Posts Tagged ‘Garry Tallent’

The Summer Tour of ’81 was a U.S. victory lap that marked Springsteen’s triumphant return from Europe. It began with the christening of the brand new Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, NJ. Recorded July 9th, Brendan Byrne 1981 was the final show of the six-night stand and catches Bruce and the E.Street band at a River Tour performance peak. The set list mixes riveting new songs and a summer Shore party including “Follow That Dream,” “Trapped,” “Johnny Bye Bye,” “The Ties That Bind,” “Sherry Darling” “Jersey Girl” the “Detroit Medley” featuring “Shake” and “Sock It To Me, Baby,” plus a guest appearance by Gary U.S. Bonds for the songs “This Little Girl” and “Jolé Blon.”

Imagine what it must have been like in New Jersey when it was announced that Bruce and the E Street Band would christen the newly constructed Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford with a six-show stand to kick off their post-Europe victory lap.

Though only 32 dates in total, the Summer ’81 tour is one of the most celebrated in Springsteen’s long performance history. The epic-length sets of the previous winter had tightened up, giving the shows a sharper focus. The summer run also came after Springsteen’s first extended tour of Europe, an inflection point in his musical development that, with the introduction of three vital new songs to the set, brought with it the first indications of where his music might be going.

East Rutherford 7/9/81 is the final night of the Brendan Byrne run and a moment of culmination for Springsteen and the E Street Band. Their confidence and a new sense of purpose developed on the stages and streets of Europe drives this outstanding performance, and the audience is there to meet them. Even when Bruce assays new songs, the crowd sounds fully on board. Listen to the sympathetic clapping they add to “Follow That Dream”; the live archive version from London a month earlier has no audience participation at all.

The 7/9/81 show wastes no time getting to the meat of the matter, opening with “Thunder Road” into “Prove It All Night” and “The Ties That Bind.” Playing his sixth show in nine nights, Bruce’s voice needs a little warming up at the start, but his passion is already dialed in at 10. By “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” Bruce and the band lock into gold medal form, and the song spotlights Stevie Van Zandt’s critical vocal contributions in this era.

“Follow That Dream” is the first of the new songs, all three of which blur the line between cover song reinterpretations and originals. The Elvis Presley reinvention retains its stark, meditative arrangement debuted in Europe and closes on one of the most disquieting, chilling notes in the Springsteen catalouge.

“Follow That Dream” has an especially curious place in the canon in that it feels like an extremely significant song in Bruce’s evolution as a songwriter, despite having never had an official studio release (it was recorded for Born in the U.S.A. in 1983). It’s only been performed 15 times since the Bridge School Benefit in 1986, but it shows up in every decade, as recently as Australia 2017, the last E Street Tour to date. Is there a more meaningful unreleased song?

Carrying on, “Independence Day” revisits Springsteen’s father-son narrative, but this time with a new chapter recognizing the need to say the things that need to be said, now, while there’s still time.  “Who’ll Stop the Rain” has never sounded bigger or bolder than this terrific rendition, and Jon Altschiller’s mix offers incredible instrument separation. The acoustic and electric guitar interplay is marvelous — and listen for the electric to kick in again, quite thrillingly, five seconds into “Two Hearts.” What a great version. The same can be said for “The Promised Land,” as heightened vocal phrasing brings the song to another level.

There’s an intriguing break in the mood as Bruce begins the harmonica intro to “This Land Is Your Land” only to be interrupted by the explosion of a firecracker (heard clearly in the right channel). Condemnation is immediate. “Whoever just threw that firecracker, you can do me a big fucking favor and don’t do it,” he says with total convinction. “Whoever you are, you are no friend of mine. This is a song about that respect; it’s about having respect for yourself, for the land that you live in.” Pure conviction powers Springsteen through the daunting take of “The River” that comes next as he attempts to reset following the firecracker, leading to one of the highlights of the night — if not the whole of the 1981 tour.

Word of this incredible new song “Trapped” . I had to hear it. Through the magic of mail order, I bought a bootleg LP called Prisoner of Rock and Roll that included “Trapped,” and I was gobsmacked. The simple start, the build, the intensity, the crescendo, then again and AGAIN, with the final release coming as Springsteen shouts “I’m Trapped” and the last note sustains. Mesmerizing and unlike any Springsteen song that had come before it.

“Trapped” is a cover (originally recorded by Jimmy Cliff), not an original. Cliff’s lyrics are basically intact, and fundamental melodic elements are there, too. But how Springsteen listened to this and developed the arrangement he performs in New Jersey is the alchemy of a musical genius. Hearing the song in this context—following the firecracker incident, “This Land Is Your Land” and a tentative “The River”—“Trapped” offers unmistakable catharsis.

Set one wraps with a high energy “Out in the Street” and full-tilt “Badlands,” rich with Van Zandt vocal accents, Roy Bittan piano, and plenty of Max Weinberg propulsion.

East Rutherford 7/9/81 is marked by its new songs, but it was also a summer Shore party as the second set makes clear. The festivities begin with “You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch),” replete with some interesting lyrical additions where our protagonist is “going downtown, gonna buy a gun.” Love the guitar mix on this one.

From there, bang bang into “Cadillac Ranch,” Bruce’s ultimate party song “Sherry Darling,” and “Hungry Heart” (with the audience taking the first verse capably) before we’re treated to a guest appearance. Gary U.S. Bonds, whose Springsteen-Van Zandt-produced album Dedication was released that April, duets with Bruce on the traditional “Jolé Blon” (which Springsteen introduced to his own sets in the UK), and Bonds takes the lead vocal on his hit single, the Springsteen original “This Little Girl.”

The third and final new song of the show, “Johnny Bye Bye” follows. Bruce offers a eulogistic rumination on Elvis Presley to introduce the song, which, like “Follow That Dream,” draws potency from its spare arrangement. It is a compassionate farewell to The King. Paired together, “Racing in the Street” extends the elegiac sentiment in a resplendent reading led by Bittan on piano.

Time to party. “Ramrod” low rides into an extra playful “Rosalita,” as Clarence Clemons set the scene with the opening lines from Lloyd Price’s “Stagger Lee”: “The night was clear, and the moon was yellow. And the leaves came tumblinggggggggg.” Band intros are on point, accented by tasty Stevie guitar licks throughout and concluding, of course, with The Big Man himself, who Bruce posits could be the next Governor of New Jersey. “Sounds like a good idea. Clarence Clemons Arena, I like that,” he says, referencing the new arena named for Governor Byrne. All of which leads to “Spotlight on the Big Man” and its brief vamp on “Sweet Soul Music.”

For the encore, the most Bruce Springsteen song Bruce didn’t write, “Jersey Girl.” This performance of the Tom Waits classic is the one that would be officially released as the b-side to “Cover Me” three years later, but I don’t recall that mix bringing Van Zandt’s guitar so charmingly to the fore. A superb “Jungleland” accompanies, with sublime soloing from Stevie and Clarence, along with a pacey “Born to Run” with Bruce soaring for “girl I’m just a scared and lonely rider.”

The New Jersey homecoming wraps with an extended “Detroit Medley” which takes several exciting detours as it careens along the turnpike. The first is “I Hear a Train,” then a rare romp through Mitch Ryder’s “Sock It To Me, Baby!” (written by Bob Crewe and Russell Brown), another scoop of Arthur Conley’s “Sweet Soul Music,” and finally a generous slice of Sam Cooke’s “Shake” in what might constitute the best “Detroit Medley” ever.

The phrase “giving the people their money’s worth” would be an apt description for the final night at Brendan Byrne Arena 39 years ago. Now, it is time to return the favor. All net proceeds from the sale of the East Rutherford 7/9/81 will be donated to the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund.  Words Erik Flanagan.

Setlist:

Thunder Road, Prove It All Night, The Ties That Bind, Darkness on the Edge of Town, Follow That Dream, Independence Day, Who’ll Stop The Rain?, Two Hearts, The Promised Land, This Land is Your Land, The River, Trapped, Out in the Street, Badlands, You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch), Cadillac Ranch, Sherry Darling, Hungry Heart, Jolé Blon, This Little Girl, Johnny Bye-Bye,
Racing in the Street, Ramrod, Rosalita (Come Out Tonight), Jersey Girl, Jungleland, Born to Run, Detroit Medley,

The Band:

  • Bruce Springsteen – Lead vocal, guitar, harmonica; Roy Bittan – Piano, synthesizer; Clarence Clemons – Tenor and baritone saxophones, percussion, backing vocal; Danny Federici – Organ, glockenspiel; Garry Tallent – Bass; Stevie Van Zandt – Electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocal; Max Weinberg – Drums
  • Additional Musicians: Gary U.S. Bonds co-lead vocal on “Jolé Blon,” lead vocal on “This Little Girl”

If there was ever a time to appreciate archival live recordings, that time is now.

