The Grateful Dead are bringing their live concert experience back to cinemas worldwide for the 2022 Meet-Up At The Movies.
In addition to today’s archive release of Madison Square Garden 1981,tickets are now on salefor this this year’s Grateful Dead Meet-Up At The Movies! Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the legendary Europe ’72 tour, this year’s Meet-Up brings to the big screen the previously unreleased Tivoli Concert Hall performance from 4/17/72.
The sixth show on the Grateful Dead’s famous Europe ’72 tour was a return engagement to the Tivoli Concert Hall in Copenhagen, Denmark, on April 17, 1972. This ground-breaking concert broadcast event was the Dead’s first major live concert broadcast, and a first in Danish television history. Now, fully restored and color corrected in High Definition with audio mixed from the 16-track analog master tapes by Jeffrey Norman and mastered by David Glasser, Tivoli 4/17/72 features nearly an hour and a half of the Grateful Dead at a peak of their performing career. The show’s many highlights include an overview of the Dead’s 1972 touring repertoire, including magnificent versions of “China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider”, “Big Railroad Blues”, “Truckin’”, and many more of the Dead’s classics, as well as the first live performance of “He’s Gone”, and other new songs including “Ramble on Rose”, “Jack Straw”, and “One More Saturday Night”. Pigpen, on what would prove to be his last tour with the Grateful Dead, is well-represented by three songs, including the broadcast’s opening number, “Hurts Me Too”.
The 2022 Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies is set to hit big screens worldwide on Tues., Nov. 1, with additional screenings across the U.S., Canada, and select territories on Sat., Nov. 5. Tickets can be purchased here.
A fourth wave of Bruce Springsteen concert recordings arrives on nugs.net this September. Belmar is the latest monthly drop adding Springsteen’s Live Archive catalog to the streaming platform.
Belmar is anchored by five shows from the biggest tour of them all, Born in the U.S.A., including three 1984 arena performances in E. Rutherford, NJ and 1985 stadium gigs at Giants Stadium and the Coliseum in Los Angeles. Together they represent some of the most popular performances of Springsteen’s career, and feature not only songs from the chart-topping album, but powerful band performances of Nebraska material as well, including “Atlantic City,” “Highway Patrolman” and “Open All Night.”
The 1984 New Jersey concerts were part of a ten-night stand at Brendan Byrne Arena, the finale to which was the legendary August 20 performance featuring a surprise cameo from Stevie Van Zandt, who had left the E Street Band at that point to pursue his solo career. He returns to share the microphone with Springsteen on an extraordinarily moving cover of Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away.”
Bruce wouldn’t tour again until 1988, but in 1986 he did make a special appearance at Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit Concert where he was joined by Nils Lofgren and Danny Federici. This unique set is also part of the Belmar drop and highlighted by the first ever acoustic performance of “Born in the U.S.A.”
To those six shows Belmar adds the complete North American leg of the 2016 River tour. These 38 concerts featured full-album performances of Springsteen’s 1980 double album The River, plus plenty more in the rest of the set, including choice River outtakes “Meet Me In The City,” “Be True,” “Loose Ends” and “Roulette” The passing of three music icons during the 2016 tour led to an equal number of stirring tribute performances. Opening night in Pittsburgh on January 16 it was “Rebel Rebel” to honor David Bowie. At the next show in Chicago on January 19, an acoustic take of The Eagles’ “Take It Easy” was performed to remember Glenn Frey. In late April, at the final dates in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Bruce and the band gave a triumphant reading of Prince’s “Purple Rain.”
Exclusive to nugs.net, this month’s Third Man Thursday release brings us The White Stripes June 30, 2007 performance from Edmonton. From archivist Ben Blackwell:
Another entry from the ’07 Icky Thump tour, the middle of this set features a mind-bending run of short, quick song teases all in a row (“I Think I Smell A Rat” to “Cannon” to “Wasting My Time” to “Screwdriver”) which lands directly on top of a stellar “The Union Forever.” From there, the combo of “Cannon / John The Revelator” melts effortlessly into “Little Room” which jumpstarts immediately into a frenetic “Hotel Yorba,” all followed up with a take on “I’m Finding It Harder To Be A Gentleman” that turns on a dime when Jack substitutes the lyrics to “Now Mary” while still playing the tune to “Gentlemen.” Which then morphs into a unique “The Denial Twist.” All that to say, for my money this is the most impressive ten song run I ever saw the White Stripes do.
Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground Icky Thump When I Hear My Name I’m Slowly Turning Into You Effect And Cause I Think I Smell A Rat (tease) Cannon (tease) Wasting My Time (tease) Screwdriver (tease) The Union Forever Cannon / John The Revelator Little Room Hotel Yorba I’m Finding It Harder To Be A Gentleman / Now Mary (medley) The Denial Twist Catch Hell Blues A Martyr For My Love For You In The Cold, Cold Night Black Math Passive Manipulation We’re Going To Be Friends You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told)
Encore Astro Jack The Ripper The Big Three Killed My Baby Little Ghost The Same Boy You’ve Always Known Jolene Ball And Biscuit Seven Nation Army Boll Weevil
There are few periods in the post-Reunion era as busy as 2005-2009, a five-year stretch that saw the release of four studio albums each with accompanying tours, surely none more fun for Bruce Springsteen himself than 2006’s sojourn in support of The Seeger Sessions.
It’s easy to think of Springsteen’s work with the Sessions Band as an isolated outlier, but listening to Rome 10/10/06, the third release from the tour in the Live Archive series, there’s a case for it as the meaningful bridge between Devils & Dust (released in 2005) and Magic (2007), as well as a precursor to the extended band line-up we saw on Wrecking Ball in 2012.
Of the Seeger Sessions Tour’s three legs, two of them were in Europe — that reflected how this rootsy style of music was embraced more wholeheartedly there than it was in the States, which seemed to respond with a collective, “If it isn’t solo and it isn’t with the E Street Band, then what is it?”
What “it” is, of course, is a survey of American roots music, centered around the folk movement with forays into blues, jazz, and country, as well as an alternate reading of some of Springsteen’s own music through that same lens.
The Rome audience could not be more welcoming to the set-opening “John Henry,” which gets the show off to a rollicking start. It’s clear the crowd is well familiar with the Seeger Sessions album and, better still, recognizes that the type of music, presented by a band of this scale, demands their participation, which only feeds Springsteen all the more. Happy fans, happy band.
Rome eats up stellar renditions of the core Seeger Sessions material, singing along in full voice to “Old Dan Tucker,” chanting their approval of the horn section, clapping in unison after “Erie Canal,” and embracing the call-and-response of “Pay Me My Money Down.” If you ever needed confirmation of the role an audience plays in the concert dynamic, Rome 10/10/06 is the proof.
The fans’ recognition of Springsteen originals is equally impressive, getting “All the Way Home” straight off the opening chords, then singing the chorus well after the band stops playing. The arrangement of “All the Way Home” is relatively faithful to the Devils & Dust studio version though enhanced by the big band, especially Marty Rifkin’s lyrical pedal-steel solo. The song was only played three times on the 2006 tour and hasn’t been played since, making it a vital inclusion here.
Elsewhere one has to marvel at the rearrangements of classic cuts of the canon. “Atlantic City” started life as a high, lonesome folk song on Nebraska, became an electrified pile-driver with the E Street Band, and transforms yet again into a widescreen murder ballad with the Sessions Band. This reading of “Atlantic City” has the fastest tempo of the three arrangements, a storming pace that belies the song’s somber subject matter, which is reflected tonally in the guitar, organ and vocal parts. The contrast is compelling.
Springsteen changes his vocal inflections and cadence in a striking interpretation of “The River,” which adopts gospel and even waltzing Tejano notes. The story remains the same, but the metaphor of the river itself gains stature and turns the song into more of a parable than ever before.
The most E Street moment of the night is “Long Time Comin’,” another D&D track that hews to the original album structure only to be supercharged by the horn section and wonderful organ work from Charlie Giordano. “Long Time Comin’” is SUCH a tremendous band song, it’s bewildering it only made four setlists with the E Street Band post-Sessions, especially gIven the horns-and-singers lineup that debuted in 2006 was essentially recreated for the Wrecking Ball tour.
The last two originals of the night show the incredible range of the 2006 band. “Open All Night” is recast as a swing-jazz jumper in the style of “Pennsylvania 6-5000.” “Ramrod,” led by Girodano’s accordion, finds these immensely talented musicians channeling Los Lobos with verdadero estilo.
To the core Seeger Sessions tracks and E Street redux, Bruce adds a few choice covers, the most notable being one of only ten performances of “Long Black Veil,” written by Danny Dill and Marijohn Wikin, and covered by countless country artists including Johnny Cash.
Bruce and the band turn this stark infidelity ballad (a touchstone, lyrically, for Springsteen’s own “Nebraska”) into a sweeping epic that borrows some of its arrangement gravitas from, of all things, Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away,” a song famously covered by Springsteen and the E Street Band in 1984 with Little Steven. On this night, Marc Anthony Thompson trades verses and lines with Springsteen in a striking performance that is a welcome addition to the Live Archive catalog.
A belissimo Roma evening comes to an close with “American Land,” born of the Sessions Band and later fully embraced by the E Street Band on tours ever after. In front of what had to be among the most appreciative audiences of the entire tour, Bruce Springsteen and his Sessions Band show their virtuosity and interpretive prowess, and in the process draft a blueprint for what Springsteen would do on stage just a few years later.
Every Friday at 5 pm ET, nugs.net founder Brad Serling hosts “The Weekly Live Stash” on nugs.net radio, SiriusXM channel 716. Tune in to hear his selections of the best new live music, and check out this week’s playlist below featuring soundboard recordings from Goose’s Red Rocks debut, John Mayer’s Rise for the River Benefit, Billy Strings, Gov’t Mule and more.
