Posts Tagged ‘The E Street Band’

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Bruce Springsteen was laying relatively low in 1979 following the protracted sessions and career-defining tour that marked the preceding year’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town”. These benefit performances from Madison Square Garden feature an electric set of old favourites (“Born to Run”), covers (“Quarter to Three”) and new songs (“The River”) from Springsteen and the E Street Band’s peak live period. A Blu-ray provides the sights to the great sound on the two CDs.

The Legendary 1979 “No Nukes Concert” from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were recorded at the September 1979 MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy) benefit concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The performances have been newly remixed and remastered for pristine sound and HD resolution. During the early days of the E Street Band, Springsteen resisted nearly every opportunity to capture the magic of their live show on film. “I had some voodoo thing about that,” he says. “Film and television were relatively cool mediums, and we were a hot band. I said, ‘If you want to feel that heat, you need to be at that show.’”

He made a rare exception to that rule in September 1979, when he agreed to perform at two “No Nukes” benefit concerts at Madison Square Garden alongside Jackson Browne, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Bonnie Raitt, The Doobie Brothers, and Carly Simon. “They were filming it,” Springsteen says. “They said, ‘You’ll have a choice of whether you’re in the movie or not.’ That meant I didn’t have to think about the cameras since I knew I could throw it away if I wanted to.” He ultimately let the event organizers use his performances of “The River,” “Thunder Road,” and “Quarter to Three” as the climax of the 1980 concert movie “No Nukes”, but the vast majority of the three hours of E Street music that was filmed over two nights ended up stuffed into a vault and not seen by the public for the next four decades. Springsteen’s new movie, That will change on November 16th, when The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts, is released for purchase on all digital film outlets.

Featuring the best moments from both of Springsteen’s No Nukes performances, including explosive renditions of “Born to Run,” “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight),” “Badlands,” “Prove It All Night,” and “The Detroit Medley.” Without question, it is the best representation of a Seventies Springsteen concert ever captured on film.

“The energy of the band that comes across in this film is just incredible,” says Zimny. “You can read about it or hear sonic recordings, but when you see this footage it’s as exciting as seeing the Clash in this same time. This is a band that was exploding onscreen.”

At the time of the shows, Springsteen had been off the road for nine months and was hard at work on “The River”, whose release was still a year away. He’d attached to his name to virtually no political causes at this point, but Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Bonnie Raitt, John Hall, and activist Harvey Wasserman came together as MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy) in the wake of the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, and they asked Springsteen to help guarantee that Madison Square Garden would be packed for the final two shows of the five-night stand.

“That was a critical moment,” says Springsteen. “My friend Jackson Browne was very involved. He’s an activist and I was sort of a hired gun. But I was curious to see where else I could take my music, and where it would be helpful. We had enough success where I felt like I should be doing something with it, and that was where I was at that moment.”

Springsteen says he paid almost no attention to the camera operators assembled all around Madison Square Garden at both shows, but they were an ace crew led by cinematographer Haskell Wexler, best known for his work on In The Heat of the Night, The Thomas Crown Affair, and American Graffiti. “These guys were filmmakers and cinematographers at the top of their game, and they were in sync with the band,” says Zimny. “The cameramen are at the foot of the stage, and they’re literally side-by-side with audience members. This is not a language of MTV and this is not a language of multi-cam cranes and swooping angles and quick cuts. It’s pure documentary.”

Sony Music Entertainment present a new film and concert album by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band at the end of 2021: “The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts” is a compilation of two performances recorded during the Musicians United for Safe Energy concerts, a series of benefit concerts popularly known as “No Nukes” concerts at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1979. The MUSE gigs were founded by a group of musicians as a protest against nuclear power. In addition to Springsteen, stars such as Tom Petty, Crosby, Stills & Nash and James Taylor also performed.

The new film gives fans an interesting look at the early career of the band, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. With little footage of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band from this period, “The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts” offers a rare opportunity to see the band perform explosively just seven years after their formation. “The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts” is available as either a double LP or a double CD including a DVD, or a double CD with a Blu-ray disc.

