Starting today, nugs.net subscribers can experience The Rolling Stones like never before. Filmed with stellar quality, a collection of vintage performances from The Rolling Stones’ Vault is now streaming in the videos section of the nugs.net app. There are currently three shows from the 1970s available to watch with more on the way soon. Now is your chance to watch Mick, Keith, and the rest of the band during the golden age of Rock’n’Roll.
We’re back for the first Third Man Thursday of the year and this month’s release is a unique treat. Today, Third Man Records is releasing The White Stripes’ 2001 show at Orange House in Munich, Germany. The show is one of only two known White Stripes shows to be recorded on reel-to-reel tape. Third Man Records’ Co-Founder Ben Blackwell’s write up details the unique process of mastering this show from the 1/4″ tapes:
This show is a remarkable performance in stellar quality. Boy do the Germans know how to record! Of particular interest was the fact that a radio broadcast in 2001 was recorded to 1/4” tape. Just seems like…such an anachronistic move. The fact that the tapes ended up in the Third Man Vault made it all the better to transfer at an appropriately-high bitrate and then share them here. But the tapes themselves were in an incredibly odd iteration which I had never even seen before. They weren’t on reels (or flanges) and instead the tape was all held together by sheer tension around a metal center piece that looks reminiscent of a 45rpm adaptor. I am told they are called AEG hubs. Additionally, the tape was wound with the reels magnetic side OUT. Leave it to our main man Bill Skibbe to track down a German Telefunken tape machine IN DETROIT and work magic on his end. The heads on Telefunken machines face IN, so he had to surgically unspool, respool, edit out dead space AND track down a step up converter as the machine only runs on 220v electricity. I wish everyone had their very own Bill Skibbe to solve technological quandaries like this. I mean, he IS for hire at Third Man Mastering, but I digress.
There are some songs missing here that are included in audio circulating amongst fans, in this instance clearly missed by engineers swapping out reels in real time. Rather than try to include from inferior sourced audio, we’ve chosen to just present the show exactly as it exists on these original tapes. Save for one EARLY gig (1997?) I am unaware of any other White Stripes performances that were captured on reel-to-reel tape, so this feels extra-special. Starting the set with “Death Letter” is peculiar and I love it…I can’t recall any other Stripes performance beginning with that song, but I’m sure some die-hard will take the opportunity to tell me otherwise! Coupled with rousing takes on “Love Sick” and “The Union Forever” the entire performance captivates. A prime example of the on-fire abandon Jack and Meg were brimming with in 2001.
Since 1976, Austin City Limits has been providing Texas and the rest of the world with iconic live sessions. Over the holidays New West Records added more than 15 of the greatest ACL performances of all time to the nugs.net catalog. Experience legendary performances from artists like Guided By Voices, Kris Kristofferson, David Byrne, Steve Earle, and more. The performances span four decades with shows from 1976 through 2004. Each show is available to purchase in the nugs.net store and you can stream the whole collection with the nugs.net app.
We’ve got four action-packed shows from last month’s Strings and Sol festival now streaming. Listen to performances from The Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon, and Railroad Earth that feature tons of debuts and guests. There are two sets to check out from The Infamous Stringdusters. On December 13th they played a beach set and the next day they returned with a debut cover of “Stairway to Heaven.” The Leftover Salmon show features Del and Ronnie McCoury on a pair of tunes and multiple live debuts.
Now that we’re officially in the 2020s, we are looking back at the best music of the 2000s (so far). nugs.net’s founder, Brad Serling, has cultivated his list featuring some of the most memorable live performances from the last twenty years. You can listen to every song on the latest editions of the nugs.net Live Stash podcast. Brad goes through his full list of favorites in two parts providing commentary on each entry.
The home stretch of the Darkness tour in late 1978 may look like a victory lap, but its purpose was to return to key markets and seal the deal. The final push raised Springsteen and the E Street Band up from theaters played on previous legs to bigger rooms, with dates in arenas in cities like Cleveland, which closed the tour with a pair of shows at the Richfield Coliseum on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day 1979.
In the Bay Area, that meant graduating from the Berkeley Community Theater and San Jose Center For the Performing Arts, played in the summer, to back-to-back nights at legendary promoter Bill Graham’s Winterland, capacity 5,400.
The first night at Winterland would also serve as the fifth and final live radio broadcast from the Darkness tour, thrilling listeners around the Bay Area on KSAN-FM and strategically extended via simulcast to audiences in Sacramento, Eugene, Portland, and Seattle on their respective rock stations. The simulcast primed the pump in two of those markets, as Bruce would play the Rose and Emerald cities in just a few days’ time.
By that point, Springsteen’s management and Columbia Records had recognized that the Darkness tour broadcasts which preceded Winterland (The Roxy in Los Angeles, Agora in Cleveland, Passaic, and Atlanta) were a powerful marketing tool, not only reaching established fans in core and adjacent markets but converting fence-sitters who were loyal listeners to those all-important rock radio outlets. Live concerts were already a staple of FM radio at the time, including nationally syndicated shows like the King Biscuit Flower Hour and Rock Around the World. Simulcasts of local concerts were equally common on FM stations like WMMR in Philadelphia and WMMS in Cleveland.
But Springsteen’s strategy and tactics were unique. No artist I know of had ever done five live broadcasts from the same tour and simulcast the shows regionally — taking over the airwaves for three hours at a clip, no less. In the process, Bruce built an alliance of rock stations, and their listeners that would remain loyal for years to come. Springsteen had long enjoyed incredible word of mouth about his concerts, but the ’78 broadcasts provided tangible, recordable, and shareable proof.
There was also an idea in the air that the follow up to Darkness on the Edge of Town simply had to be a live album. The broadcasts provided an opportunity to roll in a remote recording truck and kill two birds with one stone, sending the show over the air and capturing it to multi-track tape for potential future release. It just took a few decades longer than expected.
Fans and collectors have spent millions of pixels on message boards discussing and debating which shows were recorded on multi-tracks and wondering why more early Bruce gigs weren’t done. Beyond the expense (which was significant), the act of recording a live concert to multi-track itself was no simple feat circa 1978.
