Posts Tagged ‘Tower Theatre’

Bruce Springsteen, Danny Federici and Clarence Clemons of the E Street Band (1975) | via

Of the dozens of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band shows in Philly over the years, many are legend. The Main Point shows from 1973-1975 that earned the rocker high marks in Philly, one of the first cities around the country that embraced his music. Then there are the four shows he played at the Tower Theatre – December 27, 28, 30, 31 – in 1975 that were epic.

Bruce Springsteen played two shows at the Tower in November 1974, but fans would have to wait 13 months to see him again in Philly. On December 27, 28, 30 and 31, 1975, Bruce and the band took over the Tower Theatre for four absolutely stunning shows. It had been a little more than two years since Bruce released The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle, and nine months before the release of Born To Run, even though songs like the title track, “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out,” “She’s The One,” “Jungleland,” and “Backstreets” had become set list staples by the time he returned to Philly in 1975.


01. Night
02. 10th Avenue Freeze Out
03. Spirit In The Night
04. Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street?
05. Its My Life
06. She’s The One
07. Born To Run
08. Its Gonna Work Out Fine
09. Growin’ Up
10. Saint In The City
11. Backstreets
12. Mountain Of Love
13. Jungleland
14. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
15. 4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
16. Detroit Medley
17. Thunder Road
18. Wear My Ring Around Your Neck
19. Quarter To Three
20. For You
21. Twist and Shout / Killer Joe

Fresh mix from multi-track of New Year’s Eve show at Tower Theater
For Bruce Springsteen, 1975 was a year that changed everything, 12 months of milestones which included recording the majority of and releasing the seminal “Born to Run” to critical acclaim; his first true national and international tour in support of the album; and appearing simultaneously on the covers of the National magazines Time and Newsweek. 

The year and the Born to Run tour came to a close with a four-night stand on friendly turf at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, PA, on the outskirts of Philadelphia, with the final show ringing in 1976. The band marked the occasion by wearing tuxedos, in response to which Bruce said, “If I’d known you guys would dress like this, I wouldn’t have come.” That memorable performance arrives today at as the third archival release in Springsteen’s live Archive Series .

December 31, 1975 is newly mixed from 16-track master reels by Toby Scott and mastered by Adam Ayan at Bob Ludwig’s Gateway Mastering. It’s being released in standard and ultra-high-resolution 24-bit/192Khz digital files, as well as being available for CD pre-orders which will ship in another month, says Brad Serling, founder and CEO of which powers the Springsteen download store.

“In looking for the next release,” Serling tells Backstreets, “we wanted to go for the highest quality sources we could find. With Agora, we found the highest-quality two-track, but we didn’t want to go down that road with the next release. Toby was going through the list of what Sony had in their archive, and up came a complete set of multi-track reels from the last night of the Born to Run tour. So that was pretty compelling.”

Things moved impressively fast from there, as Scott got the tapes from Sony and shipped them to Sonicraft, which specializes in multi-track analog-to-digital transfers and just happens to be based in Bruce’s hometown of Freehold, NJ.

“It didn’t require the level of work of a Plangent transfer,” Serling explains. “The tapes just needed to be baked and sampled.” The 24/192 transfer made its way back to Thrill Hill, where Toby Scott began to mix “as purely as possible, with no gadgetry” through his SSL console. “He built the mix in a way he knew Bruce would like a live show to sound, particularly from that era,” Serling adds. Scott sent the results to Jon Landau and to Bruce for them to listen and approve, and then on to Gateway for mastering. The process wrapped up the first week in February.

The show was recorded by a young Jimmy Iovine in the Record Plant’s remote truck, one of a few select dates (including CW Post College on Long Island and Seneca College in Toronto) captured at the request of Mike Appel for a possible live album. Rough mixes of the show were made back in early 1976 for consideration, but the live album plan was scrapped.

Nine tracks from those ’76 mixes surfaced to collectors a few years ago, and a rough two-track board tape has been around for decades from the collection of the Philadelphia DJ Ed Sciaky. But this all-new Toby Scott mix marks the first time the complete performance has been heard, and the quality is undoubtedly unprecedented.

In terms of setlist, Philadelphia 12/31/75 varies materially from the other high-quality document we have of the Born to Run tour, Hammersmith Odeon, London ’75, recorded just six weeks earlier on November 18. The set includes the show jump-starter “Night,” “Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?,” the stunning and short-lived slow piano arrangement of “Tenth Avenue Freeze-out,” plus extraordinary covers of The Animals’ “It’s My Life,” Manfred Mann’s “Pretty Flamingo” and Harold Dorman’s “Mountain of Love” (also made famous by Johnny Rivers) before closing out the night with “Twist and Shout.”

“It is amazing how young Bruce sounds,” notes Serling. “It’s the end of this monumental tour, at a pivotal point in his career, and it is thrilling to listen to.”  Thanks to Erik Flannagan


Bruce Springsteen is continuing his live Archive Series of CDs which began last year with the release of the Apollo Theater, New York City concert of March 12, 2012 and the Agora Theatre, Cleveland show of August 9, 1978 (from The Darkness on the Edge of Town tour). The newest release, for which pre-orders began Tuesday, takes fans back to the Tower Theatre, Philadelphia, on December 31, 1975 when Springsteen and the E Street Band held the stage for an electrifying night.

The last night of 1975 was also the last night of the Born to Run tour. As the press information for this new release indicates, “engineer Jimmy Iovine brought The Record Plant Remote truck out for the occasion. Front of house recordings of this show have circulated for years, along with partial tapes of stereo mixes from the multi-tracks. This marks the first time the entire show has been mixed for release.”
Toby Scott at Thrill Hill remixed the tracks just last month, and Adam Ayan at Gateway Mastering mastered them for this release. The nineteen-song rock and roll extravaganza includes seven of the eight songs from Born to Run (sorry, “Meeting Across the River” fans) as well as favorites from Springsteen’s first two albums (“It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City,” “4th of July Asbury Park (Sandy),” “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight”) and choice covers such as the epic reinvention of The Animals’ “It’s My Life,” “Mountain of Love,” “Pretty Flamingo,” the Detroit Medley, “Quarter to Three” and the show-closing “Twist and Shout.”

As with the other releases in Springsteen’s live series, Tower Theater Philadelphia 1975 is available in multiple formats: MP3, FLAC or Apple Lossless , HD-Audio FLAC-HD or ALAC-HD) and CD. CDs will not begin shipping until March 1, but those purchasing the CD have the usual option to pay extra to obtain MP3s now.

All three volumes of The Bruce Springsteen Archive Series – plus a number of recent concerts from 2014 – are available at Springsteen’s official live store for download and physical purchase.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Tower Theater Philadelphia 1975
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Spirit in the Night
Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?
It’s My Life
She’s the One
Born to Run
Pretty Flamingo
It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City
Mountain of Love
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
Detroit Medley
Quarter to Three
Thunder Road
Twist and Shout