On the first night, Springsteen debuted his new song “The River,” which wouldn’t see release until the following fall. It was inspired by the struggles of his sister Virginia, who’d had a baby at 17 with her husband, Mickey Shave.

“That song was a real turn in my songwriting,” says Springsteen. “I felt like I had broken through to a narrative type of song writing that I previously hadn’t quite [figured out],” he says. “That turned into Nebraska and The Ghost of Tom Joad, Devils and Dust, and so many other things. That one song birthed so many other incarnations and so much other music. It was a really critical song in my development and I knew it when I wrote it.”

Virginia Springsteen was in the audience of Madison Square Garden when he first played it, having no idea he’d written her story into a song. “She inspired it with my brother in-law, so it was nice to play it for them out of the box,” Springsteen says. “She came backstage and all she said was, ‘That was my life.’”

In 2012, Virginia Springsteen told biographer Peter Ames Carlin that she was initially uncomfortable with “The River.” “It was wonderful that he wrote that and all, but every bit of it was true,” she said. “And here I am [in the audience], completely exposed. I didn’t like it at first — though now it’s my favourite song.”

Near the end of both sets, Springsteen welcomed Jackson Browne and backup singer Rosemary Butler onto the stage for “Stay.” Tom Petty joined them on the second night, marking one of the few occasions in his entire career that he performed with Springsteen. “Rosemary Butler is phenomenal there,” says Springsteen manager Jon Landau.  “She doesn’t get enough screen time, because I don’t think the [camera] coverage was there, but musically, she’s in there, really helping to make that great version of that song.”

“Stay” goes directly into “The Detroit Medley,” a mashup of “Devil With the Blue Dress,” “Good Golly Miss Molly,” “C.C. Rider,” and “Jenny Jenny” that had been a staple of Springsteen shows since the “Born to Run” tour in 1975. It’s featured on the No Nukes soundtrack, but the complete footage has never been seen until now.

“At one hour and seven minutes, which is the start of ‘The Detroit Medley,’ this thing goes to an energy level that has rarely been seen,” says Landau.”Bruce transports himself to a space where the endorphins have been completely released. He’s floating on pure energy. He’s absolutely floating. It’s spectacular.”

The film ends with a nine-minute version of the 1961 Gary U.S. Bonds classic “Quarter to Three,” complete with false stops and Bruce collapsing on the stage James Brown-style and getting revived by Clarence Clemons and a towel-waving Steve Van Zandt. What’s not seen is an infamous moment during the performance where Springsteen noticed photographer Lynn Goldsmith, who happened to be his ex-girlfriend, snapping photos from the floor. He pulled her onto the stage. “Ladies and gentlemen!” he roared to the crowd. “This is my ex-girlfriend!” He then escorted her to the side of the stage and demanded she be removed from the house.

This moment was edited out of “Quarter to Three” in the original No Nukes movie, and it doesn’t appear here. “I had no interest in exploring that,” says Zimny. “It’s not a musical moment. Even if you wanted it, it’s not really even documented since it was such a chaotic moment and the cameramen didn’t know what was happening.” (Springsteen and Goldsmith made peace decades ago, and she told Carlin they laughed about the incident when they bumped into each other at the Sunset Marquis in 1980.)

The Lynn Goldsmith incident and all the other No Nukes footage were tucked away in a film vault and half-forgotten until Zimny started going through those archives while assembling the 2020 movie Bruce Springsteen’s Letter To You. “Bruce noticed this wonderful shot we used to show Danny [Federici] and Clarence,” says Zimny. “In that was a composition and a beauty and a clarity of the E Street Band in that era that we had never really seen before. It was something that immediately struck us as the next project to explore, and also Bruce was real into the idea of remixing the soundtrack of that concert and finding a way to piece together everything we had from those shows.”

The multi-track recordings of the show were given to Bob Clearmountain, a recording engineer, mixer, and producer who has been working with Springsteen since the Born in the USA days. “Bob Clearmountain is a giant,” says Landau. “We’ve worked with a variety of terrific mixers, but we always come back to Bob. He’s so creative and always takes the work to some unexpected sonic level. It’s a fact that, when it comes to mixing, Bob is a genius, pure and simple.

pringsteen didn’t see the film until it was practically finished, and it hit him on a deep emotional level. “It’s very intense to see the young Clarence and Danny,” he says. “But Clarence particularly, since he was in front and so athletic and so youthful, and he just looked so damn great. It’s a wonderful moment in Clarence’s performing experience, and mine with him.”

