down.
The second night, we had 1st row seats. we took our seats, and stuffed the bedsheet under the chairs. my hands were swollen from clapping so much the night before (that happened again at ABWH in Sacramento), so i "behaved" this night and just enjoyed the show.
Toward the end of the show, the Raiderettes came in and ran around the stage. causing the crowd to come down to the stage, squishing the cheerleaders into the stage. they were helped onto the stage and safety. I threw the bedsheet onto the stage around this time. in between encores Chris leaned over, and with that giant wingspan of his, opened up the sheet. the roar was deafening. he draped it over the drums and they played another song.
Never saw that bedsheet again, or a Yesshow nearly as good!!!! (till SLO of course)
I saw the Tormato tour in Oakland and brouight a big group of people to join me. Mistake. Tormato as a album was weak, and that pulled down the energy of the whole show. Learned that if I don't like their product for a given year, I probably won't like the show in general.
I was in California on a training course in 1978. My wife and I were at the top of Mount Hamilton when I heard on the radio that Yes were performing that night at the Oakland Coliseum. I (almost) flew down the mountain and spent a couple of hours trying to find a place that sold tickets, but without any luck. I then drove to Oakland only to find the place locked up, however I sat in the car (with quite a few others waiting too), until about 2 hours before showtime when they opened the place up. Luckily there were still tickets available and we saw a great show. My lasting memory is the boys coming back for the encore along with the Oakland Raider cheerleaders in tow. They all then proceeded to get on the circular stage for "Roundabout" complete with pom-poms.
A third show for Monday, October 9, was advertised, then later cancelled. The weekend shows, however, were SRO. The set was the same as listed, with one exception. On Saturday (10/7), what we heard later reported as incorrect voltage was causing some of Wakeman's keyboards to emit static and feedback, and just before the point of his solo the show was paused. Three roadies materialized to perform repairs and/or triage, and an obviously unhappy Wakeman fished out two or three circuit boards and flung them over his shoulder into the audience. Anderson then apologized for the delay, and said "it's just one of those evenings."