Every Friday at 5 pm ET, nugs.net founder Brad Serling hosts “The Weekly Live Stash” on nugs.net radio, SiriusXM channel 716. Tune in to hear his selections of the best new live music, and check out this week’s playlist below featuring soundboard recordings from Widespread Panic, Jack White’s European tour, Greensky Bluegrass and more.
Goose’s journey from small-town venues to sold-out arenas may seem like it’s happened overnight but here at nugs.net it’s been a long time coming. The band’s rise to fame during the pandemic has clearly been rooted in modern day ‘taper’ culture, with sell out shows across the country throughout 2022 despite never having played most markets. From YouTube premieres to nightly soundboards on nugs.net, over the last 5 years Goose not only tapped into the jamband community but have made their mark as one of the industry’s most unique talents. Nearly 200 high-definition soundboards from Goose are streaming on-demand in the nugs.net app with shows that date back to 2018! In honor of their sold-out, debut & headlining performance at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, here are highlights from our favorite Goose moments on nugs.net.
LISTEN NOW: February 2nd, 2018 Octave, Covington, KY This show may be the first Goose soundboard on nugs.net but it packs a punch. At only 1 set and 8 songs – Madhuven, Wysteria Lane, Creatures, Crosseyed and Painless & So Ready all ring in over 10 minutes long! This venue capped at 200 people so if you got to witness this intimate but rockin’ show – good for you.
LISTEN NOW: December 8th, 2019 Old Town Pub, Steamboat Springs, CO A two set show that features a Widespread Panic cover AND a Michelle Branch cover?! This setlist actually features tons of phenomenally executed covers making it an easily shareable soundboard, but also comes along with a great story of how Peter was rescued from a snow bank and consequently dedicated “Everywhere” by Michelle Branch to his rescue squad.
LISTEN NOW: June 19, 2020 Goose Community Rec Center – Bingo Tour Goose may be one of the few bands that absolutely thrived during 2020. The band executed some epic livestreams & drive-ins that year but what brought them national news coverage was their conceptually unique ‘Bingo Tour’ in Summer 2020. Livestreaming from an undisclosed indoor location, the band had commentators, hosts and interactive digital bingo cards for viewers. Prompts such as “No Drums” or “20+ minute Jam” were pulled and magic was made. This show also marks the debut of Jeff Arevolo as Goose’s official percussionist & 2nd drummer.
LISTEN NOW: July 9th, 2021 Sculpture Park, Denver, CO The July 2021 Sculpture Park shows sold out quickly & marked the largest audience the band had played to at this point in their career – 5000 fans! Antics included a costume contest & getting their manager to play drums on stage.
LISTEN NOW: June 25, 2022 Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY As if a sold out run at Radio City Music Hall wasn’t epic enough, jam-icon Trey Anastasio and indie-icon Father John Misty performed as special guests on the 6/25/22 show. Little did we know that this would soon lead to an ENTIRE TOUR of Trey Anastasio Band x Goose in Fall 2022!
The fact that the word “penultimate” exists exclusively as an adjective for next-to-last situations feels almost egregious. I mean, did we really need an eleven letter word to describe this scenario when a three-word combination totaling ten letters does the job just perfectly?
Because let’s face it…second-to-last things are kinda just whatever. All the penumbra and history and tall tales sprout effortlessly from every last whisper about the LAST of something, the finality, the never-again crushing darkness of an abyss of nothingness for the rest of eternity.
So for me to roll in and tell you just how good the White Stripes were in their penultimate live show…I understand the urge to call bullshit. But honestly, truthfully, with all personal bias removed from shading of opinion here…this show is phenomenal.
Visits to an Original House of Pancakes, a record store and some antique shops all replay as relatively ordinary for daytime activities. If anything, my memory of the day sticks out as being oppressively hot. With afternoon highs in the 90s, temps at Sloss Furnaces – the supposedly haunted turn-of-the-century pig iron producing blast furnace turned concert venue – would hover into the 80s well into the Stripes performance that night. Factor in the crush of 2400 bodies crammed into the rudimentary shed-like structure with unforgiving open air walls and my recall of the event is overwhelmingly punctuated by the feel, smell and general annoyance of sweat.
Add in the decrepit, rusted, tetanus-y surroundings of the rest of the campus and the knowledge that the number of workers who died there was rumored to be in the hundreds, their falling or being pushed into the red hot fires of the furnaces only to be instantly incinerated and the unshakable pall that casts on a spot even some five decades after the last flames there were extinguished…needless to say it didn’t feel like an ordinary show by any means.
Opener Dan Sartain would play in front of the biggest hometown crowd of his career and the highlight for me (playing drums for him on this leg) was his inquiry to the crowd “So…how many genuine Alabama rednecks we got here tonight?” After a strong response from the crowd, Dan replied “Well, you made my life a living hell for 26 years. Thank you.”
Just…perfect in every way.
The show kicks off with “Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground” and finds Jack taking liberties (for the better) in a song where he usually did not. The particularly gnarly first note of feedback curves into some choice guitar syncopations. As the most-frequent set opener across the band’s career, it feels odd that this would be the last time the Stripes ever started a show with “Dead Leaves” as their final gig would begin with a cover “Stop Breaking Down.”
“Icky Thump” rolls into the fray wildly. To hear the assembled crowd, without prompting, perfectly nail the patter of twelve “la’s” sung in rapid succession at the end of the second verse, all mere weeks after the song’s release…it is a great reminder as to how WIDE this record reached so quickly upon deployment.
Leading into “When I Hear My Name” Jack, particularly chatty this evening, says “Meg and I knew we was Alabama bound!” and despite any hammy undertones, it ultimately comes off as sincere and heartfelt. Leading out from there, “Hotel Yorba” hits as particularly vivacious, Meg’s accompanying vocals both vivid and spot-on.
Jack’s unusual beginning to “The Denial Twist” and the improvised divergent lyrics in the second verse, which seem to say “It’s the way you rock and roll!” leave the Stripes’ final performance of this song as striking.
While the extended, elegiac intro to “Death Letter” stands strongly as a haunting slice of slide guitar, Jack’s improvised lyrics on the third verse delight. Similar to his moves earlier in “Dead Leaves”, taking a specific part of a song that, to my memory, was seldom if ever switched up, and reworking it on the spot, it all feels significant. Especially in light of the fact that the song would essentially run out of its evolutionary runway in another 24 hours. So for him to sing…
It looked like ten thousand
Women around my front porch
Didn’t know if I’d listen to ‘em
Or keep on lookin’ north
I’m just reminded of the fact that no song should ever be considered complete or finished or beyond reinterpretation.
Acolytes of St. Francis of Assisi may be surprised to catch Jack’s in-the-moment name drop of Brother Sun, Sister Moon in the midst of an extended rant toward the end of “Do.” Though it may bear repeating that “Little Bird” and its “I wanna preach to birds” lyric is explicitly inspired by the 13th century saint, it should require no leap of faith to imagine the 1972 Franco Zeffirreli film depicting the life and times of Francis being viewed by Jack as a prepubescent altar boy. Eschewing his wealthy upbringing for a life of piety and monasticism, Francis would become patron saint of Italy, the first documented stigmatic and the creator of the first live nativity scene. If there’s a Catholic Hall of Fame, St. Francis of Assisi is definitely a first-ballot shoe-in.
Nuggets like Jack’s borderline goofy drunk introduction of Meg for “In The Cold, Cold Night” with “Miss Meg White takes center stage!” belies a truly stellar performance while brief, blink-and-you-missed-it riff inversions on both “Astro” and “Little Cream Soda” are delicious little surprises to revel in. And I’ll be damned if the organ-driven take on “I Want To Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother’s Heart” is a welcome reminder that every last live version of this song is worth listening to. It never fails disappoints, it always satisfies.
But the juiciest plum in this set is the unexpected, abrupt abandonment of “Seven Nation Army” a mere ninety seconds into the song. When Jack says “I don’t know if we should play this song in America anymore…I guess it doesn’t translate well…lost something in the translation” he says so without knowing it’d be the last time that he and Meg ever played the song together.
I remember this happening that night, but at the time I never mentioned it or thought to bring it up.
But 15 years later I had to.
So in an email with the subject line “dumb white stripes question” I reached out to Jack for clarity on the situation. His response…
oh i think i was just joking because it had become such a soccer chant at the time and that europeans loved it “more” than americans for a minute there
and they weren’t singing any english lyrics just saying “po po po po” in Italy, so i was joking that americans didn’t understand the “foreign language” of “po po po po po po po”
That reads nicely.
But I cannot help being reminded that in 2007 George W. Bush was still in office and folks were still wildly pissed about his mere existence AND the ongoing overseas US military boondoggles. That year would see a total of 904 American armed forces casualties in Iraq alone, the single highest yearly total in the entirety of said occupation.
So in Alabama, I dunno…a bunch of self-identifying, sweat-soaked rednecks chanting along…it had just the faintest twinge of jingoistic misappropriation originating from the crowd…that basso ostinato chopping along with the sinister Dorian mode overtone. It sounds ominous. “Army” is in the title. I mean, it’s not a stretch.
At the time I remember just having half the half-second thought along these confused political lines and then literally have not thought about it since. The only contemporaneous review I can find of the show, written by Andy Smith, attributes the scuttled “Seven Nation Army” as an effort to prevent “the righteous and violent rigor of the lyrics (to) be misinterpreted as condoning an unrighteous war.”
So even if we do take Jack at his word here (which I think we should), what he says his intention was, it’s worth noting that the perceived notion in the air that night, at least to some, was of an entirely different tone. These are the shortcomings of interpretation. They will never rectify themselves.