It also made him realize once again that he erred in not allowing the band to be filmed on many other occasions back then. “I wish we had filmed all the time,” he says. “It was a mistake. It was just a young, youthful, insecure, mistake at the time. I wish we’d filmed at least every tour we’d done once. That would have been really nice. There was a pretty decent bootleg from [Houston] 1978 that ended up on our [Darkness] box set. We have 1975 from the Odeon [in London]. We have a little taste of 1973 from the Ahmanson Theatre [in Los Angeles]. What’s funny thing is the one thing I don’t know we do have is anything from Born in the USA. There was a lot of video shot, but no film.”

“I’m just glad [No Nukes] is there,” he continues. “Looking back, I had my reasons. They worked for me well psychologically at that time and kept me stable. I just didn’t have the flexibility as a young man to sort of delve into that side of my work life. Looking back, of course I wish I had.”

Looking ahead, Springsteen hopes he can return to the road next year to finally support 2020’s “Letter To You” with a tour. “I’m hoping,” he says. “Like a lot of people. Everyone’s hoping. We’re just trying to figure out how to do that, like everyone else. If we can, if it’s possible, we will be [touring]. If it’s just not safe or not practical, we’ll be waiting it out like everyone else. We’re waiting and doing our best to see.”

Jon Landau feels the same way. “The only thing I can say about this is that we approach things very cautiously,” he says. “The safety of everyone, the audience, the artist, the band, the crew, and the people who work at the various facilities…We need to feel that everyone is as safe as possible in order to move ahead with what we hope will eventually be a great tour.”

The vinyl version features 13 songs performed over two nights, remixed and remastered for the release. Packaged in a gatefold cover, the double LP is complemented by a 24-page book with rare photos and memorabilia, an essay and a poster (33″ x 19″).The double-CD and DVD/Blu-ray sets include the 13 songs plus a concert film re-edited from the original 16mm film, restored and mixed in HD by Thom Zimny, a longtime Springsteen collaborator.

In addition, a 24-page book of rare photos and memorabilia, an essay, a vintage ticket cover, a ticket reproduction and a sticker also await.

Tracklist: CD1 Prove It All Night, Badlands, The Promised Land, The River, Sherry Darling, Thunder Road. Jungleland

Tracklist: CD 2 Rosalita (Come Out Tonight). Born To Run , Stay. Detroit Medley. Quarter To Three, Rave On

DVD / Blu-ray tracklisting Prove It All Night. Badlands. The Promised Land, The River, Sherry Darling, Thunder Road, Jungleland, Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)Born To Run, Stay, Detroit Medley, Quarter To Three, Rave On.

Available on November 19th as a 2LP, 2CD/DVD or 2CD/Blu-ray set and available globally in HD for digital download on November 16 and digital rental on November 23

It’s been a long time since we’ve had a great new album by the great guitarist, songwriter and member of no less than two legendary rock bands Neil Young’s Crazy Horse and Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band Nils Lofgren.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s put out some good albums in the interim but none of them really stuck with me like his 1985 album Flip did.  Given that Nils raised the bar pretty high early on in his career with some legendary song writing, such as the then-timely radio friendly hit “Keith Don’t Go” from 1975 some of us older fans have great expectations. 

In the late 1970s Nils collaborated with Lou Reed, the results of which were sort of scattered across a number of different recordings of by both artists. So unless you were intimate with Lou Reed’s album The Bells (1979) and Nils’ self titled album from that same year and 1995’s Damaged Goods, chances are most of you have not heard the songs. As it turns out there were several other additional tracks from that collaboration which never saw the light of day and Nils has finally decided to finish up those songs up, partly the basis of his new album called Blue With Lou. There’s much more to this record than just those collaborations, however.

