Posts Tagged ‘The E Street Band’

Steven Van Zandt – known widely in music circles as Little Steven and Bruce fans as Miami Steve, among other sobriquets – is something of a New Jersey renaissance man, yet he’s never been one to really seek the spotlight.

Whether it’s his long-standing role as Bruce Springsteen’s right-hand man in The E Street Band – it was Van Zandt himself who gifted him the nickname “The Boss” – or in his lauded TV role as Silvio Dante in The Sopranos, he’s usually happy playing sideman to bigger names, a role he carries off with a humble aplomb.

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule – he had the lead role in short-lived Norwegian-American gangster series Lilyhammer, and he hosts his own beloved Underground Garage radio show which is syndicated all over the world – but mainly Van Zandt is happy to eschew the limelight and leave the grandstanding to others.

Little Steven & The Disciples Of Soul covering The Southside Johnny and Asbury Jukes classic, “I Don’t Wanna Go Home”, performed by Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul at BluesFest 2016.

But with The Boss a couple of years ago deciding to make a lengthy one-man stand on Broadway and his acting commitments having temporarily dried up, Van Zandt found himself reviving the ‘80s outfit he’d formed during another hiatus from The E Street Band – this time when Springsteen was assembling his 1982 solo masterpiece Nebraska – namely Little Steven & The Disciples Of Soul.

His solo project had found him returning to the Jersey Shore sound that Van Zandt had helped formulate back in the ‘70s, first with his early group Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes and then on the early Springsteen records (which he largely arranged), and then over the course of a number of staggered albums taking that sound into new and routinely fascinating places.

Yet he’d barely even considered that body of work for 20 years when in mid-2016 he was randomly invited by a London promoter to appear at a UK blues festival, after which he pulled a new version of the band together and hasn’t looked back. Since then the band has two new albums to their name – Soulfire (2017) and Summer Of Sorcery (2019) – and has been touring ever since to global acclaim, something Van Zandt had never envisaged happening again.

“Yeah, it’s been quite an experience and I’m very, very happy I did it,” he chuckles. “It was fortunate, Bruce decided to spend some time on Broadway and I didn’t have a new TV show going, so just through those random circumstances I ended up revisiting my own work, and I found it to be really quite rewarding.

“I hadn’t realised the value of the stuff and how well it all held up and how it had kinda become its own genre through the years, that ‘50s rock-meets-soul thing which at this point is quite unique.

“So it’s just been fun to revisit your stuff and try and reconnect with an audience again and see how the stuff holds up. It’s been quite a year-and-a-half of exploration and discovery and it’s been a very, very satisfying response from the audience – the audiences have been going crazy!”

The Disciples Of Soul are a 15-piece powerhouse, but Van Zandt is like a pig in mud back putting their massive sound together.

“The arranging is the fun part,” he smiles. “I’ve been using five horns ever since we put together Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes really which was mid-‘70s, and then I carried that same sound into my first solo album in ’82. Then the rest of my solo albums are all very different from each other, so I just went back to it recently.

“Plus I recently produced an album for the great Darlene Love and she had these great background singers so I fell in love with background vocals, so that’s the one thing I’ve added to my sound now. I just thoroughly enjoy the horn parts and the string parts and the background vocal parts all being woven together and complementing each other, and making sure that they all work together and don’t step on each other and don’t cancel each other out and they all work dynamically: that’s the fun part for me.”

And being in the spotlight again? Little Steven is fine with it, but you can tell that he’s still taking on such prominence reluctantly.

“I’ve never really needed it, my inclination is to be behind the scenes,” he reflects. “I’m really a producer at heart – that’s how I describe myself. I really am a producer first, but I am a performer and I do enjoy being a sideman.

“Even as a frontman I got really quite good at it in the ’80s – you get used to it and you get good at it – and I’m almost halfway back to being a frontman, I’m not all the way there yet. I’m working my way back because it’s a big mountain to climb, man, it’s a whole different job and you actually have to work for a living as opposed to being ‘the guitar player’ where you can just muck around.”

