Circus of Heaven is Hell

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Vaguson
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Circus of Heaven is Hell

Post: # 74018Post Vaguson
Tue Aug 03, 2004 9:13 pm

I'm sorry, (even to those who don't like Tormato) I'm usually not this hard on the guys, but does anyone feel the same as I do when I say that Circus of Heaven is just a DUMB song? I mean, come ON. Tales From Topographic Oceans I can accept, and Relayer, and their acquired tastes, but Circus of Heaven is just...blah. I appreciate the story and the well-crafted mystical lyrics, but well...doesn't do anything for me...

It would at least be more acceptable if the music was kind of interesting, but IMO it's boring and just comes out sounding like a Raffi song.

Okay; I'm either gonna be blown out of the water here or heartily agreed with. I'm very open to people trying to change my mind: I don't like disliking any of their songs.
I'm not saying I won't ever listen to the piece, but it just sounds dumb. Especially the part at the end with the kid. Too contrived.
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Post: # 74021Post Terry Shea
Tue Aug 03, 2004 9:28 pm

I always hated that song with a passion too. I played it the first few times I listened to the album then I skipped over it for years.One day not so long ago I decided to give it another listen and I didn't think it was all that bad. There's really some good muscianship going on during that song. It's by no means my favorite Yes song and it will never be their best work, but I can actually listen to it and enjoy it now. It probably would have been better to have left it off from the album though and replaced it with something else.
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Post: # 74024Post Roan's Lady
Tue Aug 03, 2004 10:04 pm

High on the "cheese factor" is this song, and in my opinion the first (but not the only :rolleyes: ) as such recorded on a Yes album.
I think it took a lot of people by surprise. "Tormato" was certainly a departure from what they'd done up to that point. Musically, there are parts of Circus that are fair, and I can appreciate Jon's attempt to paint a lyrical picture for us with his story, but in general, this song rates low for me.
And it always bothered me that Jon chose to rhyme "town" with..."town". Why, man,
why??




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Post: # 74027Post Ed Schaum
Tue Aug 03, 2004 10:34 pm

Except for the embarassing "No Clowns" thing at the end, I like the tune quite a bit. Musically it's not complex, but the imagery is superb. I have no trouble visualizing the whole spectacle and have no problems filing this song (and the whole album) under Yes. The disc has its shortcomings, but it's in my regular rotation.

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Post: # 74036Post Vaguson
Wed Aug 04, 2004 12:20 am

Roan's Lady wrote:High on the "cheese factor" is this song, and in my opinion the first (but not the only :rolleyes: ) as such recorded on a Yes album.



"I eat at chez nous" being a good example of that...still cracks me up...
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Post: # 74044Post topographic_drama1980
Wed Aug 04, 2004 4:13 am

Circus Of Heaven's not really THAT bad of a song. The 'no clowns' part, I think, is actually kind of cute in a way. Kind of a way to introduce the world to your son. I like the version off of the Live In Philadelphia 1979 DVD. The crowd just loved it.
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Post: # 74066Post Gary M. Thomas
Wed Aug 04, 2004 7:20 pm

I think that "Circus of Heaven" is like a huge Jon Anderson lullaby. I gotta agree 100% with Ed Schaum that the imagery in this tune is truely remarkable...

A unicorn headed the mystical way
Surrounded by what seemed a thousand golden angels at play
Behind were Centaurs, elves, bright fairies all in colours of jade.....
On the very final day

And also.........
For what seemed only just a moment in time
Seven solemn flying silvered regal horses rode by
Seven golden chariots in tow, a wonder to behold
The Seven Lords of the Mountains of Time.....


Yeah, I kinda like the tune... if, for no other reson, the magically beautiful images that it creates. ;)

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Post: # 74074Post tardistraveler
Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:25 pm

Musically it's an OK song, and Damian at the end is sort of cute.

BUT, I think it would have been better served on a Jon Anderson solo album. I think most people would have accepted it easily in that context. As Yes music goes, it just doesn't seem to fit for me.

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Post: # 74083Post Vaguson
Wed Aug 04, 2004 10:13 pm

That's a good way to put it, Diane...probably what I'm thinking as well, now that you say that...
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Post: # 74095Post Astral traveller
Thu Aug 05, 2004 12:50 am

It's definitly one of their weaker tracks. 'Richard' should have been on it, I think that song was also recorded for Tormato but never used for it.

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Post: # 74099Post Roan's Lady
Thu Aug 05, 2004 1:11 am

Astral traveller wrote:It's definitly one of their weaker tracks. 'Richard' should have been on it, I think that song was also recorded for Tormato but never used for it.
I wonder if this was the "Richard" that Jon played during Work In Progress. If so...man, that's a great tune!
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agreed..