A 24-track, two-inch, reel-to-reel tape recorder is a massive piece of heavy equipment with a large footprint. The recorders are mounted on carts with industrial casters so they can be rolled into position. Two-inch recorders also require a lot of power to operate, and they are extremely sensitive to the conditions of their environment, particularly temperature.
Oh, did I mention you need two of them to record a concert without gaps? Two-inch tape and recorders were designed to record one song in the studio, not a three-hour concert. Given their short tape lengths, a recording engineer had to start a tape going on one machine, wait for it to run most of the way through, then fire up a second overlapping tape on the second machine and so on. Back and forth they would go: loading, recording, and switching tapes in real time on two machines to preserve a full performance. Today, you can record an entire show to multitrack on a laptop and a breakout box that fits in a backpack.
Given the complex logistics, it should come as no surprise that multi-track recording could occasionally go wrong, even with experienced engineers and producers in the truck. Whether there were complications on the night or tapes were lost over time, the surviving multi-track reels of the first night of Winterland cover less than half the show. The inclusion of “Fire” on Live 1975/85 from 12/16, not the better-known 12/15, may be a clue that the problems occurred on the night in question.
Luckily, remote recording units typically carried a third reel-to-reel deck with them as well: a high-quality, 15-IPS, two-track recorder to serve as a back-up/reference capturing the front-of-house mix as it happened. That’s exactly what the Record Plant’s R2R did on December 15, 1978, recording a pre-broadcast stereo feed from the mixing board.
Forty-one years later, we’re fortunate those two-track, 15-IPS masters from the familiar 12/15 show were recently unearthed, along with the complete multitrack masters from the previously unheard 12/16 set. Both sources have been newly transferred via Plangent Process, restored (12/15) and mixed (12/16) by Jon Altschiller and mastered by Adam Ayan to deliver a complete document of the Winterland stand, both the beloved broadcast performance from night one and the fresh-to-the-world set from night two.
A bounty of two peak Darkness concerts should be at the top of anyone’s holiday wish list. Most will know the celebrated 12/15 set like the back of their hand from tapes and bootlegs of the broadcast, but for 12/16, here’s a user guide to this wonderful addition to the live Darkness canon.
1) Bruce changed the set on night two in deference to fans attending both shows, opening with “Good Rockin’ Tonight” and playing “Rendezvous” for the first time on the tour. Incredibly, “Rendezvous” is one of six unreleased originals performed in the 25-song set, along with “Independence Day,” “The Fever,” “Fire,” “Because the Night” and “Point Blank.”
2) Introducing a weighty “Independence Day,” Bruce says, “This is a song I wrote a couple years ago. I was originally going to put it on Darkness on the Edge of Town. This is called ‘Independence Day.’ This is for my pop.” With his parents living in nearby San Mateo, we can assume that Douglas was very likely in the audience for the performance.
3) Bruce tells a completely different and much longer story than night one setting up “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.” The tall tale includes entertaining references to Johnny Carson and Kellogg’s Pop Tarts, plus some audible chiming in from Stevie Van Zandt, who wants a new amplifier from Saint Nick.
4) Bruce dedicates “Racing in the Street” to “all the San Francisco night riders,” but after singing “Tonight, tonight, the strip’s just right” he goes totally blank. “I forgot the words,” he says. It is an endearing and rare moment of vulnerability, which he not only recovers from gracefully, but which seems to inject the show with an adrenaline shot: from that point forward, Springsteen and the band are en fuego. “Jungleland” brings the first set to a crackling close, riding the powerful dynamics of Clarence Clemons on saxophone and Van Zandt’s guitar solo, setting the table for a stunning second act.
5) “It’s Hard to Be a (Saint in the City)” is another set list change and serves as a stonking start to a second set for the ages. The guitar tone on this one should be bottled as a stimulant.
6) “Because the Night” begins with what might best be described as an experimental guitar intro that is more a sonic survey of echo, delay, and sustained notes than strumming. It’s the most Frippertronics approach I have ever heard Springsteen explore. Fascinating.
7) How about the version of “She’s the One”? The intro weaves “Mona” and “Preacher’s Daughter,” while Bruce later riffs on Van Morrison/Them’s “Gloria.” Stevie sings soulful retorts all over the performance, all in the service of Bruce’s heightened lead vocal. Listen to the incredible run he takes through, “Just one kiss, she’ll turn them long summer nights, with her tenderness / The secret pact you made, when her love could save you, from the bitterness… WHAAAAHOO!” Holy crap.
8) “The Fever” is focused and luscious, providing a deserved spotlight on the band, especially Danny Federici and the Big Man, who shine ever-so-brightly as they thread their solos around each other. Rest in peace, E Street icons.
9) A slightly shambolic “Detroit Medley” features a rare foray into Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.”
10) Finally, connoisseurs of audience noise (and I know you’re out there) should be extremely pleased with the level of fan interaction in Jon Altschiller’s mix. The crowd is ever-present and in full voice throughout the night and who can blame them?
Thanks to former Columbia product manager Dick Wingate for supplying contemporary information and documentation about the Darkness tour broadcasts.
It’s a White Christmas this year with two new archival releases from The White Stripes. The first release stretches back over twenty years to September 1999 in Detroit, Michigan and the second comes from the Seattle Seahawks Stadium Exhibition Center in 2003. Check out Third Man Records’ Co-Founder Ben Blackwell’s write up of both unique shows below.
