Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Yes 1980-09-09 Boston Garden Boston, MA



YES

TITLE: "The Singular Eye" [henceforth referred to as "B80"]
 
DATE:  9 September 1980
 
LOCATION: Boston, Massachusetts, USA

VENUE: Boston Garden

RECORDING TYPE: Audience ["AR"]

NOTES FROM TWO OFFICIAL "BLIND" B80 PROJECT TEST GROUP LISTENERS

"What a treat it is to listen to this lovingly mastered recording of
the Yes DRAMA lineup live.  I kept finding myself getting lost in the
performance (which in itself actually says quite a bit about the
sonics). By any DRAMA tour standard of comparison, the sound quality
is nothing short of breathtaking.

The vocals here have an amazingly lifelike presence throughout, often
seeming to leap right out of the speakers or headphones. One of the
most impressive aspects of Lestat's releases is the almost holographic
sense of venue ambience he and Balrog consistently achieve-you really
feel like you are there in the concert hall with the audience.
Finally, he consistently maintains the full dynamic range of the
performance-not just in transitions between louder and quieter parts,
but perhaps just as importantly in the detail with which we can still
hear the quieter nuances in the midst of relatively loud passages.

Overall, the sound here is miles beyond any other live recording of
this Yes lineup that I have ever heard.  The DRAMA tracks in the
official THE WORD IS LIVE are barely listenable after hearing this.  I
recently heard another recording from the tour that was quite good,
but completely lacking the incredible nuance and sense of presence and
space so abundant in this release.

We are all incredibly lucky that Balrog happened to tape this
performance, that Lestat had the expertise to master it so
beautifully, and that both of them have the generosity to share their
efforts with such a wide community of fans. I have yet to see Gromek's
artwork design, but I suspect that it will be a joy to behold. Many
thanks to the three of them (as well as to the past and present
members of Yes, of course) for allowing me to relive some of the magic
of so many years ago."

- "NorthNYMark"

"The triumvirate is complete-B78, B79 and now B80. This latest show
represents a triumph for Messrs. LESTAT and BALROG. What is presented
for you is not only a stunning capture of a great night on an
underrated tour but the application of unparalleled audio engineering
to bring out the very best the Master tape had to offer. So with that
said, enjoy the very best recording of the Drama Tour!"

- "Jackstraw42"

A NOTE FROM THE PRODUCERS

No matter how you feel about the DRAMA (Buggles) era of Yes, there's
no denying something very exciting and different happened in the album
and tour. To some the departure of Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman from
the lineup and their replacement by Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes meant
the band no longer deserved to call itself Yes. But the concert is
still very much Yes music. The old songs may not sound quite  right on
first listen, but there are some remarkable moments in the
performances. And keep in mind that Anderson and Wakeman made a real
contribution to Drama before departing. Yes purists ("Troopers" if you
like) would do themselves a favor in giving this one a chance.

Boston Garden was only the ninth show in the tour. Trevor Horn's voice
was still intact enough to sound almost exactly like Jon Anderson much
of the time. The circular sound system was not quite the same as the
one used in the preceding Tormato concerts, but it was still much
better than the stacks used in the GFTO tour. Very few rock concert
sound systems could overcome the notorious Boston Garden mid-bass
"boom" that can be heard in almost all recordings made there. Only
Yes' circular system and Pink Floyd's "quad" system were able to
accomplish it.

LINEUP:

Steve Howe - guitars
Chris Squire - bass
Alan White - percussion
Trevor Horn - vocals
Geoff Downes - keyboards

SETLIST [for 80-minute and 74-minute CDR]:

[Vol. 1]

01V1 - Intro Cue [Young Person's Guide/Close Encounters theme]/Does It Really Happen
02V1 - Yours Is No Disgrace
03V1 - Into the Lens
04V1 - Clap [Howe solo]
05V1 - And You and I
06V1 - Go Through This
07V1 - Man in a White Car Suite [Downes solo]
08V1 - Parallels
09V1 - We Can Fly From Here

[Vol. 2]

01V2 - Tempus Fugit
02V2 - AmazingGrace > The Fish > Amazing Grace [Squire solo]
03V2 - Machine Messiah
04V2 - Starship Trooper
05V2 - Roundabout

TAPER: Barry Rogoff (Balrog)

SOURCE: Nakamichi 550/CM-100/CP-1 [Dolby B encoded] > Maxell UD XLII

LINEAGE: Nak Dragon [Dolby B out] > RDL FP-UBC6 > MOTU 896 > Sound
Forge > Wave [48KHz/24 bit] > CEP 2.0 with Izotope Ozone [mastering
then downsample/conversion to 44.1KHz/16 bit] > Wave > FLAC > Dime

REMASTER SUMMARY: EQ work to reveal - not mix - extant AR detail, as
the audience heard and felt it. No attempts to alter band-crowd-venue
sound balance. If crowd sound as real and detailed as band sound isn't
desired, please pass this by and stick to boards or industry releases.