Many years ago, I heard the brilliantly talented and famously cantankerous guitarist Robert Fripp of King Crimson posit a provocative position on the subject of live recordings. “Of the many, many performances [I’ve seen] over four decades,” he told an audience at SXSW in Austin, “I have [never] left and felt I wished to have it on tape. There was nothing in my experience of any of [those] events which were other than available to my experience. And if I wasn’t there, I missed it. And if I missed it, photographs, recordings, nothing could bring this back to me.”

The core idea Fripp articulates is undeniably true: Nothing can fully replace or replicate being at a concert in person, as it happens. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Archival live recordings are, as Ma Bell used to say, “the next best thing to being there.” As undeniably magical as live concerts can be, they are by nature fleeting, real-time experiences. Yes, they live on in our memories, but what’s the larger cultural value of these unique performances? When the technology was invented in the 1870s to record and preserve audio, after the spoken word, the earliest recordings captured on those cylinders were of musicians performing live. Preserving performances is arguably the fundamental underlying purpose of recording technology.

Hearing a show you attended can stir memories back to life. Amazing as that is, live recordings even allow time travel and can place us at the Tower Theater in 1975, the Roxy in 1978 or Wembley Arena in 1981 when we couldn’t have possibly been there any other way. Is it the same as having had Bruce stand on your cocktail table during the middle of “Spirit in the Night?” No, but close your eyes, let your imagination flow, and it is awfully close.

Gothenburg 28th July 2012 allows fans who weren’t there at Ullevi to travel through time and space to hear one of the best nights on the Wrecking Ball tour in a closing run of European concerts that was, to quote Stevie Van Zandt’s predictive tweet before the show, “one for the ages.”

There’s something about rainy shows that brings out the best in Bruce and the E.Street Band. The show opener, a cover of Creedence’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” is a bellwether for great things to come, with crunchy guitar leading the way. Fan-band bonds are solidified through sparkling takes of “The Ties That Bind” and “Out in the Street” (with extra long intro) before we move to the less-traveled corners of Born in the U.S.A. with an excellent “doubleheader” of “Downbound Train” and “I’m Goin’ Down.” The former extends the guitar-richness of the show’s opening salvo and benefits from the heft of the horn section; the latter restores a bit of often-missing edge to the self-deprecating tale.

The aforementioned guitar tone extends seamlessly into a sharp “My Lucky Day” in one of only four Wrecking Ball tour performances. Special nights are built on special songs, and Gothenburg has particularly juicy ones.

What is it about “Lost in the Flood?” Bruce and the band can let it lie dormant for ages, then nail it as they did in NYC 2000. “Flood” had gone unplayed for three years prior to Gothenburg, wasn’t soundchecked, yet the mighty E Street Band is more than up to the task. “In the key of E minor,” says Bruce, “then we’re gonna hit the big chord.” Do they ever. The big chord that follows Roy’s prelude smashes forth an electrifying version that sounds as vital and fresh as it did four decades prior. Bruce vocals are especially gritty, evidenced by this not-so-subtle lyric change: “Hey man, did you see that? Those poor cats were sure fucked up.” Damn.

The energy generated by “Lost in the Flood” propels the ensuing three-pack from Wrecking Ball (“We Take Care of Our Own,” “Wrecking Ball,” “Death to My Hometown”) plus kindred spirit “My CIty of Ruins.” Pick your cliche—firing on all cylinders, in the zone, killing it—all would apply, and doesn’t the horn section sound fantastic? Despite the stadium scale of the show, Jon Altschiller’s mix is tight and close, with Roy’s piano and Max’s high-hat in particularly sharp focus.

“Frankie.” Merely typing the song title brings a smile. The marvelous, lost-and-found Springsteen original premiered on the Spring 1976 tour, his first new song after the release of Born to Run. It was performed around a dozen times that year and cut for Darkness a year later (despite Bruce’s introduction saying The River). It was recorded again for Born in the U.S.A. in 1982, and that version was eventually released on Tracks in 1998.

The song’s live outings in modern times are equally limited. One-off attempts in 1999 and 2003 showed “Frankie” deceptively tricky to get right; something about the song’s lilting quality and mid-tempo pacing proved elusive. But after working through the arrangement in soundcheck, Bruce unlocks the wondrous heart of “Frankie” and lets it wash over Gothenburg in a spellbinding performance.

The show’s second act begins with slightly off-kilter take of “The River,” though normal service is restored in a crisp “Because the Night” and on through “Lonesome Day,” “Hungry Heart,” “Shackled and Drawn,” and “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day.” We step back into special-show territory with another great pick from Tracks, the rollicking River outtake “Where the Bands Are” dedicated to the fans who had travelled from show to show around Europe. It is the last performance to date of the irresistible track.  Thanks for the words Erik Flanagan

The Band

Bruce Springsteen – Lead vocal, guitar, harmonica; Roy Bittan – Piano, keyboards, accordion; Nils Lofgren – Guitar, lap steel, backing vocal; Garry Tallent – Bass; Stevie Van Zandt – Electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin, backing vocal; Max Weinberg – Drums; Jake Clemons – Tenor saxophone, percussion, backing vocal; Charlie Giordano – Organ, keyboards, accordion; Soozie Tyrell – Violin, acoustic guitar, percussion, backing vocal; Everett Bradley – Percussion, backing vocal; Curtis King – Backing vocal, percussion; Cindy Mizelle – Backing vocal; Michelle Moore – Backing vocal; Barry Danielian – Trumpet; Clark Gayton – Trombone; Eddie Manion – Baritone and tenor saxophone; Curt Ramm – Trumpet

Image may contain: text

A stunning snapshot of the Tunnel Of Love Express Tour in its purest form, Detroit 28/3/88 serves as a showcase for the album’s key songs including “Two Faces,” “All That Heaven Will Allow, “Spare Parts,” “Brilliant Disguise,” “Tougher Than The Rest, “One Step Up,” the title track and most notably the first live archive release of “Walk Like A Man.” The 30-song set also features a cover of Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender” and the “Detroit Medley,” plus a bonus soundcheck performance of “Reason To Believe,” a song which never appeared in a Tunnel show.

The 1988 Tunnel of Love Express Tour was marked by material changes to the Springsteen concert baseline in place from 1978-1985. The band changed on-stage positions, setlist warhorses like “Badlands” and “Thunder Road” took a breather, and Bruce drafted in a horn section for the first time since 1977. But the true differentiator separating the ’88 tour from every other is its original narrative arc. A Tunnel performance was a blend of song selections, sequencing, and even on-stage elements that took the audience on a journey through the complex and nuanced world of adulthood and relationships: romantic, fraternal, and familial.

Bruce started Tunnel shows with an invitation along the lines of, “Are you ready to ride?” The visual metaphor on stage was that of an amusement park, implying a night of thrills, chills, and spills. Marketing for the tour intoned “This is not a dark ride,” but as Bruce wrote in “Tunnel of Love,” “the house is haunted and the ride gets rough.” Does it ever.

The Tunnel set, in story and song, explored adult life’s emotional ups and downs and the hard questions that arise when you recognize being in a deep committed relationship requires acknowledging your doubts and vulnerabilities. At the time, the tour’s setlist rigidity raised eyebrows from longtime fans, though it did loosen up as the tour wore on. But in hindsight, the initial core setlist in the tour’s first several weeks can be seen one of Bruce’s most fully realized artistic visions. Detroit 3/28/88 captures the Tunnel of Love Express Tour in its purest form.

The first set in Detroit borders on perfection, opening with a stellar version of “Tunnel of Love” into “Be True,” the latter released as a live b-side from this performance. The River-era selection serves as a showcase for the Big Man, Clarence Clemons, who was at the top of his game on the tour and blows “Be True” beautifully. Patti Scialfa’s vocals are also on point.

The resurrection of “Adam Raised a Cain” for the first time since the Darkness tour is a long-awaited return, especially with the Tunnel of Love Horns adding heft to the performance and Bruce’s guitar pushed to the fore. In terms of familial relationships, “Adam” is one end of a father-son thread that will come back later in the show with “Walk Like a Man.” But before that there is other provocative ground to cover: introspection (“Two Faces”), companionship (“All That Heaven Will Allow”), oppressive outside forces (“Seeds,” “Roulette”), shelter from those storms (“Cover Me”), self-doubt (“Brilliant Disguise”), a mother’s doubt (“Spare Parts”), and lastly the lingering impact of the Vietnam War (“War,” “Born In the U.S.A.”).