What an odd show. Part of a mini festival dubbed Gutterfest, organized and emcee’d by local promoter and DJ Willy Wilson (that’s his voice you hear introducing the band), it was a rare event for the Stripes to open a show with a cover song, let alone one they had never played before and would never play again, but that’s the case with the Captain Beefheart classic “Diddy Wah Diddy” kicking off the performance. Followed by “Never Thought That I Could Love You” (sometimes titled “Lucky to Know You”), which holds a unique profile as being a song played by the White Stripes live a handful of times, yet never tackled in the studio and never showing up in any other Jack White outfit ever again. There might be a video kicking around of another show where the band plays this, otherwise, this may be the only time/way you’ll ever get to hear it. Otherwise, the set list is filled with early favorites and most excitingly, TONS of stage banter. I’ve no idea what had Jack so talkative this evening, but it sticks out, hands-down, as my single favorite collection of banter for a White Stripes show. From George Washington, Jack’s opinion on the size of roads, how much free time kids should have, who exactly is the “moon man”, where the street you grew up on got its name from and what exactly makes Wayne Kramer a “legend” are all addressed. In my opinion though, the best comment is after the band finishes playing “Why Can’t You Be Nicer to Me?” the sound man comes over the muffled stage speaker and says “That’s it guys” to which Jack replies, incredulously, “That’s it?!?! I was BORN here man!”
Weird to think about it now, but the Stripes would only perform as an opening act in Detroit ONE more time after this gig. While this show is far from perfect, it feels outright inspiring to see the trajectory Jack and Meg would take from this moment. Ultimately, a fascinating show for anyone with a deep appreciation of the band OR just a casual fan wanting to hear songs that exist nowhere else. – Ben Blackwell, Third Man Records
A dud of a room if there ever was one. I have no idea why they put on shows in this space. I mean all disrespect when I call this space a facility. But when the White Stripes are white hot in the touring behind Elephant I assume you just gotta play whatever room fits the crowd. And fortunately, the shortcomings of this space failed to affect the sound captured or the band’s performance. This show is of particular note as it would be the first time the Stripes would play with Yeah Yeah Yeahs since the YYY’s first-ever show back in September 2000. Having to follow an explosive opening act, the Stripes come out of the gate guns blazing with a bonkers version of “The Hardest Button to Button” which, while somewhat odd to land in as the set-opener, helps establish the mood. My favorite moment on this recording is the extemporaneous version of Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Man” done in a medley with “Astro” and “Jack the Ripper.” Playing a cover in front of the folks who wrote it, to me, is the ultimate sign of respect. Equal parts electric, unhinged, of-the-moment and uncannily compelling. Truth of the matter is that it felt like ALL shows on this 2003 West Coast run were wild. One of the more memorable span of shows for me, the band hitting its stride at the highest of heights. And yes, listening now, it is absolutely totally weird hearing “Seven Nation Army” in the middle of the set, but at the time, I don’t think I felt that way.
Of the 63 or so shows the White Stripes recorded in 2003, this appears to the be the only performance we do not still have multitrack masters on. All audio comes from a CD-r made the evening of the performance with a “Glenn Sound” sticker label attached to it. I know that Glenn Sound is a studio in Seattle where the Stripes did a radio session back in 2002, but am unsure as to what their involvement was for this 2003 show. The CD was left on a table in the band’s tour bus after the show and I was sure to snatch it up, only re-discovering it in my basement mere weeks ago. – Ben Blackwell, Third Man Records
It’s that time of the year where artists are looking back at their favorite highlights from the last 12 months. The String Cheese Incident’s Travelogue 2019 covers some of the most unique moments from the band’s extensive travels over the past year. The selections were handpicked by SCI archivist Larry Fox who included a special message for fans with the collection.
“2019… The String Cheese Incident’s 25th year! In putting together this year’s look-back, I tried to pull together some of the more unique moments from this year’s Incidents. This is not so much a “best-of”, but a “taste” of all the corners of the musical spectrum that the band touches on from night to night. There were a ton of great performances that didn’t fit on the four disc format. There’s a heavy dose of “one-time-played”, as well as a few key “guest artist contributions”. I encourage you to explore the rest of the 2019 catalog on LiveCheese & nugs.net. If you haven’t already signed up for the nugs.net streaming app, you owe it to yourself to try it out! Every show on this site is available for streaming – a miracle of modern technology!
As I say every year, I hope you enjoy listening to this collection as much as I enjoyed putting it together! Hope to see you guys out on the road in 2020! – Larry Fox (SCI Archivist)”
The entire Travelogue 2019 collection is available as a free download and is currently streaming free in the nugs.net app.
Earlier this year we added the Wilco Roadcase collection to the nugs.net catalog. Today, five new shows are being released for the first time ever, exclusively on nugs.net. This release includes four Wilco archives from 1999 – 2004 and a special Jeff Tweedy solo performance from 2005. Check out the details on each show below.
1999: Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London, UK
Before embarking the following month on a proper tour in support of the release of Summerteeth (a tour that would last for most of 1999), Wilco played a few “showcase” shows, including this one at Shepherds Bush Empire in London. As evidenced by this recording, as well as the one from New Orleans (which also exists in the nugs.net archive), these shows kept things pretty “close to the vest”, presenting the new material in arrangements that were very close to the recorded versions (in contrast to the looser approach that would prevail later in the year). With Jay Bennett spending more time behind the keyboards, and the continued use of Leroy Bach as an additional sideman, the band was able to reproduce the lush sounds heard on the album, which was released three weeks prior. In addition to the new Summerteeth material, other highlights include powerful versions of “Hotel Arizona” and “Hesitating Beauty”.
Wilco set out on their fall 2001 U.S. tour with the aggregate weight of the band’s recent lineup change, the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, and promoting a new record that was not yet officially released. While earlier shows revealed a band still finding its sea legs (no doubt due, at least in part, to what was happening in the world at the time), by the time they landed in San Francisco for a three-night run at the Fillmore, Wilco was a minimalist yet powerful four-piece. This show, judged to be the best of the run, sees the band playing beautiful, sparse arrangements of nearly all of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, with “Ashes Of American Flags” being a particular standout. Other highlights include what Jeff announces as their first live performance of “Pieholden Suite”, and a crazy, chaotic, and extended “Misunderstood” featuring a gnarly electric guitar loop.