Van Zandt is famously well versed in many different types of music – as well as the Jersey Shore sound he helped found, he’s a noted rock’n’roll aficionado and curates satellite radio stations covering both garage-rock and outlaw country – and he puts these disparate passions in part down to the timing of his earliest musical forays.

“I think growing up when we did, it was an extraordinary period of time,” he marvels. “It was an absolute renaissance in the sense that the greatest music being made was also the most commercial, which we’ll never see again or not for hundreds of years, I think.

“More than that, we were, in a funny way, pretty much a monoculture back then and the trends would come and go year by year: in ’64 everyone’s into the British Invasion, in ’65 everybody is into folk-rock and that’s when The Byrds and Bob Dylan started, in ’66 it might have been country-rock so everybody gets into country music and then it was jazz-rock so everybody gets into jazz, and then in ’67 it’s psychedelic-rock so everyone gets into that – and I mean everybody! – and then in ’68 blues-rock came in and everybody got into blues, and then the final trend of the ‘60s in ’69 was southern-rock, which is more rootsy and Americana and The Band and Delaney & Bonnie and Taj Mahal and The Youngbloods and people like that.

“And believe it or not most musicians would follow from one trend to the other and you’d pick up some pieces of it – you’d take some of it for your own identity – and then some would stay in it: some would get to country-rock and they’d stay there, some would get to blues and they would stay there for the rest of their career. But a lot of us would go from one to the next, and you’d learn that genre and pick up what you want from it for your own identity and then you’d move on to the next one.

“So I think partially it was a result of growing up in that time, when things went from one trend to another and we were all going to school without knowing we were going to school. Parts of each genre stick with you and in the end you tend to just appreciate greatness whenever you hear it, it doesn’t matter what genre it is really. Even if it’s not a genre that you’re particularly fond of or use for your own identity, greatness is greatness and you recognise it and you appreciate it. I think that’s what’s stuck with me all these years.”

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In the last few months, Legacy Recordings has launched an extensive digital campaign with the aim of releasing Bruce Springsteen to the streaming age.  This last May saw the digital debut of 17 rare singles and EPs, as well as the new compilation, Spare Parts, which collected highlights from those releases.  Now, Legacy has teamed up with Nugs.net on a new compilation, The Live Series:  Songs of the Road that celebrates The Boss’s incendiary concert performances and his music’s association with the open road.

As the name suggests, The Live Series: Songs of the Road is a themed compilation featuring songs related to roads, cars, and travel.  The 15 live performances are culled from Nugs.net’s ongoing Live Archive series, which brings full concerts from Springsteen’s live vaults to digital download and CD.  While these tracks have been available for download on Bruce’s website, The Live Series:  Songs of the Road brings this material to mainstream digital download and streaming services for the first time.

With blazing versions of “Thunder Road” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” and the hard-to-find “Action in the Streets” from his transitional 1977 upstate New York shows, a swinging 2006 take on “Open All Night” with the rootsy Seeger Sessions Band, the acoustic “Used Cars” from an intimate acoustic show from 1996, plus the arena rock god prowess of “Born To Run” from 1984 and the more recent impassioned performances of “Out in the Street” and “The E Street Shuffle,” this collection brings together all the different sides of Bruce’s live work, past and present.

You can find the new Bruce Springsteen collection, The Live Series:  Songs of the Road on streaming platforms now.  Check it out on Spotify

Bruce Springsteen,The Live Series:  Songs of the Road(Columbia/Legacy, 2018)

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

Nearly three years ago, Bruce Springsteen’s archival download series delivered a previously un-bootlegged gem: Brendan Byrne Arena, August 5th, 1984, the first high-quality Born in the U.S.A. tour soundboard from multi-tracks and opening night of the ten-show New Jersey homecoming run. Now, the stunning complement arrives, August 20th, 1984, final night of that Brendan Byrne stand.

