The first seven of the album’s nine tracks were recorded live in San Luis Obispo, California’s Fremont Theater during three nights in March 1996. The purpose of these concerts was to capture the spontaneity of a live performance under controlled conditions, similar to that of a studio. These performances were also filmed and released as a live video under the same title.
All three concerts were instantly available as bootlegs. Comparison of the bootleg recordings and the official release demonstrate beyond doubt that the "live" songs were heavily overdubbed in the studio before being released. Some parts (most notably Jon Anderson's vocals on at least three songs) were completely re-recorded in the studio.
The last two tracks are studio recordings of new compositions recorded in November 1995 (with subsequent overdubs and post-production lasting into 1996). Other live recordings not released on this album were held over for release in 1997 on Keys to Ascension 2.