With “The Chop House,” we explore classic performances from bands with — you know — “chops.” Genres like progressive rock, art-rock, jazz-fusion — they’re nearly extinct in our current music culture. These days, we live (and consume art) impatiently, favoring a quick fix over a challenge. But here at Hidden Track, we refuse to let the dazzling, confrontational spirit of these wonderful bands die.
On May 10th, 1975, Yes graced the stage at London’s Loftus Road Stadium — but this wasn’t the same Yes that had been dominating progressive rock the entire decade. Not quite. The band’s most recent album, 1974’s Relayer, was a bold, edgy reinvention, adding an aggressive jazz-fusion edge (one clearly influenced by John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra) to their trademark symphonic sound.
Critics were dumbfounded by this new direction — just as they’d been puzzled by the extended, ambient stretches of Tales from Topographic Oceans — but the album sold well, as all Yes albums did, landing in the Top Five in both the UK and US. Nonetheless, Relayer (and its subsequent tour) were — and are — unlike anything else in the band’s oeuvre. Longtime keyboard whiz Rick Wakeman (who fled the band after his dissatisfaction with the polarizing Oceans) was replaced by newcomer Patrick Moraz, whose flashy, blaring, jazz-inflected chops ultimately served as a catalyst for this new sonic shift.
Yes never made another album like Relayer. From 1975 to 1976, each band member released his own solo album, and when they re-grouped to record 1977’s Going for the One, they brought back Wakeman (along with a trimmer, more rock-oriented style).
That makes this concert at Loftus Road all the more special. The set — which originally floated around in bootleg VHS form — was officially released in 2001 as Yes: Live — 1975 at QPR. The concert lasts nearly two-and-a-half hours, and it’s split into halves below.
Full Line-Up: Jon Anderson (vocals, percussion), Steve Howe (guitars, vocals), Chris Squire (bass, vocals), Patrick Moraz (keyboards), Alan White (drums, percussion)
Disc 1 features the entire Relayer album (including the hypnotic, Steve Howe-led “To Be Over” and the spastic, fusion blow-out “Sound Chaser”), along with a number of other fan favorites.
0. Introduction – Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite
1. Sound Chaser
2. Close to the Edge
3. To Be Over
4. The Gates of Delirium
5. Your Move
6. Mood For A Day
7. Long Distance Runaround
8. The Clap
Disc 2 is equally great, featuring the propulsive Time and a Word gem “Sweet Dreams” and a truly moving version of “And You and I.”
0. And You and I
1. Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil)
3. Sweet Dreams
4. Yours is No Disgrace