So for Jack to switch the opening “Ball and Biscuit” lyrics to be…
Yes I am the Third Man, woman
But I am also the seventh son
…to me it reads as almost stentorian “LET ME SPELL IT OUT FOR YOU”-level of painting a picture just perfectly clear in light of the supposed confusion or misinterpretation of anything earlier in the set. With gusto.
Yet the impromptu lyrics on “300 MPH Torrential Outpour Blues” are deadly…
There’s all kinds of emotions that a phone call ain’t gonna fix
You took me to the brink woman, took me everywhere I didn’t want to go but I went anyway I never want you to question where I was headed, yes that’s where my head is nowadays
The complexity and grasp of human condition displayed in an off-the-top-of-the-head exclamation, deftly cramming all those syllables into precise meter and landing on the rhyming couplet, all while giving off the impression that the severity and pathos contained therein surely must’ve been labored over intensely for hours, days, weeks even…well, isn’t that just the way to knock us all over?
Ending with “Boll Weevil” just a short trip up I-65 from the actual boll weevil monument in Enterprise, Alabama, and some on-mic praise of Sartain is a perfect way to put that specific, local, “we know exactly where we are” stamp on the entire evening. When Jack implores the crowd to not go looking for any ghosts on the property after the show, you have half a mind to respect those wishes.
We in the touring party would not respect those wishes. After the show, a bunch of us (including Meg, but not Jack) climbed the stairs, single-file, to a precarious perch overlooking the vast, murky stretches of the complex. From above the entirely insufficient artificial light dappled the tiniest spots and failed to make a dent in the existentially overpowering void.
Even more dread-inducing was the spectre of a pitch-black decommissioned railroad tunnel. From entry to exit, the path we were led to couldn’t have been more than 200 yards at most. But I do not exaggerate when I say there was a complete absence of any outside illumination in this stretch. Pure, unadulterated emptiness. Cannot see your own hand in front of your face insanity. The shit that so many horror film plots are predicated on and has kept the night light business booming since the passing of the torch from candle to light bulb.
We got our hands on a single, meager flashlight, yet between the 8 of us (or so) that were on the endeavor…it felt wildy inadequate to the point of palpable, impending fear.
But there’s a funny little thing that happened within this little group of friends upon venturing into the ghastly, haunted space. We were all still buzzy from the after effects of such a stunning live concert in such unconventional environs. Simply put…we laughed our fucking asses off. Hysterically. The entire time. What took us maybe five minutes to traverse passed in seemingly five seconds. No one seemed like they could even be bothered with being scared. In the face of the uncertain, of the overwhelming chasm…one light and each other was all we needed to lead the way. To illuminate. To get us to the desired destination.
In the end, we’re all just chasing ghosts, looking for something to get us through.
Setlist Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground I Think I Smell a Rat Icky Thump When I Hear My Name Hotel Yorba The Denial Twist Death Letter Do I’m Slowly Turning Into You In The Cold, Cold Night I Want To Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother’s Heart Seven Nation Army Astro Jack the Ripper Encore Gap
Encore Little Cream Soda A Martyr For My Love For You One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below) 300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues We’re Going To Be Friends I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself Ball and Biscuit / Cool Drink of Water Blues Boll Weevil
For most bands, the third show of a major tour is a time when they’re still finding their footing on stage, especially when its their first extended run of concerts in three years. Throw in a venue as formidable as Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside Denver, and you have the makings of an up-and-down night of live performance. But on July 13, these challenges were quickly overcome by The Black Keys during a 21-song set that hit all the high points of the Akron, Ohio-reared rock duo’s two-decade career.
The group’s 2022 tour ostensibly comes in support of its new album, “Dropout Boogie,” but on this night, only two songs were played from it. Instead, vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney gave a major tip of the hat to their Mississippi hill country blues influences by covering songs by R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, John Lee Hooker, John Fahey and Richard Berry, many of which were included on their surprise 2021 release “Delta Kream.”
Those tunes were made all the more thrilling by the presence of guest guitarist Kenny Brown, who played with Burnside for years and is an acknowledged master of the slide guitar. “Definitely without a doubt there would be no Black Keys without this man here on guitar,” Auerbach said of Brown before the musicians launched into Hooker’s “Crawlin’ Kingsnake.” Indeed, an 18-year-old Auerbach once drove from Ohio to Mississippi to see his blues idols in person, and what he learned from them remains readily apparent in both his playing and singing to this day.
At Red Rocks, it could be heard during Keys tracks like the new album’s “It Ain’t Over,” which featured an excellent solo, and “Wild Child,” which delighted with its thick, screaming riffs. Show opener “I Got Mine” and the stomping “Your Touch” were also nice nods to the Keys’ early days emerging from an Akron basement and into a professional studio for the first time. They were also the oldest original songs on the set list, which omitted any non-covers from the Keys’ first three albums.
That left classics such as “Tighten Up,” “Howlin’ for You,” “Gold on the Ceiling” and “Lonely Boy” to carry the lion’s share of the show, which they did with aplomb thanks to backing by the Keys’ trusty touring band of keyboardist Ray Jacildo and guitarists/bassists Andy and Zach Gabbard. Encore opener “Little Black Submarine” offered a momentary change of pace from the down-and-dirty rock’n’roll, with Auerbach starting the song alone on acoustic guitar before the band kicked back in. The mournful “Ten Cent Pistol” also demonstrated the band’s well-honed dynamics, with Auerbach emoting under a lone spotlight prior to the tune’s final chorus.
Although the Keys traditionally play a similar set list from night to night, the group had something very special in its back pocket after “Little Black Submarine” when it paid tribute to close friend and collaborator Richard Swift, who died in 2018. With surprise guest Nathaniel Rateliff handling most of the vocals, the Keys covered Swift’s “Broken Finger Blues” for the first time ever (longtime Denver resident Rateliff also worked closely with Swift on his first two albums with The Night Sweats). The performance upped the emotional quotient of a show that had already rocked quite hard, proving that The Black Keys can hit you in the head just as well as the heart.
More classic Bruce Springsteen concerts come to nugs.net this August with the arrival of Long Branch, the third of five monthly drops bringing Bruce’s Live Archive catalog to the streaming platform.
Long Branch adds 33 concerts circa 1980 to 2017, starting with six extraordinary nights on the 1980-81 River tour. These include Bruce and the E Street Band’s famed three-show stand at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY, culminating with a 38-song set on New Year’s Eve 12/31/80. From Summer ‘81, there are striking performances at Wembley Arena in London on June 5 and Brendan Byrne Arena in E. Rutherford, NJ on July 9.
The Long Branch drop also showcases five gigs from 2009’s Working On A Dream tour, including three special sets that featured full-album performances of The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle (Madison Square Garden 11/7/09), The River (MSG 11/8/09) and Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ (Buffalo 11/22/09). The 2012-13 Wrecking Ball tour is represented by eight concerts, including tour kickoff at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, March 9, 2012; a birthday special at MetLife stadium September 22, 2012 (which didn’t end until the wee hours of September 23, Bruce’s actual birthday); and the Springsteen’s longest concert ever at Olympiastadion in Helsinki, Finland on July 31, 2012, which lasted over four hours. Long Branch wraps with Australia/New Zealand 2017, the E Street Band’s last 14 shows to date ahead of their return to arenas and stadiums in 2023.
Every Friday at 5 pm ET, nugs.net founder Brad Serling hosts “The Weekly Live Stash” on nugs.net radio, SiriusXM channel 716. Tune in to hear his selections of the best new live music, and check out this week’s playlist below featuring soundboard recordings from Bobby Weir and John Mayer at the Rise for the River Benefit Show, Umphrey’s McGee at Salmonfest, Santana and more.
Every Friday at 5 pm ET, nugs.net founder Brad Serling hosts “The Weekly Live Stash” on nugs.net radio, SiriusXM channel 716. Tune in to hear his selections of the best new live music, and check out this week’s playlist below featuring soundboard recordings from Joe Russo’s Almost Dead and Twiddle at High Sierra Music Festival, Gov’t Mule, Phish and more.
As measured by cultural impact and mass popularity, Bruce Springsteen’s 1984-85 World Tour was the apex. Considering its stunning scale, playing multi-night stadium stands, it’s easy to forget that 1984 was a rebirth of sorts, the start of a new era as much as a continuation of what came before it. On the biggest tour of his career, Springsteen was rebuilding the engine while the plane was flying.
Synthesizers like the Yamaha CS-80 had been part of Springsteen’s sonic signature since The River tour, albeit in a subtle manner that was more about background tones and mood. With Born in the U.S.A., synths moved front of the mix (playing lead, so to speak) on the title track and the smash single “Dancing in the Dark.” Fun fact: Did you know a CS-80 tips the scales at over 200 pounds?
When the tour kicked off at the St. Paul Civic Center in June 1984, Springsteen hadn’t performed a proper concert in nearly three years, but he had released two new albums, including Nebraska, his first-ever solo and acoustic effort. How would those songs work on stage with the E Street Band?
There were moves on that Street too, with longtime foil Steven Van Zandt exiting stage left to pursue his own solo career. Nils Lofgren stepped in stage right to take his place, bringing fresh energy and new textures to the band’s already evolving sound, bolstered further by the addition of backing singer Patti Scialfa, restoring E Street’s gender diversity first established by violinist Suki Lahav in late 1974.
The Live Archive series already features the first two shows and the final night of Bruce and the band’s ten-show stand at Brendan Byrne Arena in New Jersey. With the addition of 8/19/84, the penultimate show of the run, we get perhaps our clearest picture yet of Springsteen flying live without a net when the stakes were highest.
