Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Indian Takeaway - More Tales

The order, Rick Wakeman said, was for chicken vindaloo, rice pilau, six papadums, bhindi bhaji, Bombay aloo, and a stuffed paratha. This was November 1973 and Yes had sold out the Manchester Free Trade Hall for a performance of Tales From Topographic Oceans. The album consisted of four songs that rolled gently together, over four sides of vinyl, for 83 minutes. "There were a couple of pieces where I hadn't got much to do, and it was all a bit dull. During every show, a keyboard tech reclined underneath Wakeman's Hammond organ, ready to fix broken hammers or ribbons and to "continually hand me my alcoholic beverages." That night in Manchester, the tech asked the bored Wakeman what he wanted to eat after the show. Wakeman, the lone carnivore in Yes, ordered the curry. "Half the audience were in narcotic rapture on some far-off planet," Wakeman wrote in his 2007 memoir, "and the other half were asleep, bored shitless."

Wakeman kept on at the keyboards, adding gossamer organ melodies and ambient passages to the songs. And then, around 30 minutes later, his tech started handing up "little foil trays" of curry, and Wakeman began placing them on the keyboards. "I still didn't have a lot to do," he wrote, "so I thought I might as well tuck in." The food was obscured by the instrument stacks, further obscured by Wakeman's cape, but the aroma danced over to Yes's lead singer, Jon Anderson. He took a good look at the culinary insult. Shrug. Papadum in hand, he returned to his microphone to sing his next part.