Post: # 74157Post Stoutman
Fri Aug 06, 2004 5:23 am

It`s true,this song is pure hell. It`s so sickly sweet you can almost feel yourself gagging from the sugar. And to think these guys put out one of the most incredible,innovative albums in Relayer four years prior...Well, all bands stumble and fuck up now and again..
Tormato was an album that was designed for a person to level machine gun blasts at it.....

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Post: # 74166Post tardistraveler
Fri Aug 06, 2004 5:12 pm

Stoutman wrote:It`s true,this song is pure hell. It`s so sickly sweet you can almost feel yourself gagging from the sugar. And to think these guys put out one of the most incredible,innovative albums in Relayer four years prior...Well, all bands stumble and fuck up now and again..
Tormato was an album that was designed for a person to level machine gun blasts at it.....
Gee, you're not angry, are you Stout? :D

Again - it's a Jon song, and should have been on a Jon album, not a Yes album. But I don't agree with Stout's actions - there is some good music on Tormato, it's just inconsistent.

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Post: # 74173Post psychopomp95
Fri Aug 06, 2004 8:03 pm

Had I been a fan in 1978, having brought Tormato home from the store, I probably would've popped it onto the turntable and thought: "okaaaaaay... this isn't exactly what I had in mind!!" I don't like the album THAT much either (although there's nothing on it that I really dislike to any great degree, just that some of the stuff is merely weak), but none of the songs are singularly HORRID. Yes, the "Circus" ending is really 'twee' and annoying if you're not in the mood for it, but I actually do like the musical coda - very pretty! Sounds underdeveloped, that's all, as does much of Tormato!
And am I the only one who thinks that "Arriving UFO" is a kickass song?? [ :D ] Again, dumb lyrics (I'm sure Jon knew it when he was writing them), but the jam in the middle is great! And it was even better live!

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Post: # 74177Post tardistraveler
Fri Aug 06, 2004 8:31 pm

Well, I WAS a fan in 1978, and I did buy the album first day, and popped it on the turntable. And, I was disappointed at points, and exhilarated at points.

Circus of Heaven was not the high point for me! Nor was DKTW at the time, although hearing it live in 2002 brought new life to it, and it's one of my favorites now! But I loved Release, Release, and OTSWOF, and yes, Arriving UFO is lyrically a bit strange, but musically quite good.

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Post: # 74185Post Terry Shea
Fri Aug 06, 2004 10:24 pm

psychopomp95 wrote:Had I been a fan in 1978, having brought Tormato home from the store, I probably would've popped it onto the turntable and thought: "okaaaaaay... this isn't exactly what I had in mind!!" I don't like the album THAT much either (although there's nothing on it that I really dislike to any great degree, just that some of the stuff is merely weak), but none of the songs are singularly HORRID. Yes, the "Circus" ending is really 'twee' and annoying if you're not in the mood for it, but I actually do like the musical coda - very pretty! Sounds underdeveloped, that's all, as does much of Tormato!
And am I the only one who thinks that "Arriving UFO" is a kickass song?? [ :D ] Again, dumb lyrics (I'm sure Jon knew it when he was writing them), but the jam in the middle is great! And it was even better live!
Yeah, I always thought Arriving UFO would be great if there was a video with it. There could be a shot of the guys jamming away towards the end, and then the explosion knocks them all to the floor. Rick reaches up from the floor and starts in with the keys while still struggling to get to his feet. The rest of the band join in from their more or less prone positions. It would really be cool if they could pull off something like that live (although they may be a bit old for that kind of thing now). They could borrow the Deep Purple techies from the '70's to pull off the explosion properly. On second thought maybe that isn't such a great idea. I remember they blew Blackmore right off the stage at The California Jam.
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Post: # 74191Post guilddigger
Sat Aug 07, 2004 2:48 am

i like 'circus of heaven'. it is a nice, pretty little song telling the story of humankind.
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Post: # 74228Post yesireebob
Mon Aug 09, 2004 4:48 am

I have always been very fond of Circus, it's whimisical and very pretty, although I could do without Damion at the end. And I love Arriving UFO! It definitely kicks ass, and I really wish they would do it live again! That album came out at the time of Star Trek, Star Wars, Close Encounters, and Carl Sagan and his "BILLIONS and BILLIONS of stars." Arriving UFO captured the popular imagination and excitement about space exploration, and it rocked! My son loved the space ship blast-off in the song when he was a little boy.

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7 Faces

Post: # 74231Post Chris2210
Mon Aug 09, 2004 12:16 pm

I've mentioned this before and was pleasantly suprised to have Ed1909 agree, that Circus of Heaven always reminded me of the old film The Seven Faces of Doctor Lao. The song, like the film struck me as innocent, wonderful whimsy. Also, I always interpreted the line 'no clowns' as suggesting for all its grandeur the circus of heaven lacked the simple human quality of laughter - a quality (so far as we know) unique to humanity. The song does wear on you after a while though and it probably is the one I'm most likely to skip on the album.

I do like Tormato as a whole though (even if it is relatively lightweight) and agree with Trevor (and Rick Wakeman!) that Arriving UFO is a neglected classic. At the time of the album's release I played that track as an example of inspiration in a creative writing class. Bad move - I suffered the embarrassment of the arrogant SOB of a literature teacher pick apart the lyrics. That wasn't the idea of the song as an example - I thought it was redolent of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which the git patronisingly conceded. (Does Jon's pronunciation of the word 'perennial' have US origins BTW?) I think the closing instrumental section is astonishing, in any case.

If I had been warned it was literary lyrics time, I'd have taken along TOTC.
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Post: # 77653Post LoveJon
Thu Oct 21, 2004 4:15 pm

Circus of Heaven was one of my favorites on Tormato, along with Future Times and Silent Wings of Freedom.

Circus is pure Jon. I guess that could explain the sentiments that it would have been better served on a solo project. However, it may have lacked Rick's keyboards that masterfully created the sound and movement to promote images of such heavenly splendor.

As far as Damian's voice at the end lamenting "no clowns," I think it was almost sad....a father is showing his son the wonders of the Universe, and the son is only interested in earthly things. One thinks that the father can only hope to teach his son to one day look beyond the ordinary.

And, yes, "no clowns" was very well-received in concert. Hopefully, making Jon a very proud papa!

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Post: # 77684Post soul warrior
Fri Oct 22, 2004 3:49 am

yea, what she said. i think it is a great jon song! i think you have to like all of jons solo stuff to really get this song. it would have been wonderful on a solo or jon and van cd, but being augmented by wakeman and the band (squires part is an example of great bass writing) takes it to a whole nother level. the level of Yes music. close your eyes ....listen to the parts.......get lost in jons voice.........get lost in the song! hey it's no CTTE, but it is a venture! on another note, the song could use a certain bill b on drums. ;)






LoveJon wrote:Circus of Heaven was one of my favorites on Tormato, along with Future Times and Silent Wings of Freedom.

Circus is pure Jon. I guess that could explain the sentiments that it would have been better served on a solo project. However, it may have lacked Rick's keyboards that masterfully created the sound and movement to promote images of such heavenly splendor.

As far as Damian's voice at the end lamenting "no clowns," I think it was almost sad....a father is showing his son the wonders of the Universe, and the son is only interested in earthly things. One thinks that the father can only hope to teach his son to one day look beyond the ordinary.

And, yes, "no clowns" was very well-received in concert. Hopefully, making Jon a very proud papa!

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Post: # 77697Post The Ancient
Fri Oct 22, 2004 1:11 pm

Circus played live during that tour was one of those warm fuzzy can't hold back the tears Yes moments. Love it!

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Post: # 77780Post soul warrior
Sun Oct 24, 2004 7:11 pm

The Ancient wrote:Circus played live during that tour was one of those warm fuzzy can't hold back the tears Yes moments. Love it!


that was the first yes tour i saw (twice that year). i remember circus being an excellent "Yes moment"!

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I love the TORMATO album

Post: # 80637Post Coverall
Tue Jan 04, 2005 5:30 pm

I really like the song, what I am talking about, I really like the album for that matter, it was the third YES album I bought with my own money.

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Post: # 81010Post perpetualchanger
Sun Jan 09, 2005 2:37 am

Ed Schaum wrote:Except for the embarassing "No Clowns" thing at the end, I like the tune quite a bit. Musically it's not complex, but the imagery is superb. I have no trouble visualizing the whole spectacle and have no problems filing this song (and the whole album) under Yes. The disc has its shortcomings, but it's in my regular rotation.
The "No Clowns" thing is straight out of literature. Doesn't anyone read Ray Bradbury anymore? *smacks forehead*

It took a while, but now I really like the song.
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Post: # 81066Post guilddigger
Sun Jan 09, 2005 4:21 pm

michele, which bradbury story is it?
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Post: # 81137Post perpetualchanger
Mon Jan 10, 2005 10:47 pm

I thought it was called The Last Circus, but I think that story is too new to be the one I am thinking of, as Tormato came out in 1979. Let me see if I can find it.
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Post: # 81204Post Gary
Tue Jan 11, 2005 4:54 pm

perpetualchanger wrote:I thought it was called The Last Circus, but I think that story is too new to be the one I am thinking of, as Tormato came out in 1979. Let me see if I can find it.

Maybe Jon was quote by Ray

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Post: # 81250Post topographic_drama1980
Wed Jan 12, 2005 1:49 am

Nevertheless the song does tell a nice little story.
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Post: # 83261Post moodyblue
Thu Feb 10, 2005 3:50 am

I kind of like this alot more than i ever did now after listening to the Wembley 78 boot lately. Rick plays some nice swirls and it has some nice touches to the track. No definately not hell but not brilliant.

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