At the heart of Blue With Lou is a great band that Nils assembled to work up the songs, all record in his garage home studio. In the finest Crazy Horse tradition, these songs rock madly and have that wonderful tight-but-loose feel that can only be generated by a group of musicians who are intimate with one another and the music they’re playing. And intimate they are:  Nils has played with drummer Andy Newmark and bassist Kevin McCormack for decades. These guys are kindred spirits and that comes through in the music which rings true as authentic as authentic rock ‘n roll gets.  All that great playing would be for naught if the songs were forgettable.

Happily, Nils seems to have found his melodic muse and those melodic hooks ‘n riffs he’s been known for — but not often celebrated — are back! A musician’s musician, the reason Nils is in bands with Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young is because he’s a brilliant guitarist with a distinctive sound and technique. You get that all over “Blue With Lou” but you also get some great songs! 

Tracks like “Attitude City” and “Rock or Not” deliver genuine ear-worms you’ll be tapping your toes or steering wheel as you rock along with Nils and his band. This album is a great one for driving on the highway, by the way. 

Blue With Lou is not without its soft spots though. There are touching moments including a tribute to Tom Petty (“Dear Heartbreaker”) and seemingly simple references to the great filmmaker Charlie Chaplin.  “Talk Thru The Tears” mashes up chord progressions akin to John Lennon’s “Starting Over” and “Isolation” with melodic springboards from Chaplin’s classic “Smile” (which itself is apparently based on melodies from Puccini’s Tosca!). 

I don’t know if this is a bit of conceptual continuity but Chaplin comes up in the lyrics to “City Lights” his legendary film from 1930; Lou Reed previously recorded this song for his 1979 album “The Bells” but this new version is much nicer, replete with a refreshingly unusual retro 1950s male choir backing up Nils’ lead vocals. 

The kicker for me on this album is the final song which is about Nils’ dog, “Remember You” is a touching sweet memorial that will leave you with a tear in your eye for his “forever friend.” I can so relate to this. If you haven’t listen to Nils in a while, Blue With Lou might be a good album to reacquaint yourself with what he’s been doing. 

If you are a fan of long playing records, Blue With Lou is also available as a two disc set!  This (probably) 180-gram dark black vinyl pressing is quiet, well centered and complimentary to the music, delivering significantly richer bass and round mid ranges.  The guitars and drums sound fuller on the LP version, delivering more of the punch of the band playing together than the CD. Nils’ electric guitar amplifier tone really benefits a lot from this presentation and his vocals are warmer overall. 

And if you’re not familiar with his older material I wholeheartedly recommend you seek out the albums “Cry Tough”, “I Came To Dance”, and his self titled debut, “Nils Lofgren”. Also look for the commercially released version of the album known as “Back It Up Live” which was initially a highly coveted and collectible promotional album in the mid 1970s  heavily pirated back in the day so beware of counterfeits which eventually saw official commercial release several years ago. It is a wonderful document of the artist on his ascent to rock ‘n’ roll legend.  

Nils and his band are often out on tour so you should definitely look for them in your town. And also I remember reading recently that he’ll be playing with Neil Young again soon in Crazy Horse.  And… by now many of us now that Bruce Springsteen has a new album, maybe coming next year in 2022 … perhaps an E Street Band tour with Nils on board.

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Bruce Springsteen performed with the E Street Band for the first time since the pandemic began — and for the first time, not counting private studio sessions, since February 2017 (!) on December 12th, on “Saturday Night Live.”

They performed the songs “Ghosts,” the second single from Springsteen’s recent “Letter to You” album, in the show’s first musical slot. Springsteen seemed to be enjoying himself, smiling and laughing often. The song became most dynamic at the end, when Springsteen let pianist Roy Bittan, saxophonist Jake Clemons and and guitarist Steven Van Zandt take brief solos. But it ended only moments later. While the seemed a little tentative on “Ghosts,” especially early in the song, their second song — “I’ll See You in My Dreams” (another track from Letter to You), performed later — seemed smoother and more assured.

Jack Daley, of Little Steven’s Disciples of Soul band, played bass in place of original band member Garry Tallent, who did not make the trip to New York from his home in Nashville. And violinist Soozie Tyrell did not perform with the band.

