Woodstock Turns 50

It’s been half a century since 500,000 people made their way to Bethel, New York for the now-historic Woodstock Music Festival. The iconic festival didn’t come together overnight, in fact, it nearly didn’t happen at all. Finding a venue proved a difficult task for event organizers. Organizers didn’t land the famous dairy farm in Bethel until roughly a month before the first act would take the stage. Woodstock was billed as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music.” The Woodstock moniker wouldn’t come until later. Woodstock’s legacy lives on through just about every festival that takes place today.


Woodstock 1969 Lineup:

Day 1:

Richie Havens
Bert Sommer
Sweetwater
Melanie
Tim Hardin
Ravi Shanker
Arlo Guthrie
Joan Baez

Day 2:

Quill
Country Joe McDonald
John Sebastian
Keef Hartley Band
Santana
The Incredible Stringed Band
Canned Heat
Mountain
The Grateful Dead
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Janis Joplin
Sly and the Family Stone
The Who
Jefferson Airplane

Day 3

Country Joe and The Fish
Ten Years After
The Band
Johnny Winter
Blood Sweat and Tears
Crosby Stills Nash and Young
Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Sha Na Na
Jimi Hendrix


Listen to Woodstock

nugs.net subscribers can listen to these Woodstock performances on desktop, Sonos, and in the nugs.net app.

Jimmi Hendrix

Janis Joplin

The Snake That Came Around and Began To Eat Its Tail

Bruce Springsteen feat. Danny Federici and Nils Lofgren

Bridge School Benefit Concert

Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA, October 13, 1986

By Erik Flannigan

Less than a month before the release of his physically and sonically mega box set Live/1975-85, Bruce went completely the opposite direction, stripping down to play his first all-acoustic set since 1972 at what would become Neil Young’s annual Bridge School Benefit Concert.

During a guest DJ session on E Street Radio, Nils Lofgren recounted getting a call from Bruce to join him for the Bridge (Lofgren was also on the bill as a solo artist). Along with Danny Federici, the trio worked up and rehearsed the set in a New York City studio in early October 1986. But as Nils tells it, in an anecdote that conveys deep admiration for the confidence and prowess of his bandleader, on show day at Shoreline, Bruce called a major setlist audible. It wouldn’t be enough to merely play acoustic; Springsteen would go one step further and open the show a capella.

Here was the biggest rock star in the world, last seen 12 months earlier wrapping his staggeringly successful Born in the U.S.A. tour in front of 85,000 fans at the LA Coliseum, taking the stage and singing “You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)” accompanied only by his snapping fingers. Nils described Bruce’s audacious performance as Elvis-like in its physicality, and grainy bootleg video of the show confirms that. What an entrance.

The Bridge ’86 is a special show. The short but oh-so-sweet set reconnected Springsteen with acoustic performance and can be viewed in hindsight as helping spur a decade or more of solo appearances like the Christic concerts and acoustic recordings like The Ghost of Tom Joad that followed.

The line-up for the inaugural Bridge benefit included Bruce, Nils, Don Henley, Robin Williams (who briefly referenced his famous “Elmer Fudd does Bruce Springsteen” bit during his stand-up set that night), Tom Petty, and host Neil Young (who had his own special guests in Crosby, Stills & Nash). Not unlike the M.U.S.E./No Nukes shows, another benefit where some of these same artists shared a bill, “Broocing” throughout the concert made it clear who most of the audience had come to see.

Following “You Can Look,” Bruce delivers an astounding rebuttal to the jingoistic appropriation that surrounded the title track of his last album. “This is a song about the snake that came around and began to eat its tail,” Bruce says introducing his first public airing of the original solo acoustic arrangement of “Born in the U.S.A.” Any misconstruing of or ambiguity as to the song’s meaning is vanquished over the next five minutes in a spellbinding performance. Until the Bridge, one could only speculate as to what “Born in the U.S.A.” would have sounded like on Nebraska. Now we know.

Nils and Danny then take the stage, and we get an exquisitely rare outing for this E Street Trio. What magic they weave. “Seeds” arrives as a companion to “Born in the U.S.A.” Angry and defiant in 1985, the 1986 model of “Seeds” is instead weary and knowing, sounding like a tune from a bygone era. “Darlington County” is next, preceded by a mini-edition of the story that introduced “Open All Night” in 1984 of Bruce getting pulled over on the turnpike. Nils provides charming harmony vocals throughout the show, none better than what he offers here, as “Darlington” takes its time driving down from New York City.

Strumming and singing brightly, Lofgren shines again on “Mansion on the Hill,” as does Federici. Danny first vamps a little “Lady of Spain,” as Bruce gets his guitar ready, then adds rich accordion swells that paint the song an emotionally tinged hue.

“Fire” will be familiar to those who own Video Anthology on VHS or DVD, where the Bridge version was showcased. Before it starts, Danny is again tapped to fill time due to minor technical difficulties, and he drops a dose of Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll.” Uncannily, Federici used the song in much the same manner in the earliest E Street days circa 1973-74. Though “Fire” is rightly remembered as a Clarence Clemons showcase, the acoustic version, carried by Bruce’s deep vocal, is pure delight, peaking when Lofgren and Springsteen raise their voices way up to sing, “your words they liiiiiie.”

“Dancing in the Dark” rides a particularly passionate lead vocal along with some fine accordion work from Federici in the final third that pushes the Shoreline audience towards rapture. “Glory Days” always had a bit of a campfire singalong vibe underneath it, and that comes through in this charming take that has the swooning audience joining in.

Serving as something of an encore, “Follow That Dream” lends poignancy to the evening as Springsteen dedicates the song to Neil and Pegi Young. In its River tour incarnation (as heard on the London ’81 archive release) “Follow That Dream” is stark and solemn. In 1986, it transforms into an uplifting song of hope, performed less as a mediation and more as an instruction.

For the final song of the set, “Hungry Heart,” the trio is expanded with backing vocals and guitar from special guests David Crosby, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, and Young, putting a spirited ending on just under an hour of acoustic enchantment. 

Bridge School ’86 is a significant moment in the rebirth Springsteen as an acoustic artist. Since that show, Bruce has done two fully acoustic tours and a Broadway run that carried on in the spirit of ’86. Perhaps someday, Bridge School ’86 could still inspire an E Street Trio tour as well.

2019 Red Rocks Collection

Red Rocks Amphitheatre is hands down one of our favorite venues in the US. The natural beauty that accompanies the sweet sounds of live music makes for a breathtaking experience. There’s a reason why it’s a must-visit location for nearly all of our nugs.net artists. Below you’ll find a collection of every Red Rocks performance we have from this year… so far.

The String Cheese Incident


Leftover Salmon


Widespread Panic


Umphrey’s McGee


Spafford


Dispatch


moe.


The Infamous Stringdusters


The Disco Biscuits


Papadosio


Twiddle


Lotus


Looking for video? We’ve got tons of videos from Red Rocks on our YouTube channel!

TAUKing Beatles is Here

Ahead of their upcoming tour, TAUK just released their much sought-after TAUKing Beatles set from Resonance Festival 2018. The performance was unlike any Beatles cover set you’ve seen before. It’s a magical show filled with fun jams and a fantastic song selection. We talked to the band about the show, check out the interview before queueing up the show on nugs.net

What was the most challenging part of performing an all Beatles setlist?

Anything TAUK does we want it to be unique and special to who we are as a band. The Beatles’ catalog has such a wide variety of styles and musical approaches it was a little tricky to find songs that we could meld into our own TAUK sound because there’s so much to choose from. Also, the Beatles are well known for their lyrics which presents a challenge as an instrumental band. We decided on songs with strong recognizable melodies so the crowd could sing-a-long and be an active part of the set. However, we found less popular songs like, “Taxman” which allowed us to improvise and keep the audience guessing.

These jams go deep, the listener can immediately tell how vast the improvisation goes on this set. How did you balance maintaining Tauk’s sound with Beatles songs?

That’s easy. We just do what we do and make sure we listen to the songs and each other.

What three words can you use to describe this set?

Epically-Gnar-Awesomesauce

Which band member does the best British accent?

Charlie does the best Ringo. Please find him and ask him to do it!

The Peach 2019 Recap

Peach Fest 2019 was easily one of our favorite weekends of the summer. The festival was filled with fantastic performances. Don’t worry if you couldn’t tune in for every minute of the show, we’ve got you covered with a full list of on-demand shows from this weekend. Subscribe to nugs.net to take performances from Peach Fest 2019 and over 15,000 live shows with you wherever you go.

Thursday


Aqueous

Billy Strings

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong (Set 1)

The String Cheese Incident

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong (Set 2)

Friday


Larkin Poe

The Infamous Stringdusters

Blues Traveler

moe.

The String Cheese Incident (Set 1)

The String Cheese Incident (Set 2)

Saturday


Star Kitchen

Lettuce

Greensky Bluegrass

Trey Anastasio Band

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead

Sunday

Yonder Mountain String Band

Inaugural Peach Guitar Pull

The Marcus King Band

Warren Haynes & Grace Potter


More Audio From The Peach

Dopapod

BIG Something

The String Cheese Incident at Red Rocks 2019 Recap

Night One


The String Cheese Incident kicked off their 2019 Red Rocks run in style with the help of Cory Wong. After his opening performance, Wong and several members of his band joined SCI for “Freedom Jazz Dance” during the first set. Following set break, Cheese returned to the stage with Cory Wong and co. Together they performed a rousing take on “I Wish,” which you can watch below.