The sequencing of the set is so strong that the transitions between tracks are as memorable as the songs themselves. “Tunnel” gives way to the soaring “Be True.” “Roulette” ends but “Cover Me” rises from the mist in the same key. The haunting keyboards that end “Cover Me” flow straight into “Brilliant Disguise.” Every song change has been thought through and rehearsed, or in some cases newly written. The stirring piano and synthesizer suite that serves as the music bed to the introduction of “Spare Parts” is one of my favourite musical elements of the entire tour, cinematic in scope and poignant in expression. Kudos Mr. Bittan and Mr. Federici. The set ends with a brilliant “Born in the U.S.A.,” again showing that 1988 versions of the song are the most potent, driven by Bruce’s additional lyrics and storming guitar solo.

“Tougher Than the Rest” opens the second set on a majestic note and reminds us of its place among the very best songs Bruce has ever written. After a foray into longing via “Ain’t Got You” and “She’s the One,” the mood lightens with the playful and self-effacing “You Can’t Look (But You Better Not Touch)” and Geno Washington cover-turned-original (and ’88 tour exclusive)  “I’m a Coward.” The pairing of “I’m on Fire” with “One Step Up” is a trip into a particular male psyche, perhaps even the same character at two different stages of life.

“Part Man, Part Monkey” offers a humorous take on animal instincts before the overall narrative arc reaches its dénouement with “Walk Like a Man,” revisiting the father and son from “Adam Raised a Cain.” The resplendently detailed yet understated arrangement is augmented by horns and shows off the band’s vocal chops, too. Bruce’s singing stays true to the original, and there’s a real power in the sincerity of his performance.

The set ends with “Light of Day,” in a less refined, more exploratory form than later versions in ‘88. In fact, rather than bring closure, this “Light of Day” seems more a celebration of uncharted waters — the line that really stands out now, “Don’t ask me what I’m doing buddy, I don’t know,” lands like an overall commentary on the narrative that preceded it. Standouts in the encore include “Love Me Tender,” which teeters on wedding band territory until you realize that Bruce is singing the hell out of it, and a free-flowing “Detroit Medley,” with Bruce calling out key changes and the band showing off their turn-on-a-dime prowess. The medley features “Sweet Soul Music,” which gives La Bamba & Co. one of the all-time great horn parts to chew on.

For dessert, we’re treated to the second soundcheck bonus track in the live archive series, “Reason to Believe.” While Tunnel of Love setlists had fewer variants than a typical Springsteen tour, 1988 soundchecks were often wide-ranging affairs, loaded with cover songs (some of which eventually found their way into the set) and other material. As cool as those covers could be, “Reason To Believe” is even more compelling.

The song regularly featured on the Born in the U.S.A. tour but was dropped when the show moved to stadiums. Here, Bruce and the band test drive a moody, horn-accented arrangement that is reminiscent of what they would do with Woody Guthrie’s “Vigilante Man” two months later at Madison Square Garden. Springsteen’s vocals and harp are resolute, the music swampy, and the end product a beguiling alternative take on one of Springsteen’s best and, as later versions attest most mutable songs. Highs, lows, pathos, comedy, sin, redemption—the Tunnel of Love Express tour had it all, and on stage in Detroit, Bruce shared as much of himself in these rich, satisfying performances as he would do three decades later on Broadway.

Thanks Erik Flanagan

  • Bruce Springsteen – Lead vocals, guitar, harmonica; Roy Bittan – Piano, keyboards; Clarence Clemons – Tenor and baritone saxophones, percussion, backing vocal; Danny Federici – Organ, glockenspiel, keyboards; accordion; Nils Lofgren – Guitars, backing vocal; Patti Scialfa – Guitar, percussion, backing vocal; Garry Tallent – Bass; Max Weinberg – Drums
  • Additional musicians: Mario Cruz – Tenor saxophone, backing vocal; Ed Manion – Baritone saxophone, backing vocal; Mark Pender – Trumpet, backing vocal; Richie “La Bamba” Rosenberg – Trombone, backing vocal; Mike Spengler – Trumpet, backing vocal
  • Also appearing as the Ringmaster – Terry Magovern

ORDER NOW: 12/29/80 - NASSAU COLISEUM

December 29th, 1980 Night two of the legendary three-show stand at Nassau Coliseum 1980 is a barnstormer. It features the tour premiere of “Night” as the opener and, in its lone River tour performance, an extraordinary “Incident On 57th Street” into “Rosalita” to close the set. Spanning 35 songs, Nassau  29th beautifully blends deep River cuts (“Stolen Car,” “Wreck on the Highway,” “Point Blank”), seasonal nuggets (“Merry Christmas Baby” and “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” and fan favorites (“Fire,” “Because the Night”).

One of the most thrilling times to be a sports fan is when your team is in the midst of a winning streak. They occur in all sports, but in baseball and especially basketball, winning streaks are irresistible because of the unique way they place team chemistry, a “never give up” mentality, and moments of individual brilliance against a backdrop of ever-rising stakes. Who doesn’t want to tune in to see if your team can push their streak to 17, 21, or 33 in a row?

It could be argued that the entire live performance history of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band is one long winning streak. That acknowledged, and with the benefit of hindsight and live recordings, fan consensus has coalesced around notable E Street streaks: the last two weeks of the 1977 tour with the Miami Horns; the late-’84 stretch of the Born in the U.S.A. tour.; and the final U.S. leg of Magic 2008 to name but a few.

The River tour boasts a few of its own streaks, and without question, Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve 1980 is among the best of them. A staggering run of shows throughout the Northeast culminated in a three-night stand at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. With his first chart-topping album and a Top Five single (“Hungry Heart”) in hand, Bruce and the band closed out 1980 more popular than ever.

Shows that wrapped that leg of the tour offered an intoxicating mix of musician-athletes performing at their peak, newfound confidence drawn from a long-awaited commercial breakthrough, and a continued hunger to prove it all night.

Supporting a double album of new material, that hunger was manifest in the increasing duration of the concerts and the stunning number of songs performed. In fact, until records were broken in 2012, the late-’80 River shows were the longest of Bruce’s career. Other shows and tours have their own distinct qualities, but if you are talking about a run of epic Springsteen concerts, the Thanksgiving-New Year’s ’80 streak is the reference point.

Nassau Coliseum 29/ 12/80 and its sister show 31/12/80 (reissued in a newly remixed and remastered edition) each stretch to 35 or more songs and live up to the legend of Bruce’s four-hour concerts by running close to that (counting the between-sets intermission). There may be other eras where the band played this well, but there is no period where they played better.

Both stunning performances are packed with delicious rarities along with some of the strongest versions of core material ever caught on multi-tracks. With a bounty of more than 70 songs between the two shows, there’s too much good stuff to cover, but here are ten things to listen for as you relive these magical nights.

1.Springsteen debuted his brilliant take on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain” three shows earlier at Madison Square Garden. It has endured as one of the band’s finest covers, popping up a few times on tours ever since. The versions performed on 29/12 and 31/12 are musically rich and heartfelt, pointing to the musical direction Bruce would explore six months hence on the band’s first proper tour of Europe.

2. Having just read Joe Klein’s biography of Woody Guthrie, Bruce covers “This Land Is Your Land” for the first time during the three-show Nassau stand, calling it an “angry song…an answer to Irving Berlin’s ‘God Bless America’.” With the possible exception of a one-off performance of Bob Dylan’s “Chimes of Freedom” in 1978, it is the first protest song Springsteen performed in concert with the E Street Band and signals the start of his public turn toward social and political commentary.

3. The paternal pairing of “Factory” and “Independence Day” on 29/12 is not only an evocative stretch of storytelling, but could pass for a dramatic monologue at a Broadway theater.

4. One of the signature sequences of early River tour shows is Roy Bittan’s mini-suite of “The River” into “Badlands.” 1980 performances of “The River” start with an original piano prelude (echoed by Danny Federici) before Bruce’s plaintive harmonica wail starts the song formally. Shortly after “The River” ends, Bittan starts into his interpretation of Ennio Morricone’s theme from the Sergio Leone filmOnce Upon A Time In The West. As Bittan plays the moving piano refrain, electric guitar chords start to chime in, building energy that crescendos when the intro gives way to an explosive “Badlands.” Magnificent.