Springsteen shared the following message on social media, December. 10th: “We’ll be missing our great bass player Garry Tallent and our compatriot Soozie Tyrell on Saturday night due to COVID restrictions and concerns. Garry and his family are fine as is Soozie, but we thank Jack Daley of the Disciples of Soul for sitting in.”

Garry Tallent Tweeted the next day: “I don’t have the Vid and intend to avoid catching it. Stay safe and weigh the risk/benefit for whatever you do. I personally felt that a two song TV appearance was not worth a week long stay in NYC. Thanks for your concern.”

I believe this was the first time in the entire nearly-50-year history of the E Street Band that they have made an appearance with a bassist other than Garry Tallent.

“‘Ghosts’ is about the beauty and joy of being in a band, and the pain of losing one another to illness and time. ‘Ghosts’ tries to speak to the spirit of the music itself, something none of us owns but can only discover and share together. In the E Street Band, it resides in our collective soul, powered by the heart.” – Bruce

New album “LetterToYou” featuring the E Street Band coming October 23rd.

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Clarence Clemons spent 30 years on the road with Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band as a saxophone player. People call him “The Big Man,” and he is, in fact, a big man. You’ve seen the cover of Springsteen’s famous 1975 album Born to Run, but what you might not know is that Springsteen is leaning on Clemons, whose full figure is cropped out of the frame. Clemons’ bold, honking horn playing was a central part of the E Street Band’s live show for so many years. He lent personality and fire to Springsteen’s raw, heartland rock ‘n’ roll. But despite playing with Springsteen, Ringo Starr’s band and his own project, Clarence Clemons Temple of Soul, he found himself spiritually unsatisfied. He took a trip to China in 2005 and toured many sacred sites, and though the film doesn’t necessarily offer insight into how it affected him, you can tell that Clemons is a very contemplative person, and he sought the most meaning from life that he could possibly find. He enjoyed fishing, he healed himself through music, and he loved his friends more than anything. While you rediscover Clemons’ talent, you’ll also be struck by a man who lived several lives worth of love and pain.

 Clarence Clemons: Who Do I Think I Am? [HD] Trailer – DVD & Blu-ray’s on Amazon:

On February 21st, five Bruce Springsteen albums are set to be released on vinyl for the first time in over a decade, via Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings.

The Rising, Devils & Dust, Live In New York City, Live In Dublin and 18 Tracks comprise the majority of Springsteen’s recorded output from the beginning of the millennium – a period that saw the long-awaited reunion of the E Street Band. Each album has been transferred from the original source masters, allowing for the highest quality pressings possible.

The Rising (2002) will be reissued on 2LP vinyl for the first time in over 15 years. The album offered messages of healing and redemption in the wake of 9/11, and saw The E Street Band re-unite in the studio for the first time in nearly a decade.

Devils & Dust (2005) comes to vinyl for the first time since its original release on the format. “The songs are closely observed country noir vignettes,,” Hot Press’s Peter Murphy wrote in his review of the album, “the testimonies of losers reaching a detente with the fates and promising to do better.”

Live In New York City (2001) arrives on 3LPs for the first time since its original pressing. The set chronicles Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band’s much-anticipated reunion tour, recorded over two nights at Madison Square Garden in the summer of 2000.

Live In Dublin (2007) will be released on vinyl for the first time ever, a 2LP snapshot of Bruce Springsteen’s work with The Sessions Band. The album includes classic folk songs popularised by Pete Seeger, plus radically rearranged versions of Bruce Springsteen favourites.

Finally, 18 Tracks (1999) is coming to vinyl for the first time in over 20 years. The 2LP set features rarities like the original ‘Born In The U.S.A.’ demo and exclusive songs ‘Trouble River’, a 1999 re-recording of ‘The Promise’ and Springsteen’s original version of ‘The Fever’, made famous by Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes.

The Releases:

Bruce Springsteen – Live in Dublin (NEW 3 x 12″ VINYL LP)
Bruce Springsteen – Live in New York City (NEW 3 x 12″ VINYL LP)
Bruce Springsteen – Devils & Dust (NEW 2 x 12″ VINYL LP)
Bruce Springsteen – 18 Tracks (NEW 2 x 12″ VINYL LP)
Bruce Springsteen – The Rising (NEW 2 x 12″ VINYL LP)

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.”

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