Complete show, created 2021 from synchronizing/matrixing 1 broadcast + 1 audience source
Yes at Boston Garden 12/11/1974 August 9, 2021
Two-Source Stereo Matrix
CD-quality format: 44.1kHz/16-bit
High-res format: 48kHz/24-bit
Notes by Balrog and RMCH
Jon Anderson - Vocals and various instruments
Steve Howe - Guitars
Chris Squire - Bass guitars
Patrick Moraz - Keyboards
Alan White - Percussion
1. Opening (except from ‘Firebird Suite’) (1:36)
2. Sound Chaser (9:44)
3. Close to the Edge (20:59)
4. To Be Over (9:55)
5. Gates of Delirium (22:58)
6. And You and I (10:46)
7. Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil) (26:12)
8. Roundabout (8:30)
Total Time: 112:40 (1:52:40)
The Yes concert at Boston Garden, December 11, 1974, was recorded for "The Best of the Biscuit" (King Biscuit Flower Hour), a nationally syndicated radio program. Recordings of the broadcast and subsequent rebroadcasts have been made into countless commercial bootleg cassettes and disks.
The broadcast included the entire opening set by Gryphon and omitted a song from the Yes set: Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil) from the album Tales From Topographic Oceans. That omission has puzzled and angered countless Yes fans for decades.
The concert also was recorded from the audience by Dan Lampinski, of Providence, Rhode Island, on Sony equipment that was commonly used at the time. A digital transfer made from the master cassettes appeared on a BitTorrent tracker in 2009 and came as a complete surprise to those who had taped the broadcast or had obtained a copy of the recording as early as 35 years before. Suddenly the “missing Ritual” was no longer missing but the professional version was yet to be found.
On April 14, 2006 Wolfgang's Vault (owned by Bill Sagan) purchased the entire inventory of the 16,000 master tapes and other assets of the original DIR Corporation, which included King Biscuit Records. King Biscuit's extensive archive was then merged into the Concert Vault's already huge collection of live-concert recordings. The legendary 16,000 reels of recordings were digitized, edited and somewhat “sanitized” from the radio show broadcasts of the 1973 thru 2005. Wolfgang's Vault was not restricted to the constraints of a typically 60 minute radio show, less six to seven minutes of commercials and DJ intro and outros. The entire recorded show (or whatever portion still survived at the time of acquisition), including the professionally recorded version of Ritual from Boston Garden, could finally be made available to the listening public for the first time.
This two-source matrix, which combines the Lampinski audience recording with the professional recording, is the complete concert. It includes the professional recording of Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil) that was missing from the broadcast. We believe it is accurate to say that this is the only truly complete, continuous recording of the concert in existence. All missing sections have been patched.
From an audio quality standpoint we think you’ll find this recording to be as dynamic and emotionally compelling as anything ever officially released by Yes. It makes off-the-air recordings sound like mud. Put on your headphones, turn it up to concert volume, sit back, and enjoy an audio experience of a type rarely heard outside a concert venue.
Streamed and recorded in 48kHz 24-bit WAV format from Wolfgang’s Vault using Jaksta Music Recorder 7. This “pre-FM” source is not SQ Matrix encoded as the original broadcast was. The King Biscuit concert archive warehouse in which the two-channel SQ Matrix encoded master tapes were stored burned down and all were lost, but the original 16-track and 24-track reels were stored in a different facility and were used to make this unique source in addition to the CDs provided to radio stations for rebroadcasts.
RMCH: “As nice as this recording is on its own, there were a number of issues.” Modifications made:
1. Re-balance frequencies / EQ
2. Correct channel frequency separation
3. Adjust balance in segments
4. Remove clicks and pops
5. Patch missing sections
Taper: Dan Lampinski
Audience Recording: Sony ECM-99 Stereo Microphone ? Sony TC-152SD ? Maxell cassettes [type not stated]
Digital Transfer: Maxell cassettes ? Nakamichi CR-3A cassette deck with azimuth correction ? M-Audio Firewire Audiophile 2496 ? CDWAV 24-bit/96-KHz wav files ? Goldwave (normalizing and crossfades) ? CDWAV (track breaks) ? FLAC Front End (FLAC 8) FLAC files tagged with Foobar2000 Live Show Tagger, no EQ.
