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Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Bruce Springsteen 2018 in the Archives

On Sunday 16th December we will see the release on Netflix of 'Springsteen on Broadway' and two days prior to that on the 14th  will be the release date on Columbia Records of the Soundtrack to the highly successful 236 performance show that also won a Tony Award.

While Bruce has been wowing audiences down at the Walter Kerr Theatre those of us who have been unable to get tickets or be able to afford to fly to New York have been able to get our monthly "fix" of his music via the Archive Releases.

Bruce Springsteen has released a live show each month from the Archives via his website (where you can pick up a lot more shows including the whole tour from The River, High Hopes and much more) for the past few years now. It's been great to get shows for which many years we have had not so great quality bootlegs of and to hear them get mixed by Bob Clearmountain and presented freshly to our ears.

I have listed all the 2018 releases below and there's a link to 30 mins of highlights from each show under each cover.

Bruce Springsteen
Human Touch/Lucky Town Tour

Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJ
 24th June 1993 
Released 5th January

There is always divided opinion when it comes to the Human Touch/Lucky Town Tour because of course there was no E Street Band backing Springsteen!

Only The Professor Roy Bittan is present and some disrespectfully just call the band "The Other Band" as if they don't matter at all. I always feel that's quite harsh because all the guys and girls who made up the band were/are very talented musicians in their own right and the fact that Bruce respected them enough that he chose them to back him up should at least give us cause to show some respect back to them.

First show back in the U.S.A since returning from European leg of The Human Touch/Lucky Town Tour and it's a Concert To Fight Hunger to benefit World Hunger Year, The Food & Hunger Hotline and The Community Food Bank Of New Jersey. A night of many guests: Joe Ely plays guitar and sings on "I Ain't Got No Home", "Settle For Love" and "Blowin' Down This Road". Patti Scialfa plays guitar and sings on "Brilliant Disguise", "Human Touch", "Blowin' Down This Road", and "Having A Party". Steven Van Zandt plays guitar and sings on "Glory Days", "It's Been A Long Time", "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out", "Born To Run", "Having A Party", and "It's All Right". The Miami Horns guest on "It's Been A Long Time", "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out", "Having A Party", "Jersey Girl", and "It's All Right". Clarence Clemons plays saxophone on "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out", and "Born To Run". Southside Johnny sings on "It's Been A Long Time", "Having A Party", "It's All Right". Soozie Tyrell plays violin on "Blowin' Down This Road". Max Weinberg drums on "Jersey Girl". First ever Springsteen performances in the U.S. of "Satan's Jeweled Crown", "Settle For Love", and "Blowin' Down This Road".

I really like this one and probably say it's third on the list of favourite Archive Releases for 2018.

Bruce Springsteen
Devils and Dust Tour

Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI 
3rd August 2005
Released 2nd February

The 2005 Devils and Dust Tour were solo shows, without the collective safety net of the E Street Band, found Springsteen at his most spontaneous and fearless, not merely adding unusual songs to set lists, but often performing them in a one-of-a-kind manner. In fact, over the course of the tour’s 72 shows, Bruce assayed a whopping 139 different songs, 42 of which were played but once or twice. One could say the tour’s unspoken motto was: I do not play these songs often. I have not played them on this instrument. I may not play them this way again.

As a fan I was not always so taken with a lot of the reinterpretations of the familiar songs but I have to applaud the man for being brave enough to spend a whole tour doing just that whilst also performing songs from the Devils and Dust album. This was not my favourite release of the year from the Archives.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Born In The U.S.A. Tour

Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJ
20th August 1984
Released 2nd March

The final night of a ten night stand at Brendan Byrne Arena and a compliment to the previous Archive release, the opening night from the 5th August 1984 (one of the first batch of Archive shows to be released back in 2015).

Steven Van Zandt returns as do The Miami Horns and this particular show is regarded as one of the best of the BITUSA Tour. There's an absolute beauty of a cover as Bruce and Steve sing 'Drift Away'.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Magic Tour

TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, MA
19th November 2007
Released 6th April

Eight songs from the Magic album are featured in the set in Boston on the last show of 2007 and what would be the final full gig for long standing E Street member Danny Federici. It had been announced that The Phantom would not be staying with the band as they embarked on the European leg of The Magic Tour as he was staying behind to receive treatment for melanoma. The following March in Indianapolis Danny would make a final appearence with the E Street Band and sadly passed away 17th April 2008. Whilst Indianapolis was a goodbye to The Phantom, this Boston show is a celebration of the man, Danny Federici. Well worth hearing. 

This would be second on the list of my favourites from the Archive Releases in 2018.

Bruce Springsteen
Benefit Concert
St. Rose of Lima Gymnasium, Freehold, NJ
8th November 1996
Released 4th May 

A show in a gymnasium with the audience made up of residents who lived in Freehold, family and friends and of course Priests and Nuns who had served at the School down through the years. This was the school that Bruce attended as a youngster! Some homecoming!

The show is made up of songs that he had recently been performing as part of The Tom Joad Tour with a few additions, including a debut for a song called Freehold. A moment of hilarity was when Springsteen asks Can you sing about cunnilingus while standing inside your Catholic school? I talked to Father McCarron,” Bruce assures. “He said, ‘I’m not sure.’ “I took that as a yes….The Pope says, ‘I can’t, but you go right ahead

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Working On A Dream Tour

Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
9th November 2009
Released 1st June

Having released the whole of The River Tour 2016 it was a bit surprising that they released this one from the Archives but who's gonna argue with what essentially was the first performance of The River album in sequence at the Garden.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Darkness At The Edge of Town Tour (slight detour!)
The Roxy, West Hollywood, CA
7th July 1978
Released 6th July

On the day Springsteen was playing at the The Forum in Los Angeles (5th July 1978) at his first headlining arena show an annoucement was made that he would be playing for under 500 people on the Friday at The Roxy and tickets would go on sale on the Thursday at noon. Some who left The Forum headed straight to the line that was forming outside the club to hopefully try and grab a ticket. More than half the folks who did so would be disappointed because the estimates of over a 1,000 people were waiting overnight for the Box Office to open!

This show at The Roxy would be Springsteen's first club gig in awhile and the good news was that it was going to be broadcast on the Radio (the first of five shows on Darkness Tour to be beamed out across the airwaves). It kicks off with Rave On (my all-time favourite song) and there are debuts for future album tracks Point Blank and Independence Day.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
The River Tour 1981

Wembley Arena, London, England
5th June 1981
Released 3rd August

Six shows were played at Wembley Arena on the original River Tour and these were rescheduled dates after the Bruce took some time off due to exhaustion.This is the final night of the stand. Includes the debut of 'Jolรฉ Blon'.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Reunion Tour

United Center Chicago, IL
30th September 1999
Released 7th September

The Reunion Tour, the moment that every Springsteen fan worldwide had been longing for. This is the final night of three in Chicago and the last show of the first leg of the U.S. Tour. I love this one because it opens with one of my favourites 'Take 'Em As They Come'.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
The Rising Tour

Olympiastadion, Helsinki, Finland
16th June 2003
Released 4th October

One of the first shows from The Rising Tour to be released under the Archive banner and it's a wee beauty as well. A twenty five song setlist that draws a large number of songs from The Rising album as well as some songs from Born in the U.S.A., and some beautiful playing from the likes of Nils Lofgren and Soozie Tyrell.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Wrecking Ball Tour

First Direct Arena, Leeds, England
24th July 2013
Released 9th November

This surely has to be one of his best UK shows ever I reckon (You can watch a video of the whole performance here). Kicking off with a blistering version of Roulette there are so many highlights that follow: Local Hero with the E Street Horns adding weight to the song, ThundercrackSecret Garden, Bad Moon Rising and Gotta Get That Feeling (an outtake from the Darkness at the Edge of Town sessions).

Of all the releases from the Archives this one is my particular favourite of the year.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Born To Run Tour

The Roxy, West Hollywood, CA
18th October 1975
Released 7th December

Between 16th to the 19th October Bruce Springsteen and the E Street settled in for six shows over the course of that four days in Hollywood. I think these were his first ever headlining shows in Los Angeles.

What we have here is Night 3 and the early show. Playing to a crowd of folk who maybe had never seen him before it's amazing to hear how he draws them into the songs and leaves them shouting for more come the end. It's quality stuff and you can hear in this set alone just how he was able to go on to far great things and play much bigger places.

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