Cory Wong: Full Performance

Set I Opener: Little Hands

Set II Opener: I Wish

Night Two:


The second night at Red Rocks was filled with tributes, anniversaries, and Keller Williams. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their collaborative album “Breath,” Keller and Cheese played the album front to back. The special set was an absolute delight. During the third set, a horns section known as Horns Bruceby joined during “Jellyfish” and stayed for the remainder of the set. Later, the band paid tribute to the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 by playing space-themed jams including tracks from Close Encounters, Star Wars, Star Trek, and more.

Set I Opener: Stupid Questions

Set II Opener: Love Is All Around

Set III Opener: All We Got

Night Three


Sunday opened with a special set featuring bluegrass legend Del McCoury, celebrating his 80th birthday. After Cheese took the stage, the band took time to bring Del up and sang “Happy Birthday” with the packed crowd. After the celebration, Del and members of his band stayed on stage for several tunes. The second set opener featured a specially choreographed dance from Denver’s own Celtic Steps, River Dancers that accompanied “Rivertrance.”

Set I Opener: Chatter

Set II Opener: Rivertrance (with Denver’s own Celtic Steps, River Dancing)


Purchase Audio From All Three Nights

100+ New Shows From Dopapod Are Now on nugs.net

You’re in for a treat this week if you loved the first collection of Dopapod shows that we added to the nugs.net catalog earlier this year. Over 100 new shows are now available to purchase or stream with a subscription. Listening to a Dopapod show is unlike anything else and with over 100 shows, there’s plenty to choose from. We talked to Dopapod Keyboardist Eli Winderman to find out about a couple of the band’s favorite shows from the new collection.

2/23/2013- Blockley Pourhouse, Philadelphia PA

“Ah, the good old Blockley Pourhouse.  We loved playing this now-defunct Philly music venue.  I think it’s where we had some of our best shows leading up to this time.  I grew up outside of Philly so we always had a bit of a connection to the city.  This particular show was added last minute after playing two nights in a row.  In between the last song and the encore they asked if we wanted to announce a surprise 3rd night and we agreed.  What transpired was basically a one-song set.”

4/27/2013- Higher Ground Ballroom- Burlington VT

“I listened back to a lot of our shows while preparing for the bands return and this show really stuck out to me.  It was the last show of a very grueling and never-ending tour and in my opinion, I think this may be the most “dialed in” we’ve sounded.  But that is all up to everyone’s own opinion of course.   Coincidentally, it was the same date as our recent Capitol Theatre return show.”

9/22/2016- Resonance Pink Floyd Set, Thornville OH

“This was actually the first set back after Fro’s hiatus from the band from 2013-2016.  We had a blast putting together a Pink Floyd set and we really tried to make it unique.  I’m proud of the different arrangement ideas we came up with for these classic songs.  We even brought in an Arp Omni string synth to replicate the sounds on “Welcome to the Machine”.”

4/9/2017- The Warehouse @ FTC, Fairfield CT

“This show was really fun for a few reasons.  I believe it was a Sunday show and we had Adrian Tramontano from Kung Fu/The Breakfast join us on percussion (which is always a treat).  We did some fun variations on songs including a reggae version of “Nerds”.  Then at the end of the set we switched instruments for a long and fun improv jam.  I’m pretty sure Mike Gantzer from Aqueous joined at one point, although my memory is a bit fuzzy and I could have just completely imagined that.”

7/14/2017- Rochester Public Market, Rochester NY

“This is the infamous rain set.  We got completely rained on.  Like monumentally drenched and just kept playing.  There was no cover over the stage and as the rain started we just said F*** it and kept going.  It will always be one of my favorite memories of this band’s journey.”


Check out our full Dopapod catalog

Festival Highlights

We’re celebrating festival season by looking back at some of our favorite festival performances including Dead & Company at LOCKN’, Red Hot Chili Peppers at Lollapalooza Paris, Pearl Jam at Voodoo Fest, Widespread Panic at Bonnaroo, and more from your favorite artists.


Dead & Company: LOCKN’ 2018

It’s always a treat to catch Dead & Company on the road, but this festival appearance was extra special. The Show opens with an incredible “Playin’ in the Band” that is later reprised with a tease during “Loser.” The band returned from set-break with a new addition, Branford Marsalis on Saxophone. Marsalis stuck around for the entire second set adding some wonderfully smooth flair to the set.


The Allman Brothers: Peach Festival ’14

One of The Allman Brothers Band’s final shows, this one is filled with stellar covers and guests. The show opens with a great cover of The Spencer Davis Group’s “Don’t Want You No More.” After “Midnight Rider” the band covered “Done Somebody Wrong” by Elmore James. Later, Taj Mahal joined for a cover of “Statesboro Blues” by Blind Willie McTell immediately followed by Ron Holloway joining for “Soulshine.” After that number, the band played Willie Cobbs “You don’t Love Me.” The final cover of the night was “Good Morning, School Girl” with guests Gábor Presser & Chris Karlic. After the Sonny Boy Williamson’s cover, Peter Levin joined the band for “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’” and “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” 


Widespread Panic: Jazz Fest ’08

The opening “Walk on the Flood” form this Jazz Fest 2008 show is a great gem for Panic fans. Phish fans will love this Panic show featuring Page McConnell on “Love Tractor” and “Fixin’ to Die.” Wild Magnolias also join for a rousing take on “Drums” > ”Big Chief.”


Billy Strings: Blue Ox Music Festival ’19

This Billy Strings show is filled with some mesmerizing covers. The first cover of the show is a great take on “Southern Flavor,” by Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys which was immediately followed by the Jerry Garcia & David Grisman song “Dreadful Wind and Rain.” Cory Walker joined for a lengthy cover of The String Cheese Incident’s “Black Clouds.” Next, the band covered “10 Degrees & Getting Colder” by Gordon Lightfoot before closing out the show with “Turmoil & Tinfoil.”


Greensky Bluegrass: Camp Greensky ’19

Greensky Bluegrass’ Camp Greensky returned to Wellston, Michigan last month for its second year. The band was in peak performance all weekend as the headlined each night of the three-day festival. To commemorate the festival’s second year, Greensky debuted a duo of “two” themed covers. The first was Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston’s “It Takes Two” and was followed by Eddie Money’s iconic “Two Tickets To Paradise.” 





New Releases 7/10/19

Dead & Company

Summer’s over for Dead & Company. The band wrapped up their 2019 Summer Tour last weekend in Boulder Colorado. Both nights were incredible. The first night in Boulder was a battle against the elements as the first set was quickly cut short by a rain delay. After roughly an hour, the band returned to the stage and played the full show with no interruption. It was breathtaking. After a full summer of shows, the band continues to surprise with incredible versions of the songs we love. As the tour came to a close, each member of the band got a chance to shine with some fantastic solos spaced throughout both shows.

Dead & Company’s Summer Tour is over, but the magic doesn’t need to stop. We’ve got audio from every night of the tour. The discounted box set includes every jam, every debut, every solo, and so much more. With 19 full shows, you’ll have plenty of content to keep you jamming until Dead & Co.’s next scheduled stop: Playin’ in the Sand 2020 at Rivera Cancun in Mexico.


The String Cheese Incident

Coming off their incredible Electric Forest performances, we were excited to see what The String Cheese Incident had planned for their next shows in the south. The incidents in Louisville and Atlanta were fantastic follow ups. Their Independence Day show in Louisville was filled with a pair of patriotic covers including James Brown’s “Living In America” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The U.S.A.”

Ronda Thomas joined the band for three songs during the bands second night in Atlanta. The vocalist first joined midway into the first set for “Valerie.” Thomas returned during the second set for a tribute to Col. Bruce Hampton with a cover of “Yield Not to Temptation.” To close out the night, The String Cheese Incident invited Thomas back on stage for a performance of “I Wish” as the lone encore.


Metallica

The end of one era and the beginning of another, the newest archival release from Metallica reaches all the way back to January 1st, 2000. Being the band’s first show of the new millennium, this release is a must-listen for longtime fans. Highlights from this show include “Whiskey in the Jar,” “Mastertarium,” and the closing “Phantom Lord.”


Umphrey’s McGee

Umphrey’s McGee’s summer dates are in full swing now as the band tours all over the country. UM kicked off their July shows with performances on the west coast. Playing at High Sierra this weekend, the band welcomed Skerik to close out their set. The saxophonist joined for a thrilling cover of David Bowie’s “Lets Dance.” The band later returned for a festival encore that included “The Triple Wide,” “Hajimemashite,” and “1348.”

More New Releases:


Gov’t Mule – The Fillmore, Charlotte, NC


Railroad Earth – Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park, NJ


John Fogerty – DNB Arena, Stavengar, NOR


Leftover Salmon – Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO


Pigeons Playing Ping Pong – High Sierra Music Festival, Quincy, CA

My Brand New Record, Rosie, Made It All The Way To Number One

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY, December 29 and 31, 1980

By Erik Flannigan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dead and Company Recap June 24 – July 2

Photo: Katie Friesema

Dead & Company has been all over the country this week. The band’s been truckin’ along to Bristow, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Dallas since June 26th. The highlight of the Bristow show came at the halfway point when the band closed out the first set with a killer version of “Throwing Stones.” John Mayer’s solo on the song is incredible. Two night’s later Charlotte got one of our favorite setlist arrangements of the tour featuring “Truckin’,” “Cassidy,” and a fantastic “Estimated Prophet” that led into “Eyes of the World” The next night saw the band heading down to Georgia for a night in Atlanta. The show featured a breathtakingly beautiful version of “Standing on the Moon.” Last night Dead & Company headed deep into the heart of Dallas, Texas. A couple of Texas-themed songs made their way into the setlist with “El Paso” and “Deep Elem Blues,” a reference to the famous Dallas neighborhood. The highlight of the night came near the end of the first set with a show-stealing version of “Sugaree” that is already becoming a fan-favorite.

Listen to every show from Dead & Company’s summer tour on nugs.net


Check out video from our recent webcasts

Bristow 6/26: Shakedown Street

Bristow 6/26: Here Comes Sunshine

Charlotte 6/28: Truckin’

Charlotte 6/28: Deal

Atlanta 6/29: Scarlet Begonias

Atlanta 6/29: The Other One

Dallas 7/2: Bertha

Dallas 7/2: Shakedown Street

Watch more Dead & Company videos on our YouTube channel

Watch Video From Widespread Panic at Red Rocks

Widespread Panic just wrapped their 2019 three-night run at Red Rocks. Selling out the iconic venue has become an annual affair for Panic at this point. Each night was filled with fantastic bust outs, rarities, and fan favorites. If you missed out on the sold-out shows, we’ve got exclusive video from our webcasts:

Listen to full show audio from each night:


Night One: Puppy Sleeps

Night One: Down On The Farm

Night Two: Ain’t Life Grand

Night Two: Climb To Safety

Night Three: Pilgrims

Night Three:
No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature

Dead and Company Recap June 7 – 23

We’re deep into Dead & Company’s summer tour and so far it’s been a treat to experience. Since The Hollywood Bowl we’ve seen some incredible setlist variations, a handful of new debuts, and the return of “Spanish Jam”! After playing in the heart of Los Angeles, the band ventured off the grid for two nights at one of America’s most scenic venues: The Gorge Amphitheatre. The first night featured a touching tribute to Jerry Garcia and the recently passed Dr. John. Night one at The Gorge also included the Dead & Company debut of “It Must Have Been Roses.”

Following a weekend stop in Noblesville, Indiana, Dead & Co. headed to Chicago for two nights at the legendary Wrigley Field. It was a rainy weekend in the windy city, but a little precipitation couldn’t keep the band down. The energy at Wrigley was incredible and it bled into the performance. Wrigley night one featured the fantastic debut of “To Lay Me Down.” The next night featured the welcomed return of “Spanish Jam,” entering the setlist for the first time since 2017. Three days later, Dead & Co. once again dipped into their archives, this time playing “In The Midnight Hour” at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. This was the first time the band had played the Wilson Pickett cover in three years.

Since playing Saratoga, Dead & Company has been all over the Northeast. Last week, the band played Camden, New Jersey; Foxborough, Massachusetts; and New York, New York. Last night’s show at Citi Field in New York featured the return of another Grateful Dead classic, but it wasn’t a song. The special guest on this show was Wolf, the famous Guitar owned and used by Jerry Garcia dating back to 1973. John Mayer played last night’s show with Wolf and the performance was breathtaking. Dead & Company will be back on stage Wednesday, June 25th in Bristow, Virginia.

Listen to every show from Dead & Company’s summer tour on nugs.net


Check out video from our recent webcasts

The Gorge 6/7: Feel Like A Stranger

The Gorge 6/7: Here Comes Sunshine

Wrigley Field 6/14: The Other One > Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo

Wrigley Field 6/14: China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider

Wrigley Field 6/15: Terrapin Station

Wrigley Field 6/15: Spanish Jam > Scarlet Begonias

Citi Field 6/24: St. Stephen

Citi Field 6/24: Lady With A Fan > Terrapin Station

Watch more Dead & Company videos on our YouTube channel

Tipitina’s Free Fridays Collection

Tipitina’s has been a staple in the New Orleans’ music scene since 1977. The iconic venue hosts New Orleans’ finest and funkiest musicians. Every Friday this summer Tipitina’s hosts free performances featuring incredible local talent and the party goes all night long. Tune in to nugs.tv every Friday to watch Tipitina’s Free Fridays live and discover your new favorite band! Below you can check out previous Free Friday’s performances, with more added each week.

5/24/19 Brassaholics & Erica Falls

5/31/19 Billy Iuso & Restless Natives + The Quickening

6/7/19 Johnny Sketch & The Dirty Notes, Aaron Benjamin, & Spencer Whatever

6/14/19 Stooges Brass Band & Brass Lightning

6/21/19 Dave Jordan & the NIA plus Motel Radio

The nugs.net Live Stash is Now a Weekly Podcast

The nugs.net Live Stash is moving from the satellite to the cloud. Previously airing on Sirius XM’s Jam On channel as the Weekly Live Stash, the new nugs.net Live Stash is now available to more people than ever. The podcast, hosted by Brad Serling, will be home to the best live recordings from the last week and an occasional trip into the archives. The first episode is available now featuring music from Dead & Company, Phish, Metallica, and tons more. Keep an eye out for new episodes of the nugs.net Live Stash each week!

That’s When My Love Comes Tumbling Down

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ, September 22, 2012

By Erik Flannigan

Part of what draws us to Springsteen concerts is the range of emotions they deliver over the course of a single evening. Songs of hardship and heartbreak intermix with those of liberation, love, and celebration. But on occasion, the mood leans strongly in one direction. Playing the third of three stadium shows on the eve of his 63rd birthday, and following a 120-minute weather delay, Bruce was of a mind to surprise and delight his hometown fans and set the energy dial to HIGH.

When attempting to describe the E Street Band in peak tour form, as we find them here, it can be difficult to resist cliches. East Rutherford 2012 evokes “well-oiled machine,” the attributes of which are fitting: smooth, powerful, polished, built to last. Jon Altschiller’s vibrant mix spotlights their outstanding playing and grabs the listener right out of the gate, an apt choice of words, as if there were a track announcer at MetLife she would surely be shouting, “They’re off and running.”

East Rutherford 2012 opens with ten straight, dare I say, bangers, ignoring any “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” advice in an effort to rouse fans who had been waiting patiently for hours.

The proceedings commence with the open invitation of “Out in the Street,” and the band-fan partnership is further reinforced via “The Ties That Bind” before a horns-accented “Cynthia” makes clear Stevie had a hand in this appetizing 34-song setlist. Bruce calls the Born in the U.S.A. outtake a Van Zandt favorite and a little bit of “E Street from the Underground Garage,” in reference to his pal’s Sirius XM radio show and channel. Lots of rockers + lots of rarities = Stevie’s unmistakable influence.

Turns out we’re just getting started. From there, “Badlands” into a fine “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” followed by guitar-crunching versions of “Cover Me” and “Downbound Train,” and the new-album three-pack: “We Take Care of Our Own,” “Wrecking Ball,” and “Death to My Hometown.” With that, the ten-track onslaught relents, and we catch our breath during a moving “My City of Ruins.”

The pace of the show picks back up with “It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City,” still packing plenty of heat and preceded by an abridged version of Bruce’s Columbia Records audition story. A double shot with guest Gary U.S. Bonds (in fine voice) is another special treat, and the spirit of ‘81 is in full effect for a duet on “Jolé Blon” and a Bonds lead vocal on “This Little Girl.” The latter, a Springsteen-penned solo hit for Bonds, is performed for surprisingly only the fourth time ever with the E Street Band, which played on the original sessions.

After a Seeger Sessions-inspired “Pay Me My Money Down” come more rarities. As other live download releases have shown, “Janey, Don’t You Lose Heart” is a surprisingly tricky song to nail; this is a good one, riding an excellent Springsteen vocal. After “Janey,” Bruce realizes the clock has struck midnight, which means it is now officially his birthday. He asks the crowd for his song, and a stadium full of fans sings “Happy Birthday” back to him. Then, reaching all the way back to 12/31/80 without a soundcheck safety net, Springsteen summons up Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour,” and damn if they don’t nail it. Sure, any self-respected horn section would know those parts by heart, but one can still marvel that an audible unplayed for more than 30 years can come off so strong.

The spiritual highlight of the night is the first and only Wrecking Ball tour performance of “Into the Fire” from The Rising. With MetLife mere miles from Ground Zero, the vividly detailed lyrics resonate deeply, and the richly layered arrangement, led by Springsteen’s tender, heartfelt vocals, reminds us this is one of his modern classics.

The third reel of this epic New Jersey tale continues apace, with “Because the Night” and “She’s the One” doing heavy lifting, “Working on the Highway” keeping things loose, and “Shackled and Drawn” making sure we’re grounded, too. The denouement arrives in the precious pairing of “Meeting Across the River” and “Jungleland” for the first time on the tour. With the stage bathed in indigo light, Curt Ramm’s bold trumpet refrain and Roy Bittan’s understated piano intertwine achingly, and Bruce’s vocal is on point: rich, measured, and world-weary. The passion surges to crescendo in the ensuing “Jungleland,” and like a dramatic stage revival, the Jersey street opera remains arresting.