While he doesn’t come in for praise as often as other band members given his position in the sonic landscape, Garry W. Tallent is the anchor of the E Street sound, and he stands out especially loud and proud in Jon Altschiller’s new multitrack mix of August 19. His playing is thicker than ever in “Born in the U.S.A,” especially the bridge before the final breakdown, and Garry and Max carry a powerful “Atlantic City” that’s as good as any captured on tape.
Bruce’s own guitar strumming in the opening verse of “Atlantic City” is crystalline crisp. His vocals here and throughout the night are in peak form, a model of power and total control. Tallent’s bass part in the song’s final verse and chorus is sinewy, moody, and, as always, flawless. There’s also fine work from Danny Federici on organ as Bruce sings, “Put on your stockings, babe, ’cause the night’s getting cold.” Lastly, Lofgren’s background vocals in the final chorus ring true just before Bruce yells, “Draw blood!” They crushed it.
The 8/19/84 Nebraska mini-set offers two other striking turns. “Reason to Believe” is the one track from this show featured on Live/1975-85, but it gains additional meaning heard here in context immediately after “Atlantic City” in a different mix that again spotlights Garry Tallent’s superb bass arrangement.
Then there’s “My Father’s House,” in only its second performance ever and one of but five on the entire tour. Bruce introduces the song with a short anecdote about sneaking through the woods at dusk, “and then I had to get home and get by my old man…Sometimes that was scarier.”
In what might be the vocal highlight of the entire show, Bruce sings “My Father’s House” with vivid frankness, backed by the sympathetic support of Tallent on bass, Lofgren on mandolin, Weinberg on brushes, and Bittan on synth. When Springsteen’s rich voice rises with the line, “It stands like a beacon, calling me in the night” you’ll feel the chills. The solo acoustic “My Father’s House” from the Christic benefit show performed in 1990 and released in the Live Archive series is excellent, but this rare band arrangement is stunning.
The rest of the first set remains true to form for the period, with a nice stretch of BIUSA songs coming out of the Nebraska trio and classics like “Badlands” and “Thunder Road” leading into the break. It’s worth noting that 8/19/84 offers notable readings of “Darkness On the Edge of Town” in the first set and “Prove It All Night” in the second. Both benefit from Springsteen’s stirring vocals and guitar work, and, in Van Zandt’s absence, Lofgren steps up. You can feel him meshing with Bruce, resulting in refreshed performances of two Darkness stalwarts.
The second set is as good as the first, and momentum is building. After the playful trio of “Hungry Heart,” “Dancing in the Dark” and “Cadillac Ranch” coming out of intermission, Bruce taps the Miami Horns for the first time since 1977 on “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” in a preview of their appearance on closing night 24 hours hence. The horns add much joy and vigor to the song, and while he was already having a good night, Clarence Clemons seems to take it up a notch, too.
A tender, solo “No Surrender” is next, then the aforementioned “Prove It All Night” and a stellar, crowd-pleasing version of “Fire.” The crowd certainly knows this one, singing along in full voice, and as good as the Big Man’s saxophone playing is, boy does his baritone voice sound sweet. He and Bruce milk “Fire” for all its worth. “Growin’ Up” keeps the sweetness and local landmarks flowing, complete with Jim the Dancing Bear (who wasn’t done for the night) and massive cheers for “Route 9” and “Toms River” in a tall tale about the early days of Bruce and Clarence on the shore.
Riding in on the emotional nostalgia of “Growin’ Up,”, “Bobby Jean” has heart to burn — and it resonates in a way it hasn’t consistently in recent times, as a standalone song in the encore. Bruce sings it as if Little Stevie were listening (maybe he was in the crowd that night, ahead of his appearance the next evening) and the Big Man lands the solo masterfully.
The set turns back to Darkness again for a pacey “Racing in the Street,” the coda for which is always a showcase for Bittan and Federici, with Bruce adding subtle guitar texture to their interplay. A long, loose “Rosalita” closes the set with extended and particularly funny band intros (e.g. “You may have read [Bittan’s] study of the lost tribes of Hoboken”), and this new model E Street Band is soaring — and most importantly, having fun doing it.
The encore moves from “Jungleland” (with Lofgren stepping up to fill one of Van Zandt’s best-known solos) to “Born to Run” (Federici’s glockenspiel rings out thrillingly) before the Miami Horns return to punctuate “Detroit Medley” and “Twist and Shout – Do You Love Me?” to cap the evening.
Nine nights into a homecoming stand for the ages, 8/19/84 captures Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band sounding different than ever before but every bit as good, their confidence rightly rising on the strength of outstanding performances by the individual players coalescing at the start of a new era.
When we think about the future of music, it’s hard to imagine a world without Spotify. It is the most popular alternative to purchasing physical albums and using other platforms that could only offer so much access and quality.
The problem with Spotify is that it doesn’t actually allow you to connect with the artist. This can be a bit disappointing if you want to feel like they are singing just to you while also offering an intimate performance format. Live music streaming offers a remedy for the social disconnect many people suffer from when enjoying their favorite playlists on Spotify or other platforms.
Live music streaming allows you to listen in on some of the most talented musicians in the world as they play their hearts out in front of an audience. You can hear them improvise, experiment with different sounds and styles, and even talk about their creative process as they go along!
Live Music Streaming as a Remedy for Social Disconnect
Live music streaming is a great way to connect with other people, especially if you don’t live near them. Not only do you get to hear the music you love, but live music streaming can help you build relationships with people who share your community values and musical taste.
No longer will being an introvert prevent you from attending a show; with live music streaming, you can still experience all the best parts of those events. Watching acts like The Rolling Stones perform in their heyday from the comfort of your home is a great way to experience a concert while being connected.
Same format as a live show
Live music streaming is a lot like a live show. It brings you closer to your favorite artists and allows them to connect with their fans, no matter how far away from each other they may be. With one platform, you have access to numerous artists who stream their shows on the same day as their performance. You can even see what songs are coming up next in their setlist so that you don’t miss anything important!
It brings you closer to your favorite artists
Live music streaming is the ultimate Spotify alternative because it brings you closer to your favorite artists. With live music streaming, you can interact with artists, ask questions, see them perform in real-time and in a more intimate setting.
Nothing beats the atmosphere of a live music performance. It’s something that you can’t get anywhere else, and it’s often what makes the difference between an average show and a great one. When we talk about the atmosphere of a concert, there are several things at play:
The sensation of being part of the audience
A sense of community
Excitement about being part of something special
A feeling of belonging to something bigger than yourself
Live music is more accessible than ever before. Since most virtual concerts are streamed online and don’t require a ticket purchase, anyone with an internet connection can tune in—no matter where they live or how much money they earn.
Enjoy improvisational styles the way they were meant to be
Live music streaming services are the best way to experience improvisational styles. One art form that many musicians have been practicing is improvisational. You’ll find it in many genres, including jam, jazz, and classical music. Live music streaming is the best Spotify alternative for anyone who loves improvisational styles and wants to hear improvisational music the way it was meant to be.
The beauty of live music is that it’s always evolving and changing, so you never know what you’ll get when you listen to it. You might hear a cover of your favorite song, or an entirely different take on something familiar. That’s why we think live music is so special. It’s spontaneous and unpredictable, which makes each performance totally new and exciting. And that’s why we think live music streaming is the best Spotify alternative!
Live music streaming is the ultimate Spotify alternative.
Live performances are intimate and interactive, allowing you to enjoy improvisational styles as they were meant to be. Live music streaming is a remedy for social disconnection in our modern world; it will enable you to connect with other people while enjoying an immersive experience that only exists in real life.
So, to sum it up: live music streaming is a fascinating and thrilling new way to experience music. We’re still in the early days of this emerging genre, but we can already see how it’s changing the landscape of music as we know it. The best thing about live streams is that they allow musicians to connect with their top fans and build more personal relationships, which can benefit everyone involved. So, if you’re looking for something new and exciting in your life (and you love music), then why not give live-streaming a try? You won’t regret it! Check out nugs.net for a complete list of live concert streams coming to a screen near you.
Every Friday at 5 pm ET, nugs.net founder Brad Serling hosts “The Weekly Live Stash” on nugs.net radio, SiriusXM channel 716. Tune in to hear his selections of the best new live music, and check out this week’s playlist below featuring soundboard recordings from Widespread Panic’s five-night residency at The Beacon, Goose at Newport Folk Festival, Billy Strings, Phish, Eggy, and more.
Every Friday at 5 pm ET, nugs.net founder Brad Serling hosts “The Weekly Live Stash” on nugs.net radio, SiriusXM channel 716. Tune in to hear his selections of the best new live music, and check out this week’s playlist below featuring soundboard recordings from Dead & Company’s final night of tour and more.
Note: These concerts are only available to U.S. and Canada subscribers, and can be streamed now with a free trial to nugs.net.
by Erik Flannigan, Bruce Springsteen Archivist
Live Springsteen streaming on nugs.net expands with Asbury Park, the second of five monthly drops bringing Bruce’s Live Archive catalog to the platform.
Asbury Park offers an additional 33 shows circa 1978 to 2014, including nine from the legendary Darkness On the Edge of Town tour in 1978. These include new multitrack mixes of the tour’s five beloved radio broadcasts from which spawned several of the most famous Springsteen bootleg of all time: July 7 at The Roxy in West Hollywood; August 9 at The Agora in Cleveland; September 19 at The Capitol Theatre in Passaic; September 30 at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta; and December 15 at Bill Graham’s Winterland in San Francisco.
The Asbury Park drop also features Springsteen’s emotional appearance with the Seeger Sessions Band at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on April 30, 2006 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, plus their inspired set at London’s Wembley Arena on November 11 of the same year. All five shows released to date from the Magic tour are here, notably the late Danny Federici’s last proper show (Boston, November 19, 2007) and appearance (Indianapolis, March 20, 2008) with the E Street Band, plus the rarities-laden penultimate performance from St. Louis, August 23, 2008. Asbury Park wraps with 16 shows from the US leg of 2014’s High Hopes tour, a stretch of concerts that saw fans making and the band delivering on dozens of inspired cover- and rare-song requests.