RMCH: “Lots of hard clicks and some mic bumps had to be removed… I manually removed hundreds of claps in the middle of songs and attenuated at least three different whistlers. This cleaning process took a great deal of time..!!” Modifications made:
1. Re-balance frequencies / EQ
2. Correct pitch and speed
3. Remove many claps during music
4. Remove mic bumps, clicks and pops
5. Correct segmental balance problems
6. Adjust excessive peaks
7. Patch missing sections
Creating a matrix recording from two or more separate sources, of which at least one is an analog source such as a tape made with a cassette deck, is a true labor of love for which everyone who hears this recording should be grateful. According to RMCH, “As is usually the case with these old shows, there is much more work that goes into them than people believe. It is easy to just take a show, make some EQ adjustments, track it and put it out as a remaster… that would not have worked at all with this show.”
The soundstage created by synchronizing recordings made from more than one source provides a sense of presence at a concert that's impossible to achieve with a single source and digital audio effects.
Analog sources are difficult to work with because battery-powered tape decks run at inconsistent speeds even when the batteries are fresh. Cassette tapes can shrink when stored for long periods. Experts recommend fast forwarding and rewinding tapes to stretch them out when playing them back for digital recording but unless a tape stretches evenly it will cause some speed variation.
1. Synchronize sources
2. Combine sources using a proportional matrix technique
3. Adjust peaks and segmental balance
4. Verify pitch and speed
6. Produce a matrix in 24-bit, 48kHz and 16-bit, 44.1kHz formats
The Relayer album was released on December 5, 1974 less than one week before the concert and roughly a month into the tour. Based on the audience’s reaction to the new songs, no one knew the album very well, which was quite unfortunate. Like Tales From Topographic Oceans, the songs on Relayer are much too intense and complex to fully appreciate on the first listen.
Hearing the familiar Firebird Suite introduction climax into Sound Chaser instead of the expected Siberian Khatru probably surprised most of the audience, but no one who was there could have possibly been disappointed with the excellent performance.
Nor did members of the audience know how the songs from the previous Yes albums would sound with new band member Patrick Moraz on keyboards. Refugee, the album that Moraz had made with Brian Davidson and Lee Jackson (former members of The Nice along with Keith Emerson) demonstrated that he had way too much talent and style of his own to simply fill in for Rick Wakeman. No one could have been disappointed with his performance.
Wakeman’s keyboard solo at the end of Close to the Edge was probably the most challenging part for Moraz to play in concert. Until the Lampinski audience tape entered the trading pool it had been difficult to evaluate his performance because he had been buried in the mix in the FM broadcast recordings. It’s not surprising that the broadcast recording was imperfect given the fact that the recording made in New Haven the previous night was discarded due to technical problems. Had that not been the case there probably would have been no recording made at Boston Garden.
One of the songs from this concert, Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil), had become a sort of holy grail for Yes collectors because it had been omitted from the FM broadcast (see below) and could not be obtained from the King Biscuit organization. The Lampinski tape revealed that Jon had inserted lyrics from two of the three other album sides of Tales From Topographic Oceans:
The Remembering: High the Memory
Out in the city running free
Days pass as seconds turn the key
The strength of the meeting lies with you
The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn)
What happened to this song we once knew so well?
Signed promise for moments caught within the spell
We must have waited all our lives for this, moment, moment
Another unique aspect of Ritual is Jon’s not very successful attempt at vocal sound effects. They were done by different band members on other performances of the song.
There is a page devoted to this concert on the Forgotten Yesterdays website.
The stage used on the 1974 Relayer tour was a slightly modified version of the one used on the Tales From Topographic Oceans tour. Changes had been made when Rick Wakeman left the band and Patrick Moraz joined. Those in the audience who had been to the Tales concert at Boston Garden the previous February were familiar with it.
The stage photographs in these notes, which clearly show Patrick Moraz on keyboards, are from Magnetic Storm, the Successor to Views, by Roger Dean and Martyn Dean, available on Amazon.com.
According to Roger Dean's book Views:
"The stage... was composed of ambiguous shapes that were meant to be transformed by the lighting, so that sometimes they appeared like flowers, sometimes like animals, or machines, or even an inanimate landscape. The end result, however, was severely compromised by the practical limitations of having 25 tons of equipment on tour and by the formalities of stage procedures... The castings for the final version which was used on the 1974 American tour were made of thin translucent walled fiberglass and lit inside and out."
According to Magnetic Storm:
“The first stage set the Deans built was for Yes's Tales From Topographic Oceans tour in 1973-74. It was a collaboration based on Roger's design principles and philosophy. Martyn produced the finned shell which formed a pavilion for Alan White, the drummer, who found the fibreglass canopy sharpened his drum sound, making it harder, more resonant. At the climax of the ‘ritual’ the shell opened, releasing blasts of fire and smoke. Roger contributed the illuminated islands that covered the stage, and the Expressionist organ pipes which undulated in shifting colours, a visual extension of Rick Wakeman's vibrant keyboard. Roger's backdrop shaped the screen for slides and light effects.