The latest archival release from Bruce Springsteen finds him at the peak of his commercial powers, performing in support of Born in the U.S.A.in 1984. This is the first complete recording to be officially issued from that tour.

This 1984 concert, taped at Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, N.J., follows earlier releases focusing on shows at Cleveland in 1978 and Springsteen’s most recent concerts in support of 2014’s High Hopes. Thirty of that tour’s 35 stops were also made available via live.brucespringsteen.net.

On August. 5th, 1984, Springsteen and the E Street Band played songs from Born in the U.S.A.album, which was release two months earlier, as well as a bunch of older favorites. The concert also featured their take on Tom Waits’ “Jersey Girl.” . The E Street Band had recently been remade during this period following Steven Van Zandt’s departure. Springsteen had added both Nils Lofgren and Patti Scialfa, who would eventually become Springsteen’s wife, to the lineup. The August 5th show also marked the first of 10 nights at Brendan Byrne. Now we have the final night of those landmark shows featuring memorable guest appearances by Stevie Van Zandt and the Miami Horns, 20th August 84 is justifiably regarded as one of the best shows of the tour and earns a place on the short list of Bruce’s most celebrated shows of all time as much because of what it represented as the music performed. 

Mixed by Jon Altschiller and mastered at Gateway.
SET ONE
BORN IN THE USA
OUT IN THE STREET
SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT
ATLANTIC CITY
JOHNNY 99
HIGHWAY PATROLMAN
I’M GOIN’ DOWN
DARLINGTON COUNTY
GLORY DAYS
THE PROMISED LAND
MY HOMETOWN
DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN
BADLANDS
THUNDER ROAD
SET TWO
HUNGRY HEART
DANCING IN THE DARK
CADILLAC RANCH
TENTH AVENUE FREEZE-OUT
NO SURRENDER
COVER ME
PROVE IT ALL NIGHT
PINK CADILLAC
GROWIN’ UP
BOBBY JEAN
BACKSTREETS
ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHTENCORE
JUNGLELAND
TWO HEARTS
DRIFT AWAY
BORN TO RUN
DETROIT MEDLEY
TWIST AND SHOUT – DO YOU LOVE ME

Image may contain: 1 person, playing a musical instrument and guitar

Just over a year ago year, singer-guitarist Nils Lofgren, who as a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, put out the solo album  “Face the Music Live”, an acoustic collection of his songs, and booked some tour dates for 2016. Lofgren himself has selected the 169 tracks which stretch back to 1968 and his early work with his Washington, D.C.-area band Grin. It also includes material from both his major-label solo albums and independent self-released music. Two of the CDs contain 40 previously unreleased tracks and rarities. The DVD features 20 video clips and the 136-page booklet sounds excellent with track-by-track commentary from Lofgren and personal reflections on his work, as well as his tours with the likes of Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, and Ringo Starr.

He knew that Springsteen needed him for a Saturday Night Live appearance in support of the just-released the  “Ties That Bind: The River” box set. But he didn’t think Springsteen had planned an extensive tour in support of the album. to be titled The River Tour

He thought wrong.“I knew about Saturday Night Live and knew there were no plans past that for us to play,” says Lofgren . “I booked five months of solo work. They had a true change of heart. I’m not involved with the blow-by-blow decision-making. It’s like when me and [my wife] Amy sit around with my four dogs and wonder how much time I’ll spend on the road. I don’t call my band mates and have them weigh in.”

Not that he had any reservations about heading out with the E Street Band — they call Bruce Springsteen “The Boss” for a reason. When he beckons, you best pack your bags.

“It’s always a blessing,” Lofgren says of touring with Springsteen. “I’m coming up on my 32nd year with the band. It’s no fun to cancel or postpone solo shows. I’ll try to reschedule them all. It’s not like I had a huge choice in the matter. These clubs will forgive me, and I hope the fans will come and see me when I make up the dates.”