Every Friday at 5 pm ET, nugs.net founder Brad Serling hosts “The Weekly Live Stash” on nugs.net radio, SiriusXM channel 716. Tune in to hear his selections of the best new live music, and check out this week’s playlist below featuring soundboard recordings including Pearl Jam covering Pink Floyd, Metallica in Madrid, and more from summer 2022 festivals and tours.
Subscribers can stream over 100 of the officially released shows from The Grateful Dead Vault, organized for the first time with Deadheads in mind — browse by show date instead of album title or release date. Each show is streaming in standard and CD-Quality lossless formats, and hi-res MQA where available. We’re thrilled to partner with Rhino Entertainment, the keeper of Warner Music Group’s legacy catalog, to stream many of the previously released iconic concert recordings including Fillmore East ’69, the entirety of Europe ’72, The Field Trip ’72, Cornell ’77, Winterland ‘77, Egypt ’78, Nassau ‘81, Alpine ‘82, MSG ‘90, and a whole lot more.
nugs.net will be updating our Grateful Dead catalog with the entire studio album collection and other live releases in the coming months — follow Grateful Dead in the app to see new additions first. Additionally, we are adding some of the Crown Jewels of classic rock including album catalogs from Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, The Doors, and Yes.
Pearl Jam fans have spent the past 30+ years expecting the unexpected from the Seattle group, but there’s one thing that’s nearly never been in doubt: which members of the band would take the stage that night.
Indeed, Pearl Jam has only played a single show without one of its core five members — September 23, 2002 at the House of Blues in Chicago, when guitarist Stone Gossard was absent due to a prior commitment with Conservation International. It’s a remarkable streak that came to an end on May 12 in Oakland, CA, when drummer Matt Cameron tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to miss the gig.
Enter touring member Josh Klinghoffer, whose Pearl Jam fandom runs so deep that he owns the kit former drummer Jack Irons used in the band in the mid-1990s, and Richard Stuverud, a longtime collaborator of Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament who was once in consideration to fill the PJ drum seat. On 24 hours’ notice, they divided and conquered a set list and were ready for a Pearl Jam first: a show without Matt Cameron.
Stuverud played “Even Flow” much more slowly than Cameron, its tempo in line with the 1992-era live versions with then-new drummer Dave Abbruzzese. On the other hand, “Jeremy” is almost too slow, sounding like a different song entirely. Klinghoffer gives “Why Go” a loose feel that sounds like really old Pearl Jam — a deviation from Cameron’s ultra-precise, ultra-powerful attack. With Klinghoffer on drums, “Corduroy” has steady propulsion with just the right bit of swing.
Things only got more interesting the next night at the same venue, with Klinghoffer pulling off “Once” very nicely and infusing the punky rarity “Brain of J” with the reckless abandon so crucial to its studio version from 1998’s “Yield.” Stuverud was excellent on drums on “W.M.A.,” which was played for the first time in six years as a full song and not just as a tag at the end of another. “Dissident” sounded great, too, in its new lower key, despite a couple flubbed transitions, while Klinghoffer deftly navigated the measured tension and release of the classic “Immortality” and didn’t hurry “Rearviewmirror.”
In what surely must have been a dream come true, Mill Valley high school student Kai Neukermans played drums on “Mind Your Manners,” after having been brought to Vedder’s attention by his similarly aged daughter Olivia. The song’s furious pace was no trouble at all for the young musician, who plays in a band called The Alive.
When you’re down a drummer, why not dust off a rarity that doesn’t have drums on it? Enter “Bee Girl,” only the ninth performance of the non-album cut since 2014.
These first two Oakland shows already would have gone down in Pearl Jam lore for their lack of Cameron and for the band’s innovative solution to the problem, but the May 16 performance in Fresno, CA, offered an even bigger surprise. For just the second time since he left the band in 1991, original drummer Dave Krusen joined Pearl Jam on stage — the only other being when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the group in 2017 and played a solitary song with them.
“That first record seems to be a record that affected so many people,” Vedder says of Ten. “It’s such a nice thing. Our friend that was playing drums at that time, the amount of shows he got to play with us was fairly limited. This week, we’ll get to make up for that.”
As easy as it could have been for Krusen to steal the show in Fresno, Klinghoffer isn’t to be upstaged on a lead vocal duet with Vedder on Prince’s “Purple Rain,” performed here for the first time ever by Pearl Jam (Vedder and Klinghoffer previously tried the song with The Earthlings a few months back). Momentarily taking the spotlight off his drumstick-wielding mates, guitarist Mike McCready goes to town on a solo cover of Eddie Van Halen’s “Eruption,” while guitarist Stone Gossard takes a rare mic turn on the outtake “Don’t Gimme No Lip,” only its 14th time ever played live.
In addition, Stuverud’s presence is felt on “Quick Escape,” one of the heaviest new songs from Pearl Jam’s latest release, 2020’s Gigaton, and he has the bash-and-pop flavor of Keith Moon on the penultimate song of the evening, The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.”
“Thanks for this tonight. Thank you. I won’t forget this one,” Vedder said after the show-closing “Yellow Ledbetter.”
Sadly, Pearl Jam had another bout of bad luck post-Fresno, when Ament himself tested positive for COVID. The final two shows were canceled, leaving the three without Cameron as true outliers in the Pearl Jam live catalog. As Vedder said at Oakland night one, drummers are like engines, and for these unusual shows, it was a treat to experience how these different engines powered Pearl Jam’s music.
Jonathan Cohen is a veteran journalist and talent booker known for his work at Billboard, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” Variety and Spin. He is also the author of the 2011 New York Times-bestselling authorized biography of Pearl Jam, “Pearl Jam 20.”
Every Friday at 5 pm ET, nugs.net founder Brad Serling hosts “The Weekly Live Stash” on nugs.net radio, SiriusXM channel 716. Tune in to hear his selections of the best new live music, and check out this week’s playlist below featuring soundboard recordings from Trey Anastasio’s Billy Strings sit-in and Peach Fest set, Jack White in Hammersmith, and more from summer 2022 festivals and tours.
Every Friday at 5 pm ET, nugs.net founder Brad Serling hosts “The Weekly Live Stash” on nugs.net radio, SiriusXM channel 716. Tune in to hear his selections of the best new live music, and check out this week’s playlist below featuring soundboard recordings from Trey Anastasio’s Goose sit-in, Panic at Red Rocks, Dead & Company at Wrigley Field, and more from summer 2022 festivals and tours.
Arcadia Goose (w/ Trey Anastasio) 6/25/22 New York, NY
The Wrecking Ball tour was big on multiple levels, from the length of the shows (eventually reaching four hours, breaking Bruce’s all-time record), to the number of band members on stage (hitting 17 on occasion), to the scale of the venues—especially in Europe, where the 2012 tour hit stadiums across the continent… save for one special stand in Paris.
For reasons that have never been explained, when Springsteen brought the Wrecking Ball caravan to France to open the second half of the Euro leg, he downsized from stadiums back to arena-scale for just one pair of shows that fell on the fourth and fifth of July. Those back-to-back performances, which featured an impressive 44 different songs between them, have long been lauded as some of the best of the tour. In that spirit of bigness and in celebration of the ten-year anniversary of the gigs, it seemed only fitting to add both Paris 2012 shows to the Live Archive series.
The Paris concerts combined offer over seven hours of music and a bounty of special moments and performances. Here are several worth noting.
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band at Palais Omnisports De Paris-Bercy, July 4, 2012
The charms of the expanded 2012 band bear fruit in a delightful, unhurried version of “The E Street Shuffle” performed as a sign request. The song was played more in 2012 than any other year since 1975, when it thrived in a completely different arrangement. The Wrecking Ball tour edition takes advantage of the horn section, Everett Bradley’s percussion, and the E Street Choir on background vocals for a fully realized rendition that follows the original album structure of prelude, main song, and a storming, extended coda. In Paris, the crowd keeps singing the melody after the whole thing ends, indicative of just how into the show they are, and it compels Bruce to start the “E Street Shuffle” back up again for a second coda.
Springsteen keeps the Asbury Park setting, linking “Shuffle” to “Sandy” in his transition: “And then, down from town, about five blocks in on the boardwalk… if you listen hard, you could hear…” He sings the accordion-led, Fourth of July special in a low voice at times, adding a bit of age and wisdom to the tale, which on this night includes the sometimes-omitted third verse about the “waitress who lost her desire for me.” The background singers bring lushness to the final chorus as the sun sets on the boardwalk via Paris.
When Bruce opened his Fourth of July playlist for this show, he clicked them all—which means “Darlington County.” Stevie Van Zandt veers the song towards the edge of the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women” before Bruce sings his first line about that memorable drive he and Wayne took from New York City all those years ago. The Paris take is long, with an extended horn and sax section at the end.
With Patti back on stage for the first time on the Euro tour, “Easy Money” returns to the set in one of only 18 performances ever. Bruce’s untamed falsetto vocals start things out, and one has to credit the Paris crowd for their consistently high level of participation as they sing along strongly here. Patti’s vocal contributions are a key element to “Easy Money,” which is why the song wasn’t performed without her.
In the most special nod to the occasion, Bruce moves to the piano for a rare solo-piano performance of “Independence Day.” Bruce released a video of this version in 2012 on his official YouTube channel, and it is great to have the audio available through the Live Archive series. Having played the instrument every night of the Devils & Dust tour, Springsteen’s piano playing is more confident than ever. Listen to the fine solo he takes in lieu of Clarence’s memorable sax before the third verse. Like so many older songs performed in this era, the bit of age in Springsteen’s voice only adds gravitas.
No Fourth of July performance would be complete without “Born in the U.S.A.” in its still-awe-inspiring, full-band arrangement. Bruce has no trouble finding his 1984 vocal range “forty years down the road” in a crackling rendition that puts the electric guitars on a level playing field with the synthesizers. Max Weinberg is also up to the task: while the horns add heft to the outro, Max smashes his legendary fills as hard as ever.
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band at Palais Omnisports De Paris-Bercy, July 5, 2012
If anyone needed a sign that the second show in Paris would be materially different from the first, look no further than the top of the set when Bruce and the band reel off six songs in a row not featured the previous night. Deviating from his own written setlist, the band starts what sounds for all the world like “We Take Care of Our Own” only to shift gears into a bright “The Ties That Bind,” led by Roy Bittan’s piano and rich with the voices of the background singers in the chorus and bridge. Jake Clemons takes a sharp solo, too. The stellar reading of “Ties” is followed in bang-bang succession by breathtaking runs of “No Surrender,” “Two Hearts,” “Downbound Train,” “Candy’s Room,” and lastly a scintillating “Something in the Night.” Fans in attendance said the July 5 show was truly something special, and you can hear that imprinted in Jon Altschiler’s full-bodied mix. The six-song start of the second Paris set is as good as it gets in the post-Reunion era.
In all, Paris night two boasts 15 changes from the previous show, including three certified epics starting with “Incident on 57th Street.” As vocal as they have been all night, the Paris audience treats the Wild & Innocent masterpiece with fitting reverence. Bruce tells Nils to take the initial guitar lead, which rises above Charlie Giordano’s swirling organ.
“Working on the Highway” and “I’m Goin’ Down” add a dose of levity and self-deprecation to the evening. The horn section and background singers give “Working on the Highway” a big jolt of energy, while the audience does the same for “I’m Goin’ Down,” yielding reinvigorated versions of both songs.
After a solo “Independence Day” on July 4, Bruce sits at the piano bench night two and delivers “For You.” This one is triumphant, reaching the heady heights of the song’s solo outings in 1975 (such as the extraordinary take on the Live Archive release of Greenvale, NY 12/12/75). Like “Indy” the night before, Springsteen plays the piano brilliantly, and he commits to every line of the lyrics to staggering effect. He also hits the last note resoundingly when he sings “When it was my turn to be the God.” As the kids say, “Chills.”
From “For You” straight into evening’s epic denouement, “Racing in the Street”—another time-defying performance. It can be difficult to describe in the written word what it feels like when a performer is in the moment, not simply performing their music, but embodying it, living the words and melodies anew. But you can hear it. That goes for every member of the band, too—special credit to Bittan and Bradley, first among equals in this performance of “Racing.”
The sequence of “For You” to “Racing in the Street,” and the top of the July 5 show as well, all capture Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performing in the moment. For years, they did so more consistently than any other band in concert. On this fantastic recording of Paris 2012, so many years down the road, they undeniably do so again.
Peach Fest celebrates its tenth anniversary this year after a two-year hiatus, and we’re thrilled to livestream select sets from the Allman Brothers Band-founded festival for free, exclusively for our subscribers!
Check out the full schedule of festival livestreams June 30–July 3.
Every Friday at 5 pm ET, nugs.net founder Brad Serling hosts “The Weekly Live Stash” on nugs.net radio, SiriusXM channel 716. Tune in to hear his selections of the best new live music, and check out this week’s playlist below featuring soundboard recordings from Dead & Company, Umphrey’s McGee, and more artists currently on tour.
Note: These concerts are only available to U.S. and Canada subscribers, and can be streamed now with a free trial to nugs.net.
by Erik Flannigan, Bruce Springsteen Archivist
Live Springsteen streaming on nugs.net kicks off with Freehold, the first of five monthly drops. Freehold presents 35 shows circa 1975 to 2014, starting at the legendary Roxy in West Hollywood on the Born To Run tour. Bruce’s October 18, 1975 appearance at the club with the E Street Band featured a rare cover of Carole King’s “Goin’ Back” in the encore.
From later that same year we get the legendary December 12 gig at CW Post College on Long Island, at which Springsteen’s beloved version of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” was recorded. From 1977, a rare pair of shows in Albany and Rochester that extend the BTR tour, but showcase newly written songs like “Something in the Night,” “Rendezvous” and “The Promise.” Freehold includes all six shows released to date from the 1999-2000 Reunion tour with the E Street Band, from September 25, 1999 in Philadelphia (and the first “Incident on 57th Street” performed in 19 years) to July 1, 2000, the final show at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
The Rising tour is represented by the June 16, 2003 show in Helsinki, while 2005’s Devils & Dust tour contributes five concerts, each with a rarities-packed setlist. The start of the 2014 High Hopes tour completes the Freehold drop, offering 14 shows performed in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, a run that included unexpected cover songs like AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell,” The Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” and Lorde’s “Royals.”
Among the biggest bands of all time, Metallica are no strangers to South American headbangers. The global godfathers of thrash metal have a storied history touring the continent, starting with 1989’s And Justice For All-era jaunt, then returning half-a-dozen more times over their celebrated forty-year career.
After the pandemic forced the April 2020 South American tour to be postponed — not once but twice over the course of two years — Metallica barnstormed back in Spring 2022 for shows in Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. The band uncorked a total of six scorching performances to typically teeming crowds, delivering their trademark brand of punishing metal across scalding sets, brimming with Metallica classics.
As 2021 came to a close, guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, lead guitarist Kirk Hammet, and bassist Robert Trujillo were riding mighty high off a pair of historic 40th Anniversary shows, a monumental throwdown in their hometown of San Francisco. A one-off Las Vegas engagement in February was the group’s only public performance of 2022 before they headed south of the equator at the end of April.
South American fans are among the most rabid, loyal, and die-hard as they come, traveling long distances at great expense to see their favorite heavy metal and hard rock bands pack their many stadiums, race tracks, and large-scale venues. The reverberations of the two tour postponements were felt far and wide within the region.
Each time the band was forced to cancel their plans, hundreds of thousands were holding onto hope that one day circumstances would allow for Metallica to finally honor these long-promised dates. The last time they’d made it to the continent was for Lollapalooza 2017. Some fans expressed concern that, with the state of the world being what it has been, these concerts may ever even happen.
“For those of you who have hung in there with us over the last 18 months since the original shows were supposed to happen, thank you for your tremendous patience!” the band said in a statement when they announced the rescheduled dates to Spring 2022.
After all of the pandemic uncertainty and delays, as Metallica prepared to take over Club Hípico in Santiago, Chile on April 27th, a torrential rainstorm threatened the show in the hours leading up, only further adding to the suspense that had built for the better part of two years. The concert had already been relocated from a local stadium to a horse-racing track.
To kick off the tour, Metallica launched into one of their earliest compositions in “Whiplash,” a breakneck thrasher culled from 1983’s debut LP Kill ‘Em All, setting the tone with a cut that would serve as show opener for each of the six concerts. Other Santiago highlights included the run’s only rendition of The Black Album deep cut “Through the Never.”
The South America working setlist would run the gamut of their canon; it was primarily weighted towards their famed first five records, with a curveball or two from night to night. Fans could expect to rage to thorough renditions of “Master of Puppets,” “One,” “Seek & Destroy,” “Ride the Lightning,” “The Unforgiven,” among others, plus a double encore sendoff of “Nothing Else Matters” and “Enter Sandman,” their two most recognizable tracks around the world.
On April 30th, Metallica moved onto Campo Argentino de Polo Buenos Aires in Argentina, for their lone 2022 appearance in the country. Another equestrian venue but, unlike Hípico, located in an urban city, Campo Argentino allowed for local residents to hear parts of the performance from their homes nearby. This night saw the quartet reaching back to 1984 for a ferocious take on one of their most beloved anthems, the seminal thrash masterpiece “Creeping Death.” Metallica saw fit to dust off “Fuel” from 1997’s Reload and “Holier Than Thou” from The Black Album, too.
Asked in 2017 about playing for Brazilian audiences, Hetfield said, “When other people take your art to their heart and you connect with them, there’s always an extra feeling of belonging, of home, of connection, of family. So Brazil is certainly one of Metallica’s most fanatical countries of them all.”
After a few days to relax and regroup, on May 5 Metallica arrived in Porto Alegre, Brazil, to perform the first of four shows in the longtime South American Metallica stronghold at Estacionamento da Fiergs, a venue near the Atlantic coast, at the northern end of the Patos Lagoon. In addition to beloved standards performed every night of the run, the group busted out three tour debuts: the sledgehammer of “Harvester of Sorrow” from …And Justice For All, the furious “No Remorse” from their first LP Kill ‘Em All, and the chilling “Welcome Home Sanitarium” from 1986’s masterpiece Master of Puppets.
Just a couple nights later, on May 7 the group pulled into Estádio Couto Pereira Curitiba, home to the Coritiba Foot Ball Club. Metallica mowed down song after song with a youthful reckless abandon and broke out the Irish traditional “Whiskey in the Jar,” from their Garage Inc. covers album. What made this concert legendary had more to do with the enormous crowd than anything onstage.
Brazilian fan Joice M. Figueiró was 39 weeks pregnant when she attended the Metallica concert. Of course she didn’t mosh or crowd surf, but Figueiro watched from an accessible area, and reportedly had a fantastic time until she started having contractions shortly after the band took the stage. The baby wanted out, and according to the new mom, he arrived as Metallica concluded their set with their biggest hit, “Enter Sandman.” The family even received a congratulatory phone call from James Hetfield after the band got the news.