No compression or noise reduction. FFT filtering at 19.3KHz eliminated
any need for dedicated NR.

INDEPENDENT SOUND ANALYSIS: Several trusted 'beta testers', including
Barry, Gromek and others

ORIGINAL ART: Gromek

SOURCE AND AUDIO WORK AT LENGTH -

Yet another top shelf pre-1990s analog AR rivaling many from the post
1990 DAT era.

Like others it nonetheless required months of work and testing of
results by multiple listeners in a wide variety of playback systems to
give up the best it has to offer.

Every effort was made to reveal all possible detail in each tone of
each instrument as far as it occurred in the band's PA mix, and we're
pleased with the result overall. Lower crash cymbal tones make one
important litmus, so too even audience clapping.

This project was made especially challenging by Yes' own 1980 sound
system, which was not only different but inferior to the one used in
1978/1979. We can only speculate as to why, but the PA output was
quite poor for Yes and heavily afflicted with wildly fluctuating hiss,
distortion, a lack of some lower high frequencies - robbing it of the
'warmth' among other things Yes concert sound had been famous for -
and a certain overall 'tinniness' [resembling digital compression].

PA distortion occurs mainly in Squire's bass and at times in midrange
keyboard sounds, becoming especially terrible during "The Fish", "Into
The Lens" and Downe's solo. Lower cymbal tones in particular didn't
come through in the Yes mix nearly as well as in previous tours,
leaving them 'thin' sounding by comparison. Making matters worse,
percussive 'swish' and 'swirl' were chronic in this PA system. It
seems to have been weirdly chronic in 1977 too, but in the 1980 system
it was much worse. The Garden's legendary acoustics and a [likely] new
Yes soundman definitely contributed to and aggravated all of these
problems.

None of the described distortion can even be partly mitigated without
approaches like compression highly destructive to desirable signal. On
the brighter side we can still hear more brilliant detail in this
DRAMA tour recording than any other I've come across, including the
DRAMA tour material featured in THE WORD IS LIVE. "Thinness" in lower
highs and upper mids also mitigated fairly well with EQ settings
carefully crafted to avoid altering other things, and upper high
frequencies came out very well.

A few miscellaneous annoyances include a strange aberration during
"Into the Lens" suggesting a sudden, radical shift in deck settings or
a recording splice but most likely another PA output artifact. During
this event, sound sharpens strongly in both channels and shifts hard
to left. It has been smoothened out a bit, but slicing it out would
have taken too much of an important musical passage. As "Machine
Messiah" prepares to start hiss suddenly drops out then returns,
somewhat more likely to be a brief deck offset but could still easily
be in the PA system output.

Actual tape hiss where it can be distinguished from PA output hiss is
noticeable, but enough of it occurs above a 19.3KHz signal 'event
horizon' an FFT filter set there allowed avoidance of dedicated noise
reduction. "B78" had no such filtering, and while no signal was lost
in either recording is considerably hissier.

Many thanks to Yes, then and now

Special thanks to Gromek for artwork so perfectly evocative of the
show's energy and this effort.

Endless, endless thanks to Barry for another miraculous AR, the
expertise and bravery it required.

Please share freely but losslessly, and never, EVER even THINK of
selling for any sum anywhere. Reseed or redistribute this recording in
its complete and original form only. Should we become aware of an
incomplete reseed or distribution, we will publicly discredit the
party responsible.

NOTES FROM BARRY:

This is the third of three Boston Garden shows that I taped while Yes
had the incredible rotating stage and circular sound system. All three
(1978, 1979, and 1980) have now been remastered by the amazing
Monsieur Lestat and are seeding on Dime.

This concert was also recorded by glasnostrd19 and appeared on Dime
several months ago. While I applaud glasnostrd19's recording, I think
you'll find that you've never heard anything quite like this one
before.

There are three commercial bootlegs that I know about. I don't know
which source was used to make them:

Drama in the Garden (RR00-019) Dramatic Yes (four tracks) Where the
Lens is Wide (fat cat records fcr-cd 90124)

Fat Cat Records had the audacity to declare a copyright on the
recording: "copyright fat cat records - a product of Norway - all
rights reserved". There really is a Fat Cat Records but it's in
England, not Norway, and I'm sure it had nothing to do with the
bootleg.

