I was so bummed to wake up this morning and hear about the passing of Chris Squire, the legendary bass player and founding member of Yes. The loss of Squire is a big one -- he had a commanding presence visually on stage and musically, there's no doubt that he had the most distinct and recognizable bass tone in rock music -- something that was frequently affirmed by the various musicians that I would interview who counted Squire as an influence.
It had recently been announced that Squire was sick and would be forced to miss the upcoming Yes summer tour (with former Yes member Billy Sherwood filling in). It was the first time that Squire had ever missed a Yes show, but the tone of the announcement at that time gave no indication of a negative prognosis, so it was quite a shock to hear that he was gone.
The first time I saw Yes was in November of 1997 at Music Hall here in Cleveland and as a person who had grown up with the '80s 90125 era of the band, it was something else to see most of the classic lineup of the group -- Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White -- performing together (with Sherwood on additional guitars and vocals, and keyboardist Igor Khoroshev in place of Rick Wakeman).
As a result of that experience, I went to see Yes nearly every year when they came back to Cleveland after that. Seeing the band play a "small hall" gig at the Cleveland Agora in 1999 on the tour for The Ladder was certainly one highlight of those gigs. Eventually seeing Rick Wakeman with the group on a subsequent tour was another. They were one of those bands who never failed to astound me with their live show, even in recent years when Anderson was eventually replaced on vocals, first by vocalist Benoit David and more recently by Jon Davison.
Eventually, I would have the opportunity to interview quite a few Yes members and it was a definite thrill when I got the chance to speak with Squire in early 2013.
Not long after seeing Yes for the first time at that Music Hall show in 1997, I got a call from a Yes fan who was looking for a copy of the band's performance at Richfield Coliseum in 1978, which had been broadcast by WMMS. I didn't have it, but I had something new to look for and I eventually tracked down a bootleg (Madrigal Mystery Tour) that didn't sound great, but Bill was thrilled to get a copy of it.
I kept looking for a better copy of the show and a few years ago, I was finally rewarded with an upgrade. Someone posted a copy of the WMMS broadcast that they had recorded live off the radio the night that it was broadcast, directly to reel to reel tape. I hoped that it would sound as good as the description and indeed, it did. The captured recording is one that even now when you listen it, takes you straight back to the night it all happened. It's a must hear thing if you're a Yes fan, which if you're still reading this far in, chances are pretty good.
If you want even more classic live Yes, you're in luck -- Rhino Records recently released a box set that contains seven complete live shows from 1972, recorded shortly after White had joined the group as their new drummer. One can hope that perhaps they might have plans to share some additional shows from other tours in a similar fashion.
Now as promised, here's that Yes show from Richfield....
broadcast on WMMS
complete zipped download
Steve Howe, guitars
Alan White, drums
Rick Wakeman, keyboards
Chris Squire, basses
Jon Anderson, vocals, harp, other noises
Thanks to eggplant2 for the incredible source!