“Thunder Road” provides release, “Rocky Ground” solemnity, and then party mode takes over. The rest of a lively encore romps through “Born to Run,” “Glory Days, “Seven Nights to Rock,” and “Dancing in the Dark” before we get to our final memorable moment.

“The boss of bosses has just come on stage,” Bruce says by way of introducing his mother Adele. Along with his in-laws the Scialfas and other family friends, she has come out to deliver a cake and sing a proper “Happy Birthday.” The birthday party ends the only way it could, with “Twist and Shout.”

“Thanks for a memorable birthday,” Bruce tells the crowd as he walks off stage. “My mother is for rent for $2.50 an hour for parties and Bar Mitzvahs.” A pretty good joke for two in the morning, and a funny, fitting end to one of the most electrifying shows on the Wrecking Ball tour.

Dead & Company Tour Recap: Shoreline & Hollywood Bowl

Dead & Company Summer Tour 2019 is here and what a week it’s been! We’ve gotten powerful performances of our favorite songs, a debut of the Grateful Dead’s “High Time”, and so many more special moments from week one. As always we captured every moment in our live webcasts. Before you tune in tomorrow for Dead & Company live at The Gorge, watch some of our favorite moments from the last week’s California shows below:

Order Upcoming Dead & Company Webcasts

Catch every moment from this summer’s tour including the first four shows when your purchase the Unlimited Devotion Pass on nugs.tv! Select the 19 Show package when ordering the webcast and you’ll get access to every Dead & Co. show of the summer.


Shoreline Amphitheatre:

Playin’ In The Band

Scarlett Begonia’s > Fire On The Mountain

Bertha > Good Lovin’

China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider


Hollywood Bowl

Cold Rain And Snow

Iko, Iko

Estimated Prophet

Countdown to Dead & Company Summer Tour 2019: 7 Days

We’re just 7 days away from the Dead & Company Summer Tour kickoff. The tour starts next Friday at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. To celebrate the start of tour we’re looking back at Dead & Company’s last outing. This January, the band journeyed to Mexico for their Playing in the Sand three day musical experience. These shows took place at the beachfront paradise of Riviera Maya and the experience can only be described as magical. Take a look at our videos from Playing in the Sand 2019 below:

Day 1


Shakedown Street

China Cat Sunflower

Day 2


Deal

Day 3


Sugar Magnolia

Scarlett Begonias

Check out last week’s Dead & Company blog feature for more highlights and videos!

Wilco Joins the nugs.net Family

Wilco’s collection of high-quality live recordings is now available on nugs.net. Dubbed the Roadcases, these shows are the best way to experience Wilco’s live performances anytime, anywhere. Subscribers can stream 65+ live Wilco performances recorded over the last 7 years right in the nugs.net app. Each show is professionally mastered so fans new and old will feel like they’re grooving in the front row. Check out highlights from the Wilco Roadcases below:


Roadcase 001: Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO 6/23/2012

Roadcase 023: Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater, Austin, TX – 10/11/2013

Roadcase 045: The Riviera Theatre, Chicago, IL – 12/12/2014

Roadcase 047: Solid Sound Festival, North Adams, MA – 6/26/2015

Roadcase 071: Theatre at Ace Hotel, Los Angeles, CA – 10/08/2018


Check Out Our Full Catalog of Wilco Shows

Umphrey’s McGee Release Anchor Drops Redux

It’s been 15 years since Umphrey’s McGee released their best selling album Anchor Drops. The 2004 album has long been a fan favorite and songs from the 14 track record have become an integral part of the band’s live repertoire nearly every time Umphrey’s McGee takes the stage. To celebrate the album’s 15th anniversary, the band just released Anchor Drops Redux. The new release includes both a remastered version of the original record and a completely remixed version from the original master tapes.

You can download Anchor Drops Redux today on nugs.net or stream it directly in the nugs.net app.

In celebration of the album’s release, Umphrey’s McGee is producing a weekly track by track deep dive into the history of Anchor Drops on YouTube. You can watch the first episode, covering “Plunger,” below:

You can also listen to over 350 live recordings of “Plunger” on nugs.net including this particularly awesome version from Umphrey’s McGee’s 2007 stop in Truckee, California.

Countdown to Dead & Company Summer Tour 2019: 14 Days

We’re just 14 days away from the Dead & Company Summer Tour kickoff. To prepare for the tour, we’re looking back at the best moments from last year’s run. This show comes from the Dead & Co. two night stop at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin. During the first set, the band welcomed their first guest of the tour, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. The Wisconsin native sat in for the back half of the second set which included “Black Muddy River,” “Friend of the Devil,” and “Bird Song.” Vernon previously recorded a studio version of “Black Muddy River” with his old band DeYarmond Edison and Bruce Hornsby for The National’s 2016 “Day of the Dead” charity compilation.

The first set kicked off with “The Music Never Stopped” which was followed by “Easy Answers” and “Alabama Getaway.” Listen to the full set I opener below:

The band returned for their second set with their version of The Band classic “The Weight.” The entire second set was filled with highlight performances from an extended “Shakedown Street” to a superb version of Bob Dylan’s “Along Along the Watchtower.” Watch the set II opener below:

Check out last week’s Dead & Company blog feature for more highlights and videos!

Countdown to Dead & Company Summer Tour 2019: 21 Days

We’re just 21 days away from the Dead & Company Summer Tour kickoff. To prepare for the tour, we’re looking back at the best moments from last year’s run. Today we’re revisiting the Dead & Co. stop at The Gorge on June 29th, 2018. With sweeping views of the Columbia river, this show had a breathtaking backdrop to accompany an evening full of beautiful jams.

The first set got off to a great start with “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo,” which led into powerful versions of “Bertha” and “Tennessee Jed.” The next song was the Dead & Co. debut of “Mr. Charlie.” The early ’70s tune highlighted Jeff Chimenti on keyboard and John Mayer’s vocals and guitar. You can watch the entire “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo” below:

The second set opened with a joyously extended version of “Playin in the Band,” that was later reprised to close out the set. This version was another great example of Dead & Co. wading the classic song into the exploratory. Check out our full video of the “Playin in the Band” set opener below:

Check out last week’s Dead & Company blog feature for more highlights and videos!

NINETY-NINE AND A HALF WON’T DO

Bruce Springsteen

Meadowlands Arena, E. Rutherford, NJ, July 25, 1992

By Erik Flannigan

The 11-night stand at the Meadowlands Arena to kick off the 1992 U.S. tour was a bold statement of intent. It’s surely intentional that it was one show more than the famed ten-show run at the same venue in 1984, the difference being that this time Bruce was coming home with new friends, not familiar ones. Touring for the first time without the E Street Band and playing in front of what are arguably his most diehard fans is a daunting proposition. But with opening night jitters out of the way, the second show on July 25, 1992 offers a hungry, highly entertaining performance that plays to the new lineup’s gospel-meets-roots-rock strengths.

Right from the top, Bruce is wholly committed and in stellar voice, his rich timbre leading the strong show-opening trio of “Better Days,” “Local Hero” (complete with local landmark namechecks to show his Garden State cred remained intact), and “Lucky Town.”

As I wrote in the notes for the 1993 release at the same venue, Bruce’s new musical collaborators “wouldn’t have looked out of place on stage with [Bob] Dylan circa 1978-81,” and that particular Dylan-era frame of reference applies to the music, too, as the approach to both new and old material was to make it more soulful while still rock ’n’ roll. The playing of the core band (Shane Fontayne on guitar, Tommy Sims on bass, and Zack Alford on drums) with a full European tour already under their belts is punchy and tight, while the background singers add gospel gravitas to the proceedings–an appealing combination.

Even on familiar material, these off-E Street versions don’t sound quite as “different” 27 years on, in a good way. The opening set features a first-rate “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” an eloquent reading of “The River” with a long, heart-heavy harmonica outro, and an inspired tour debut for “Open All Night.”

Aimed squarely at this turnpike audience, “Open All Night” starts solo and builds to full band in a manner that may suggest what the unreleased “Electric Nebraska” version sounded like ten years prior. Better still, in the middle of the song, Bruce tells an updated version of the yarn he spun on the Born in the U.S.A. tour, noting the closure of his beloved Howard Johnson’s and a reunion with the waitress at Bob’s Big Boy who reminds him her restaurant is still “open all night.” Good fun.

The first set wraps with four key tracks from the new albums, wrapped around a deeply personal “My Hometown,” introduced with an earnest story about parenting and dedicated from one relatively new dad to all the “moms and pops.” A dynamic performance of “Living Proof” again shows the song to be Bruce’s most powerful from the era. “Leap of Faith” is endearing and infectious thanks in large part to the singers, while the Sam and Dave-style vocal duet with Bobby King on “Man’s Job” raises it from catchy ditty to heartfelt homage. A feature-length “Roll of the Dice” wraps a spirited and undeniably entertaining first act.