As Metallica pulled into Estádio do Morumbi in São Paulo, they knew it would be a special night. In what was likely the finest performance of the short tour, the band reached for “Dirty Window,” a deep cut from 2004’s much-maligned St. Anger. The group also performed “No Leaf Clover,” amid the usual tornado of 80s thrash classics.
For the final night of this long-awaited South American tour, Metallica arrived at Mineirão in Belo Horizonte, finishing strong with a torrid set that delivered the goods: the galloping title track to their most recent album Hardwired to Self Destruct, as well as “Cyanide” from Death Magnetic and the treasured “Fight Fire With Fire” from 1984’s Ride the Lightning.
What this last tour stop is likely most remembered for is a tender moment that James Hetfield shared with the crowd, and his bandmates, just before “Sad But True.” “Papa Het,” as the hardcores affectionately call him, spoke vulnerably about aging and performance insecurities. The emotional scene was heartwarming, ending with a group hug that affirmed the brotherhood these gentlemen continue to enjoy and exemplified the undying bond Metallica maintains with their fans around the world.
B.Getz is a music-culture reporter & podcaster hailing from the Philly area who’s called northern California home for nearly a decade. Senior Correspondent at Live For Live Music, longtime contributor to JamBase, formerly with Everfest/Fest300, & host of The Upful LIFE Podcast. Check out all things B.Getz at www.UpfulLife.com
Every Friday at 5 pm ET, nugs.net founder Brad Serling hosts “The Weekly Live Stash” on nugs.net radio, SiriusXM channel 716. Tune in to hear his selections of the best new live music, and check out this week’s playlist below featuring soundboard recordings from Dead & Company, Umphrey’s McGee, and more artists currently on tour.
With Dead & Company’s 2022 summer tour underway, we asked David Gans, one half of the dynamic Deadhead duo behind SiriusXM’s “Tales from the Golden Road,” to create a playlist with his favorite moments from last year’s tour. He and his cohost Gary Lambert also virtually host our Dead & Company livestreams with special guests like Bobby Weir and Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux.
I listened to every note of the 2021 Dead & Company tour, and because I have a radio show that features the best of this music, I made notes and excerpted highlights from every concert. I wouldn’t say that these are all the great moments, but the list is a pretty good representation of what they did. The band’s musical conversation has operated at a very high level from the start, and I am really looking forward to another season of magical music-making. — David Gans
nugs.net spoke with Lovering about the early run of 2004 reunion dates, including that infamous Coachella set. Pixies are touring extensively this year, beginning June 22 in Rouen, France and wrapping Dec. 17 in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Jonathan Cohen: Take me back in time to early 2004. How long did the band rehearse before the Minneapolis show?
David Lovering: Gosh, if I remember, I don’t think it was very long. I think we might have rehearsed for maybe two days, possibly? The Fine Line in Minneapolis was the first real test. If I recall, it was like riding a bike. It really was. There was nothing new I had to learn. It was all stuff that was nostalgic. This is what I grew up with and learned how to play. It was very easy, I think, for all of us. We just went over the stuff enough and trusted that the Fine Line would get us back in order.
That’s pretty remarkable after not having played together in 12 years!
Yeah! It’s funny now, because for this world tour coming up, we’re going to meet in France. We’ll do one rehearsal at the venue the day before the show, and it’s probably going to last four hours. Then we’ll say, yeah, we know it. We know it [laughs]. And then we’ll just show up the next day and start playing. That’s the way it is now.
Had you yourself played any Pixies songs on your own between the original breakup and the reunion?
Never, never. No. I mean, I pretty much gave up the drums for a period of time. I was resigned to the fact that the Pixies were a love that I had and something so special to me, but one that wasn’t going to happen again. I finally gave up drums and became a magician, believe it or not. It’s only a couple of letters off from ‘musician’ [laughs]. I really didn’t pick up the drums again until I knew we were re-forming, and that’s when I started playing. I bought a Roland electronic kit because I lived in a place where I couldn’t play drums, and an electronic kit was much more conducive for that environment. For two months, I started playing again.
What were those first few shows back like pre-Coachella?
I can say that it was the same feeling from rehearsals to actually doing the first gig. At the Fine Line, we were apprehensive and a little nervous. We hadn’t done it in a long time in front of an audience. But being out there, nothing had changed. The only thing that changed was, it was a different climate for us. In our absence, I know our popularity grew. At that first show, we were just kind of going balls out, if you’ll excuse the word. We all got blisters! We were sweating! But we were enjoying it. It was a small, intimate environment where you can feed off the crowd. We had a blast. That set us up for Coachella, but Coachella was another world in itself. When we went out there, it was a sea of kids who may not have been born when we were initially a band. But they knew the words and they were singing along. It was surreal. I had the chills playing. I’d never experienced that before. It was something else.
I was there at Coachella, and I remember you coming out from behind your drum kit to take photos of the crowd and the other band members.
Yes, I did. That was just something to behold.
The best part is that Radiohead went on right after Pixies. What a one-two punch!
Thom Yorke has said that he didn’t want to follow us [laughs]. He was a fan.
I remember talking to Charles around that time, and he told me the size of the Coachella crowd was almost lost on him because he could only really see out so far from the stage. Did you feel the same?
I did. At large festivals or shows like that, other than the first few rows that you can see, it’s hard to feel that intimacy. With Coachella, with everyone singing and holding up their lighters and phones, it gave the show a sense of unity.
How did the band evolve as a live entity during the time away? Or was Pixies in 2004 the same as it was in 1992?
I think it was the same as ’92. We knew how to play our instruments. It was really just, we came back to do what we did. It’s only in more recent history, from 2004 until now, when we’ve really been honing our craft, I think.
Were there songs you found a renewed love of playing? Or songs that were never or rarely played live in the original era?
I have no problem playing these songs. I love touring. I could play them forever. I don’t get sick of them at all. Nothing stood out in the gap that came to me later, but I know that we started playing “Here Comes Your Man,” which we never played back in the day. That was a pop song that was forbidden. We couldn’t play it. But once 2004 hit, we had the freedom and the right to do it, and we’ve been playing it ever since. I had to learn that song.
I know you had some personal challenges during that first tour as well.
My dad was dying. It was interesting, because in 2004, he did travel to England to see us, and that was a thrill. He had seen the Pixies years before, and for him to see us again on a different level, that was a treat for him. It was kind of heavy and did play a part in the experience. I remember him telling me that he was in the balcony with my mom — this older couple up there with all these young kids in Brixton. A conversation struck up and my mom said, oh yeah, that’s my son up there, and fans went wild. He hadn’t seen fans react like that before.
It’s hard to believe it has been almost 30 years since Pixies originally broke up.
At the seven-year mark of us having gotten back together in 2011, that was a longer period of time of us playing together than when we were initially a band. That was crazy. And to think now it’s 2022? It’s even more crazy.
Jonathan Cohen is a veteran journalist and talent booker known for his work at Billboard, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” Variety, and Spin. He is also the author of the 2011 New York Times-bestselling authorized biography of Pearl Jam, Pearl Jam 20.
GarciaLive Volume 18: November 2nd, 1974 Keystone Berkeley presents the complete and previously uncirculated two-set Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders performance originally recorded to 1/4” analog reels by Betty Cantor Jackson.
Is there a more iconic venue for Garcia/Saunders than the Keystone Berkeley? The Bay Area haunt was the setting for the performances contained on the legendary Live at the Keystone releases and yielded at least a half-dozen other celebrated official live releases. Be it the quaint, unassuming setting or the proximity to home, magic never seemed to be in short supply — and this evening in November was no different.
In addition to the ever-present John Kahn on bass, the rhythm section this evening was bolstered by one of the most in demand session drummers of his day, the great Paul Humphrey whose credits range from Marvin Gaye and Joe Cocker to the Lawrence Welk Show. Future Legion of Mary bandmate Martin Fierro rounds out the ensemble.
The performance itself is nothing short of exceptional, particularly the monstrous 1st set combination of “Valdez in the Country,” The Harder They Come,” and “You Can Leave Your Hat On” which destroy any notion of genre as Garcia, Saunders & co somehow fuse seemingly disparate originals by Donny Hathaway, Jimmy Cliff & Randy Newman into a sound all their own. After a brief set-break, the group returns for a super-charged 2nd set highlighted by extended versions of “Freedom Jazz Dance” and Merl’s own “Wondering Why” before closing the evening with a fiery “Mystery Train.” Always ones to stretch the bounds, you get the sense they would’ve gone all night if not for the venue’s pesky 2am curfew.
Welcome back to every live music lover’s favorite time of year: it’s summer festival season. It’s time to pack up the camping gear, load up the car with friends and family and heed the melodious call of live summer music.
The 2022 summer music festival season marks the triumphant return of many of the music festivals we all missed out on during the worst of the pandemic. There is nothing quite like the sense of community inherent in enjoying great live music as a collective. There are memories to be made, people to meet, and most importantly, great music to enjoy. The music, the sunshine, the food…it all adds up to a fantastic time. If you’re a music fan, there’s no better way to spend your time than at one of these unique summer music festivals in 2022.
For the Jamband Lover: The Peach Music Festival
The Peach Music Festival celebrates its tenth anniversary with a much-anticipated return from its two-year hiatus! This summer music festival is a good choice for the festival attendee who wants to enjoy a stellar line-up of the best improvisational guitar music. The Allman Brothers founded the Peach Music Festival in 2012. It features a heavy-hitting lineup, a camper-friendly atmosphere, and a fantastic community ambiance amongst festival-goers.
When and where: The Festival will be from June 30 through July 3 at the Montage Mountain Ski Resort in Scranton, PA.