5. The River tour is the height of Stevie Van Zandt’s role as backing vocalist, at times reaching the point of co-lead vocals. He’s a marvel at these shows on expected songs like “Two Hearts” and “Prove It All Night,” but listen for him in more unexpected places like the chorus of “Thunder Road” for signs of just how into it he is at Nassau.

6. Bruce’s spirited vocal on “For You” is full of fresh intonations distinct from other renditions.

7. The earnest story that leads into “Stolen Car” on 12/29 might melt your heart; the moving performance itself will have you reaching for a tissue or three.

8. The gorgeous, stripped-down arrangement of “The Price You Pay” on 31/12 starts solo. The band joins softly in the second verse, and we’re treated to the alternate third verse found in the single-disc version of The River included in The Ties That Bind box set. As good as it gets.

9. While we’ve heard the incredible version of “Incident on 57th Street” from 29/12 before (it was released as the b-side to “War” from Live 1975/85), hearing it in context of the show is so much sweeter. “This is a song we haven’t done in a real long time,” says Bruce, as he tests out the chords on his guitar. “No, it ain’t ‘Kitty’s Back.’ I hope I remember all the words….” Roy tinkles out the first few notes, the crowd swoons in recognition of the song, Max comes with his drum intro, and the lead guitar sends us soaring. If that wasn’t enough, after nearly ten majestic minutes, it rolls straight into “Rosalita” as it does on The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle.

10. You want rarities? We got rarities. Beyond the aforementioned, the Nassau shows feature “Rendezvous,” the first-ever version of the “Hungry Heart” b-side “Held Up Without a Gun,” sublime seasonal nuggets “Merry Christmas Baby” and “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” plus Happy New Year covers of “In the Midnight Hour” and “Auld Lang Syne.” All that, plus 15 of the 20 songs on The River, including the under-played “Fade Away,” “Wreck on the Highway” and “The Price You Pay.”

A Final Note: Jon Altschiller’s new mix and mastering on 31/12/80 moves the listener from the 40th row to the first, proximity that reveals incredible new detail and musical power.

After electing to Plangent Process 29/12/80 for release, it was clear that 31/12/80 also deserved a Plangent-transferred new mix and mastering to match, as the version released in 2015 was not up to the same standards.
While the Plangent Processed and remixed version of 31/12/80 is being sold as a standalone release, anyone who bought the original can access the new upgraded audio for free via the “My Stash” section of the nugs.net app, which provides streaming access to all shows purchased as downloads or CDs (no subscription required). Previous buyers of New Years Eve ’80 can log in with the account credentials they used to buy the show the first time.

ORDER NOW: 12/31/80 - NASSAU COLISEUM

December 31st, 1980 For the first time, multi-track master tapes of the classic New Year’s Eve 1980 show have been transferred via Plangent Processes and newly remixed by Jon Altschiller for superior sound. This upgraded edition breathes fresh life into a jaw-dropping 38-song performance which is packed with highlights, including “Spirit in the Night,” “Rendezvous,” “Fade Away,” “The Price You Pay,” “Held Up Without a Gun,” “In The Midnight Hour,” “Auld Lang Syne,” “Twist and Shout” and “Raise Your Hand.” The all-time fan favorite has never sounded better.

The Band:

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

bottom.JPG

On this day (August. 13th) in 1975: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band performed the first of five sold-out nights at New York City’s Bottom Line; the Greenwich Village music club had a capacity of only 400/500…The ten-show stand at the Bottom Line early in the (Born to Run) tour remains a rock date to rival James Brown at the Apollo or Dylan at Newport. At the Bottom Line, Springsteen became himself. By adding Stevie Van Zandt as a second guitar player, he was liberated from some of his musical duties, and he became a full-throttle front man, leaping off amps and pianos, frog-hopping from one tabletop to the next.

On August 13th, 1975, it was twelve days before the release of Born To Run, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band began their five night, ten show stand at The Bottom Line. With two shows each night an early and a late set, This was a new E Street Band, with keyboardist Roy Bittan and drummer Max Weinberg replacing David Sancious and Ernest “Boom” Carter, respectively. Steven Van Zandt, who’d played in an earlier band with Springsteen, joined as a  second guitarist.

Columbia Records executives were frustrated by Springsteen’s lack of success. They purchased a quarter of the tickets at the 500 seat venue and distributed them to music industry types to get the word out.  Even so, not all of the shows were sold out until after WNEW-FM broadcast the fifth show. After that, people were lined up around the block to get in.

There are numerous bootlegs of these shows all over the internet. Listening, you have to remind yourself how little known some of these legendary songs were at the time . In “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out”, during the second show, when Springsteen sings “And the Big Man joined the band”, there is absolutely no reaction from the crowd. A week later and from then on, it would become one of the great applause lines of every show. The shows had their desired effect. Ken Tucker wrote in the Soho Weekly News “I have just come from the best rock and roll performance I’ve ever seen in my long, decadent life”. The Village Voice‘s Paul Nelson responded in the affirmative to his cover story ” Is Springsteen Worth The Hype?”: “On my feet, clapping, never wanting it to end, I ask myself when I’ve ever been so moved by a concert.”
“It was our coming-out party,” Springsteen says. “And some sort of transformation occurred over those five nights. We walked out of that place in a different place.”

Robert De Niro, was in New York shooting Taxi Driver, he caught one of the Bottom Line shows. He watched as the crowd yelled “Brruuuuuuce!” and Springsteen responded with “You talkin’ to me?”.
De Niro would make that line his own in an improvised scene shot within the next couple of days.

130875-nyc-article-8xs.jpg

tick558.gif

The highlights August 15th 1975 Early Show

In August 1975, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band performed a 5-night stand at Bottom Line in New York City, NY, from 13 to 17 Aug 1975. They played two shows each night, an early one at 8:30 p.m. and a late one at 11:30 p.m. All ten shows were sold-out. The early 15th August 1975 show was broadcast live by New York’s WNEW-FM.

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER this previously uncirculated treasure is now being shared with Bruce Springsteen fans worldwide! The Bottom Line Shows are legendary and for those wondering if a recording of the August 13th, 1975 show would ever surface, the wait is finally over! For a fan who was there in those early days, Mr Anonymous can tell you what it was like:

“The story of Bruce’s early days has been documented many times, most recently in the current New Yorker magazine. As described therein, Bruce’s five night, ten show stint at The Bottom Line was crucial to launching his third album, “Born to Run”. Many executives at Columbia Records were frustrated with Bruce’s lack of commercial success and Born to Run was likely his last chance with the label. Columbia reportedly bought a quarter of the 500 seats for each show to distribute among music industry people . Even so, tickets did not sell out immediately and a week after going on sale they were available for any of the shows. That all ended when the public heard WNEW’s broadcast of show number 5. The next two nights, fans were lined up around the corner with the hope of getting a standing room spot at the bar to hear the new phenomenen.

This is the first recording of one of the late shows to surface. It is the first night and this tape captures all of the ambiance of this intimate club. You can hear each breath and whisper from Bruce while dishes and glasses are shuffled on the tables. Bruce seems to just appear behind the piano and gets a single reaction from the crowd as he opens solo with “For You”. It is evident how he captures the crowd more and more with each song. By the time he hits the 20 minute versions of “Kitty’s Back” and “New York City Serenade”, he has them in his hands.”

Bruce Springsteen Bottom Line 1975 cover artwork

Thanks to Mr. Anonymous who met the taper, ODoc55, thru Dimeadozen

Bruce Springsteen 13th August 1975  The Bottom Line – New York, NY – set list:

For You (Bruce On Piano) (7:09)
Tenth Avenue Freeze Out (4:08)
Spirit In The Night (6:31)
When You Walk In The Room (3:58)
Night – (First Known Performance) (3:39)
Growin’ Up (3:05)
Its Hard To Be A Sain In The City (5:31)
The E Street Shuffle (12:17)
Born To Run (4:12)
She’s The One (5:38)
Thunder Road – (Bruce On Piano) (5:47)

Kitty’S Back (19:56)
New York City Serenade (19:26)
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) (11:38)
Fourth Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) (7:08)
Quarter To Three (6:55)

The first known live performance of “Night” and the earliest known recording of “When You Walk In The Room”. Opener “For You” is played by Bruce alone onstage at the piano. “Thunder Road” is the slow version with Roy on piano and Bruce on harmonica and vocals. Both “Kitty’s Back”, which includes a brief snippet of Carole King’s “Nothing’s Too Good For My Baby”, and “New York City Serenade” are extended 19+ minute renditions. This is the last recorded and confirmed performance of “New York City Serenade” until the 1999/2000 Reunion Tour

This sound source has some crackling, and sound does fade in and out a bit here and there, because this source was recorded off the radio broadcast, but it is sourced from a master tape of the show, not the vinyl record source. So there are a few tape cuts between songs, and a few times the source sound varies, but overall a very, very nice recording.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band“The E Street Shuffle” Live on 8/15/1975 at the Bottom Line in New York City, Recorded during the early show (of two that night) on 15th Aug.-1975.