2003: Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia, PA
Wilco and tour co-headliners Sonic Youth head into Philadelphia’s Penn’s Landing (on the banks of the Delaware River) following two shows at New York’s Central Park. By this time, the Tweedy / Stirratt / Kotche / Bach / Jorgensen five piece lineup had been playing together for about a year, with Mikael now playing a full array of keyboards, resulting in a more dense and intricate sound. Highlights of this show center around the still-formulating arrangements of songs that would later appear on the A Ghost Is Born album, including a very electric version of “Muzzle of Bees” (with some different lyrics) and a bopping take on “Spiders (Kidsmoke)” that splits the difference between the earlier “folk-y” approach and the full-on “Kraut Rock” version to follow. In addition, the encore includes and extended and intense version of “Laminated Cat” featuring frequent collaborator and then Sonic Youth member Jim O’Rourke.
Following opening sets by Sleater-Kinney and The Flaming Lips, Wilco sets the tone for a raucous New Year’s Eve by taking the stage at New York’s Madison Square Garden (in their pajamas) and opening with the not-so-fist-pounding “Less Than You Think”. Not to worry…party intentions are quickly displayed as the band follows that up with a version of “Spiders (Kidsmoke)” played at breakneck speed. “Come for the repertoire, stay for the covers” is the order of the night, as the band includes, among many others, versions of “Living After Midnight” (Judas Priest), “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” (Blue Oyster Cult) and even “Love Will Keep Us Together” (The Captain and Tennille). Some of these covers would enter into the band’s short-term repertoire, while others were “one and done” for this special event.
2005: Tribeca Performing Arts Center, New York, NY
Jeff Tweedy’s second-ever full solo tour rolled into Lower Manhattan’s Tribeca Performing Arts Center on November 16th and 17th, 2005. Band-mate Nels Cline opened the show on the 16th, and Glen Kotche opened on the following night. In addition to Wilco favorites and deep cuts, these shows also featured material from Jeff’s days in Uncle Tupelo, as well as extended and hilarious “discussions” with “the abyss”…pitch black audience members talking as if they were voices inside his head. But the true highlight are the two Loose Fur songs performed by…Loose Fur. Jeff brings out Glenn to play a few songs with him as he had been doing (and would do) throughout the tour; the difference on this night being that Jim O’Rourke would join them on bass for “Laminated Cat” and the yet-to-be-released “The Ruling Class”. This would mark only the third time that Loose Fur had appeared onstage, with the other two shows also happening in New York, back in 2002.
Today and tomorrow are the busiest travel days of the year. We’ve created a playlist for nugs.net subscribers to keep everyone truckin’ along on their way to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast. It’s packed with live versions of classic hits that the whole car can enjoy.
Clocking in at two hours, The Thanksgiving Road Trip playlist is filled with the music of Springsteen, The Dead, The Allman Brothers Band, and more road trip staples. Of course, no road trip playlist would be complete without a little country. There’s Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, John Denver, and more providing that classic American road trip atmosphere. And finally, the playlist features incredible covers from Greensky Bluegrass, Tauk, and Goose. It’s the perfect accompaniment for the open road.
The year is rapidly coming to a close. Fall tours are ending and many artists will take a few weeks off to rest, reflect, and prepare for a new year of music. Before we charge into a new decade, we’re taking a look back at some of our favorite shows from 2019.
Dopapod is back with another massive drop of new shows. The Dopapod catalog on nugs.net has nearly doubled with this latest collection. There are tons of unique performances to explore from 2011 to 2019. Every show is available for individual download or you can stream all 200+ shows in the nugs.net app. Don’t know where to start with the new shows? We’ve got you covered with some highlights:
2019 was a busy year in the Bruce Springsteen archival series. This year’s releases spanned from 1978 to 2012. These performances highlight Springsteen’s vast and varied career. You can listen to shows with the full E Street Band or check out The Boss solo. Venues range from stadiums to theatres everywhere from New York to California. This year’s archives included fan favorites like the famous Bridge School Benefit show in ’86 with Danny Federici and Nils Lofgren and the legendary Piece De Resistance, Passaic ’78. There are tons of shows to explore for Bruce fans new and old.
The final U.S. stop on the Tunnel of Love tour is a powerful showcase for the album along with rare Springsteen originals and covers. Bolstering core Tunnel tracks are non-album gems “Be True,” “Seeds,” “Part Man, Part Monkey” and “Light of Day,” while Bruce taps his R&B, rock, blues and folk roots for covers of John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom,” The Sonics’ “Have Love, Will Travel,” Jackie Wilson’s “Lonely Teardrops” and even a couple verses of Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild.” Plus, a soundcheck bonus track cover of Ed Townsend’s “For Your Love.”
Equal parts concert and Irish wake, Tampa 2008 celebrates the life of founding E Street Band member Dan Federici, who passed away five days earlier. With heavy hearts, Bruce and the band perform a charged, emotional set that blends key tracks from Magic and songs selected with Phantom Dan in mind, including the tour premiere of “Growin’ Up,” a rare, show-opening “Backstreets,” “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” and a cathartic, one-off performance of the gospel standard, “I’ll Fly Away.”
Bruce brings the Devils & Dust solo tour to an unforgettable conclusion with a setlist that pulls out all the stops for the final show in Trenton. From an instrumental cover of the late Link Wray’s “Rumble” to start, through rare solo outings of “Empty Sky,” “Fire,” “Drive All Night,” “All That Heaven Will Allow,” “Thundercrack” and “Santa Claus is Coming’ to Town,” Trenton 2005 teems with surprises, none more so than “Zero and Blind Terry” on piano (not performed since 1974) and the pre-Greetings original “Song for Orphans,” released here for the first time.
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the site of two Olympic Games, provides a fitting backdrop to the last lap of the Born In The U.S.A. tour. On opening night of the final four shows, in front 83,000 fans, Bruce & The E Street Band hit their stadium-tour zenith with a powerhouse performance that mixes road-tested versions of “Seeds,” “Atlantic City,” “I’m Goin’ Down,” and “Glory Days” with risk-taking world premieres of Edwin Starr’s “War” and the beloved b-side, “Janey, Don’t You Lose Heart.”
Performing with his new band in front of eager hometown fans, Springsteen goes the extra mile in this spirited set showcasing Human Touch and Lucky Town along with a few special treats. New Jersey 1992 delivers 13 songs from the two albums, from “Living Proof” and “Souls Of The Departed” to “Real Man” and “All Or Nothin’ At All.” It also features the tour’s only performance of the gospel gem “Ninety-Nine And A Half (Won’t Do)” showcasing the background singers, plus a unique solo-to-band arrangement of “Open All Night” that hilariously updates the turnpike tale.
