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Home arrow Reviews arrow Concerts arrow Pink Floyd - The Cow Palace, San Francisco, CA, April 12th/13th 1975
Pink Floyd - The Cow Palace, San Francisco, CA, April 12th/13th 1975 Print E-mail

Written by Brain Damage contributor, Alex Woodman

(Originally appeared in Brain Damage Magazine issue 37)

Early in 1975, the ads for the forthcoming Pink Floyd concerts at The Cow Palace in San Francisco appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. Scraping together every last penny I could, I bought as many tickets to both nights as I could afford. Pink Floyd were by far my favourite band ever since a friend played One of These Days for me back in 1971. Now I was finally going to get a chance to see them.

Both days I arrived with my friends at One in the afternoon for the 8pm show. (I had to be right up front!) Fortunately, there was a small line of great people ahead of us and we enjoyed the “trip” until the show started. The fog slowly creeping down on us from San Bruno Mountain was a nice effect also.

The doors finally opened and once inside we found ourselves buying copies of Pink Floyd comics. We then rushed up and sat about 20 feet from the stage. Looking around, we noticed that there were stacks of speakers on either side of the auditorium and a stack in the back.

Nick Mason’s drum kit had the ‘ocean wave’ design on it. Looking through the comic book, we noticed words to songs we’ve never heard before - Raving and Drooling, You Gotta Be Crazy and Shine On You Crazy Diamond.

Eight o’clock came and went and it wasn’t until about 8:20 that the band finally came out. It was told by a local DJ with a backstage pass that Mr. Gilmour had purchased a pinball machine and was playing the free game he won on it! The lights went down and without a word they started into Raving and Drooling (Sheep), followed by You Gotta Be Crazy (Dogs) and then Shine On You Crazy Diamond. The first two songs lasted about 10 minutes each with Shine On clocking in at least a half an hour long. At the end of Shine On, a mirrored flower rose from behind the band with its mirrored petals rotating in one direction and mirrored center rotating in the opposite direction. How incredible to hear new music that was to come out on the next two albums live for the first time!

After the break, the boys came out to do Dark Side in its entirety. The quad system was fantastic and we were all totally blown away. We knew we were in for a treat when the heartbeat started up. The crashing plane at the end of On the Run scared the shit out of me as I didn’t notice it until it was right on top of me! For an encore, we were treated to a great rendition of Echoes with some saxophone added to the middle of the jam. Dry ice mist came cascading off the stage into the crowd while green lights were reflecting on it. All I could see at this point were a bunch of heads sticking out of this green fog. We all thought it was a great combination to go along with the high-pitched screams coming from Gilmour’s guitar. One guy started yelling, “I can’t breathe!” and climbed up onto the stage. Waters slowly backed away from him when one of the stage crew quickly appeared from behind the drum set and hit the guy like a cornerback sending him flying back into the crowd. He disappeared into the fog. The show ended with the chorus of voices rising higher and higher, then softly fading away.

Both shows were great and unforgettable. I am really glad I went as it was the only chance I had to see the Floyd as a foursome.

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