BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN and the E.STREET BAND – ” Wembley Arena London ” 5th June 1981

Posted: August 8, 2018 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , ,

Bruce Springsteen is continuing his ongoing Archive series.  Last month, he released a concert from 1978 that was promoting theDarkness on the Edge of Town album.  This month, he jumps forward three years to a gig to promote The River album: June 5th, 1981 at Wembley Arena in London, England.

The River was released on October 17th, 1980.  Springsteen and the E Street Band spent nearly a year on tour to promote the double album which had been their first to top the charts.  The first two legs of the tour had concentrated on the U.S. and Canada.  The third leg, which kicked off in April, 1981 saw the band playing dates in western Europe.  This was their first foray overseas since 1975 and the first time they had played a significant amount shows in the area.  Many European fans were introduced to Springsteen during this tour and he and the E Street Band have played overseas frequently in the decades since.

The June 5th concert was the final concert of a six-show stand at Wembley Arena and came at the very end of the European leg of the tour (only two shows in Birmingham, followed this concert).  The setlist of course features many cuts from The River album, but also throw in some interesting covers.  The first is a re-imagined version of Elvis Presley’s “Follow That Dream,” taken in a stark fashion with some new, original lyrics and an interpolation of Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams.”  Springsteen would record a studio version the tune during the Born in the USA sessions but ultimately leave it in the vaults.  Bruce would then further eulogize Presley with “Johnny Bye-Bye.”  The song is based upon Chuck Berry’s “Bye Bye Johnny,” taking a few lines from that tune.  A studio version would later show up as the B-side to “I’m On Fire.”

The band also tackles Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Who’ll Stop The Rain?,Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” another Presley tune with “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and “I Fought The Law,” made famous by The Bobby Fuller Four and covered by The Clash just a couple of years prior.  Another cover was that of the traditional Cajun song “Jole Blon.”  Springsteen had played on and produced Gary U.S. Bonds’ version of the song for Bonds’ Dedication album earlier in 1981.  The show wraps up with the familiar “Detroit Medley.”  Please note that the last 95 seconds of this medley are taken from a fan recording as the multi-track recording had stopped.

Perfect mix, super powerful performance. Almost every song sounds fresh and new. The ballads are full of feeling, the rockers are sung like there is no tomorrow. Bruce phrases the lyrics different at times, the band plays slightly different riffs

The concert was recorded live with the Mobile One Recording truck by Andy Rose with assistance from Tim Wybrow.  It has been mixed by Jon Altschiller from a 24 track 2″ 30 IPS tape source with additional engineering by Danielle Warman.  It has been mastered to DSD and PCM by Adam Ayan at Gateway Mastering in Portland, ME.

  • Bruce Springsteen – Lead vocals, guitar, harmonica; Roy Bittan – Piano; Clarence Clemons – Tenor and baritone saxophones, percussion, backing vocal; Danny Federici – Organ, glockenspiel; Garry Tallent – Bass, backing vocal; Stevie Van Zandt – Guitar, backing vocal; Max Weinberg – Drums

All previous volumes of The Bruce Springsteen Archive Series are available at Springsteen’s official live store for download and physical purchase.

Bruce Springsteen, Wembley Arena, London, 1981

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