On a long, special night that rolled into his 63rd birthday the following day, Bruce dials up a spirited, 34-song set brimming with Wrecking Ball material; tour premieres for “Cynthia” and a moving “Into The Fire”; the first “In The Midnight Hour” since New Year’s Eve 1980; a rare coupling of “Meeting Across The River” into “Jungleland”; “Janey, Don’t You Lose Heart,” “Downbound Train” and “It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City”; plus special guest Gary U.S. Bonds on “Jolé Blon” and “This Little Girl.”
Night two of the legendary three-show stand at Nassau Coliseum 1980 is a barnstormer. It features the tour premiere of “Night” as the opener and, in its lone River tour performance, an extraordinary “Incident On 57th Street” into “Rosalita” to close the set. Spanning 35 songs, Nassau 12/29 beautifully blends deep River cuts (“Stolen Car,” “Wreck on the Highway,” “Point Blank”), seasonal nuggets (“Merry Christmas Baby” and “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” and fan favorites (“Fire,” “Because the Night”), making it one of the finest shows of the tour.
Bruce’s performance at the inaugural Bridge School Benefit Concert marked his first major appearance since the end of the BIUSA tour and his first acoustic set in over a decade. An astonishing a cappella take of “You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)” opens, followed by the debut of the stripped down “Born In The U.S.A.” Danny Federici and Nils Lofgren then join in for a sublime set that includes “Seeds,” “Darlington County,” “Mansion On The Hill,” “Fire,” “Follow That Dream” and “Hungry Heart” with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. $2 from each sale goes to The Bridge School. Dedicated to Elliot Roberts (1943-2019).
The most famous Springsteen bootleg of all time, Piece De Resistance, comes to the live archive series as Passaic 9/19/78, newly mixed from Plangent Processed multi-track master tapes. As originally broadcast up and down the Eastern seaboard, the first night of three at the Capitol Theatre may be the definitive Darkness tour document and features “Streets Of Fire,” “Independence Day,” “Prove It All Night,” “Meeting Across The River,” “Kitty’s Back,” “Fire,” “Because The Night” “Point Blank” and “Raise Your Hand.” This beloved live performance has never sounded better.
A consensus pick as one of the best nights on the Reunion tour, Los Angeles 10/23/99 brings it wire to wire, from the show-opening invocation “Meeting In The Town Tonight” into “Take ‘Em As They Come” through the rare, delightful closer “Blinded By The Light.” Other highlights of this peak Reunion set include “The Ties That Bind,” “Darkness On The Edge Of Town,” “The Promised Land,” “Incident On 57th Street,” “For You,” “Backstreets” “Light Of Day” (detouring briefly for a romp through “California Sun”) and the first solo piano version of “The Promise” in a formal concert since 1978.
Making his first full concert appearance in Asbury Park since the ’70s, Springsteen brings the Joad tour to where it all began. Accordingly, Bruce unfurls a Shore-centric set that opens with a three-song blast from Greetings: “Blinded By The Light,” “Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street” and “Growin’ Up.” With sympathetic support from Danny Federici, Patti Scialfa and Soozie Tyrell, Bruce moves through apropos surprises (“Wild Billy’s Circus Story,” “Rosalita” and “Sandy”), moving rarities (“When You’re Alone” and “Shut Out The Light”) and wonderful takes of “Racing In The Street” and “Independence Day” among many highlights.
Dead & Company’s Fall Fun Run mini-tour was a roaring success. The band performed a trio of two-night runs in New York City, Uniondale, and Hampton. When a tour kicks off on Halloween night, you know you’re in for a treat. We’ve recapped some of our favorite highlights from the six shows below. Every show from the Fall Fun Run is available now to download or stream on nugs.net!
Robert Hunter Tribute Setlist
Halloween was the first show the band had played since Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter passed away. To honor Hunter, the band packed the setlist with songs written by the legendary wordsmith. The tribute performance included “Ripple” as a rare show-opening song for the band. The entire show is filled with Hunter’s work including “Tennessee Jed,” “They Love Each Other,” and “Terrapin Station.”
Werewolves in Madison Square Garden
It wouldn’t be a proper Halloween show without at least one ghostly cover. Dead & Company closed out the show with an amazing cover of “Werewolves of London.” It was the perfect cap on a spectacularly spooky night. Amongst the Halloween thrills, The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon was in the crowd for his first-ever Dead show with Bravo’s Andy Cohen.
Maggie Rogers Joins During Night Two at MSG
The band brought out Maggie Rogers to join on vocals for a pair of tunes during their second night at The Garden. Rogers first emerged near the end of the first set for “Friend of the Devil.” It was one of our favorite versions of the Dead classic in recent memory and Rogers brings something really special to the mix. Rogers returned after the second set to join on the band’s encore-favorite “The Weight,” again shining on vocals.
Record-Setting at Nassau
Grateful Dead and Dead & Company were honored by Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum for their combined 44 shows at the stadium, the most anyone has ever played the historic venue in Uniondale, NY. A tie-dye adorned banner was hoisted in the Coliseum to celebrate the record.
“Space” on The Mothership
The tour came to a close in Hampton, Virginia with a pair of shows at the Hampton Coliseum, colloquially known as The Mothership. Counter to the Dead’s deep history with Nassau, this was actually the band’s first-ever performance at The Mothership. The band celebrated with a pair of spacey posters.
“Ripple” Bookends the Tour
Just as the tour began, the final show of the Fall Fun Run closed with “Ripple.” It was a nice bookend on an exciting tour. There was a theme of juxtaposition on this tour as we honored old friends and made new ones, returned to a venue full of history and played one for the first time. Still, through the flux of life and time, the songs endure. Ripple, like all of the Grateful Dead’s music, remains constant. The music never stopped.