“The scheduling for this first project was sheer guesswork. There was no time to go back and start again; there never was. A frenetic, slightly unreal atmosphere prevailed. ‘It was fibreglass madness,’ Martyn recalls.
“They used steel for the framework of the set because it was cheap, strong, and easy to assemble, but that meant welding on site, near where buckets of violently inflammable chemicals were stored. ‘We were young and, thank God, eternal optimists, otherwise we'd never have taken the risks we did. But without taking risks, you never break new ground.’
“They soon learned that, despite the pressure of time, it was always better to stop and think a way through a problem than keep slogging away in the hope of solving it by brute labour. Exhausted, their hands covered in fibreglass, they would doze off for a moment and wake up to find their coffee cup firmly stuck to one hand, and the other bonded equally securely to the side of the chair...
“Despairing of getting the construction properly finished in time, they sent off on tour the set of fibreglass patters, which were solid, unwieldy and, with the steel frame, very heavy.
“The set was finished and modified before it was taken to America in 1974. An illuminated tunnel was added at the centre of the stage for the band to make a dramatic entrance and exit. The idea was that the show should be a complete theatrical presentation from start to finish, just as the music was a complete entity and the performance an integration of sound and vision.”
FM BROADCAST NOTES
The original "Best of the Biscuit" FM broadcast, hosted by Bill Minkin, in "SQ Matrix" quadraphonic sound (see explanation below) was aired only six weeks after the concert. It came as a complete surprise to those who had been at Boston Garden as nothing had been said about it being recorded for an FM broadcast.
The broadcast, which was split over two separate Sunday nights (January 12, 1975 and January 26, 1975), included the entire Yes set except for one song: Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil) from Tales From Topographic Oceans. That particular song is the one that many who were in the audience considered to be the highlight of the show. Instead, the broadcast included the entire insipid opening set by Gryphon, whose then current album, Red Queen to Gryphon Three, was being promoted in record stores and had been getting some FM airplay.
Gryphon faded into obscurity while Yes continued to the present day as one of the greatest British progressive rock bands of all time along with Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Emerson Lake & Palmer, and Genesis.
The decision to omit part of the Yes concert in favor of the entire Gryphon set has puzzled and angered countless Yes fans for decades. Unless forced by time constraints, it's hard to imagine how or why the King Biscuit staff would decide to include the entire opening set and exclude part of the featured performance. Persistent efforts were made by collectors to obtain a copy of Ritual from the King Biscuit organization but none were successful.
Had Gryphon's performance been so outstanding that it made Yes seem dull in comparison, favoring them might be seen as a reasonable decision from a commercial point of view, but that was not even remotely the case. The audience was anxious for Gryphon to finish their set and get off the stage. Each song received a smattering of polite applause followed by groans as the next one began.
The previous evening's concert, December 10 in New Haven, Connecticut, also had been recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour but discarded because of dropouts and problems in the mix. The entire New Haven show is also available from Wolfgang's Vault, complete with all its flaws.
There have been many FM rebroadcasts of the concert. Some have the original host Bill Minkin. The two most common rebroadcast recordings in circulation are:
1. The Ed Sciaky rebroadcast from 1996-1998, missing Gates of Delirium.
2. The Mark Coppola "Frankenshow" rebroadcast from 2000-2004. This included Close to the Edge (partial) and Roundabout from Boston Garden along with Siberian Khatru and Heart of the Sunrise from Wembley Stadium 10/28/1978.
William "Bill" Minkin is an American comedian, singer, and recording artist who performed political satire under the names Senator Bobby and Senator Everett McKinley. In 1967, Parkway Records released a 45 rpm single of Minkin singing two versions of the hit song, "Wild Thing". On side one, Minkin uses the alias Senator Bobby in his impression of Democratic US Senator Robert F. Kennedy singing "Wild Thing". On side two, the comedian uses the alias Senator Everett McKinley in his impression of Republican US Senator Everett Dirksen singing the same song.
Minkin is also known as the host of the long-running King Biscuit Flower Hour radio concert series.
Born in New York City in 1948, Edward Leon Sciaky (pronounced Shock-ee) was a legend in Philadelphia radio and television. While in college, he had a young 16 year-old singer appear on his show. The first (of many) songs she sang that evening was called Society's Child. The vocalist was a very young Janis Ian.
For several years, Ed Sciaky was the host of the King Biscuit Flour Hour. At the time of his death in 2004, he was hosting a weekly show on WMGK about his lifelong buddy, Bruce Springsteen. Sciaky is credited with being the first air personality to play Bruce Springsteen on the radio.