After the break, the rarely performed “All or Nothin’ at All” proves a fine set opener and gets the energy of the show right back on track. It’s the one song from Human Touch that sounds like it could be a Born in the U.S.A. outtake, a spiritual cousin to the likes of “I’m Goin’ Down.” The crowd enjoys it too, singing along in full voice when tasked to do so. Having been played in concert fewer than a dozen times, its inclusion here is a welcome opportunity for fresh appreciation.

What follows is another rarity and one of the highlights of the tour, “Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won’t Do),” inexplicably performed only this night (and at a private tour warm-up in June, suggesting it may have been considered for a regular feature in the set at that point). The gospel tune has been covered by everyone from Wilson Pickett to Creedence Clearwater Revival, but Springsteen’s version casts him as a humorous preacher questioning the commitment of men in relationships, while King, Carolyn Dennis, Angel Rogers and the rest of the background vocalists sing like they’re wearing choir robes. The result is amusing, cleverly arranged, and another lost gem rediscovered by the download series.

On the whole, the 7/25/92 performance has aged well, but there are a couple of exceptions. “Real Man” is another rarity, performed on 7/25 for the very last time in concert. Bruce himself admits, “This next song I almost threw off the album because I thought it was too corny, but what can say? It’s how I feel.” Corny we accept, especially from a man in love. More difficult to ignore is the synthesizer that could not sound more dated, though in the end, “Real Man” is interesting if only for the sheer novelty factor of it in the overall canon.

Three recent classics return us to regularly scheduled programming: a spot-on “Cover Me” with fine fretwork from Fontayne, and two Patti Scialfa features, “Brilliant Disguise” and “Tougher Than the Rest,” the latter derailed slightly by those pesky period synths, though Bruce sings all three superbly.

The show’s denouement comes with the pairing of “Souls of the Departed” into “Born in the U.S.A.” “Souls” begins in desert darkness, with news reports of bombs over Baghdad riding desolate guitar strains a la U2’s “Bullet the Blue Sky.” It is a sharp-edged, commanding performance that moves through flourishes of “The Star-Spangled Banner” a la Hendrix into “Born in the U.S.A.” to slam home the point Bruce made so clearly on last month’s release: “War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.”

The show wraps with a run of crowd pleasers–”Light of Day,” “Glory Days,” “Working on the Highway,” “Bobby Jean,” “Hungry Heart”–and the tour’s gorgeous, stripped-down “Thunder Road,” before “Born to Run” and Bruce’s best-ever coda,“My Beautiful Reward,” send us out on a high, hopeful note.

Because of the new band, 1992-93 always carries an asterisk in Bruce’s live history, like a strike-shortened baseball season. But as was the case in the major leagues, they still played the games and the games still counted, especially to Springsteen himself. One can feel his commitment in this performance, joyfully trying to win over the Jersey crowd and largely succeeding.

Countdown to Dead & Company Summer Tour 2019: 28 Days

We’re just 28 days away from the Dead & Company Summer Tour kickoff. To prepare for the tour, we’re looking back at the best moments from last year’s run. June 15th’s performance at New York’s Citi Field, home of the Mets, was one of the most popular stops of the 2018 tour. The entire show was filled with unique jams.

The show opens with a nearly 14 minute version of “Shakedown Street.” The extended jam showcases some of John Mayer’s stellar guitar work. You can watch to the entire opening performance of “Shakedown Street” right now on our YouTube channel:

This show really heats up in the second half. The second set got off to a jazzy start that led into John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” as the opening tune. Following the opener, Mayer got another chance to flex his guitar expertise on an extended guitar solo on “The Other One.” The set continued it’s journey into the exploratory with an extended performance of “Estimated Prophet.” You can watch all three jams below:

Check out last week’s Dead & Company blog feature for more highlights and videos!

Watch Free Webcasts From New Orleans During Jazz Fest Weekend Two on nugs.tv

It’s that magical time of the year where the musical community comes together in Louisiana to perform and collaborate at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Weekend one was filled with amazing performances and collaborations; now it’s time for more. Starting Wednesday May 1st you can watch live shows from venues all over New Orleans exclusively on nugs.tv!

It all kicks off on Wednesday at 9:30 PM CT with Foundation of Funk live at The Fillmore. Starting at 9:45 PM CT we’ll be webcasting Billy Strings with special guest Cedric Burnside at Tipitina’s. Whether you’re in the mood for funk or bluegrass, you’re in luck Wednesday.

Expect plenty of very special guests on Thursday when Ivan Neville takes the stage at Le Petit Theatre. This show will be a journey through his musical history in words, songs, sounds, and stories told through the performance. Galactic are back home at Tipitina’s on Saturday night and if last weekend’s performance told us anything it’s that you’re not going to want to miss this show. The rest of our slate is filled with funk. Dumpstaphunk will be joined by the stellar blues guitarist Marcus King on Sunday night.

Shop Our Jazz Fest Sale!

We’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jazz Fest with a 50% off sale on select New Orleans shows from artists like Widespread Panic, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, Dead & Company, and more. Visit the Jazz Fest collection to see all 50 shows on sale!

Check out our full webcast schedule:

Countdown to Dead & Company Summer Tour 2019: 35 Days

We’re just 35 days away from the Dead & Company Summer Tour kickoff! To prepare for the tour, we’re looking back at the best moments from last year’s run! Last July Dead & Co. played two spectacular nights at Folsom Field in Boulder, CO to close out the tour. These shows were a perfect cap on a great summer of music, especially the final night. The performance was magical, the crowd was fantastic, and the setlist was packed full of awesome jams.

The band opened the show with a hypnotizing version of “China Cat Sunflower.” The performance is a must watch. The crowd was having the time of their life while Dead & Co. was in peak jam mode. Watch the full set one opener:

Dead & Company returned for their final set of the 2018 Summer Tour with an absolutely mesmerizing “Scarlet Begonias” set opener that led into “Franklin’s Tower” and a breathtaking “Fire On The Mountain”. At the end of the night the band came back for two encores performing “Uncle John’s Band” and “Ripple” to the close out the tour. Watch the full set two opener:

Be sure to check out last week’s Dead and Co. blog feature for even more highlights and videos!

Throwback Thursday: Red Hot Chili Peppers in Egypt

It’s hard to believe it’s been a month since we hosted the first ever concert webcast from the Egyptian Pyramids with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This show was a massive undertaking start to finish and the end result was spectacular. Over 3.6 million people tuned in to watch the Chili Peppers make history in front of last wonder of the ancient world. Beyond the massive production and historic setting, the best part of the show was simply how much fun it was. Start to finish, the energy was incredible. You could immediately tell this was a special show, one that would live on forever. The beauty of a webcast is that fans all over the world got to enjoy this legendary show in all its glory from the comfort of their couch. It didn’t matter where you were sitting, we were all at the Pyramids. One thing is for sure, we’ll be asking people “Where were you when the Chili Peppers played the Pyramids?” for a long time.

To take a look back, here are a couple of our favorite photos from the trip:

Creating a stage design worthy of standing with the Pyramids is a tall order, but they delivered that and more

It takes some big-time satellite power to beam a show to 3.6 million screens

It all comes together for the big show

Bonus picture of the show’s setlist

Check out over 270 live Red Hot Chili Peppers shows on nugs.net!

Watch Free Webcasts From New Orleans During Jazz Fest Weekend One on nugs.tv

It’s that magical time of the year where the musical community comes together in Louisiana to perform and collaborate at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. This year Jazz Fest is celebrating its 50th anniversary and we’re expecting an incredible two weeks of live music. You can watch live shows from Tipitina’s, The Fillmore, and Mardi Gras Word!

It wouldn’t be Jazz Fest without some all-star collaborations, and this year is no exception. The fun starts tonight when Anders Osborne hosts an album release show with help from Dave Malone from the Radiators and Amy Helm!

On Friday, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe will be joined by NOLA stars Naughty Professor. We’ll also have an electrifying webcast with TAUK starting at 10:45 PM CT. The late show Friday will be a special treat with a Jazz Fest exclusive performance from The M&M’s! The supergroup is comprised of legends John Medeski, Stanton Moore, Papa Mali, and Robert Mercurio. When these four get together you know you’re in for something special.

On Friday and Saturday we’ll be hosting very special webcasts with Joe Russo’s Almost Dead. The net proceeds from these webcasts will go to Second Harvest Food Band feeding South Louisiana! Enjoy some fantastic jams and support a great cause.

Saturday night, tune in to see Roosevelt Collier join Galactic at Tipitina’s. As the new owners of Tipitina’s, you can bet Galactic have a fantastic show in mind. After Galactic, stay tuned for an awesome late night performance from The Disco Biscuits!

Sunday is all about The Subdudes. They’ll be joined by Andrew Duhon at Tipitina’s Sunday night. There’s no better way to end a weekend than unwinding on the couch and watching a Sunday night concert.

Shop Our Jazz Fest Sale!

We’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jazz Fest with a 50% off sale on select New Orleans shows from artists like Widespread Panic, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, Dead & Company, and more. Visit the Jazz Fest collection to see all 50 shows on sale!

Check out our full Weekend One schedule:

SweetWater 420 Fest Recap

This weekend the musical world came together for the 15th annual SweetWater 420 Fest in Atlanta, Georgia and it was one to remember. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were jam-packed with amazing performances from some of our favorite artists like Widespread Panic, Billy Strings, The Avett Brothers, Turkuaz, and more! April 20th may have come and gone, but these shows will live on for a long time.