This recording is listenable at concert volume on audiophile-quality
equipment. No constraints are placed on the dynamic range as is the
case in commercial live recordings. For this reason, the peaks may
exceed the capabilities of consumer-quality audio systems resulting in
distortion from frequencies that cannot be properly reproduced.

To obtain audiophile-quality equipment at an affordable price,
consider getting high-end headphones, a headphone amplifier, and a CD
player from eBay or other sources of pre-owned audio equipment. You
will find that it's well worth the expense.

On a personal note, my goal in taping concerts has always been to
achieve time travel. I want go back in time and relive musical
experiences that were much too important to me to allow them be heard
once and lost forever. And I want the experience to be available to
everyone who loves the music.

Anyone who has ever taped a concert knows that there's a price to pay,
not only in terms of money spent and risk taken, but in the way it
diminishes your own enjoyment of the show. You have to monitor the
mikes and the deck. If you allow yourself to get too much into the
music and forget about the equipment, you screw up. So it's sort of
being the designated driver. You can enjoy yourself, but not too much.

The reason I bring this up is to point out how much Lestat's
remastering work makes up for the enjoyment lost at the time the
recording was made. Now I can relive the experience while completely
relaxed. Other than the absence of smoke in the air and the ambience
of the old Boston Garden, it's not much different from being there.
With no equipment to worry about I can let the music carry me to
places I've never been. I sincerely hope it provides the same
enjoyment for you.

- Barry

NOTES FROM GROMEK:

As I was such a young lad when DRAMA came out I can't say much about
that time, but I do remember that it went by unnoticed by me (let's
face it - Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman were not a part of Yes
anymore, so that was that, it was over!) and I went on to explore
other styles of music and of course Jon's Song of Seven album.

I did like The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" song, but Yes
was simply not Yes without two very important members, so there.
Hearing and reading stories about ex-Yes members saying Yes really
should not have done DRAMA, and that it really should not be talked
about, was an extra reason for me to leave it for what it was (without
hearing a second of music from the actual album).

Boy was I wrong!

Some years later I decided to explore the new Yes incarnation with
Trevor Rabin, and although it did not compare to the old sound
remember that I loved the new sound. So then I also had a go at DRAMA,
and was pleasantly surprised by that too! I really liked the album and
after a few listening sessions I decided I loved it, and everyone who
said that it should never have been made was wrong!

Now years and years later DRAMA comes to life again! Lestat has done
wonders with this recording (another excellent one "Recorded by
Balrog") and I was happy to be part of the project too, although my
part is nothing compared to what he and Lestat had to go through to
get it to sound like this!

This time I was inspired by an image created by Barry and the lyrics
from the DRAMA album - mostly Machine Messiah - and the title "The
Singular Eye" derives from that. So after grabbing some images from my
usual sources (all having something to do with eyes and digital
manipulation) I went on to make a collage and manipulated it (using
PSP X2), producing what you see now as a finished cover.

So when you listen to this excellent live performance, try to envision
or look at the art, and combine the two mentally. It should be very
effective.

Well, enough from me, I hope you like what I did, but all praise goes
to Barry and Lestat, as they were the men who provided us with another
gem to be circulated among Yes fans.

- Gromek

A FURTHER NOTE ON THE "DRAMA" ERA FROM NORTHNYMARK:

While a sizeable number of Yes fans will probably always consider the
Drama album and tour questionable at best and an atrocity at worst,
for many of us the Drama lineup continues to occupy a very special
place in our musical worlds.

When I first heard the studio album, I actually knew relatively little
about Yes: getting into music in the early '80s, I became a fan of
Asia and began tracking down the  individual members' back catalogues.
When I finally found an elusive (at that time) cassette copy of Drama,
I had an exam over A Tale of Two Cities the next day-and I had yet to
begin the book!  So I had to promise to wait until after school the
next day to listen (which made it indeed the best of times and the
worst of times).  That first listen the next afternoon was one of
those magical moments that will always remain vivid in my memory.

Geoff Downes once referred to the album's compositions as "little
masterworks," and it certainly seemed a fitting description of the
sprawling structure and jarring mood and tempo changes of "Machine
Messiah," the oddly touching melancholy of "White Car" and "Into the
Lens," the unexpected majesty of the coda to "Does It Really Happen,"
the slightly surreal synthesizer effects of "Run Through the Light,"
and the sheer virtuosity of "Tempus Fugit."  Nothing else in the Yes
catalogue (or that of anyone else) sounds quite like it.

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