Star Kitchen is one of our favorite new projects. The band is the brainchild of The Disco Biscuits’ Marc Brownstein and Eric Krasno Band’s Danny Mayer. The supergroup also includes Rob Marscher and Marlon Lewis. Their performances explore the music of Stevie, Jimi, James, & more in new and interesting ways. We sat down with the band to talk about their shows on nugs.net and more.
Q: Tell us about the hidden gems in these releases. Do you have a stand out track or show from the batch?
Star Kitchen: I really love the Boat Cruise show in NYC. It was the first time that the band played as a four-piece without any guests at all, and it was a benchmark moment for the band. We hadn’t had the confidence to pull off a whole show without the help of some special treats along the way, but it was great. We pulled it off with a very small crowd, but huge energy. It has become our go-to recording to listen to in the van.
Q: What inspired you to start a funk forward project over all else?
SK: Really, the thing that inspired me to start this project was the Sharon Jones and the Dap King’s holiday album. Every year that is the go-to in my house. The songs are dope, and the band is the best. Ultimately, it brought me back to listening to funk in general, and I went through a deep stage of dissecting Greyboy All-stars jams. Then I went further back and started relearning all of the James Brown grooves and Aretha Franklin classics; and of course, I made a James Jamerson playlist and started playing along with that. I didn’t know how to make a funk band happen, but just as with everything, the universe did deliver this time.
Q: What are your hopes for how a new listener feels when they leave a Star Kitchen show?
SK: I feel like I want them to say, oh ok, I get it, it’s funk, but also it’s not. We are taking these songs that everyone has heard thousands of times, and many that you’ve never heard, and stretching them like rubber bands, as far as we can, in every direction. Recently, someone came up to me and said, “wow that reminded me a lot of what JGB used to be,” and I was like, this guy gets it. We are taking funk and soul tunes, and then taking everything we know from being experts in improvisation and applying it to those songs in our own way. That’s what JGB used to do, and that’s what this ended up being, not by accident. I am always the most influenced by the patriarch of the jamband scene.
Monday, the musical community is coming together to honor the life and legacy of Jeff Austin. The event, titled “What The Night Brings: An Evening of Music, Remembrance & Community,” is set to feature a host of tributes and familiar faces. The show will be broadcast live from 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colorado with all proceeds going to the Jeff Austin Family Fund.
The webcast will kick off Monday, November 4th at 7:00 PM MT on nugs.tv. Expect tribute performances from Bill Nershi, Billy Strings, Brendan Bayliss, Greensky Bluegrass, Hot Rize, The Infamous Stringdusters, Keller Williams, Leftover Salmon, Members of the Jeff Austin Band, Railroad Earth, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Travelin’ McCourys and many more.
Scarlet Begonias is one of the essential pieces of the Grateful Dead discography. The band first played the song in 1974 at the Daly City Cow Palace, just south of San Francisco. The song is one of the many Grateful Dead tunes to feature the brilliant lyricism of the recently passed Robert Hunter.
Since Dead & Company began touring in 2015, Scarlet has been a fixture of the band’s live show. Every member of the band gets a chance to shine throughout the song, possibly why the band often uses it as a set opener. It’s a great introduction to the show, after a 10-minute Scarlet jam, you know exactly what to expect from a Dead & Co. performance. There’s a reason you’ll hear Bob Weir exclaim “Just like a swiss watch” after the band opens their second set in Atlanta with the song.
There are over 150 versions of Scarlet Begoniasstreaming on nugs.net from Dead & Company, Bob Weir and Wolf Bros, JRAD, and tons more. You can also watch three different versions of the song from this year’s Dead & Co. summer tour below.
For more Dead & Company, pre-order webcasts of their six upcoming Fall Fun Run shows right now on nugs.tv.
Halloween is just around the corner. Bands love to go all out with tricks and treats for fans during their special Halloween shows. Each year we see performances filled with fun covers, spooky-themed setlists, and some killer costumes. We’ve put together a list featuring some of the thrilling shows we’re excited about this Halloween.
Dead & Company
Dead & Co. is joining the Halloween fun this year. We’re excited to see what surprises the band has in-store at Madison Square Garden on October 31st. If you can’t make it to NYC next Thursday, we’ll have a full webcast of the Halloween show on nugs.tv.
We already know a little about what to expect from Greensky Bluegrass’ 2019 Halloween show. The band has announced their third “Totally Bitchin’ ’80s Halloween Party.”
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong
There will be plenty of Talking Heads and Cake at Pigeons Playing Ping Pong’s three-night extravaganza kicking off Halloween night. The run, titled “Stop Making Cake,” is bound to be a fun time. Ahead of the Halloween run, PPPP shared their official video for “King Kong” featuring Here Come The Mummies, everyone’s favorite mummified funk band.
UM has declared that their Halloween show at The Anthem in Philly will be a hell-raising night of Halloween revelry. The band is keeping tight-lipped about their plans for this year’s show, but we do know they’ll be leaving the mashups behind in favor of a “festive surprise.”
Widespread Panic, New Orleans, Halloween. That’s all we know about this year’s Panic Halloween show. But then again, that’s about all we need to know.
The String Cheese Incident
SCI is promising extended Halloween incidents starting this weekend at Suwannee Hulaween, followed by two nights at The Fillmore in Philadelphia, and concluding with two nights at The Palladium in Worcester, MA.