Marc Coppola is an American actor and DJ working for KGB-FM in San Diego, California and WAXQ and WLTW in New York City. Through his father, Coppola is the nephew of director Francis Ford Coppola. He is married to actress Elizabeth Seton Brindak. They have two children; Natasha Shalom and Cayley Coppola.
Coppola worked as a DJ at several radio stations in the late '80s and early '90s. He appeared several times as a guest on The Howard Stern Show.
ABOUT BOSTON GARDEN
For nearly 70 years, Boston Garden (singular, never "Gardens") was one of the legendary arenas in American history. It was the home of the Boston Bruins ice hockey and Celtics basketball teams. All of music's greatest stars played there. Families went to watch the three-ring circus, ice shows, the rodeo, and the Harlem Globetrotters. Speeches were given there by some of the greatest politicians of all-time, including Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy.
As a venue for rock concerts, Boston Garden was genuinely awful. It had terrible acoustics, poor ventilation, and little or no air conditioning. Billy Joel called it the "Boston Bus Terminal." The Grateful Dead's lyrics to Samson and Delilah summed it all up: "If I had my way, I would tear this old building down." Springfield, Providence, Hartford, and even Worcester were considered better arenas in which to get a good audience tape.
Something in the construction of the building caused a boomy upper-bass reverberation that plagues almost every audience tape made there. Only two rock bands, Pink Floyd and Yes, had sound systems good enough to completely overcome it. Pink Floyd used quadraphonic speakers in the back of the building to create a 360-degree soundstage. Yes had a rotating stage in the center of the floor under an amazing 360-degree sound system.
In 1995 the old Garden closed its doors to the public for good and the new Fleet Center (commonly known as the Your-Name-Goes-Here-Center or the Which-Bank-Is-It-Today Center) ushered in a new era for sports and entertainment in New England.
IS THIS RECORDING SQ MATRIX ENCODED?
No. This recording is not SQ Matrix encoded.
The original “Best of the Biscuit” broadcast of Yes at Boston Garden, 12/11/1974 was encoded in SQ Matrix, one of several early matrix schemes from the quadraphonic era. Only the original half-track, two-channel reels sent to radio stations and off-the-air copies are SQ encoded. The CDs sent to radio stations were not encoded.
The matrix concept was similar to some of today's surround sound technologies and SQ is considered by some to be the origin of Dolby Pro Logic. The idea of a matrix encoding and decoding scheme was to combine four discrete audio channels into two channels that could be distributed and played on a two-channel stereo system or decoded into four channels. This was quite different from true quadraphonic sound (CD4), which consisted of four discrete audio channels.
Barry Ehrmann, former President of Phoenix Media Group, helped with the purchase of the King Biscuit archives in the mid-nineties to negotiate with the bands and labels for release of the performances on CDs, Barry reported that the warehouse where the two-channel quadraphonic matrixed encoded master tapes were stored burned down and all were lost. Fortunately the 16 and 24 track reels that were used to mix the quad encoded tapes were stored in a different facility and he was able to mix those to create the source used in this matrix and the rebroadcast CDs.
What Happened to Quadraphonic Audio?
In a nutshell, true quadraphonic audio was a victim of economics. Buyers, when presented with a choice of spending a given amount of money on a stereo system or a quadraphonic system, generally considered the stereo system to be a better value. Perhaps more importantly, there was a virtually infinite selection of stereo recordings available, compared to a very limited selection of quadraphonic recordings.
High-end quadraphonic systems, however, could produce awesome sound. Given equivalent amplification and speakers of the same quality, there's no question that quadraphonic sound blew away stereo. It did, however, cost substantially more to purchase a four-channel system of the same quality as a high-end stereo system. There are still people who believe that four discrete channels sound better than most of the "home theater" equipment you can buy today.
Ironically, today's consumers think nothing of buying "home theater" systems with five or more speakers and electronics that have "surround sound" decoding. The convergence of audio and video is what made the difference. The ability to simulate the environment of a movie theater is more than enough to overcome the same quantity vs. quality tradeoff that quadraphonic buyers faced.
You can still find lots of true four-channel quadraphonic recordings and even some electronic equipment on eBay, although some of it is disguised. For example, reel-to-reel tape decks from the quadraphonic era are generally advertised as "four-track.”
A REQUEST FROM BALROG AND RMCH
This matrix release is intended for free distribution among those who enjoy listening to Yes music. We emphatically condemn anyone who would:
* make a profit by selling it to ignorant music collectors
* replace these notes with the sort of misinformation commonly found in “silver” bootleg releases
* convert it to MP3 or any other audio format that involves “lossy” compression
* attempt to improve or disguise the sound quality by “remastering” it