Even by Springsteen’s standards, 1980’s The River has an epic feel to it. Springsteen originally intended it to be a 10-song single album before scrapping the initial song sequence and extending it into a double album that features 20 songs.

It opens with “The Ties That Band,” a jazzy number punctuated by the late Clarence Clemons’ woozy sax solo. The album goes through a number of musical peaks and valleys: Springsteen sounds somber on mid-tempo ballads such as “Independence Day” and “I Wanna Marry You”; the punchy “Hungry Heart” comes across as a rowdy barroom rocker; and the title track stands as one of Springsteen’s best narratives. The album notes, “Scope, context, sequencing and mood are everything here,” and the review draws comparisons to American authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Theodore Dreiser.

On the current tour, which started in America the Europe and back to America, Bruce is about to perform the most amount of shows ever in Australia for 2017, the band began by playing the album in its entirety.

facethemusic

Nils Lofgren, who says he first met Springsteen in 1970 when his band Grin and Springsteen’s band Steel Mill auditioned for promoter Bill Graham, wasn’t yet in the E Street Band when Springsteen cut The River. He can still remember the first time he heard the album.

“I bumped into [Springsteen] at the [Sunset] Marquis [hotel],” he says. “He mentioned that he had just finished a double album called The River. He asked if I wanted to listen to it. I was very grateful for that. He threw me in the car and went over to the studio. He sat me in front of the old [Yamaha] NS-10 speakers, which were popular playback speakers. I listened to the whole double album, and I still remember being struck by how I felt like they got the sizzle and electricity of the live show into the grooves for the first time. My favorite thing is playing live when there’s that sizzle and energy and crackle in the air. It’s deafening and maddening, and it’s just a muddy mess of musical insanity sometimes. That’s part of the live experience. I felt like they got that into the record. Now, God knows how many decades later to be playing it as a set piece and adding my bit because I wasn’t there is a great honor and I’m embracing it.”

Released during a deep recession, the album reflects the times. In “The River,” Springsteen famously sings, “For my 19th birthday, I got a union card and a wedding coat” as he confesses that finding steady employment was a challenge “on account of the economy.”

Lofgren, however, says he thinks the album has more to do with “personal struggle” than politics.

“I love how Bruce writes,” he says. “He’s as great a lyricist as we’ve ever had. That’s his forte if I had to pick one. [In life] either you’re at peace and everything is okay with friends, family and money or there’s something coming apart. Sometimes, it’s all coming apart. He speaks to that more from the common man perspective but doesn’t exclude everybody because it’s more about the internal workings of man and the inherent human nature of greed and satisfying yourself and never having enough of things. It’s the reality of how is your family doing. Maybe your wife is sick. Maybe my parents are getting old and feeble and what do I do?”

He says a variety of emotions run through the tunes.

“You’re sitting there inconsolable with ‘Stolen Car’ and then he starts ‘Ramrod,’ and it’s a wake up call,” he says. “It’s back and forth. I’m that schizophrenic writer myself. I do country, blues, rock, R&B and metal. It all comes from the blues and folk. Bruce has put it together in his own voice as well as anyone in history has ever done. I’m happy to sit there and play these songs that are so dear to me and add my piece to it and know that I have good instincts for it.”

Between touring with Bruce and doing solo shows  Lofgren just played in Northeast Ohio last year — Lofgren is more active than ever. Not bad, given that he’s now 64.

“[Growing up] in middle America, we loved the Beatles and Stones and Hendrix and of course everything that went with it,” he says when asked about his initial aspirations. “But nobody thought you could do that for a living where I lived. One night, I saw the Who and the Jimi Hendrix Experience in the same night at two different venues in D.C. I still remember being uncomfortably possessed with this notion that I needed to try to do it as a living. It seemed so foreign to me.”

One of the highlights came when singer-guitarist Neil Young befriended him and asked him to play in his backing band.

