Yes Stoke City Football Club 17th May 1975
Support acts: Sensational Alex Harvey Band; Ace; Gryphon.
A month after seeing Yes at Newcastle City Hall I was off to see them again, this time at Stoke City Football ground. I drove down to the concert with my mate, both of us looking forward to seeing Yes again, and the added attraction of the amazing Sensational Alex Harvey Band. As soon as we arrived we found the nearest pub, where we were surprised to meet a bunch of lads from home, who were huge SAHB fans. We then had an argument about the relative merits of Yes versus Alex Harvey and co; such matters seemed very important at the time.
We entered the stadium and found a place on he pitch. First up was Gryphon whose medieval folk amused us; for some reason a lute, a bassoon and a tin whistle made a perfect start to the day. The weather was ok, quite sunny as I recall. Next was Ace, who pleased the crowd by playing “How Long” twice; once during the set, and again as an encore. Then came Alex.
A large Glaswegian contingent had travelled South to support Alex, Zal and the lads. They got very drunk and England vs Scotland scuffles started to break out among the crowd down at the front, close to the stage. Alex was having none of this. He stopped the song, I think it was “Framed”, pointed and stared the culprits and told them “Stop! No violence, or we don’t play any more” and the fighting ceased, just like that. Such was the power that Alex Harvey held over his audience. This was SAHB at their menacing best; Alex in his hooped t-shirt and jeans, scarf around his head, reading his philosophy to us from an old leather-bound book, Chris Glen wearing a jock strap of his jeans, and Zal in his green leotard complete with full evil harlequin make-up. Wonderful. “Don’t make wars. Don’t fight wars. And don’t pisch in the water”. They stole the show.
Other memories of the day: lots of people openly smoking joints. A little guy in the middle of the crowd sitting with a stash of dope selling it to anyone who passed by. A young guy wearing a battered top hat, posing as a member of the drug squad, grabbing hold of people and “arresting them”, then laughing and telling them it was just a joke after all.
There was a long wait before Yes took to the stage, during which time the heavens opened and it started to pour with rain. The stage crew were brushing rain from the stage and trying to cover the band’s gear with polythene sheets. Yes eventually took to the stage, and had lots of problems with the sound, caused by rain on the equipment. Steve Howe, in particular, seemed to suffer a couple of small shocks from his guitar, and was obviously worried about the danger of electrocution. In the end, after soldiering on for 40 minutes or so, Yes abandoned the show, Jon Anderson promising us that they would return and play a free gig (I’m still waiting and still have my ticket stub, guys).
Then it was back into my little old red MG Midget, and up the A1. A great day.
The next time I saw Yes was three months later, this time at the Reading festival. I’ll write about that tomorrow.
Yes setlist (cut short due to rain): Sound Chaser; Close to the Edge; The Gates of Delirium; I’ve Seen All Good People; Mood for a Day; Long Distance Runaround; Clap; Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil); Roundabout
Archive for the ‘Gryphon’ Category
Yes Stoke City Football Club 17th May 1975
Yes Newcastle City Hall 17th April 1975
Yes returned to the City Hall to play three sold out shows in Spring 1975. Patrick Moraz had replaced Rick Wakeman, after the keyboard wizard had departed our prog heroes because of his dissatisfaction with the “Topographic Oceans” epic. I’d seen Patrick Moraz play in Refugee, taking the Keith Emerson role in the band which Lee Jackson and Brian Davison formed after the Nice split. So I knew how good a keyboard player he was. The line-up of Yes was now Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White and Moraz. Yes had just released their seventh album “Relayer”. Steve Howe described Relayer as “very modern, European style of music, and Patrick brought in a South American flavour as well. It was a very international record”.
Support for the tour was Gryphon, a prog-rock band who fused Renaissance music with electric folk, playing medieval and modern instruments. I went to the final concert of the three-night run.
After the marathon performance of “Topographic Oceans” on their previous tour, I was pleased, and somewhat relieved, that this time Yes chose to play a set which consisted of songs from throughout their career. “Close to the Edge” and “And You and I” were becoming concert favourites, and both songs showcased epic performances by Jon Anderson. “Mood for a Day” had replaced “Clap” as a vehicle for Steve Howe’s virtuosity, and “Long Distance Runaround” and “Roundabout” were ( and still are) classic Yes songs. I remember being particularly pleased that “Sweet Dreams” was played as the final encore, although a little disappointed that “Yours is no Disgrace” did not feature. A classic Yes gig, with the band back on form. I saw Yes on two further occasions in 1975, at Stoke football ground and at the Reading festival. I’ll write about the Stoke concert tomorrow.
Setlist:The Firebird Suite (intro music); Sound Chaser; Close to the Edge; To Be Over; The Gates of Delirium; I’ve Seen All Good People; Mood for a Day; Long Distance Runaround; Clap; And You and I; Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil)
Encore: Roundabout; Sweet Dreams