Third Man Thursday is back for its latest edition, this time featuring two releases from the Third Man Records archives. There’s something old and something new to explore here with a 1999 show from The White Stripes and 2014 audio from Jack White. Third Man Record’s co-founder Ben Blackwell is back this month with some background on both shows:
Jack White Live at Third Man Records 4/19/2014 – While most people would know this show for “Lazaretto” and “Power of My Love” being pressed onto a 7” 45rpm single a mere 3 hours and 55 minutes after its recording and touted “The World’s Fastest Record”, it’s easy to forget that a decent-sized set of other songs were also performed that morning. This show may be the earliest Jack White has ever performed a concert? In addition to being the first performance on the “Lazaretto” touring run for JW, it would also be the debut live performances of several classic songs in his catalog…the aforementioned “Lazaretto,” “High Ball Stepper,” “Would You Fight For My Love?” “Just One Drink” and “Three Women.” Featuring contributions from Cory Younts, Ikey Owens, Dominic Davis, Olivia Jean, Fats Kaplin, Scout Pare-Phillips, Daru Jones and Lille Mae Rische, this 12-song set is a perfectly distilled collection of what made the “Lazaretto” world tour so captivating. – Ben Blackwell, Third Man Records
The White Stripes Live at the Gold Dollar Vol. III 2/6/1999 – After the Stripes finished the tracking of their first album (taking place just a stone’s throw from the Gold Dollar) in January 1999, they immediately focused attention on a live performance at the Gold Dollar on Saturday February 6th, 1999. As only the Stripes’ second-ever headlining show, the gig was notable for the first-ever live performances of songs “Astro”, “Suzy Lee” and the Robert Johnson classic “Stop Breaking Down”…all of which would be featured on their self-titled debut album released just three months later. The transitional nature of the setlist of this performance captures the band as they grapple with the impending release of their new album and the best way to showcase that material prior to its release. – Ben Blackwell, Third Man Records
Today we’re officially welcoming Midnight North to the nugs.net family. Led by Elliott Peck & Grahame Lesh, Midnight North has mastered their rootsy Americana sound over the last six years. Audio from eight shows is now available to download or stream in the nugs.net app. We got the chance to talk to guitarists and vocalists Grahame Lesh and Elliott Peck, bass player Connor O’Sullivan, and drummer Nathan Graham before they head out on their twenty-city fall tour this weekend.
Q: Midnight North has a unique combination of sounds, stemming from genres including roots, rock, Americana and jam. Where have these influences stemmed from?
Grahame Lesh: We are influenced by so many bands and genres. Yes, roots, rock and Americana definitely are big deals for us, but also the blues, country, funk, electronica and a ton more. We have individual influences that each member brings to the table, and those mesh together into the band that we’ve become. The single biggest influence in the band’s beginning, especially the songwriting Elliott and I did, was the way duos like Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris or Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings sing together. Later on we evolved into really trying to draw from CSNY, the Band and the Workingman’s/American Beauty era Grateful Dead. But we never shy away from any bandmember’s ideas no matter what genre or situation they come from – “Roamin'” has Connor’s funk basslines woven into it these days, while Nathan’s clawhammer banjo playing really helped shape our new single “Long View”. Whatever helps the song, the story, and the performance is what we’ll use.
Q: You have a very old-school soulful sense of lyricism. Where does Midnight North get their songwriting done and what inspires your lyrics?
GL: We follow the song. Whenever an idea comes to us we follow it wherever it leads us. It usually starts with a fairly stripped down song idea from Elliott or myself, and then the band takes it from there and makes it into a song. Our lyrics are often inspired by our own lives on and off the road, but they also can be stories we want to tell. For our last record, “Under The Lights”, both of us naturally found ourselves writing about our experiences on the road, which led to our travels becoming an unofficial theme for the album. Despite that, I usually write lyrics at home, though I’ve found myself writing more and more in other places. Recently airplanes are a place where I’ve recently found myself jotting down lots of ideas.
Elliott Peck: We right lyrics pretty individually between the songwriters in the band, but for me, I like to draw on novels I’m reading or familiar stories that I relate to create the lyrics behind a song. Sometimes a line will jump out at me and help me launch the story idea, and other times I come up with the story line first, and then work to find the right language to tell it and create the feeling I want to express.
Q: nugs.net has hosted streams out of Terrapin Crossroads, a venue where Midnight North has played countless shows. So, we have to ask, what has the band’s favorite Terrapin Crossroads moment been?
Connor O’Sullivan: Yes, there have been so many! A memorable moment early on in TXR’s history was when Midnight North was planning to cover Gram Parsons’ entire Grievous Angel album in the bar. We kinda had this little tribute night planned. Phil got wind of it and jumped on board to play some bass as did a couple of the other regular TXR musicians. Then as we were running the tunes in the Grate Room beforehand, we find out Mike Gordon is gonna drop by! So the whole night quickly took a big turn into something unexpected and magical! Now that we’re on the road so much we don’t get to play TXR too often. When we are in town these days it’s a special evening with a full house of longtime fans and supporters.
Q: You handpicked eight shows to add to the nugs.net catalog. Which tracks stand out from the batch, and why?
“Roamin'” Garcia’s 5/9/2019
CO: As I was mastering the shows for Nugs and scrubbing through the Garcia’s show I came across the drum solo during the Roamin’ jam and it was just amazing to hear again! It got me excited to release more live material.
“Highway Song” River Street Jazz Cafe 8/23/2019
Nathan Graham: This was the first Midnight North tune I ever heard before I was playing with the band. I loved it then – and I love it now. Enjoy this lively rendition from Wilkes Barre PA.
“Greene County” Wonder Ballroom 1/25/2019 + “Ripple” Salvage Station 12/29/2019
GL: Listening back I couldn’t stop listening to the amazing guests we’ve been lucky enough to have joined us. Dan Lotti of Dangermuffin singing “Ripple” in Asheville, G Grass and Andy Hall from the Infamous Stringdusters joining us on “Greene County” in Portland – these moments are so fun and we’re so lucky to share them with our friends on the road.
Dead & Company is hitting the road against later this month. Their Fall Fun Run kicks off on Halloween night and will feature six shows in three cities. If you don’t live in New York, Uniondale, or Hampton, you’re not out of luck. All six shows will be webcast on nugs.tv. Every webcast is available to pre-order right now, so make your plans and get ready for six spectacular nights with Bobby, John, Oteil, Jeff, Bill, and Mickey.
Once you’ve marked the dates on your calendar and pre-ordered the webcast, we’ve got you covered with everything you need to get ready for the band to take the stage. We’ve assembled a free YouTube playlist featuring 32 tour openers from the Dead & Company summer tour. Watch them all together and you’ll be primed and ready for October 31st.