Neil asked me to play on After the Gold Rush at 18 years of age,” he says. “That was an enormous challenge and opportunity for a rookie musician just on the road trying to make his way. That served me well. I remember going to work and thinking, ‘It’s nice going to work and not having to be the boss today.’ I liked being part of a team of people and playing rhythms and singing harmony. That served me to this day. I’m happy to lead any band anywhere. If we’re in a bar jamming and someone says, ‘Sing something,’ I would say, ‘Okay, follow me,’ and off we go. But I do thrive in the band setting as a member of instead of always the leader. That’s served me well all these decades.”

Bruce Springsteen performing at the Etihad

It’s not often I think: “Damn, I wish I’d dressed as Santa tonight.”

But last night Bruce Springsteen left 55,000 fans in the Etihad stadium thinking just that. Yes, during his sell out show in Manchester – the first UK night of The River Tour – he invited a man dressed as Father Christmas onto the stage with him, before launching into an impromptu rendition of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”

“There are only 270 days til Christmas” laughed Bruce. “No one knew that Manchester was where Santa lives in the off season – now we know.” He added: “This is the only place that’s going to happen”

During last night’s show they played for a touch over three hours, treating fans – many of whom were seen camped outside the stadium for 48 hours before the gig – to a whopping 33-song set, with a couple of surprises thrown in. Encoring with “Shout”, a cover of The Isley Brother’s classic, got everyone dancing in their rain soaked cagoules. Because The Night, Badlands and The River were also among the highlights of the accomplished set.

“Ah rainy Manchester, we wouldn’t have you any other way,” Bruce – who hails from New Jersey – laughed through the drizzle, wearing his black shirt sleeves rolled up and paired with a printed neckerchief.

What a fantastic night in Manchester last night. From the first chords of Atlantic City , a fantastic opening track for me, rapidly followed by a hard hitting Murder Incorporated, Bruce and the band wove their magic into our hearts with every song.
Every track was a highlight, but the beginning of “Little Girl I Marry You”, “Point Blank”, and “Backstreets” and as always “The River” transfixed me. I never sing but last night I did for every song , dancing around to Shout and laughing at all Miami s facial expressions. Bruce and Steve seemed to be really enjoying themselves last night . Nils fell over a front wedge speaker and Bruce commented about him being over on his ass.

It takes a perverse sense of logic to serenade a crowd with Santa Claus Is Coming To Town in May, but Bruce Springsteen isn’t one for strict convention, seasonal or otherwise. The opening night of his UK tour saw him raise the spirits of a damp and non stop drizzly Manchester with an unexpected rendition of the Christmas novelty number, little over 15 minutes into his mammoth three-hour set.

He really needn’t have bothered. Springsteen’s ace card is his everyman appeal, a performer with a natural rapport with his audience and an undeniable knack for an air-punching chorus. It’s a feelgood quality that feels utterly free of contrivance. the live arena is where he and his band truly excel.

He didn’t need much of an excuse on this occasion, going off on a prolonged walkabout into the throng during a pumping Hungry Heart, glad-handing the punters like a returning king. “Manchester we’ve got a crush on you!” he yelled, grinning from one ear to the other as he returned to the stage.

Springsteen was here, ostensibly, to perform The River album, the sprawling 1980 opus that lit the touchpaper  that fired him from cultish songwriter to global superstar for a decade. The title track was particularly affecting. Bookended by some windblown harmonica, it swiftly became a dialogue with the crowd, Springsteen breaking from the verses to hold the mic aloft as the lyrics were sung back at him in a vast wave, a spontaneous communique between the adoring and the adored. “Point Blank” was beautiful too, a showcase for Roy Bittan to demonstrate the elegant economy of his piano lines.

Bittan has been at Bruce’s side since Born To Run, for the most part, and is emblematic of the kind of loyalty Springsteen seems to inspire. The seven-piece band, be it Nils Lofgren turning circles during a solo or fellow guitarist Steve Van Zandt barking a call and response with Springsteen at stage centre, clearly had a blast too.

