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Episode 131 – Fragile complete album live? Really?

My tickets are here!!
My tickets are here!!

The one hundred and thirty first episode of the Yes Music Podcast, featuring some thoughts about how the solo tracks on Fragile might be presented live in 2014.

  • How can Cans and Brahms be attempted?
  • Should the band bother with Five Percent for Nothing?
  • Are backing tapes allowed?

Listen and see if you agree with me, then let me know via any of the methods below.

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Show links

BBC amazing music programme archive

Yes Spirit doing Cans and Brahms

We Have Heaven live

Theme music

The music I use is the last movement of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. This has been used as introduction music at many Yes concerts. My theme music is not take from a live concert – I put it together from the following two creative commons sources: thanvannispen and

10 replies on “Episode 131 – Fragile complete album live? Really?”

I’m also interested how they will handle the the solo bits from Fragile. I just today received my tickets for the Cleveland show in the mail. When I saw the band this past summer they opened with Close to the Edge. I would expect that they would open up again with it this summer rather than Fragile as Roundabout would be an unusual show opener as you pointed out. I’ve also been wondering what the “greatest hits” portion will entail. GIven the time restaints I would doubt they would cover any material from Tales or Relayer. They just covered the material from Going for the One on the 3 Album Tour. Would they do any Tormato or Drama material? Tempus Fugit? I can’t see Howe wanting to cover any of the Rabin era stuff but I may be wrong. That leaves the obvious Yes album material. So many posibilities. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Chris, I think Roundabout would be a great opener. According to Forgotten Yesterdays statistics, Roundabout opened the early shows of the Fragile Tour.

I have honestly never liked the solo song fragments on Fragile. They mar an otherwise terrific album. Now over 40 years later, Yes are faced with the task of resurrecting this filler material just for the sake of a satisfying a recent nostalgic trend of playing entire albums. Not that they have a choice. After Yes Album, Close to the Edge and Going for the One, Fragile, and possibly Drama, are probably the only other entire LPs that I can conceive this line-up would be willing to play live.

I have no idea how Yes will choose to perform them, but if I were in the band, I would decide for some radical reworking. What have Yes always done with their song fragments? They stitched them together into complete songs. Why not do the same with the Fragile solo material? If Yes wanted to do something truly innovative and refreshing for this tour, then Jon could sing We Have Heaven over Alan’s 5% Percent for nothing rhythm, all with some funky bass that turned into a bit of a guitar jam that sounds suspiciously like Mood for a Day (played on Steve’s electric Gibson like he does with his solo band), then maybe trading some rocking keyboard licks inspired by Brahms, then the bass taking over and turning into a Fish jam, then after Schindeeria Primawhatever a reprise of We Have Heaven. A gamble sure, but it is a chance to surprise the audience and do something interesting with some material that, with exception of Fish and Mood for a Day, was never intended to be played live.

If the band insists on being faithful to the LP and slavishly playing each solo song as we all remember them, then there is always the option of performing them with live looping. Loads of younger bands are doing them, and the technology allows for a truer live experience over triggering pre-recorded tapes. But I hope they do not go this route. Applauding after a 35 second song will be 5 percent of awkward.

I really like the thought about live looping. I have seen this done successfully by a surprising range of acts, including an entire performance of Tubular Bells by two (only two) Aussie musicians (look for Tubular Bells for Two), and Mitch Benn (a UK musical comedian smuggling in a serious piece.) Now I come to think about it’s surprising none of Yes seem to be big on sound-on-sound.

Re Kevin’s thoughts on the footsteps and door… A certain other prog outfit have been gigging a song with footsteps, heartbeats, a mic stand scraped along a guitar… since 1972. No problem with the explosion at the end of that track… (I prefer Travel Sequence but that’s a discussion for a different fan page.)

Another angle might be rearranging the tracks for 5 musicians – Squires is quite competent on keyboard and bass pedals so Cans and Brahms could definitely work. (Do I remember White being not half bad too?)

I’m not sure if this is really the right choice for the band I mean don’t get me wrong its a wonderful album however I would prefer to hear Drama or even tracks from other Yes classic like Silent wings of freedom…
I’m sure its way above my understanding that’s for sure.
I wonder if its due to the fact that these are all short little tracks I really dis like the word filler I don’t believe for a moment that yes would need filler tracks to bring to a live show, especially with the music library that they posses.
That being said I believe its just the ” We Can and Will ” thing
and really after all these years I believe we should all be happy that they still want to perform live..

Great Show Kevin!

I’m sure you will have a blast at the show and I cannot wait to hear your review..

Best Regards!

Thanks Paul. I wonder if the current trend for whole albums will fizzle out soon. As you say, there’s plenty more in the back catalogue…

Surely they would play all the songs except the Rick, Jon and Bill solos. Mood for a day, and The Fish have been included in many gigs, so are central to their repertoire anyway.

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