Hog Farm Hideaway is making its long-awaited debut at the Black Oak Ranch during the 2022 summer music festival season. Festival-goers will enjoy an intimate setting for the summer festival and a beautiful backdrop of sprawling meadows and majestic oak woodlands. The Black Oak Ranch is home to Hog Farm, one of the oldest communes in the country. They have a long history of involvement in music festivals, most notable among them being Woodstock in 1969. Hog Farm Hideaway is named in their honor and is billed as a musical treat for the entire family. The lineup is a fun mash-up of different styles of jam. The festival will feature an area for children, a healing sanctuary, an activist alley, and visual arts center. Hog Farm Hideaway is an excellent choice for festival-goers who are hoping to enjoy music and community in a family-friendly environment.
When and where: Hog Farm Hideaway will take place from June 10 through June 12 at the Iconic Black Oak Ranch in Laytonville, CA.
If you’re looking to experience something transcendent, then look no further. Electric Forest is nothing short of a magical experience. The festival is nestled in the Sherwood Forest, a gorgeous wonderland of art installations and twinkling lights. This summer music festival is the first of its kind, as its lineup is a fantastical blend of jam bands and electronic dance music that will have anyone on their feet. Electric Forest is a delight to the senses from the moment you step on the festival grounds to the moment you leave.
When and where: Electric Forest will light up the sky from June 23 to the 26 at the Double JJ Resort in Rothbury, MI.
Bourbon and Beyond is a four-day summer music festival that features an eclectic lineup of indie rock, soul, country and southern rock. This festival features an impressively inclusive lineup that highlights some of the most talented emerging artists in the world of soul, blues, country, and some of the biggest names in indie rock. It also showcases an impressive amount of food and beverage vendors offering the best libations that Kentucky has to offer. This festival is a great choice for attendees who are passionate about good food, great music, and excellent whiskey.
When and where: The Bourbon and Beyond festival will take place from September 15 through the 18 and will take place at the Highland Festival Grounds at The Kentucky Expo Center.
If you’re looking to see your favorite artists while surrounded by the majesty of nature, then High Sierra is the festival for you. High Sierra is celebrating 30 years of music nestled in the beauty of the Sierra mountains during this year’s summer festival season. This festival features an eclectic lineup, optional VIP packages, daily costume themes, and a family area. High Sierra is a great place to experience the beauty of the surrounding mountainside while enjoying the beating pulse of great summer music.
When and where: High Sierra will take place from June 30 through July 3 at the Plumas County Fairgrounds in East Quincy, CA.
For the Banjo Strummer: TellurideBluegrass Festival
This legendary bluegrass festival has a reputation for spotlighting only the best emerging artists in the bluegrass and indie-folk space. It has been a part of the summer festival season since 1974 and anticipates over ten thousand yearly visitors. Telluride Bluegrass Festival is a unique experience that celebrates music, comedy, and circus performances. It features an annual battle of the bands and songwriting competition, as well as a family-friendly atmosphere. Telluride Bluegrass Festival is the perfect summer music festival for the attendee that wants to hear great bluegrass in the majesty of the Colorado wilderness.
When and where: Telluride Bluegrass Festival kicks off its 49th festival in Telluride, CO from June 16 through the 19.
It Takes One To Dream, But It Takes Two To Make A Dream Come True
by Erik Flannigan
When the River tour kicked off in early October 1980, Bruce Springsteen had been off the road nearly two years, save for the No Nukes concerts. He hit arenas that fall with 20 new songs from The River in hand; not surprisingly, Springsteen setlists grew in length to accommodate the bounty of fresh material. By late December, River shows were approaching three and a half hours, in part because the underlying structure of the set established on the Darkness tour remained fundamentally unchanged, albeit in a supersized edition.
After peaking with Bruce’s longest concert to that point on New Years Eve 1980, the River tour resumed in early 1981 and began to streamline. The number of songs from the double album included in the set also scaled back. By the time Springsteen hit Europe in April, opening night in Hamburg featured 24 songs, down from the 12/31/80 zenith of a whopping 38.
As the European tour proceeded, the tone of the shows began to sharpen, influenced by the perspective Bruce was gaining as he experienced life and culture outside of the United States firsthand. The books Bruce was reading—including Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States and Alfred Wertheimer’s Elvis ’56: In the Beginning (An Intimate, Eyewitness Photo-Journal)—also shaped his creative outlook.
As he had done first with the inclusion of “This Land Is Your Land” at Nassau Coliseum in December, Springsteen was questioning American idealism and beliefs in front of fans in Europe who did not necessarily share the same values or background. Moreover, for all intents and purposes, European audiences had never seen him perform before and had no history but the present. The result was the most earnest Bruce Springsteen to ever take the stage.
The tonal shift in Europe ‘81 also manifests through the inclusion of new material. First came “Follow That Dream” in Paris; “Run Through the Jungle” in Rotterdam, “Johnny Bye-Bye” in Manchester; and finally “Trapped’ in London.
Three of those four remarkable songs are included on London 6/4/81, the fifth show of the six-night Wembley stand which features five tracks not performed on the previously released Archive title from 6/5/81. Multitrack recordings of the last three London shows are the only surviving professional documents to capture the distinctive, eye-opening spirit of Europe ‘81.
The show gets off to a banging start with the trio of “Prove It All Night,” “The Ties That Bind,” and “Out in the Street,” presented in a crisp, new Jon Altschiller mix that puts the listener in an appropriately intimate position for this deeply personal performance.
An extraordinary duo follows. Introduced simply as “a song that was originally done by Elvis Presley,” “Follow That Dream” is performed in a lump-in-your-throat re-arrangement that is equal parts Presley’s original, Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams,” and Bruce’s own mediation on faith. The E Street Band’s accompaniment is magnificently understated, with Roy Bittan’s piano and synthesizer poignantly accenting Springsteen’s haunted vocals. If one song sums up the sound of Europe ‘81, “Follow That Dream” is it.
From Elvis’ own song to a reflective tribute, “Johnny Bye-Bye” is performed with eleagic backing by the E Street Band supporting Bruce’s plaintive, heartfelt vocals. Before he plays it, Springsteen talks about the aforementioned book Elvis ‘56 and says the following about the artist captured in the book’s images, though he might just as easily have been saying it about himself: “When you look at him, when he was that young, he always seemed so sure of himself. He looked like he had some secret that he wasn’t telling nobody.”
The guitar sound is SO clear before the start of “Jackson Cage” you might think there was a secret guitar amp hidden in your room. Played as a request, this might be the best live version of “Jackson Cage” you’ve ever heard, and it is the first from the River tour to appear in the Live Archive series. Vocals from Bruce and Stevie Van Zandt lay it all on the line, and the song’s ending is particularly tasty.
The performance of “Trapped” is only the fourth ever, as Bruce’s reworking of the Jimmy Cliff original debuted the first night at Wembley. These early versions are nonetheless fully realized and ride an evocative synthesizer line as the song builds to its climatic choruses and a saxophone crescendo from Clarence Clemons. An August 1981 Rolling Stone article called it “a scintillating new song…reworked in the searing mode of Darkness on the Edge of Town.” The audience reception to “Trapped” is immense.
The first set continues, with “Two Hearts,” “The Promised Land” and “The River” marked by the kind of heightened lead vocals that are the hallmark of great shows. As “The River” ends, the spotlight turns to Roy Bittan for his chills-inducing “Once Upon a Time in the West” introduction to “Badlands,” which explodes out of the gate and never lets up. Marvel at the interaction between Bruce and Stevie starting with “Poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king.” If you need to be reminded of the power of “Badlands,” your faith will be rewarded.
A warmly received “Thunder Road” closes this peerless opening set. If you weren’t fortunate enough to see a show in the intermission era, imagine how that Wembley Arena audience felt when Bruce says, “We’re gonna take a short break and come back to rock you all…night…long.”
Set two opens with an especially delightful “You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch),” again showcasing Van Zandt’s backing-vocal prowess. The feel-good onslaught extends to “Cadillac Ranch,” “Sherry Darling,” and “Hungry Heart.” On the last of these, the Wembley faithful acquit themselves impressively singing the first verse, perhaps drafting on experience from songs sung at football grounds.
“Fire” and a barnstorming “Because the Night” are exemplary versions that rank among the best of this era. The same can be said for the two classics that follow, neither of which appeared on the previous Wembley release.
“Racing in the Street” taps that aforementioned earnestness as Springsteen sings with simple, unaffected beauty in a reading defined by Bittan’s expressive and powerful playing. I have always presumed his work on “Racing” is what led Mark Knopfler to tap him to play on Dire Straits’ masterpiece Making Movies. The “Racing” outro here is sublime.
“Backstreets” on the River tour boasts a striking, minute-long instrumental introduction before the familiar piano refrain begins and we swell to Bruce’s memorable first line. You’ll hear Danny Federici’s organ appealingly high in the mix throughout the track, balancing Bittan’s continued virtuosity. “Ramrod” arrives to buoy our spirits, and “Rosalita” brings the house down, conquered and bloody happy about it.
The encore may look tidy and traditional, but like the rest of 6/4/81 it is delivered par excellence. We love it when Bruce’s vocals rise at the end of “Born to Run” on “Oh, oh, OH, OH, OH-OH-OH.” In the last song of the night, “Detroit Medley,” Springsteen tells the audience he’s out of gas, much to The Big Man’s dismay. In the end, and to no one’s surprise, Bruce goes the extra kilometer for what ultimately turns out to be a 15:25 tour de force that includes a quick detour to Memphis for “Shake” and “Sweet Soul Music.”
“Spotlight on me,” Springsteen shouts at the end of “Sweet Soul Music,” taking his place among the list of legends the song namechecks. After the masterful performance he and the band delivered at Wembley on the fourth day of June, 1981, he absolutely belongs on it.