There was an ecstatic “Johnny 99”, on which The Boss’s Chuck Berry riff served as an invitation for each member of the group to take a moment under the lights. The goodtime vibes reached a peak with Waiting On a Sunny Day. As the rain continued to fall, Springsteen brought a 12-year-old girl out from the crowd and embarked on a duet that drew a huge roar of appreciation. He may look like a tough in a Scorcese movie, but he invariably came across as the kind of guy you’d really like to know better.

If this show proved anything, it’s that Springsteen is a master of structure, peppering the set with anthems that prevented the more understated moments from sagging.Out On The Street” was as striking as it was concise. “Darlington County” was terrific, as was “Because The Night”, the song he wrote for Patti Smith in the late Seventies.

But the first encore took proceedings to a new level. His version of “Backstreets” was simply immense, replete with a Bruce guitar solo as impassioned as it was descriptive. And “Born To Run” remains arguably the most irresistible weapon in his arsenal. “Glory Days” was a reminder of his Eighties pomp, delivered with a conviction that, two and a half hours in, was little short of astonishing. It was for me a night of reminding me how to be truly alive. “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” then drew the first encore towards its close. During the latter, a touching tribute to the band’s late saxophonist Clarence Clemons and keyboard player Danny Federici was projected onto the big screens behind the band.

“One more for Manchester,” Bruce said to the crowd as he came back onto the stage alone for a second encore (Because one is just not enough).

For the final song – an acoustic rendition of This Hard Land – it was just us, him and his guitar. Despite the 54,999 fans around me, I felt for a moment like I was the only one there.

Others may come and go, but Bruce will always be The Boss.
I have one gripe , and it is the same at all big gigs – why do people drink so much , which makes them tramp off on mass to the toilets and bar during every quiet song? It drives me mad. There are loads of days to drink and not so many to marvel at the mastery of Bruce Springsteen and the E St Band.
“Until the end, forever friends “

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Upon its release in October, 1987, Bruce Springsteen’s Tunnel of Love proved an unexpected follow-up to the phenomenally successful Born in the USA. Musically it was a departure – The E-Street Band, who had been prominent fixtures on all but one of the New Jersey singer-songwriter’s albums previously, were present but only partly contributing to the material, most of which Springsteen performed himself using synthesisers and drum machines. More significant was the lyrical subject matter of this new material. Where he had made his name articulating the struggles of everyday, blue collar Americans, with Tunnel of Love Springsteen switched his focus to examine the intimate struggles of relationships, and this was apparently autobiographical.
In 1984, during the Born in the USA Tour, Springsteen had been introduced to actress Julianne Phillips. A whirlwind romance followed, with the pair wedding in secret on May 13th the following year. Yet just as quickly as it had been ignited, the passion between the couple subsided, and it would later become clear that Tunnel of Love was in part a document of the breakdown of this relationship.


The public was unaware of Springsteen’s marital discord when he and the E-Street Band embarked on the Tunnel of Love Express Tour in February, 1988, and both critics and fans were instead focused on the new stage show, which was as unexpected as the album itself. Backed by the ‘Horns of Love’, a five-piece ensemble, the bombast and raw energy of the past was replaced by a more muted and precise approach to performance, while the set-list proved static and surprising, Springsteen digging up rarely performed numbers and proving reluctant to simply run through established favourites. The private entanglements of the band leader would themselves come to light as part of the stage show, however, with backing singer Patti Scialfa, who had joined the E-Street Band three years previously, became an increasingly prominent part of the performances, her vocal partnerships with Springsteen brimming with sexual energy.
The show presented on Tunnel Vision, recorded in Stockholm and simulcast on radio stations across the US, captures this new formulation of the E-Street Band in what would be a live production unique to this tour, with Patti Scialfa coming to the fore on soaring versions of ‘Tunnel of Love’, ‘Cover Me’ and ‘Brilliant Disguise’. It is a remarkable document of Bruce Springsteen in the process of re-evaluating both his life and his music, with his band fully committed to this new approach.

