YES – "Ten True Boston Summers", a.k.a. “B78”
DATE: 30 August 1978
LOCATION: Boston, MA, USA
VENUE: Boston Gardens
RECORDING TYPE: Audience ["AR"]
TORRENT SOURCE: Original Nakamichi 550-recorded master tapes
TAPER: The unsurpassed Mr. Barry Rogoff
LINEAGE: Original master transfer - Nak BX 300 Dolby B via VXPocket V2 > Addonics Digicopier to Mitsui CDR via Nero 7.0 > To mastering computer from Addonics Digicopier via EAC > Pitch/Tempo naturalization and EQ work to reveal - not mix - existing detail in CEP 2.0 [no noise reduction attempted] > FLAC > Bit Torrent to Dime and You
INDEPENDENT SOURCE ANALYSIS: 27 “beta testers”, including the Taper, Gromek and others
ORIGINAL ART: Gromek
ORIGINAL PHOTOS [Photo folder and cover art]: The Taper
LINEUP: Vocals - Jon Anderson; Keyboards - Rick Wakeman; Guitars - Steve Howe; Bass Guitars - Chris Squire; Percussion - Alan White
SETLIST [for standard 80-minute CDR]:
01V1 - Siberian Khatru; 02V1 - Heart of the Sunrise; 03V1 - Future Times; 04V1 - Circus of Heaven; 05V1 - The Big Medley [includes Squire solo]; 06V1 - Release Release; 07V1 - Howe Solo*
01V2 – Parallels; 02V2 - On the Silent Wings of Freedom; 03V2 - Wakeman solo; 04V2 - Anderson [harp] solo/Awaken; 05V2 - All Good People; 06V2 – Roundabout
Endless, endless thanks to the Taper – this nearly if not completely miraculous AR wouldn’t exist for us to enjoy without his bravery and expertise, then and now
STRENGTHS [please also see "weaknesses" further down]:
Performance - Yet another unbelievable one from Yes' last '70s album tour, its pioneering in-the-round presentation with revolving stage and 360 degree "flying" PA system. The sound was astonishing even by today’s standards. As had often been true in previous years, the tour began before its featured new album (TORMATO) was released and astonished audience reactions to the new pieces are captured here. Typically innovative but clinical sounding new works in studio came to life on the road – among them "Release Release", and a top shelf AR of it no less. "The Big Medley" of older numbers also took nearly everyone by surprise in an era before Internet spoilers.
Source and mastering effort – For 1978 a top quality audience cassette made with one of the best then-available decks captured all the energy official, SBD-based "live" releases rarely if ever do, and in as much or more detail. Here in all its digitally transferred glory is the original master itself.
The source almost couldn’t be better even as reel to reel. There are other cassette "AR"s from the period of even better technical quality in visual analysis at least, yet this one has all their aural detail plus a 'warmth' on playback I haven't heard in others graphing better visually.
Most mastering was limited to pitch and tempo correction commonly needed in high end ARs from the 70s due to their source decks’ extensive manual setting requirements. The rest consisted of minimal high and mid frequency EQ work to reveal existing detail and mitigate some ‘distance’ resulting from the Boston Garden echo chamber’s habit of swallowing up sound from even Yes’ exceptional 1978-1980 system.
Performance - Despite their usual consummate professionalism Yes had a rather difficult night on 30 June 1978, largely due to the energy drain of "Release Release". It was so demanding even for Yes the subsequent performance of "Parallels" suffered as well, despite a break for Steve Howe’s solo, and in both cases vocals in particular. It was also only the tour’s 3rd engagement so a few stumbles were nearly inevitable. The following night they nailed “Release Release”, everything else went off as well if not better, and even their sound engineer seemed to do a better job of coping with the Garden’s acoustics, but no AR of that show I know of has this one’s quality.