Friday

Billy Strings Mesmerizes the Crowd

The festival kicked off Friday with a full day of incredible performances, including this show from Billy Strings. The psychedelic infused bluegrass that defines Billy Strings was the perfect match for the 420 Fest atmosphere. Featured in the set is a dreamy cover of The Grateful Dead’s “China Doll” and a nice “Playin’ in the Band” tease after “And Your Bird Can Sing.”

You can listen to the full show on nugs.net or watch our webcast below:

Saturday

BIG Something Brings BIG Thrills

BIG Something was a crowd favorite this weekend. They hit the stage Saturday afternoon and took the audience on a musical journey. To cap off the show, they brought down the house with a fantastic cover Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf.” Start to finish, this is a 420 Fest must-listen.

You can listen to the full show on nugs.net or watch our webcast below:

Sunday

(Photo: Dave Vann)

Jason Isbell joins Widespread Panic to Cover ZZ Top

Panic fans were in for a special treat Sunday evening when Jason Isbell sat in for a mesmerizing Easter Sunday cover of “Jesus Just Left Chicago.” Sunday’s performance hits its climax with an incredible “Bowlegged Woman,” followed by “Night” and a three song encore.

You can listen to the full show on nugs.net or watch our webcast below:


Check Out More 420 Fest Webcasts on Our YouTube Channel!

Countdown to Dead & Company Summer Tour 2019: 42 Days

We’re just 42 days away from the Dead & Company Summer Tour kickoff! 42 is of course famous for being baseball legend Jackie Robinson’s jersey number. It’s only fitting then that we revisit Dead & Company’s 2018 stop at LA’s Dodger Stadium, the team Robinson called home.

The band opened the show with “Playin’ in the Band”, a first-time opener for the summer tour. The unique take on the Grateful Dead classic slowly unfolded over 11 captivating minutes. Check out this cut from our webcast of “Playin’ in the Band” in its entirety below:

Dead & Company returned for their second set at a packed Dodger Stadium with a fantastic “Sugar Magnolia.” Check out our video of the jam below:

Watch SweetWater 420 Fest Live on nugs.tv

The 15th annual SweetWater 420 Fest kicks off tomorrow in Atlanta, Georgia! Expect three jam-packed days filled with mesmerizing performances from Widespread Panic, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Keller Williams, Big Something, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, and more!

Can’t make it to Atlanta? No problem, you can watch the free live stream from the festival on nugs.tv. The first show starts @ 1 PM PT. Full schedule below.

420 Sale – 42 Shows for $4.20 Each

We’re celebrating 420 with a huge sale on select MP3 downloads from Dead & Company, Umphrey’s McGee, Greensky Bluegrass, plus Widespread Panic, Billy Strings, Keller Williams, and other artists performing at this weekend’s SweetWater 420 Fest. All shows are only $4.20. Sale starts Friday and ends Sunday at 11:59 PM PT. SHOP THE SALE >

20 Classic Dave Matthews Band Shows Now Available

20 epic shows from Dave Matthews Band’s ‘Live Trax’ series are now available to download and stream. These historic live show compilations were named after the Trax Nightclub where the band found their sound and got their groove, playing over a hundred shows in their early touring years. DMB has been releasing the coveted Live Trax series since 2004. Now we’re making them available to stream for the first time ever! You can hop onto the nugs.net app and listen to classic Dave Matthews Band shows spanning over the course of fifteen years. From a small New York City nightclub in 1993 to the St. Louis Cardinals’ Busch Stadium in 2008, this collection has everything. Be on the lookout for even more DMB Live Trax releases on nugs.net soon!

Highlights

DMB Live Trax Vol. 2: Golden Gate Park – 9/12/2004

The show took place in the Polo Fields of Golden Gate Park and was a benefit concert for Bay Area Charities. From the moment the band hit the stage, the concert immediately became one of the highlights of Dave Matthews Band’s career. Carlos Santana sits in as a special guest for several songs, including the recently written Sugar Will. The 3 disc set also features two additional previously unreleased songs, Joyride and Hello Again.

DMB Live Trax Vol. 6: Fenway Park – 7/7 & 7/8 2006

Memories of the Dave Matthews Band shows in Fenway Park are certain to burn bright for a long while in the minds of the fortunate fans that were in attendence. Dave Matthews Band was on the top of its game in the historic ballpark performing back-to-back nights of shows exploding with energy. Additional highlights of the 7.7 Fenway Park show include the Bartender jam and the high-energy Ants Marching closer. An awesome Don’t Drink the Water, old favorite Dancing Nancies and the crowd-pleasing show ender, Two Step are some of the favorites from the 7.8 Fenway Park show.

DMB Live Trax Vol. 18: GTE Virginia Beach Amphitheater – 6/4/1996

This concert was DMB’s first show in the States after their European tour. Dave notes how the band is still taking in “this thing that’s been going on with us”, referring to the success achieved with the release of Crash. Highlights of the 96 show include Too Much, followed by never-before-released in the Live Trax series, “Deed Is Done” into So Much To Say. Carter’s intro to #36 is also noteworthy. The VA Beach home state show has long been a summer tradition.

DMB Live Trax Vol. 19: Vivo Rio – 9/30/2008

Dave Matthews Band performed at Vivo Rio in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on September 30, 2008 in front of many South American fans seeing the band live for the first time. The audience in Brazil was ecstatic which comes through in the recording and DMB really plays up to their exuberance. Highlights include Carlos Malta on the wood fife in Say Goodbye, his influence bringing a distinct flavor and Brazilian sound. Burning Down the House followed by an arresting Two Step are also noteworthy as is an emotional The Stone. The synergy between the band members is evident throughout the show. Other songs of the note on the Rio release are the show-opener, Bartender as well as Grey Street which makes its first official live release performed by the new formation of band members.

Countdown to Dead & Company Summer Tour 2019: 50 Days

We’re just 50 days away from the Dead & Company Summer Tour kickoff! To celebrate we’ll be sharing some of our favorite moments from last year’s tour. The band opened their 2018 summer tour on the east coast, including a two-night stop in Camden, New Jersey. They opened the show with “Jack Straw”, “Cold Rain and Snow”, and “Deep Elem Blues”. Later in the set the band played a 10-minute “Cassidy” followed by a reprise of “Jack Straw” to close out the first set. You can watch the entire “Jack Straw” set opening performance below:

The band launched into their second set with a cover of The Crickets’ “Not Fade Away” followed by an impressive extended jam on “Dark Star” totaling over 20 minutes. The jam-filled night in Camden continued with “Black Muddy River,” “Drums,” and “Space” all appearing in the second set. You can watch the set opening “Not Fade Away” performance below:

New Releases This Week

The Disco Biscuits

April 9th 1999

We’ve got another 20th anniversary Disco Biscuits release this week. Back in 1999, The Disco Biscuits brought down the house at The Trocadero in their hometown of Philadelphia. The extended jams on “Above the Waves” and “M.E.M.P.H.I.S” will blow you away. The performance was so legendary that the band did an exact recreation of the first three songs of the ‘99 show when they returned to The Trocadero in 2014.


TAUK

Real TAUK Vol. 2

The first leg of TAUK’s Let It Ride tour was a high-energy romp packed with sold-out shows. As excitement builds for the second part of the tour, the band has hand-picked seven of their favorite tracks from the first leg to release for free. These stellar jams come from TAUK’s shows in Ardmore, Baltimore, Boston, and Newport News.


Umphrey’s McGee

March 29th & 30th 2019 – Nashville, TN + VIP Exclusive Set

We’ve got a special release for Umphrey’s McGee fans. In addition to both nights’ audio, we’ve also added their intimate 6 song VIP-only set from before the show on 3/30. The 3/31 show also includes a rare bustout of Led Zeppelin’s “Ten Years Gone” that they haven’t played live in over 15 years.


Widespread Panic

March 29th, 30th, & 31st 2019 – Durham, NC

Returning to Durham for the first time in 25 years, Widespread Panic played three rarity packed shows. On night three (March 31st) they dusted off “Bayou Lena” for the first time in nearly 350 shows. This show is full of classic jams and memorable covers, including their version of the Rolling Stones classic “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”


Twiddle

March 29th 2019 – Rutland, VT

Playing their second sold-out night at The Paramount Theatre in Rutland, Twiddle brought down the house in their home state of Vermont. From “Lost in the Cold” to “JamFlowMan” there’s a lot of hits in this show. To close out the evening, Rick Reddington sat in on guitar and vocals for a cover of The Grateful Dead’s “Eyes of the World.”

TELL YOUR MAMA

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA, September 27, 1985

By Erik Flannigan

Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, 1985 represents the apex of Bruce Springsteen’s mass popularity. No concerts performed before or since represent the same level of mainstream cultural impact inherent in the final four performances that wrapped the mammoth Born in the U.S.A. tour.

According to the LA Times, on September 27, opening night of the sold-out stand, Bruce and the band played to 83,000 people. That means over the course of four sold-out shows, more than 330,000 people clicked the turnstiles at the site of two Olympic Games, to see not world-class athletes but the world’s greatest live performer. Staggering.