The Bottom Line club only held 400 people, and it was unique in that it had seating rather than standing room only.This made for a small and intimate atmosphere between the audience and performer. The E-Street band at this time was: Clarence Clemons-sax, Garry Tallent-bass guitar, Roy Bittan-piano, Danny Federici-organ/accordion, Max Weinberg-drums, Steve Van Zandt-guitars, and Bruce.

Max Weinberg and Steve Van Zant,  both had only been in the band less than a year, joining in September.-1974 and March-1975 respectively. This was clearly the start of Bruce’s fame, and these shows are legendary.

Rolling Stone magazine listed this run of shows as one of the top-ten defining moments in rock and roll history, right up there in “the top ten” along with: Elvis at Sun Studio 1954, Rolling Stones 1971 Exile on Main St. summer, Dylan going electric in 1965, ect.

The Boss and the band put everything they had into these shows, and it shows…..despite being early Springsteen, the charisma and dynamic intensity is obvious. After these shows, Springsteen and the E Street Band became a mighty force to be reckonned within the rock and roll industry.

They were no longer just the “opening act” but headliners selling out arenas and large concert halls.

After this run at the Bottom Line, gone were the days of playing small clubs like the Student Prince, the Stone Pony, the Main Point.
Now Bruce was going to be headlining such places as the Spectrum, Madison Square Gardens, Hammersmith Odeon, Boston Gardens, LA Forum. If you couple this with his show at the Main Point club on 05th Feb.-1975, this was the beginning of the Springsteen wave of popularity, and the point of no return for Bruce and the band. A month later after this run of shows, Springsteen made the cover of both Time and Newsweek magazines in the same week.
These performances are among the best early Springsteen I have ever heard, This show, along with the Main Point show of 05th Feb.-1975 are incredible considering Springsteen was only 25-years old at the time.

He had come a long way in 3-years since auditioning for John Hammond Sr. in May 1972. As John Hammond Sr. put it: “When Dylan came to me to audition, he was simply Robert Zimmerman. But when Bruce came to me, he was already Bruce Springsteen, he was already a Superstar on his way….he was much further developed….everyone just knew he was going to be huge.” To be sure, there would be the future legendary Darkness On The Edge Of Town tour shows in 1978, but up until that time, there would be no finer Springsteen performances than this run of shows at the Bottom Line.

Between song banter has been edited a bit, but Bruce and the band do have some very funny comments.
Songs are complete, and band performance is top notch. Springsteen and his lawyers went all out to prevent sale of the vinyl record way back in 1976 threatening lawsuits against distribution.

150875-bottomline-ticket-fj.jpg

This was because Springsteen had recorded several of the Bottom Line shows for a possible official live album release. So Springsteen decided to release a live album officially, with performances culled from the run of live shows at the Bottom Line club during August 1975.but these are on the source tape, not taken from a vinyl transfer. There is a complete CD set of the entire broadcast that includes complete between song banter, radio DJ comments, ect. is called: “The Punk Meets The Godfather” on Godfather CD’s.

At the early show, “Thunder Road” is performed in the slow version with Roy on piano and Bruce on harmonica and vocals. “Rosalita Come Out Tonight” includes a snippet of “Theme From Shaft” in the midsection. At the late show, “For You” is performed solo piano and “Thunder Road” is performed full band. The setlist would also include the only known 1975 performance of the rhythm and blues standard “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66”.

There are rumors that at least one of the Bottom Line shows was professionally filmed by Bruce, possibly parts of other Bottom Line shows also. Film footage is rumored to be hi-quality color, pro-shot with several cameras, and is a complete performance.

Legend has it that this film footage is considered to be “superb” by the Springsteen band, and was a serious contender for inclusion with the 30th Anniversary release of the Born To Run box set.

Bruce was also known for his opening stories to introduce his songs

15.08.75 New York City, NY, intro to ´The E Street Shuffle´
´´Bam !….It was about, uh….it was about three, four years ago, four years ago now, about this time of the year, it was…it was around August, it was a night like this….and uh…I was working in this bar down on the Shore, right….I worked there for about three or four months, this place called The Student Prince (someone yells) (chuckles) Where you going ?…and uh, I worked there for about, like I said three or four months, it was like, there was me and it was Steve here and me and Steve, was Garry, Garry was in the band then….Southside Johnny, this cat Southside Johnny….do you folks get down to the Shore much ? (cheers)… alright, well, you gotta go see Southside Johnny´s band, he´s, he´s got a band down, yeah, The Jukes.…alright (laughs)…..and anyway, this is about three, four years ago, me and Steve and Garry , we´re working in this bar down there….and, uh….like we was feeling like, it was like, it was, we was feeling like…. real discouraged at the time because nobody would give us a gig or nothing, you know, we went into this bar, like the only way we got this job was this guy had just bought the bar and we went into this bar about, like, at midnight on a Saturday night, you know, when the joint, you know, should be, you know, should be a few folks in there, right, went into this place….the darkest, dampest, dingiest place you ever seen and there was nobody in there, right, so we figure, you know, so we walk up to the cat and we say ´ Listen, we´ll come in, man, we´ll play for the door, we´ll play for, you know, we´ll charge a dollar at the door and we´ll play for that´….so we had a seven-piece band at the time, we had a big band and we brought the band in the first week and, uh, and, uh and we played and we made about like….hell, we must´ve made. (Steve: ´13.75´) yeah, we split 13.75 between us….and, uh, a few guys quit, you know (chuckles)….the next week I was there with a six-piece band….threw some cat out, next week a five-piece band, this went on for a few weeks, right… until we got it down to, to like…. you get down to your boys when you´re starving and it was like ….it was like we was playing this joint and we was always figuring, like, these people was always trying to set us up like ´Man, I got the manager from the Byrds coming down here tonight to check you guys out, right…. so like you dudes better be good, right´….so, so like we would play like, like mad dogs all night and like three in the morning we´d all be sitting at this damn little table saying ´Where is the cat ? You know ? What happened to the joker ? Where is the dude ?´ so….and Steve, Steve was like, uh…. Steve was known then, he was known, he was like, he´d practise his guitar day in day out, night and day, all the time, every time I´d see him he would practise, practise, practise, right …he always had his guitar with him everywhere he went, you know, see him on the boardwalk he´s got his guitar with him like that, you know, practise, practise, practise….so, so one night after the, after the gig, you know, after the gig, we was all feeling like down in the dumps and we was all pissed off and mad, you know, figuring ´Man, we´re better´, you know when you´re sitting there saying ´Man, we´re better than them cats and they got two records out, how come we ain´t got no record out ?´, right…..so you do all that kind of stuff, you know, so me and Steve was feeling really really drug out and we figured we were gonna go home so we figured we´d walk home down, (?) we´d walk north along the boardwalk, you know… so we got out there and it was a nasty damn night, it was raining, it was raining and, and….and the club was flooded ´cause some, like, bikers came along and ripped off the front door, right….really, they just took the sucker off, you know, brought it home or something, I don´t know what they did with it…..they ate that thing, right, so….so we was walking down the boardwalk this time of night, you know, it was late, must´ve been four in the morning…. Steve had his guitar with him….he was practising …..and we was just walking down the boardwalk figuring we wanted to get home, you know….so…. all of a sudden….way down at the other end of the boardwalk ….we see something coming, man, there´s something coming down….I said ´Steve, you see something down there, something coming ?´ (Steve : ´Uh, huh´), he says ´Yeah´…. I said ´I don´t know what that is´ but we don´t want to take no chances like, you know, we just wanted to get home, we don´t wanna fool around so….so we ducked into this doorway, you know and, and he says ´Man´, he told me to peek out and I peeked out, you know….and whatever it was, man, it was coming , it was, like, it was raining, the wind was blowing, it was in this, it was in this big mist and it was dressed all in white, with a walking stick, walking like there ain´t no rain, no wind, I said ´Steve! Are you, am I crazy or is that dude carrying a saxophone ?´ (cheers)(chuckles)….so….we figured any cat at four in the morning, dressed in white, walking like there´s no rain with a saxophone was not to be messed with ! was let to walk on by, right….so we, we huddled in the doorway and we were sort of scared, you know, like we were….we were a little scared (?) we didn´t want to get messed around or nothing, I said ´That´s all I need, come home with 3.50 and a messed-up face tonight´, so….so we heard his, we heard his his footsteps coming closer…. and they came closer and closer…..they came even a little closer than that…..ok….and, and, and we figured now, we figured this was no time to look like you´re scared, right, we figured this guy is gonna come along, we better like, you know, better act like at least like we´re bad, so here the cat´s coming and we´re starting to get ready for (?)… and, right, we´re getting ready and, and it´s like….and this cat came up and he turned and he faced off right in front of us in the doorway and we just jumped back like this…. and, and the first we did was we threw all our money down, right….threw all the damn money down, right and then, you know, like I, I didn´t know where the cat was at, he didn´t move and did nothing, right, he stood there (?) held, it was a saxophone, I took off my sneakers, I wasn´t going to take no chances, I threw that down, I figured he might want me to do that….but all he did was put out his hand….so me and Steve, man, we leaned back and ….we got…. just a little closer…. and then when we touched it was like …”

