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What happens when you mix what is - arguably - the world's most interesting record company, with an anarchist manic-depressive rock music historian polymath, and a method of dissemination which means that a daily rock-music magazine can be almost instantaneous?

Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

YES: Remembering Tales from Topographic Oceans

It was my elder brother, Ant , who introduced me to most of the music I grew to be fond of. I guess it could have gone horribly wrong, he may have been a fan of Neil Diamond, The Carpenters, Barry Manilow, Engelbert Humperdinck..... sorry to those folks who do like these guys, but ...no – just no that would have been just so wrong.

During my ‘gig’ years that spanned from around 1972 to 1978, my friend, Sioux, and I – and sometimes my brother and I – would travel to London to take advantage of its close proximity to home and plethora of venues. I used to keep as many of the ticket stubs and as much other memorabilia that I could as a reminder of these halcyon days.

It is this fact that I do not have to rely on an almost non-existent memory and can write that it was definitely during 1973 that I travelled from Uxbridge to 232 Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park on at least four occasions. My ticket stubs tell me that I visited on Friday, October 12th, Sunday October 21st, Tuesday, 20th November and Sunday 25th November. That was a lot of toing-and-froing in the space of a few weeks in the latter half of the year in question, not to mention those mild panics about last trains and whether Sioux and I would manage to catch them. Heavens to Betsy, I got around in those days: Brunel University; the Roundhouse; the Rainbow; Theatre Royal, Drury Lane; Empire Pool, Wembley; Wembley Arena; The Marquee, Wardour Street; and many other, more offbeat places .

But why 232 Seven Sisters Road? For those of you out there who are not familiar with that address, there was a certain building located on that spot that drew crowds of people in its heyday as a music venue; The Rainbow Theatre. On the dates mentioned above, I spent a grand total of £5.90 and saw Status Quo, Faust, Henry Cow, Uriah Heep, and Yes.

Ah, the joys of trundling along the Metropolitan line to Rayners Lane, then change for the Piccadilly line for the long journey towards Finsbury Park or Seven Sisters. Sioux would get on at Eastcote, the station before Rayners Lane, and we would travel together in all our ‘hippy’ finery, whilst spreading the gloriously delicious aroma of patchouli oil around the carriage, much – I am sure – to the consternation of most of the other travellers. It is one of those scents that – like the taste of Marmite – you either love or hate. Or so I am told. I wouldn’t know .... I have always loved the scent and – totally beside the point – I have always loved Marmite too. Perhaps the two go together in some weird way.

Anyway, I cannot remember the exact journey...well it was 39 years ago (surely not that long? Blimey that makes me feel so blinkin’ old) and there is no way I can actually be sure of whether we would have gone to Finsbury Park or Seven Sisters tube station either to be honest. But Sioux and I would have arrived at the Rainbow in the company of many others of like mind, dress and scent, plus – of course – one extra smell that always wafted on the breeze at these events. And no matter how hard you looked, you could never manage to see who was puffing on the tell-tale suspiciously-long cigarette. Or perhaps I was just too innocent about such things back then. And now even, for that matter – I wouldn’t know if someone was high on marijuana if they jumped out and waved a lighted joss-stick at me.

So we would mill around outside the main doors, waiting for them to open before running with the herd and squeezing our way in to the foyer. Always the same notion coming to mind: Have I got my ticket? Yes it is still where it was five minutes ago when I checked, just as it was ten minutes before that and so on and so forth, ad infinitum; so precious were these trips, and so precious were the experiences of seeing these bands perform live, even though nine times out of ten they were about the size of Barbie dolls from where you were sat. (OK the size of Barbie’s special friend, Ken, too)

On the night in question, Tuesday 20th November, we were off to see Yes who were on their ‘Tales from Topographic Oceans’ tour. And on a work night too - I would have to be at work the next day bright-eyed and bushy tailed, but at least the ringing in my ears from the night before would have subsided by then. But whilst one tends to worry about such things these days, back then it mattered not how late we got home.

But thanks to my brother for introducing me to such fantastic music, and thanks to Yes for the brilliant night out on 20th November 1973.




Gonzo are proud to announce the DVD release of Yes UNION. This concert film of the band was made on August 8th 1991 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. It was subsequently only released in Japan on video and then on the briefly new format of Laser Disc. This fantastic film however, was not widely available for a long time and has since become a much sought after artefact amongst Yes fans.
The band on this film was the legendary one off line up of Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman, Alan White, Bill Bruford, Steve Howe, Trevor Rabin and Tony Kaye. Featuring all the bands greatest songs including, "Owner of a Lonely Heart", "Roundabout", "Changes", Starship Trooper", "Heart of the Sunrise", "Yours Is No Disgrace" but to name a few.

Not only is this release with a classic band line up its also an amazing track listing!


Tracks: Intro/Firebird Suite , Yours Is No Disgrace , Rhythm of Love , Heart of the Sunrise , Clap/Mood For A Day , Make It Easy/Owner of a Lonely Heart , I've Seen All Good People , Solly's Beard , Saving My Heart For You , Whitefish/Amazing Grace , Rick Wakeman Solo , Awaken , Roundabout .


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