The Marquee Club - A tribute site dedicated to the history of the legendary Marquee club at London's 90 Wardour street.

Jon Anderson of Yes, 1973

Jon Anderson

"We got a residency there after we had been formed three months, and after a couple of rehearsals. It was a great training ground for music and Knowledge of stage presence. It was such a small place, you had to get right down to it. Originally I was working in La Chasse and the Marquee, selling the odd Coca Cola and getting to know Jack Barrie and John Gee. But although we knew them, they wouldn't have accepted our band at the club unless we had been good. The club is the heart of the English rock scene, and I'm not sure how many people realise this. There are still great things coming out of it and Jack Barrie has developed the club amazingly in the last couple of years. You couldn't count the number of groups that have made it through the Marquee, and even if the group itself hasn't made it, then someone has made a musical impression. We came on the scene five year after bands like Manfred Mann and the Rolling Stones had been there.

We learnt from them, and hopefully bands are now learning from us. It's a kind of school, and it's very prestigious to play there. It's very well known and abroad, in fact I spent two hours talking to a guy about it, in San Francisco recently, and he was fascinated by the story. It's a strange thing, but there are always good vibrations in the audience, and after you've played there, it's something you never forget.

Quite a lot of big bands who never went through that school, go on stage and say 'What the hell, we've made it now'. But even in the biggest concert halls there's more to just getting on stage and playing. You've got to have a professional attitude, and when we play to 20,000 people in America we want to reach them all, even the ones right at the back. I've learnt from experience that you need that 'presence' to get to an audience, and that comes from our groundwork at the Marquee. It's always a great place to play, and it won't be long before we play there again.

I remember quite a few incidents, during our residency there - the night Jon Hendricks came backstage to talk to us. Then he got up and sang three songs with us, which was a real high point in our career. And I can remember one January evening when there was a real blizzard blowing. We had normally been bringing in about 200 a night, but that night there were only 30 in the club, we were on with the Nite People, and we had to pay them their money as the support band - it was £15. John Gee said: 'What are you going to do - pack up?' But the professional attitude prevailed and we went on to play to thirty people. And we had a great night. They were trapped by the snow and so we were.

Obviously as time went by and we started packing them in, the band wanted to move on. But our audiences there were very close to us, and I hope still are. I still go to the Marquee to see new bands getting off on new kinds of music. Whoever you talk to, they have the same respect for the place. The time comes when musicians feel they don't want to play the Marquee any more, but after a couple of years, they sit back and think and wow...it was so important!."

Melody Maker, May 1973.