15.08.75 New York City, NY, intro to ´Kitty´s Back´
´´Funny thing happened the other day, I had a few days off, you know, and uh….before I played here, I had a couple of days off and I was staying at home, you know, like, staying down by the beach and uh….one day we figured, you know (?)…me and Steve and Clarence, we went down…we was walking down the boardwalk and uh, you know, (?) and we see this new cat, you know, a new man outside the fortuneteller joint, right, this cat´s got a turban, you know, it was a, it was green, it was like light green kind of color (?) and he had one of those red rubies, you know, red rubies in his head and like, he says ´Come on in, man´, you know, ´you wanna find out what´s happening tomorrow, today´ so….we figured we´d, you know, I don´t usually go into them joints, I don´t like them joints too much, they scare me, right...Clarence, for some reason, Clarence was into finding out what was happening tomorrow….today, right, so we figured 50 cents, we´d go in and catch 50 cents´ worth of tomorrow so….we go in and we´re sitting there, we´re sitting there, we´re sitting there for like and watching the clock and 45 minutes go by, right, and we were wondering what´s with the gypsy, man, you know, (?) somebody in there´s got a whole lot of tomorrow (chuckles), anyway, the curtains finally part, out comes this skinny girl, right….her dress all twisted and she had, her knees are shaking and she looks like, and she drops and falls right in front of us and she passes out….so like …. we figured….too much tomorrow, right….not enough, not enough today (chuckles) …. so ….so the cat with the turban drug her out, outside, drug her out onto the boardwalk and they´re, you know, they´re waking her, you know, she ran off screaming down towards (?)….but anyway, so finally we go in, you know, we go in there and we´re sitting there and she says ´Ok´, you know, she´s rubbing her hands, she´s looking at us, she´s like, she says ´Ok, uh, which one of you guys wants to find out what´s gonna happen first ?´, you know….so like….so we flipped a coin, you know, and Stevie said he didn´t wanna and all of a sudden Clarence didn´t wanna either….so they put it on the Boss, right…. being the Boss, you see, being the Boss, you got to like, you got to have this leadership, you know, you got to, you can´t let it show that you´re scared and nervous, you know, like (?)…. so I figured ´Ok, you know, I´ll find out´ so I gave her my 50 cents, right, she looked at me a few times and (?) on the table she had this crystal ball, you know, and (?) the ball, says ´Ok, son, I´m gonna look into that crystal ball, I´m going to know what´s happening´, so I said ´Alright´ and she starts checking the thing out and, and….the thing starts smoking up ….you know how they do that, it´s smoking up, it was getting all smoky and stuff and she was checking it closer and closer and she just looked in so close she had her face right up on that thing, you know….and then all of a sudden she started shrieking and screaming and yelling and doing all things, she slipped off chair, she fell down on the floor and became unconscious in front of us….so we said ´Gypsy lady !´, you know, ´Gypsy lady, what´s, what´s happening ?´ (chuckles)…´What´d you see in there ?´ – nothing, nothing, she was comped out (?), so we figured we was gonna be in some trouble, we were gonna beat it out of the joint, for like mugging the gypsy lady or something….and like I don´t know what for but for something so, so anyway I said ´Wait a minute´, these guys are pulling me out now, they´re pulling me to run out, I´m going ´Wait a minute, wait,I paid my 50 cents, I wanna see what´s happening tomorrow´, right, so (?)…and I looked in to see what upset her so much, you know, I figured am I gonna die, am I gonna, you know, be hit by a train or what´s gonna happen, I don´t know, so I looked in…(somebody: ´What you see ?´) what did I see ? (?) I seen (?) I seen this nasty weather (?) this rainy (?) and down in the end of the alley, I seen something coming and it didn´t have no sax on so I knew it wasn´t you….she got so upset because….Kitty´s back !…..”

15.08.75 New York City, NY, (late show), middle of ´Twist and Shout´
´´I don´t think I can go on, Clarence. It´s the cholesterol on my heart. My doctor told me if I sang this song once more, he wouldn´t be responsible. But I gotta do it, Clarence, I gotta.´´

tick423.gif

14.08.75 New York City, NY, intro to ‘The E Street Shuffle’
´´Dancing with the lights down…..lower than that…..lower than….lower than that…. (?)…. wait a minute, wait a minute, gimme a break with that, let me see….. (?)…this guy (?)…. you do that there, bam…..this girl (?)…..Walter, what’s he gonna say, big bucks…..yeah (?) big bucks here…..Clarence…..you can see better (?)(chuckles)…..it’s nights like this…..bring in the bass…..it’s nights like this….yeah…..play a little bit, Steve…..bam !…..(?) gonna talk to you tonight….. it was a nice like this, very similar to this, the same month, it was August…..it was about three years ago or four (?)…..I was walking down a street in Asbury Park…..(?) …. on the other end of the street (?)…..”

14.08.75 New York City, NY, intro to ‘Night’
´´This is something that’ll be on the new album, should be out pretty soon…..called ´The Night’….´´

14.08.75 New York City, NY, intro to ‘Thunder Road’
”Yeah, yeah…..do you come here every night ?…..’cause some guy yells that all night every night…..(someone : ”Bruce, you played it at Max’s, you can do it here !”) ….. Give me a break…..give the Boss a break…..(someone : ”Cousin Brucie!”) Don’t say that….it’s like…..that happens all the time, it’s like your name is Bruce, everybody….. you hear ‘Cousin Brucie, what’s happening ?’ (chuckles)….that happens all the time, don’t do that (laughter)…..this is a song about this guy from California and this girl from ….Indiana…..and how they met in the same place (?)….’

14.08.75 New York City, NY, intro to ‘Kitty’s Back’
”I used to live in this house…..down in this place called Freehold, New Jersey (cheers) ….anybody from Freehold here tonight ?….No?….how about Asbury Park ? (cheers)….. yeah ?….you got the Casino shirt on….sounds like….I used to live in this house that was….that was across the street from this field , like…..it was on this regular street but…..but there was just this big field, it was a tomato patch….for a long time, it was across the street, we used to go and have tomato fights…..and like you’d sit there at night and see all the lightning bugs…..(?) go see lightning bugs, good, maybe they don’t (?)(laughter)….really, ever since I moved to the beach, I don’t see any lightning bugs….any of you folks from the country ?….you get lightning bugs out there ?….. you’ll all (?) better tonight (chuckles)…..anyway this field….one night I was sitting on my porch , you know….and and I seen this….Clarence…..Clarence was sitting there with me (laughter)….I was about ten and he was older than me, we were sitting on the porch and….we seen this thing coming down from the clouds, didn’t we ? (laughter)…. we didn’t know what it was (laughter)….it came down from way up there and looked like some…..looked, it was shaped like a hot dog, right, and we thought it was a flying saucer right away…..shaped (giggles)….it was shaped like this hot dog (laughs)…. it was shaped like this hot dog and this thing came down and it landed right on this field right across the street from my house…..and so me and Clarence, we figured we’d better check it out and see what was invading the neighbourhood, you know….. we went across the street and this man came out, right and he had…..he was like….he was purple (laughter)…..this is a true story, this is a true story (laughter)….people laugh at the truth , they (?)….as….he was purple, was he purple ? (?)…..it was like….he had two noses, right, and he lands in Central Jersey…..good thing he didn’t land in North Jersey, he would’ve died on the spot (laughter)…..the industrial growth would’ve been too much for him (laughter)…..he had two noses, he was purple, he had eyes….. eye on his teeth….and he like….the first thing he did, he came out, he was being all cool….. he was walking, you know, like uh…..what’s that guy on Bono ?….Not Bono….what the hell’s his name ?…..no, no….Tobor or (?)….Michael Renny….he was walking like Michael Renny (cheers) …..he was walking like that, he was trying to be cool and stuff……but he got out three steps and those things started (?) and he fell down on the field, right…..so me and Clarence go over and we check the guy out and he´s purple and he’s laying there on the ground…..and we go ‘Spaceman, what’s the matter ?’ (laughter)…..he didn’t say nothing, all he did was he opened his mouth and he said these words, he spoke in these foreign tongues…..yeah…..noises like…..so me and Clarence happen to have a tape recorder with us , we ran, we ran back to the house….. and we put it on backwards and you know what that joker said…..He said ‘Kitty’s Back’..
(…..) Steven, when she comes back, I’m gonna…..ask her ‘Where you been ?’ and …..(?) you hear I got a new car ? I got this new car (?) and….I’m gonna….take her for a ride….because (singing:) Nothing’s too good for my baby…..Nothing’s too good for my girl….Nothing’s too good for my baby, nothing’s too good, do it boys….Nothing’s too good for my baby…..nothing’s too good for my girl….nothing’s too good for my baby….nothing’s too good for my girl….here she comes….here she comes….(talking:) I don’t really recognise her no more…..she dyed her hair….some crazy color…..(?) Stevie, Stevie.…the new man, the new man (?)….the new man…..little transgression on Bosses’ (?)…..that’s bad news…..you can lose your hat (laughter)….lose your hat in this band….you’re nothing…..that’s alright, that’s alright….oh, yeah….anyway….here she comes….”

