Episodes YMP Classic Feed

Yes live in Birmingham 6th May 2016

Drama and Fragile Live!
Drama and Fragile Live!
I feed back from my amazing concert experience with William in Birmingham on 6th May 2016. Mark Anthony K reviews YesShows and also gives us his latest ‘2 pence’!

  • How does Drama work live?
  • Does Billy Sherwood fit in?
  • Who do I speak to in Birmingham?

Show notes and links

William’s photos

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More shots from the day and merchandise!

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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

13 replies on “Yes live in Birmingham 6th May 2016”

Another great episode, Kevin. We all seem to agree the band is in great form. Certainly tighter than when I saw them in 2014 and playing with more energy.

Unlike what you experienced, at Brighton, Geoff’s keyboards were very present in the mix (you may recall the almost inaudible keyboards were one of my gripes about RAH 2014). Steve made the same comment about this version of Yes playing music from all Yes eras at Brighton, so this “dig” (if that’s what is was) is clearly rehearsed and intentional.

Funnily enough “Mood for a Day” had problems at Brighton as well. Steve tuned up, then began the flamenco style strumming of the opening chords – to no amplification! Enter guitar tech, fiddle with connection and all was well for a really magnificent rendition (with no further technical problems). Thank goodness the English audiences don’t talk or whoop and cheer throughout these pieces like some US Americans do.

Mark, Mark, Mark Mark Mark Anthony K!!! Did I really hear you say that “Yessongs” was recorded “basically in one venue”? OKAY – SORRY (even SOREY, Canada!) – BUT: your brain obviously does not have the same capacity for meaningless trivia as mine… 🙂 Last year’s release of “Progeny” showed us that “Yessongs” (The GREATEST live album of all time) was recorded in AT LEAST seven different venues, on two separate continents: The “Firebird Suite,” “Mood For A Day” and the second half of Rick’s keyboard solo from Uniondale, NY; “Siberian Khatru” and “Yours Is No Disgrace” from Knoxville, TN; “Heart Of The Sunrise” and “And You And I” from Greensboro, NC; The first half of the keyboard solo from Athens, GA; “Perpetual Change” and “Long Distance Runaraound/The Fish” in NYC; “Close To The Edge” and “Starship Trooper” from London, UK; “Roundabout” from Ottawa, ON; and etc, etc, etc…. the thing about “Yessongs” that makes it so magical is the pure, raw energy of the performances: Who cares about the quality of the recording – and one has to acknowledge the talent of the live sound crew who made these recordings, in so many different venues, over and over and over – when the essence of the performance of five young men in their early twenties, giving up every bit of themselves every night, night after night after night, just to please the fans who understand what it is they are trying to say. . . YESSONGS is the Greatest Live Album Of All Time because it conveys on the deepest level to the listener what it is to see and hear a truly GREAT band, LIVE, doing their best to be their best, live, on stage, in front of a different crowd of complete strangers, night after night after night…

…and that was my problem with “Yesshows”: I was SO looking forward to a a repeat of “Yessongs” and I was SO disappointed with this album… YES, it was suddenly there when nothing else was available; YES it was there to fill a gap that was opening ever wider in the YES timeline; YES it was a new release from YES… YES, it was Chris Squire flogging a dead horse when there was nothing else in the foreseeable future…

…It sounds good, it has a bunch of interesting songs, but it never, EVER, had that certain THING that made me play “Yessongs” over and over and over again…

…and you, too… go ahead, admit it, you what I’m saying is truth… go on, it’s OK, we understand…

Greetings my friend Joseph,

First of all I’m very happy indeed that my review has got you so excite to give us such a ggreat and detailed comment. Let me just clear a few things up…(I’m currently on the road so I have to keep it short)..I said in my review that Yessongs is definitely the better album…I just said that the sound of it wasn’t as good…no doubt the performances are fantastic on Yessongs. But I’m still not 100% convinced that Yessongs was recorded in all those places you mentioned..for only one reason. It clearly states that Bill Bruford drummed on Perpetual Change (that drum solo is pure Bruford) and on Long Distance Runaround/The Fish..both were recorded on the Fragile tour…so unless Steve Howe himself is mistaken (as he even stated that Bill played on those songs) then your info seems incorrect. After all I do own Progeny and those shows are with Alan…so they couldn’t have used Perpetual Change from that collection..nor Long Distance Runaround.
I will also look into this further when I get home as I’m curious to investigate this. But again thank you for your excellent comments…I enjoy this sort of dialogue.

