In late 1972 Yes was on fire. Close to the Edge, arguably their greatest album, had come out in September, and their previous two efforts were the groundbreaking Fragile and The Yes Album. If ever there was a moment you wanted to see that band live, it was right then.
Fortunately, Yes supported Close to the Edge with ambitious live shows, as audiences around the world packed arenas to see the legendary group perform their unbeatable harmonies. This was the tour captured on Yes’ first live album, Yessongs, a triple LP that came out in 1973 and sold over a million copies (Roger Dean’s trippy and iconic artwork in particular blew many minds).
Credit: Roger Dean
If you just can’t get enough vintage Yes at their artistic pinnacle, then you’re going to love Progeny: Highlights from Seventy-Two and Progeny: Seven Shows from Seventy-Two, two new releases from Rhino featuring recently discovered recordings of seven complete concerts from the weeks leading up to the shows heard on Yessongs. The latest audio technology was used to restore the reel-to-reel recordings and bring out incredible sonic detail, creating an open, immediate sound that drops listeners right into the front row.
Progeny: Seven Shows from Seventy-Two is fourteen whopping discs that contain every note from all seven shows recorded between October 31 and November 20 of 1972, in locales like Canada, Tennessee, and North Carolina. This comprehensive set comes in a cigarette-style flip top box with stunning new artwork by Roger Dean. Recorded three months into the tour, these powerful performances attest to how quickly the new lineup gelled musically as they navigate hits like “Roundabout” as well as complex pieces like “And You and I.” Even though the setlist didn’t vary much from night to night, the individual performances are strikingly different.
This was Yes’ first tour with drummer Alan White, who’s been with the band ever since. He replaced Bill Bruford, who recorded Close To The Edge before leaving to join King Crimson. White only had three days to learn the band’s live show before his first night on stage with Jon Anderson (vocals), Steve Howe (guitar), Chris Squire (bass) and Rick Wakeman (keyboards).
If seven full concerts is too much music for you, fear not! There’s also Progeny: Highlights from Seventy-Two, a more modest set that features highlights from the same seven shows. With seven outstanding concerts to choose from, rest assured that you will hear top-notch renditions of Yes classics like “I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Heart Of The Sunrise.”
Below, a live “Close to the Edge” from 1972: