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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, 22 July 2015

SET THE CONTROLS FOR THE HEART OF THE SUNRISE: Yes

Yes live 1974
With the sad passing of Chris Squire as well as a new CD box set documenting the band’s legendary 1972 tour, it’s time for ye olde (and we do mean old!) editor to dig once again into his archives…
BY FRED MILLS
Ed. note: The death of Yes bassist Chris Squire a week ago, at the relatively young age of 67, came as a huge shock as I’d not heard of his recent leukemia diagnosis. As a huge Yes fan in the early days, not to mention a fan of Squire’s distinctive bass style, it was deeply distressing. I can’t say I followed the group closely after its ‘70s heyday, but I always appreciated their musical mission, and even found myself attending one of the 2004 35thanniversary concerts that brought back into the fold together the classic lineup of Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Squire, Alan White and Rick Wakeman. I subsequently reviewed it for Magnet magazine, and prior to that, had written a Yes retrospective for the Seattle Weekly on the occasion of a box set anthology that Rhino released; below I have combined the two pieces, incorporating additional interview content featuring the Flaming Lips’ Steven Drozd and Fastbacks/Young Fresh Fellows man Kurt Bloch. (Both of them were known to be, improbably enough, huge Yes fans so it seemed like it might be fun to have their perspectives—as Drozd drily noted, “Being part of the hip, underground world of the early ‘90s, the last thing you could ever admit to listening to was Yes. [But] sounds that used to seem really dorky and uncool a few years ago, start to sound cool again, you know what I mean?” Indeed I do, Mr. Drozd. Herewith find an appreciation of the just-released Yes: Progeny collection on Rhino and yet another one of my stories from the archives. Pay close attention: I’ll be jumping around quite a bit, timeline-wise. Oh, and hopefully this will serve as a sincere memorial to Chris Squire. He was a singularly unique talent and will be deeply missed. – FM
 Chris Squire

From 2004…
 Yes has been extant in one form or another since 1969 and to commemorate this auspicious time line-age the British group is currently trekking across America on its 35th Anniversary Tour. Worth noting: at one point in the late ‘80s the group was even extant in TWO forms or another, when a Chris Squire-fronted Yes was competing in the marketplace with his then-erstwhile bandmates touring under the collective monicker Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe. But I won’t dwell upon that period, as it no doubt leaves a bad taste in some of the Yes-men’s mouth when brought up; while the Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe album is listed in the official Yes discography, material from it is conspicuously absent from Rhino’s recent 3-CD 35thAnniversary Collection.
A tangent:  Roughly a year and a half ago, in 2002, I found myself revisiting my Yes-roots courtesy the Rhino box set In A Word (1969 –   )that had just been released, an anthology tracing chronologically the band’s three-decade-plus history across five discs of hits, album classics and a handful of unreleased tracks. Now, when it comes to Yes-things, I’m no spring chicken, as the following dates gleaned from my teenage trove of ticket stubs will reveal: Monday, Nov. 22, 1971, Municipal Auditorium, Atlanta GA (Fragile tour, w/opening act Emerson Lake & Palmer); Tuesday, Oct. 3, 1972, Coliseum, Charlotte NC (Close To The Edge, w/The Eagles); Sunday, Feb. 10, 1974, Carolina Coliseum, Columbia SC (Tales From Topographic Oceans, w/John Martyn; and Sunday, Nov. 24, 1974, Coliseum, Greensboro (Relayer, w/Gryphon). Scary, huh? In addition to those shows I attended another Topographictour date as well as at least two more from the CTTE trek.
The 2/10/74 show is particularly memorable, for not only did I get to see the great guitar master Martyn in full extemporaneous flight, I and my buddies had ingested some rather potent chocolate mescaline – you remember that, right? kinda like taking E but without, like, getting dehydrated, collapsing and dying – and at one point during a Rick Wakeman synth solo one of them turned to me, grimaced and grunted, “Them’s some lowwwww notes…” then leaned forward to puke up a most amazing Technicolor mass of amoebic goo, but politely so, under his chair.
CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM GONZO
Union (Standard DVD)
DVD - £9.99

Union
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Union (2CD)
2CD - £7.99

Rock Of The 70's
DVD - £12.99

The Lost Broadcasts
DVD - £7.99

Rock of the 70s
DVD - £9.99

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