Springsteen long factored for the person in the very last row at his concerts, but now that fan was 100-150 yards from the stage. Scaling up production elements at stadiums to deliver a comparable level of band-to-fan connection was crucial, and that affected everything from the sound of Max’s drums and the quality and size of the stage-side video screens to the clothing the band wore on stage, which was brightly colored to help boost the visibility and discernibility of individual members from far away.

Los Angeles 1985 starts as it must with a dazzling “Born in the U.S.A.” Jon Altschiller’s zoomed-in mix (with a notably livelier audience levels) dials in a difficult-to-achieve balance of synthesizer and guitar. The deepest notes of the former provide a sternum-compressing whoosh that anyone who saw a BIUSA stadium show will remember; the latter more forward and clearer than we often hear on 1985 recordings. As Bruce sings, “long gone daddy in the U.S.A.,” we get some real chugga chugga licks, followed later by an extended solo that’s up there with the great ones that append the song on the 1988 Tunnel of Love tour. As for Max Weinberg, he absolutely crushes one of the best live versions of “Born in the U.S.A.” ever released.

At this point of the 1984-85 tour, the E Street Band was a machine in the best sense of that word, operating under both Bruce’s and the individual players’ master control. The transition from “U.S.A.” to “Badlands” is lush with Danny Federici organ swirls, and we can hear every band member in sharp detail right down to Clarence Clemons’ percussion.

LA 1985 is rife with distinct moments worth highlighting: Bruce singing out, “debts that no honest man could pay” with particular passion on “Atlantic City,” and matching that energy again for the last line of “Downbound Train”; the happiness in his voice ahead of “Glory Days” as he talks about turning 36 four days prior; Patti Scialfa’s soaring high notes that raise “Trapped” to full crescendo; Clarence’s under-appreciated solo on the same song releasing the pent-up tension that makes the arrangement so mesmerizing; the heightened peaks of the extended “Cover Me” that finally relent to the breakneck release of “Dancing in the Dark” (the exclusion of which from Live/1975-85 still puzzles); Roy’s best Jerry Lee Lewis impression splashing all over a rip-roaring and rarely played “Stand On It.”

But the E Street MVP this night is Nils Lofgren. LA 1985 is an opportunity for reappreciation of how much of the load he carried on the tour and the many spots when he shined. His intro to “Seeds” oozes dirtier than you might recall, and the hypnotic prelude to “I’m on Fire” alters the tone of the song significantly.

As Nils plays, Springsteen’s spoken introduction to “I’m on Fire” (omitted on Live/1975-85) subtly shifts the song’s narrative, too. He speaks of the struggles endured by his father and mother, and of his fear that, if he didn’t get out, whatever sense of hope and happiness was figuratively dying inside his dad would be his fate as well. Lying awake in bed, thinking dark thoughts like one of the characters he wrote about on Nebraska, the narrator confesses he understands how one could snap. It makes the “Hey little girl is your daddy home” that follows more of a disturbing dream.

What’s commendable given the circumstances and stakes surrounding LA 1985 is that Bruce is still taking risks and using his status to make a statement. The night marks the daring debut of Edwin Starr’s righteous anthem “War,” written by Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield. With lyrics taped to his forearm, Springsteen tears into the anti-war cry, in a version appealingly raw compared to the finished track that would later become the first single released from Live/1975-85. For a man whose messages and political views had been co-opted and misinterpreted of late, “War” allows zero ambiguity, no more so than when Bruce implores, “Tell your mama!” Nils adds another compelling guitar intro here, as Bruce sounds his solemn warning that “blind faith in anything…will get you killed.”

The bulk of LA 1985 is made up of what might be called a refined stadium setlist, optimized for maximum impact in venues of this scale. Over the last 34 years, so-called stadium friendly material suggested something that couldn’t compare to the greatest theater and arena performances that preceded it. Yet listening today, one marvels at how skillfully the band is playing in front of 83,000, not merely showing themselves up to the task of reaching that distant back row but retaining the tightness, power, and nuance that made them the best live act in the world. In other words, don’t sleep on ‘85.

Stadium staples aside, let’s not overlook the second of the night’s world premieres. “Alright, let’s try it” serves as the rallying cry to the live debut of “Janey, Don’t You Lose Heart,” the charming Born in the U.S.A. outtake and “I’m Goin’ Down” b-side that is a kindred spirit to another equally enchanting leftover, “Be True.” Both share a certain mid-tempo melodic romanticism that marks a lot of the songs Bruce often left on the cutting room floor. It’s a winning version that curiously omits The Big Man’s recorded sax solo in favor of piano solo by The Professor. Listen for Bruce hooting encouragement and howling with glee as Roy takes the spotlight. He clearly likes Janey.

The show wraps fittingly with a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Travelin’ Band,” resplendent with Clarence’s baritone sax, Roy’s piano fills, and nearly a dozen tour-stop namechecks. It’s the perfect selection for the end of the line, recalling the mystery train that left the station at a St. Paul arena 15 months earlier and wound up conquering the world by the time it came to a halt in LA, playing to an audience more than five times the size.

Bob Weir and Wolf Bros Tour Recap

Last weekend Bob Weir and Wolf Bros wrapped their second tour together. The legendary Grateful Dead guitarist has been touring with Don Was and Jay Lane since this past fall. For those that have never seen or listened to a Bob Weir and Wolf Bros show, they play a mixture of Grateful Dead classics, Bob Weir solo material, and some awesome covers. These shows are a fantastic listen for Grateful Dead fans new and old. Every show from the tour is now available for download or streaming with a nugs.net subscription. Below we’ve got a recap of some of the best tour highlights:

February 28th: Ithaca, NY – The State Theatre

The trio kicked off their tour in Ithaca, New York by dusting off a pair of rarities. This was the first night Bobby had played “Bombs Away” and “The Winners” in nearly 5 years. The rest of the show was filled with Grateful Dead hits like “Peggy-O”, “Let It Grow”, and “Scarlet Begonias”. There were also a pair of great Bob Dylan covers toward the end of the show with “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”.

March 5th: Detroit, MI – The Fillmore

The next week the band played a special show in Don Was’ hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Playing at The Fillmore on March 5th, the trio were joined by another Detroit native- saxophonist David McMurray. He sat in on five songs throughout the night including “Bird Song”, “Eyes of the World”, and a cover of The Temptations’ “Shakey Ground”.

March 8th: Philadelphia, PA – The Metropolitan Opera House

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead guitarist and vocalist, Tom Hamilton, joined the band in Philly for a rousing Friday night. Hamilton joined the band for 4 songs including a reprise of “Man Smart, Woman Smarter”. The King Radio song made its way into the setlist twice on International Women’s Day. The band opened their second set with the tune and then later brought it back for the reprise with Tom Hamilton toward the end of the show. Our webcast of the set-opening cover is available to watch on YouTube.

March 11th: New York, NY – Blue Note Jazz Club

Arguably the most special night of the tour was the surprise one-night show at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York. The trio announced the show only a day in advance with tickets being distributed via a lottery system. The intimate venue only holds 200 people, notably smaller than the large theaters the band typically plays. To ensure the maximum amount of people got to watch the show, the band rotated audiences between sets. To help out eager fans who weren’t lucky enough to score one of the 400 lotteried tickets, we offered free webcasts of both sets on nugs.tv, YouTube, and Facebook. The setting wasn’t the only unique part of the show- longtime RatDog Saxophonist Kenny Brooks joined the trio for four songs throughout the night. It was a fitting jazz flare for a show at a historic jazz club. You can watch our webcast of the full show right now:

March 13: Red Bank, NJ – Count Basie Theatre

Following the last-minute show in New York, Bob Weir and Wolf Bros made it to New Jersey- and they weren’t done bringing out surprise guests. Sasha Dobson, of Puss N Boots fame, joined the band for the final two songs of the night. Together they performed “Easy Answers” and covered Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”. “Knockin” was the second Dylan cover of the show, earlier in the second set the trio performed their version of “All Along the Watchtower”.

March 26th: Miami Beach, FL –  The Fillmore

Phish fans are in for a pleasant surprise when listening to the second set of the band’s stop at the Fillmore in Miami. Page McConnell sat in with the band at the opening of their second set. The quartet performed two Grateful Dead tunes: “Hell in a Bucket” and “Scarlet Begonias”. To close out the show, Bob Weir and Wolf Bros played a “U.S. Blues” encore.

March 30th: North Charleston, SC – North Charleston Performing Arts Center

This band closed out the tour this past weekend in South Carolina with a pair of new debuts. First, the trio played their take on Bob Dylan’s 1965 track “Desolation Row”. At the end of the night, the band played the Grateful Dead hit “Black Muddy River” for the first time as the show’s sole encore. The only Bob Weir solo piece in Saturday night’s show was “Lay My Lily Down”. To close out the first set, the band played the Jerry Garcia classic “Deal”. This was the perfect setlist to close out the run.

NEW RELEASES THIS WEEK

Jerry Garcia Band ‘Electric on the Eel’

Three shows, three years, one special venue- this massive new release is now available to stream and download on nugs.net. The Jerry Garcia Band made three stops at French’s Camp on the Eel River between 1987 and 1991- each of these electric sets is filled with classic Jerry Garcia jams and longtime collaborators. Joined by band members Melvin Seals, John Kahn, David Kemper, Gloria Jones, and Jacklyn LaBranch- these shows will be music to the ears of Grateful Dead fans new and old.

