Went to Record Factory in Walnut Creek at 6 AM on a Sunday to wait in line until BASS tickets opened. I ended up with FRONT ROW seats at face value (I guess those days are long gone).
At the time I was a diligent recorder of shows and approaching the Cow Palace had my stereo recording Walkman brilliantly hidden down the front of my pants when a female security guard came up, briskly grabbed my crotch and said "What's that?" I had to fess up and returned it to the car.
Front row was awesome. It was the same "In the Round" stage setup they'd used in 1978 at the Oakland Coliseum. We were close enough to see the green cursor blinking on Geoff Downes' Fairlight. Since I was a crazed Steve Howe fan I reached out to touch my childhood hero as he passed 2 feet in front of me when a security guard put his hand on my chest and pushed me back hard enough I fell back into the seats. All good, funny to think about now.
The show itself was great. I had already had a recording of the Madison Square Garden show so was ready for the setlist and to hear "Go Through This" and "We can fly from here."
Drama and this show still have a special place in my heart.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 6:35 PM
My sixth Yes concert, and the first with my wife, who with one exception, has been to every subsequent Yes concert with me, (and there were many yet to come). We both remember being a bit bummed out that my wife's first show lacked Jon Anderson, but we were already very familiar with, and had come to really embrace the Drama album, and it was still a Yes show! There is nothing like a Yes concert, and I maintain that sentiment to this very day.
Geoff Downes was splendid. In fact, I thought he was as much of a marvel as my beloved Rick Wakeman and Patrick Moraz live. Trevor Horn? Well.....when they did material off of Drama, he sounded great. You could tell he struggled a little with some of classic material, but it was still a great show. They retained the "in the round" approach from Tormato. Trevor was in much better form by the time they got to San Francisco, then when we had heard the show on King Biscuit from the beginning of the tour. Tempus Fugit was a big hit on San Francisco radio, and their rendition live was excellent.
The Cow Palace. Such an appropriate name. I labeled the tape I got of this show "The Echoey Caverns of Doom." That night I was 20 rows back, and the sound was pretty good. My lingering impression was of how hot Squire, Howe and White were that night. Howe was smokin', his hopping antics even more frantic. Squire's bass was pressing my ribs in. They seemed to be so into the music and playing for us. Horn was a bit weak on the vocals of Yes standards but the core trio more than made up for it.
It was a typical summer day in San Francisco: Cold and foggy, but what the heck: My FIRST YES concert!! Bummer it wasn't with Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman or Patrick Moraz. Drama is, nevertheless, a GREAT Album. The band was rocking and had a harder edge. All the Drama tunes were great, and Trevor did a more than a decent job coping with Jon Anderson's voice registrer. The keyboard department worked well also, but I never bought into Jeoff's theatricals, even with ASIA. Nice to see someone took photos. Chris and Alan were superb, stating one more time that they are one of the best rythms sections in the world. The round stage really added to the show as well as the lights. My hat off to the light and sound crew of ALL YES shows. Making the COW PALACE sound well is a feat of engineering.
Before 'And You And I' we were treated to about 30 seconds of a vocal/piano version of 'Video Killed the Radio Star' while some technical adjustment was made. The ancient arena, on a Monday night, seemed full, but a friend was able to buy tickets for the nether regions the previous weekend. This show was the last time that they toured in the round until 'Union'