Mark Anthony K

If I remember the original Yessongs album notes correctly, it read that the album was recorded on tour in 1972 and ’73 – so that would definitely include the two Bruford performances from the Fragile tour (those songs weren’t even part of the Progeny shows’ set list). If you listen closely you can hear that those two recordings sound clearer than the rest of the tracks, which were plagued with technical difficulties resulting from unsynchronized Dolby units (which accidentally gave us the awesome phasing effect on Alan’s drums on “All Good People”). I think it’s a testament to the talent of Eddie Offord for assembling such a great album from so many disparate sources and making it all sound fairly uniform.

As far as the rest of the tracks go, I’ve listened to Yessongs about 800 bazillion infinity googol+ times over the years and I know every drum fill (my own personal musical ability USED to be drumming), so I have been able to pick out the various performances from the Progeny collection that were used to assemble the album – with the obvious exceptions of Close To The Edge and Starship Trooper, which were recorded later that year in England (and also are clearer recordings than the tracks recorded in the U.S.).

I’ve gotten the impression from a lot of people’s comments about Progeny on Amazon and iTunes that there is a misunderstanding that those recordings are not the complete show that Yes was doing at the time, when in fact they are complete concerts as performed on that leg of the tour. Folks have become so accustomed to huge three hour performances with an intermission that they forget that way back in 1973 the custom was that there was always one and sometimes two opening acts before the headliner, especially on these sort of tours that frequented smaller venues such as college auditoriums and civic concert halls.

As you can probably tell, I can get somewhat anal-retentive when it comes to this particular album; I hope this didn’t come of sounding to snippy, I’m just a bit of a nut when it comes to trivial detail.

And please be safe out there on the road – I drive (truck) for a living (26 years now!) and you are surrounded by lunatics who cannot see you, and also are trying to kill you. 🙂

Greetings Joseph,
Don’t worry like I said before …I enjoy these sorts of conversations where we can discuss our opinions without foul language. You have made many valid points. But I never said Bruford ‘ s performances were part of the Progeny collection..Iknow tthey were from a totally separate tour. I only brought that up because you mentioned that Yessongs were constructed from shows on the Progeny collection. I must have missed the part where you wrote the two songs from the British tour. My apologies.
In any case keep safe my friend and thank you for the excellent comments and facts about this album. I’ve learned a few new things about it and isn’t that what good discussion is all about.

Mark Anthony K

Awesome Show gentleman,
First I would like to start with Yesshows this recording I feel really does not do these shows real justice. I’m sure that I’m being a bit bias here having been at the Detroit show where Ritual and Relayer were recorded.This was my first live show and here we are 40 years almost later talking about it, that in it self should speak volumes about this album.
I agree with the above comment that it was a filler however it served a purpose at least for me at the time.
Now on with the new Yes line up…
I believe that Yes music will continue for a very long time due to the fact that it reaches over so many boundaries of music.
This band this wonderful group of musician who came together to form Yes I believe as long is there is Yes fans there will always be a Yes group…


Greetings Paul,
Thank you again for commenting. I can totally understand what you are saying…as I mentioned in my 2 pence segment…the live concert experience is a very powerful thing and will leave memories both positiveand dsometimes negative in our minds. Obviously the show you attended did have a huge impact on you. I wish I could have seen that show as well as it sounds like Ritual was very magical that evening.
While the album might technically be “filler” don’t forget Chris needed to put something out there to keep the name in people’s minds while they regrouped..also it could have been a contact obligation. Only Chris would have known.
As for the future…I believe we will be seeing a lot more of Yes. ..and I’m very happy about that.

Thanks again Paul for your support,

Mark Anthony K

Er, Yessongs and Progeny aside, thanks for a great episode, Kevin. It was good to meet up again and enjoy a fantastic concert. I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as the last time we saw them, two years ago, but we were blown away by how good they were. Here’s to many more!

Yes indeed! Blown away! Thanks once again for the tickets and I hope to do it all again very soon!

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