1. Tunnel Of Love
2. Boom Boom
3. Adam Raised a Cain
4. The River
5. All That Heaven Will Allow
6. Seeds
7. Roulette
8. Cover Me
9. Brilliant Disguise
10. Tougher Than The Rest
11. Spare Parts
12. War
13. Born In The USA

The Complete 1978 Radio Broadcasts (15CD Box Set)

The Complete 1978 Radio Broadcasts (15CD Box Set)
by Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band

• 15 CDs • Over 200 tracks

• 24 page full colour booklet with rare photos and detailed liner notes

• The entire original KMET, WMMS, WNEW, KSAN and over twenty more, FM radio broadcasts from explosive 1978 live performances at The Roxy Theater on July 7th, The Agora Ballroom on August 9th, The Capitol Theater on September 19th, The Fox Theater on September 30th and The Winterland Ballroom on December 15th.

• Professionally re-mastered with background liners and rare archival photos.

By the time Darkness On The Edge Of Town was released in June 1978, Bruce Springsteen was firmly established as America’s most exhilarating rock performer. He and the E Street Band relentlessly toured the country from May of that year until January 1st 1979, playing 115 intense shows that have become the stuff of legend. This incendiary new 15-disc set gathers five exceptional performances that were broadcast on FM radio between July and December, and finds the Boss at the peak of his powers, tackling a huge range of material with unstinting energy and passion. Presented with copious background notes and images, it’s an essential addition to any serious Springsteen collection.

Bruce Springsteen and the E.Street Band 10-night stand at Madison Square Garden was supposed to be a victory lap to close out his 1999-2000 reunion tour with the E Street Band. But on June 8, 2000, four days before the first show, the president of the New York City Police Department Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association called for a boycott of Springsteen’s shows because of a new song, “American Skin (41 Shots).”

The song, which had its world premiere in Atlanta on June 4th, was written in response to the February 1999 killing of Amadou Diallo by four New York police officers. Diallo, an immigrant from Guinea, was stopped at the front door of his Bronx apartment building because, the officers said, he resembled a serial rapist. He reached into his jacket pocket to grab his wallet, but the officers thought it was a gun and fired 41 bullets at Diallo, 19 of which struck him. A year later, all four men were acquitted on charges of second-degree murder and reckless endangerment.

As word of the new song spread, PBA President Patrick J. Lynch wrote a letter to the association’s members. “The title seems to suggests that the shooting of Amadou Diallo was a case of racial profiling — which keeps repeating the phrase, ‘Forty-one shots,’ it read. “I consider it an outrage that he would be trying to fatten his wallet by reopening the wounds of this tragic case at a time when police officers and community members are in a healing period.” He also “strongly urge[d]” that officers neither attend the concert nor moonlight as security at any of his shows.

Lynch wasn’t the only one upset. New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Police Commissioner Howard Safir also condemned Springsteen, while Bob Lucente, the president of the New York chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, took things a stp further by referring to the singer as a “dirtbag” and a “floating f–.”

But had the police listened to “American Skin (41 Shots)” before making their judgment, they might have realized that Springsteen showed a degree of empathy with the policemen. In the chorus — “Is it a gun? / Is it a knife? / Is it a wallet? / This is your life” — Springsteen acknowledges the difficulty officers face in having to make split-second decisions.

Springsteen played “American Skin (41 Shots)” at all 10 of the Madison Square Garden concerts with a noticeable portion of the crowd booing. One of the performances was released on the Live in New York City album and video the following year (you can watch it above). The song has remained an occasional presence at his concerts, notably on March 23, 2012, in Tampa, only a month after the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in nearby Sanford, Fla. Following Zimmerman’s acquittal in July 2013, Springsteen dedicated the song to Martin at a show in Limerick, Ireland.