14.08.75 New York City, NY, middle of ‘Rosalita’
”On the piano, the man with all the answers to all your questions…..Professor Roy Bittan (cheers)….take a bow, Roy…..on the bass guitar….man comes from a long line of talents, his mother was a talent, his father was a talent, his great grandfather was a great, great talent…..he’s a little shy so (?)…..Garry W.Tallent (cheers)….on the drums, representing all you folks from North Jersey….Mighty Max (cheers)….on the organ, Dan Federici (cheers)….we’re gonna do this part for Mickey and all my friends at the Holiday Inn pool…..Clarence Clemons, the duke, on the saxophone (cheers)…..”

bottom_line_palm_beach_post_times_240875.jpg

17.08.75 New York City, NY, intro to ´´Kitty’s Back”
‘‘Before I came in tonight, there was, uh, somebody sent me a note, (?) this box (?)…. I opened it up, you know, and …. (?) this long box and I opened it up and in there was this, was this knife, remember that, boys?….see, they saw it, they saw it….there was this knife, it was covered with blood….there was a little letter…..explaining that this was an approximation of….of how my blood would look on that knife….if I wasn’t good tonight ….because….Kitty’s back!”

The Shows were:

  1. 1975-08-13 – BOTTOM LINE, NEW YORK CITY, NY (early)
  2. 1975-08-13 – BOTTOM LINE, NEW YORK CITY, NY (late)
  3. 1975-08-14 – BOTTOM LINE, NEW YORK CITY, NY (early)
  4. 1975-08-14 – BOTTOM LINE, NEW YORK CITY, NY (late)
  5. 1975-08-15 – BOTTOM LINE, NEW YORK CITY, NY (early)
  6. 1975-08-15 – BOTTOM LINE, NEW YORK CITY, NY (late)
  7. 1975-08-16 – BOTTOM LINE, NEW YORK CITY, NY (early)
  8. 1975-08-16 – BOTTOM LINE, NEW YORK CITY, NY (late)
  9. 1975-08-17 – BOTTOM LINE, NEW YORK CITY, NY (early)
  10. 1975-08-17 – BOTTOM LINE, NEW YORK CITY, NY (late)

Bruce Springsteen's 'Darkness on the Edge of Town': 10 Things You Didn't Know

On June 2nd, 1978, Bruce Springsteen released the album Darkness on the Edge of Town his first since 1975’s Born to Run had made him a big draw, it arrived after a lengthy lawsuit with his former manager Mike Appel where he was unable to enter a recording studio.

With three years on the sidelines because of the lawsuit with Appel an eternity at that time for a musician – Springsteen has said that he felt he needed to reintroduce himself. To make another dense record rooted in rock’s past,  In the three years between Born to Run and Darkness, he’d simply learned a lot and during this time he played some of the best live shows of his career. He spent a great deal of time in court, for one thing; he began listening to Hank Williams and old-time, class-conscious country music. He’d seen the films of John Ford and Howard Hawks and John Huston, and read the novels of John Steinbeck and John Dos Passos that Jon Landau had given him. The concerns of the lower-middle class became the concerns about which he began feeling most passionate, and those things are reflected in his writing, and his writing became more compact and direct as a result.

Although the lyrics didn’t directly reference the suit, his bitterness showed in the songwriting. Gone was the cinematic romanticism of his first three albums, replaced by stark portraits of blue-collar American life that would form the basis of Springsteen’s writing for the next decade.

Darkness On The Edge reached No. 5 on the Billboard albums chart, and the tour, where he and the E Street Band made their first ventures into headlining arenas, The tour solidified his reputation as one of the most exciting live acts in rock n’ roll. Many of its tracks, including “Badlands,” “The Promised Land” and “Prove It All Night” as well as the outtake “Because the Night” have still to this day continued to play an important role in his concerts to this day.

But the 10 songs released on Darkness represented a fraction of the music recorded for the album, with 57 song known titles recorded during the sessions, . Is “Darkness on the Edge of Town” Bruce Springsteen’s best album?.

Several other artists wound up benefiting from his surplus; Southside Johnny, Robert Gordon, Greg Kihn and Gary U.S. Bonds all recorded songs from this period that Springsteen felt didn’t jibe with the album’s bleak mood. But while “Prove It All Night” was the only single , two artists enjoyed massive hit smashes with his Darkness castoffs: The Pointer Sisters went all the way to Number Two with their recording of “Fire” – a song Springsteen claimed to have originally written in 1977 for Elvis Presley and Patti Smith scored the biggest hit single of her career with “Because the Night,” which reached  Number Five in the U.K charts.

Smith, who was recording her album Easter with Jimmy Iovine at the same time the latter was working on Darkness, took the unfinished “Because the Night” and added a verse inspired by her long-distance relationship with future husband Fred “Sonic” Smith. “I knew that I wasn’t going to finish the song, because it was a love song, and I really felt like I didn’t know how to write them at the time,” Springsteen recalled in The Promise, explaining his decision to give the song to Smith. “A real love song like ‘Because the Night,’ I was reticent to write; I think I was too cowardly to write at the time. But she was very brave. She had the courage.”

Darkness is the first Springsteen album where he sounds like the Springsteen whose legend was secured around this time. Springsteen finally found a way to match the yearning of youth with a grounded sense of adult experience, and it happened toward the end of a period of broad excess when the genre so badly needed it. The production is a wonder of amalgamation, too: He melded the West Coast’s spacious, very polished style with the power and force of Middle American and punk rock.

By the summer of 1977, the E Street Band – then consisting of guitarist Miami Steve Van Zandt, saxophonist Clarence Clemons, pianist Roy Bittan, organist Danny Federici, bassist Garry Tallent and drummer Max Weinberg  had become a road-hardened unit capable of bending almost telepathically to any of Springsteen’s musical whims, so it made perfect sense for Springsteen to record the songs for Darkness live in the studio with his band. Unfortunately, Springsteen’s endless search for the ultimate sound completely counteracted any efficiency that might have otherwise resulted from such an arrangement. Unhappy with the sounds they were getting at New York’s Atlantic Studios, Springsteen moved the recording sessions to the Record Plant, where he, co-producer Jon Landau and engineer Jimmy Iovine spent interminable weeks trying to capture the perfect drum sound.

Every song on the first side has a corresponding track on the second in the same sequence. “Badlands” and “The Promised Land” are about America, “Adam Raised a Cain” and “Factory” are about father-son relationships and so on.

Darkness on the Edge of Town is consistently among my top album from Springsteen’s catalog. I think the excruciating editing process he went through with this album speaks volumes about the focus and quality of the story he was telling at that time. What is the best song on the record?

As the opening song, “Badlands” not only sets the tone for everything that follows, it’s also a hell of an introduction to the album with those massive drums barreling into the picture. Every song on the album, more or less, stems from “Badlands.”