The release is separated into three shows: August 1987, June 1989, and August 1991 which is being hailed as the “jewel of the collection”. Each set includes signature renditions of classics, standards, originals, and some surprises all performed with the soul, passion, and playfulness the band had become known for.

The Electric on the Eel collection and over 150 shows from the Grateful Dead are available right now on nugs.net.

Widespread Panic

Night Three at the Capitol Theatre

For the first time in nearly three decades, Widespread Panic returned to the Capitol Theatre- and they came back with a bang. The setlist from this show is filled with classic jams that are sure to excite longtime fans. Add all three shows from the three night run to your cart and receive a 15% discount!

The Disco Biscuits

March 27th 1999 – Pittsburgh, PA

20 years ago this week, The Disco Biscuits closed out their Winter/Spring 1999 tour with a legendary east coast performance. You’ve got to check out the extended jam on The Dribble. Be on the lookout for more archival releases from The Disco Biscuits soon!

Spafford

March 24th 2019 – San Rafael, CA

Both sets are now available to stream online and in the nugs.net app. During the performance, the band paid tribute to the Grateful Dead’s “The Other One” while playing at the Phil Lesh owned Terrapin Crossroads.

Red Hot Chili Peppers Live At The Pyramids

Coming off of their Australia / New Zealand run, The Red Hot Chili Peppers will be playing live at the Giza Pyramids in Egypt this Friday. For those of us unable to make it to The Pyramids this weekend, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have a special treat planned. This Friday’s show will stream for free on nugs.tv!

This will be the first time a concert is webcast live from The Pyramids and the band couldn’t be more excited. The Pepper’s founding member and bassist, Flea, expressed his excitement in a recent Instagram post.

“I remember the first time the red hots played outside of la in 1983, I was beyond thrilled. We drove up to San Francisco and performed at I-Beam club. Man, we were international touring superstars I couldn’t believe it and it meant everything me to show those people in Northern California what we were about, to pour my heart out, for us to give every fiber of our beings in the process of bringing our music to life….. Then when we first went to Europe and my mind was blown, all the different cultures, connecting with people who didn’t speak English! And then Russia, and Asia and on and on around the world. Before each new place my body tingled with excitement, a yearning for a new mystery to unfold, a fascination with a new culture, the possibility of new friends, tasting new food, smelling new tastes, absorbing new rhythms. Learning. Learning. Learning. It is happening again right now, my heart is abuzz with joy at the prospect of performing in Egypt. I’m so grateful and humbled for the impending experience.”

To celebrate this historic show we are releasing nine new live shows from the band’s recent Australia / New Zealand tour for purchase today at nugs.net. These shows are packed with high energy and some awesome surprises including the first live inclusion of the 2003 single “Fortune Faded” in nearly 12 years. While in Australia, the band also paid tribute to Aussie legends, the Divinyls.

SONGS OF HOPE AND ETERNAL DAMNATION

Bruce Springsteen
Sovereign Bank Arena, Trenton, NJ, November 22, 2005

By Erik Flannigan

If one were to assign a single attribute to every tour across Bruce Springsteen’s career, audacious would be an apt one for the 2005 Devils & Dust tour.

Over the course of 72 shows, Bruce took the stage alone, surrounded by a phalanx of guitars and keyboards, fearlessly revisiting and reinterpreting every corner of his catalog down to the deepest nook and cranny. Be a song rarely or never played, or often played but never like this, night after night the Devils & Dust tour offered fascinating alternate readings of music we thought we knew inside-out.

Bruce’s new album of the same name, his third solo record, was the jumping off point, full of character-driven stories that fit squarely into what he declares in Trenton are the two types of songs he knows how to write: songs of hope and songs of eternal damnation.

Springsteen had an equally strong body of work in hand for his previous solo tour in support of The Ghost of Tom Joad, but in 1995-97, performing exclusively on guitar and harmonica, he was selective in what complementary tracks were added to the set. In fact, Bruce debuted a number of new original songs in the spirit of Joad over the course of that tour (some, admittedly, more lighthearted than the album, but still akin), while deep cuts were more selective.

The addition of piano and keyboards in 2005 unlocked dozens of other songs for inclusion and opened up tour setlists to remarkable levels. Bruce’s approach suggested the new D&D material connected to everything that came before. In hindsight, there’s a sense of Springsteen on a mission to look back at his songwriting accomplishments and take many of them back out for a ride to see what they would reveal, an early hint perhaps of his budding autobiographical mindset. Without a doubt, the self-effacing candor and humor with which Springsteen addressed audiences on the tour are precursors to the voice he would come to refine for Springsteen on Broadway.

Trenton 2005, the final show of the tour, captures all these aspects of the Devils & Dust journey wonderfully, with a setlist full of bold surprises and striking moments. It begins with Link Wray’s “Rumble,” a tribute to the electric guitar pioneer who helped shape the sound of rock ’n’ roll. On this night, however, acoustic guitar is the stringed instrument of choice, and we get several exceptional performances.

The Rising’s “Empty Sky” gets a strong solo airing, played with thumping purpose and pace. “Saint in the City” is transformed by a radical slide guitar re-arrangement and bullet mic vocals. The song remains one man’s boastful declaration, and there’s still plenty of heat and humidity in the air, but the locale has moved from Shore towns to somewhere along the Mississippi Delta. The result couldn’t feel more different. Bruce is clearly enamored with the approach and walks “Fire” down the same bluesy backporch path, with the bullet microphone giving the song a fitting AM-radio filter.

Reimagination is a touchstone all evening, and the next subject is “All the Way Home.” The solo acoustic rendition on the 2005 tour recalls demos for The River, sharing the spirit of Bruce’s 1979 compositions and the Power Station band version that could have been. Material from Devils & Dust holds its own in such company, with well-honed versions of the title track, “Long Time Comin’,” “Matamoros Banks,” and a beautifully sung “Leah.” He even pulls out a ukulele for a sing-along rendition of “Growin’ Up” towards the end of the set.

Springsteen’s keyboard playing, always carrying with it a seductive hint of performance anxiety, is one of the most memorable aspects of the 2005 tour. His willingness to take the risk again and again on songs he hadn’t played in decades is why Audacious is such an appropriate descriptor.

After a lovely and lilting electric piano version of “All That Heaven Will Allow” (the same instrument on which he so memorably performed “Tunnel of Love” on the previously released Grand Rapids 2005 show), Bruce acknowledges his tentative playing, telling the Trenton faithful that their applause at end of his piano solos was “anxiety clapping” that “he made it through.”

In truth, the passion in Springsteen’s piano and organ playing is much more important than the precision. Limited as he might feel it is, his keyboard expression creates intimate moments between the performer and audience heightened by that touch of uncertainty.

Trenton offers a treasure trove of piano, organ, and keyboard gems. Bruce resurrects “My Beautiful Reward” from Lucky Town with fitting majesty on pump organ and plays “Backstreets” with touching reverence, in one of but three solo piano performances on the tour. “Drive All Night,” revived for the first time in 24 years just a few shows prior, captures the conviction of an artist rediscovering the magic of a forgotten work. “Jesus Was an Only Son” gets an insightful preamble that is right out of the pages of Born to RunAnd who could imagine the three-ring circus that is “Thundercrack” could be tamed into such an entertaining solo-piano rendition and still carry the song’s evocative spirit.

For veteran setlist trainspotters, Trenton has a couple of bombshells. One of Springsteen’s most beloved early outtakes, “Zero and Blind Terry,” had not been performed since 1974 and never as a solo piano piece. It’s one of those romantic fairy tales that could have easily slipped onto Wild & Innocent, a Jersey fable that mythologizes young lovers trying to escape to a better life beyond Route 9. All the more fitting for a show in Trenton, but the idea that the song would be played at all, three decades after it wasn’t released, affirms the Devils & Dust tour mantra: I do not play these songs often. I have not played them on this instrument. I may not play them this way again.

The other shocker debuted the night before but is no less special. After hearing it himself on E Street Radio and thinking, “Hey, that one was pretty good,” Springsteen reignited “Song for Orphans,” not heard since 1973. Collectors know it from a demo recording that predates Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J., the album for which it was initially considered, though there is evidence to suggest Bruce considered the song for possible release all the way through Born to RunHere, joined by his otherwise off-stage keyboard accompanist Alan Fitzgerald on piano, Springsteen manages to blend the spirit of ’72 with ’05, rendering “Song for Orphans” and his most recent Devils & Dust material kindred works.

After some fun had with members of the extended Springsteen family on “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” and the Joad-tour arrangement of “The Promised Land,” Trenton comes to its pump organ epilogue. The meditative “Dream Baby Dream” provided the coda to most shows on the Devils & Dust tour and has no analogue in Springsteen performance history, as it builds wave upon wave of organ, synthesizer, and repeated vocal lines imploring us to “keep on dreaming” and “open up our hearts.” That it wouldn’t sound out of place over the end credits to a David Lynch film speaks to its peculiar and relentless brilliance.

Trenton 2005 is both the final show and the perfect summation of the Devils & Dust tour, when Springsteen chose night after night to go “cartwheelin’ up on that tightrope.”