 

 

maxweinberg

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

Bespectacled percussionist Max Weinberg answered New Jersey singer/songwriter Bruce Springsteen’s 1974 “Village Voice” classified, looking for a new drummer. But “no junior Ginger Bakers.” Auditioning, Max Weinberg did well enough on the lone Springsteen tune he knew, “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” off “The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle” LP, and a Fats Domino cover, to get the job. Six credits shy of graduating from Seton Hall University, Max Weinberg quit school to accept the $110-a-week Springsteen gig.

“No junior Ginger Bakers.”

So read the now-famous Village Voice ad that Bruce Springsteen placed in late summer 1974, seeking a replacement for departed E Street Band drummer Ernest “Boom” Carter. As the ad made clear, Springsteen sought someone who could play with power and economy rather than showy style — and he found what he was looking for in Max Weinberg, who earned his spot after an August audition that ended with a new $110-a-week gig for the young drummer, starting a new chapter in rock ‘n’ roll history in the bargain.

Bruce Springsteen was already a recording artist, with a Columbia Records contract and a pair of albums ‘Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.’ and ‘The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle,’ both released in 1973 under his belt, and the band had already started tracking what would eventually become 1975′s classic ‘Born to Run’ LP; in fact, as one of his last acts as a member of the E Street Band, Carter tracked drums for the title cut. But if he wasn’t a founding member, Max Weinberg quickly became such a fixture in the lineup that, to many fans, he may as well have been there from the beginning.

“The ad in the Village Voice caught my eye because it said that the band had a Columbia Records contract. That was more than I had,” he laughed in a 2012 interview with the Jewish Daily Forward. “To get to the audition, I had to climb up four long flights of steps with my drum. After I arrived tired and sweaty, Springsteen greeted me: ‘How are you doing? Let’s play.’ I knew halfway through the audition that we clicked.”

Max Weinberg held the chair throughout Springsteen and the E Street Band’s glory years, anchoring the Boss’ sound on a string of best selling LPs that included the bulk of ‘Born to Run’ and stretched from 1978′s ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ through 1987′s ‘Tunnel of Love.’ Although not every recording during that period utilized the band on a consistent basis — 1982′s ‘Nebraska’ was a solo effort in the true sense of the term, and ‘Tunnel’ found Springsteen using E Streeters on a piecemeal basis to augment his solo tracks — it still came as a shock when he disbanded the group in 1989, beginning a period in which he’d enlist session ringers (as he did for 1992′s ‘Human Touch’ and ‘Lucky Town’) or strip his sound down to bare essentials (1995′s ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’).

They found their way back together in 1995, recording new songs for a best-of compilation, followed by the full-fledged 1999 reunion that presaged 2002′s well-received ‘The Rising’ LP. In the interim, Weinberg spent some time wandering between unsatisfying career choices, briefly contemplating law school and running a label before working his way back behind the kit — and despite his pedigree, he resumed his music career slowly, taking odd low-paying gigs like playing bar mitzvahs and working as an understudy on the ‘Tommy’ Broadway show.

Eventually, Max Weinberg found a new starring role as the bandleader for the Max Weinberg 7, the musical combo relied upon by Conan O’Brien for accompaniment of all kinds during his 16-year run as the host of NBC’s ‘Late Night’ program, as well as his brief stint as host of ‘The Tonight Show.’ When original sidekick Andy Richter departed ‘Late Night’ in 2000, Weinberg assumed his role in a sense, taking on more responsibility and contributing to more comedy sketches, but drumming remained his first love, and when O’Brien started the ‘Conan’ show for the TBS network in 2010, he didn’t follow, choosing instead to focus on the E Street Band and his 15-piece Max Weinberg Big Band.

Although there don’t seem to be any recordings of Mighty Max Weinberg’s first show with Bruce Springsteen at the E Street Band, which took place Sept. 19, 1974, at the Main Point in Bryn Mawr, Pa., we’ve included at the top what’s been billed as “the earliest known recording” of the band with Weinberg and his fellow new addition, keyboard player Roy Bittan, taped at Kean College in Union, N.J. on Sept. 22 that year.