 “Racing in the Street,” because it turns the bombast of what came before completely inside out. If Born to Run was about the desperate desire to be free of your old life, your hometown and every preconceived notion, this album – and, my goodness, this song – was about what happens to those who were left behind. Even the expected early-career “car songs” tend to feature people lost in a cul-de-sac of regret. “Racing in the Street” is my favorite song by anybody. it was the perfect anthem  cruising around town, only realizing later that it had this other meaning. How anyone can comprehend how Springsteen wrote that last verse, given that he hadn’t yet been in a serious relationship. “Racing in the Street” and “Darkness on the Edge of Town.” The story he tells in the former is so specific and evocative that it really haunts the listener. That’s why it’s not even surprising when the couple from “Racing” ages a decade or two, and reappears, as I see it, in “Darkness.” Springsteen couldn’t get them out of his head any more than I could, and the stunning outro gives the listener time to contemplate their fate. It also remains phenomenal to me that early versions of the song didn’t even include the little girl he drove away.

“Racing in the Street” is a great narrative and a great song. The lyrics speak of desolation, lost chances and the things the desperate do just to live, both in the world and with themselves. Springsteen gives those words life and breath, and puts his voice in the middle of it all; there’s no separating it from either the story or the telling of it. The music is stark and brooding — it’s a keyboard song on a guitar album, and Roy Bittan and Danny Federici refuse to leaven the mood as they might on other songs. Bittan’s piano figure that runs through the song is every bit the match for the lyrics, and then Federici wraps an organ countermelody around the piano. … God, it gives me chills to this day.

The outtakes found on Tracks and The Promise show him writing very different material than what was released on the final album, the best tracks, sound like more chapters to the Darkness story. While the outtakes were informative, in particular for completists, they only confirmed Bruce Springsteen’s brilliance as an editor Darkness on the Edge of Town still sounds perfectly balanced. He was writing all these great songs rooted in ’60s pop and R&B like “Talk to Me,” “Save My Love” and “Ain’t Good Enough for You.” The finished product only reflected one side of him. And I like the idea of Jon Landau whispering in one ear about the art of the rock album and Steven Van Zandt in the other about more hit singles.  It gave me an even greater appreciation for his creative vision. He went through an agonizing period of writing and editing to arrive at the final product that was true to the feelings he wanted to evoke. He writes fantastic songs, and there are quite a few in those outtakes, but they didn’t fit the theme. When you have so many songs, and great ones at that, those are tough decisions to make. Dilute the album’s message or let the songs languish in the vault? But I’ve always felt that one of Springsteen’s gifts to his fans is that he has allowed us to look back at his editing process. I’ve always appreciated a peak at his rewriting, and how he’s not afraid to hold onto a a piece of music or lyric when he doesn’t think he’s done justice to it yet.

I’d read interviews with him in the past talking about how he’d write something like “Fire” or “Rendezvous” or “Bring on the Night” and have to set them aside, because they didn’t fit the tone of the work he was recording. To hear some of those songs on Tracks and The Promise was great, The overarching thing I take away from them (and from the outtakes from The River) was just how mind-blowingly prolific a songwriter he was at the time. Like, two-albums-a-year prolific.

Almost every other song on Darkness sounds epic, both in the lyrics and the music. “Factory” is a quiet, personal ode to his father that scales down the album’s bigger themes. If replaced with “The Promise” which is way closer to what Darkness is all about. Plus, they’re both slower cuts, so it would fit into that missing slot perfectly.

The other songs tend to feel like they were left off for a reason because of differences in production values, because they are clearly unfinished or (quite often, actually) because upbeat tracks like “Save My Love” and “Gotta Get That Feeling” just don’t fit thematically. That said, the brilliantly ambiguous “Breakaway” might just have made the cut.

“The Promise” belongs on there, but you couldn’t find anything better that’s thematically similar to go in its place (“The Brokenhearted,” “City of Night”?). It could have another kinda love song, “Don’t Look Back.”

I do think “The Promise” would have made a great addition. It’s among his most heartbreaking, and fits well with the tone of the record. In addition “Racing in the Street” I’d surely go with the one he chose for Darkness, but the sped up recording on The Promise really hits the spot sometimes.

“Hearts of Stone,” is another great song which Springsteen gave to Southside Johnny, but which also was a standout cut on the Tracks box.

Springsteen 11/19/2007

The last U.S. tour stop of 2007 would prove to be Danny Federici’s final show as a full-time member of the E Street Band. Boston ’07 is a fitting farewell to Phantom Dan and catches Bruce and the band firing on all cylinders at the height of the “Magic” tour. Rich with core album tracks including “Radio Nowhere,” “Gypsy Biker,” “Livin’ In The Future” and “Girls In Their Summer Clothes,” Boston also features the tour debuts of “This Hard Land” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” with guest Peter Wolf.

Bruce Springsteen brought the E Street Band to TD Banknorth Garden in Boston for a two-night stand in November of 2007 to end the first leg of a tour in support of Magic.  Springsteen has released an official recording of the concert from November 19th, 2007 which wound up being multi-instrumentalist Dan Federici’s final complete performance with the band.

Federici passed away just fourth months later on April 17th, 2008 due to melanoma. While he would perform with the group for portions of a show in Indianapolis on March 20, 2008; he never played a whole show with The Boss and his famed backing band after that night in Boston. Danny was spotlighted throughout the concert at the TD Banknorth Garden on songs such as “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” “Sandy” and “Kitty’s Back.”

“Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” was a tour debut as was “This Hard Land.” Peter Wolf joined the ensemble to add backing vocals to “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.” Springsteen and his band put an emphasis on material from Magic, which was their new album at the time. In total, eight songs from the LP made the 24-song setlist. to purchase the official recording of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band’s November 19th, 2007 performance in a variety of formats.

  • Bruce Springsteen – Lead vocal, electric and acoustic guitars, harmonica; Roy Bittan – Piano, keyboards, accordion; Clarence Clemons – Tenor and baritone saxophones, percussion, backing vocal; Danny Federici – Organ, keyboards, accordion; Nils Lofgren – Electric and acoustic guitars, pedal steel, backing vocal; Patti Scialfa – Electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocal; Garry Tallent – Bass; Stevie Van Zandt – Electric guitars, mandolin, backing vocal; Max Weinberg – Drums; Soozie Tyrell – Violin, acoustic guitar, percussion, backing vocal
  • Additional musician: Peter Wolf – backing vocal on Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out 

Image result for bruce springsteen berkeley 1973 images

On March 2nd, 1973, a young, scraggly, a no-name punk from New Jersey landed in Berkeley, California., just weeks after the release of his first studio album, “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.”, to record a performance for the King Biscuit Flower Hour radio show. A certain Bruce Springsteen opened the show that night for Blood Sweat and Tears, ravaging his way through a seven-song set, each tune picking at the essential storytelling-songwriting so heavily influenced by Dylan in those early years.

This performance showcases an early iteration of the E Street Band, with bassist Garry Tallent, keyboardist and accordionist Danny Federici, and Springsteen’s essential partner, saxophonist Clarence Clemons. (The world wouldn’t see the full classic lineup, including guitarist Steve Van Zandt, until 1975.) But it’s the Boss himself who steals the night with an unrelenting energy and obvious wealth of ambition. Some tracks, like “Wild Billy’s Circus Story” and “Bishop Danced,” are folkier and more story-driven. (The latter, with its fluttering accordion, has been rarely performed and never appeared on a true studio recording). Others, like “Lost in the Flood,” “Spirit in the Night” and “Blinded By the Light,” have remained constant in Springsteen’s 40-year touring career. He also offers a fun, fast-tempo “Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?”—cheekily chiming in, “A song about New York City, 82nd Street bus,” after a near two-minute intro. Springsteen completes the set with “Thundercrack,” an 11-minute epic that allows each member of the band to jam, with some provocative guitar work about halfway through.

You can tell the young Springsteen is having a great time as he performs—something that has never changed. This is quite possibly the very first professional live recording of The Boss to surface, recorded 45 years ago on this date.

The Band

Bruce Springsteen: guitar vocals Clarence Clemons: saxophone Danny Federici: organ Vini Lopez: drums Garry Tallent: bass

What makes this show particularly interesting and historical is that a few weeks earlier, Springsteen had actually been part of the very first King Biscuit Flower Hour, which was broadcast over three decades ago (February 18th, 1973). On that broadcast, Bruce only performed two songs and had to share the bill with Blood, Sweat & Tears and jazz-fusion pioneers, the Mahavishnu Orchestra.