Source and overall sound - Some imbalance resulting from sound engineer having difficulty with keyboard channels at times. Wakeman in fact drops out of the PA mix completely more than once, and is frequently, unusually low in the mix. Venue reverb very strong, but as part of the document left alone. The ‘distance’ mentioned – primarily effecting Jon’s vocals, keyboards and midrange percussion - remains and is more noticeable in some segments than others, but could be a lot worse considering the AR platform and venue. The taper notes:
“I remember being unsure as to how to aim the mikes at the circular sound system. I didn't see much in the way of monitors on stage, and they would have rotating anyway. So both mikes had to be aimed up at the sound system. I had no idea how much separation was needed to get a good stereo image with balanced levels. So whatever you hear on the recording was my best guess at the time.”
Whatever this contributed to any distant properties, I’d call his guess pretty f-g good, especially considering a PA system configuration no one had ever seen before.
Perhaps due to cassette type, the recording is hissy for its source yet not bad enough to warrant the primitive chainsaw of currently available digital NR technology. Neither distance nor tape noise is aggravated by any tape generations or the extensive EQ work often needed to overcome them thankfully.
Dropouts are almost inevitable with cassette ARs so old, and there are a few of them here. Some strange source distortion can be heard during one bridge of “Heart of the Sunrise”. A kind of 'creaking' mechanical noise likely due to deck or mic movement is evident now and then but especially during Wakeman’s solo and the harp solo intro to “Awaken”. The taper reports:
“I can't say for sure, but it's possible that the mikes were hand-held at that show. I had a very lightweight, collapsible mike stand that clamped onto anything available, including seats. Unfortunately, it was kind of flimsy and people walking by often bumped into it. It was also prone to breaking at the worst possible time, so I always brought a pair of modified socks that could be used to hold the mikes when necessary. To get a feeling for that experience, try holding an object at roughly head level for two hours.”
My arms ache just thinking about it, and it makes this taper’s heroism even more impressive. Some low frequency rumbling during quieter moments may also have been a result of movement [resembles wind gusts]. Like hiss and other noise these will not come out without taking important signal detail with them, so I left them alone. A couple of tape flips had to be trimmed and spliced, and are noticeable but occur between tracks effecting audience sound only.
Here’s hoping “B78” adds real joy to many lives. Please share freely but never sell and please keep lossless. Happy time travels!
An independent ‘beta test’ listener had this to say meantime:
“The Boss Tone of Boston
Boston was evidently not a quiet place to see a
concert. When Peter Banks says that early Yes
was a band that would at most tolerate some
toe-tapping, he clearly had not yet been to Boston.
Ten years later, Boston welcomed Yes' tenth true
summer with loud enthusiasm, and Yes replied in kind.
how lucky it was for those who were there!
Fortunately for those of us who weren't there, there
is this tape. On it, we can hear just what Bostonian Yes
fans experienced in 1978. It isn't 100% perfect, nor
should it be. What it is, though, is a brilliantly
executed evening of this one-of-a-kind tour.
YESSONGS had brilliantly summarized the end of the
Bruford era. YESSHOWS similarly summarized the end of
the 70s, but not as neatly; by encompassing three very
different tours, it did not cover any of them well,
and 1978 least of all.
“B78” moves to rectify this. There are a lot of
considerations in any live recording: proper mixing,
good sound, and a desirable setlist are all
imperative, but even then it may not be a notable
performance. Getting all these variables to coincide
on a single evening borders on the impractical.
Nevertheless, here we have a show with all four
qualities, lovingly revealed by painstaking efforts:
Steve's liquid guitar lines, Rick's celestial
tapestries, and Alan's sharp snap all push away any
doubt. You can listen to it quietly if you must, but
Mr. Squire's bass was meant to rumble like a dinosaur,
and only proper volume captures him in full roar.
Therefore the listener is directed to play it as
loud as possible -- at the very least, until the
neighbors come knocking.
A lot of things made 1978 a fantastic and unique year
for Yes in concert: the medley, the better TORMATO
songs, the band still in their prime. While we can't
yet bring you the round stage and the light show,
we'll consider them when technology allows. Meanwhile,
enjoy this fan's-ear gem from the "tenth true summer"
of Yes: Boston Garden, 8/30/78.
- Ramble On Joe (Thebestofwebsite.com contributor)”
…And one of the best music-related writers in the US Pacific Northwest if you ask me :]