There’s plenty of highlights in these shows from breathtaking venues to mind-blowing jams. This playlist recaps the full summer tour experience. You’ll travel with the band from Mountain View California to Dallas, Texas. You’ll make stops in legendary locations like The Patriots’ Gilette Stadium and The Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field. Then there’s The Gorge which is one of the most awe-inspiring stages in the world. This playlist is full of variety including “Shakedown Street,” “Bertha,” “Feel Like a Stranger,” “Here Comes Sunshine,” and tons more. Give it a watch and you’ll be primed and ready for Halloween.
Any longtime fan who has seen their fair share of Springsteen shows has at some point played the Time Machine game: If you could go back in time and see any Bruce concert, which would it be? A wish to witness tours and performances well before our time is a charming fantasy. More painful is taking stock of the shows you could have seen but didn’t. Yet another level is more haunting still: concerts you were supposed to attend until life got in the way.
Los Angeles 10/23/99 is my cross to bear. I was living in the Northwest at the time, which the Reunion tour wouldn’t visit until April 2000. That meant my closest chance to see the reconvened E Street Band were shows in Oakland and Los Angeles, the latter a four-night stand. A fortuitously timed work trip allowed me to catch the second night at the newly opened Staples Center on 10/18, and I was holding tickets for the final show on 10/23, for which I would fly back to LA.
On 10/22, the flu hit me hard. After much deliberation and soul searching, I conceded I was just too sick to travel, canceled my trip, and gave away my tickets.
On the morning of 10/24, I got on the Internet to check the setlist of the show the night before and realized what a terrible choice I had made, shouting the following between several choice expletives: “He played ‘Take ‘Em as They Come’?!” “Incident on 57th Street?!” “For You?” “Blinded By the Light?” “The Promise?” “SOLO PIANO?!” Motherclucker!
That nagging regret has not relented to this day, and the release of 10/23/99 confirms it is justified. The final LA ‘99 show is an outstanding Reunion tour performance, from the moment “Reverend” Clarence Clemons implores, “Brothers and Sisters, all rise” to start the show. There’s something special about Reunion sets that open with the “Meeting in the Town Tonight” preamble, and going from that straight into “Take ‘Em as They Come” is irresistible. The River outtake/Tracks highlight is one of those songs I never imagined I would hear in concert back when it was but a hissy song on a cassette I got mail order via a classified ad that ran in the back of a music magazine like Goldmine or Trouser Press.
For me, that’s one of the elements that made the Reunion tour so enthralling. The band was back together for the first time since ‘88, but they were also playing unreleased songs I never dreamed possible in a Springsteen concert. Add to that the return of songs unplayed since the ‘70s and you had the intoxicating belief that any song could find its way into a Reunion tour setlist.
The first half of the set nails the ‘99 blueprint, with the notable inclusions of an excellent “The Ties That Bind” following “Take ‘Em,” a resolute “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” and one of the best takes of “Factory” on the tour. It’s fascinating how distinct this “Adam Raised a Cain” is compared to the performance from the Chicago ‘99 archive release recorded less than a month before, putting more muscle into thick guitar where Chi-Town soared on incredible vocal dynamics.
Then there’s the humor. I’m not sure Bruce has ever been more deadpan than delivering jokes expressing his disdain for the corporate branding of LA’s state-of-the-art arena. “Good evening office supply lovers,” he says. “I’ve been searching for Mr. Staples.” On opening night of the run, he called out the building for its triple-decker skyboxes that start where upper bowl of a typical arena would be. “They don’t call ’em middle-of-the-room boxes,” he added, before invoking a line he famously uttered at The Roxy 21 years prior: “I don’t play no private parties anymore.” True to his word, despite Staples Center being the newest and biggest arena in Los Angeles, Bruce has not played another concert there to this day.
Every archive release provides an HD window to hear details otherwise lost on bootleg recordings and 10/23/99 is no exception. Though they are but a few seconds each, I love hearing Danny Federici’s organ swells at the start of “Murder Incorporated” and “Incident on 57th Street.” HD quality also shines a light on Roy Bittan’s lovely playing on the aforementioned “Factory,” not to mention Bruce and Patti’s lilting harmonies that wind down the song.
The back half of 10/23/99 is sensational. By request, we get “Incident on 57th Street.” This Wild & Innocent fan favorite returned to the set in Philadelphia on 9/25/99 for the first time since Nassau ‘80, but its appearance here is arguably even more special. Based on available setlists, Springsteen had never played the song on the west coast, let alone LA, going all the way back to 1974. For all but a lucky few, this was its Pacific Time Zone debut.
“Incident” is followed by an essentially perfect “For You,” which couldn’t be played better in ‘99 (maybe any year) than this. The pacing, the vocal intonation, the band, the spirit, Max’s cymbal work, the Big Man’s sax… all are spot on. A divine performance.
Of all the regrets I have about missing this show, “The Promise” stands as the biggest. The feeling of seeing the band leave stage and Bruce walking back to Roy’s piano by himself had to be an all-time “Holy Shit” moment for many, and I still wish I could be counted among them. Hearing the performance here made me appreciate it all the more, starting slightly tentative on piano then gaining composure. Bruce sings with a touch of weariness, taking time to let his words land and ultimately restoring one of his greatest compositions to the canon. So very special.
Bruce could do no wrong from that point forward, and he didn’t. Like “For You,” we’re gifted a remarkably timeless “Backstreets,” steeped with Bittan’s expressive piano. Setlist normalcy returns for the end of the set and the encore, delivered with high-gear intensity. “Light of Day” is extra fun, with a quick romp through “California Sun” (made famous by The Rivieras) by way of the memorable guitar riff from Johnny Rivers’ “Secret Agent Man.”
As the last show in LA, 10/23/99 is definitely a “one more song” kind of night. To the delight of every office supply lover in the building, we’re treated to “Blinded By the Light,” in only its second performance since 1976. Though arguably Bruce’s most famous song pre-Born to Run (largely because of the Manfred Mann cover), the song has a spotty performance history even back in the day. Its celebratory, playful appearance seals the night with a fitting E Street kiss goodnight.
Live performances from legendary guitarist Charlie Hunter are now available to stream on nugs.net. Known for expertly bending and traversing genres such as Blues and Jazz, Charlie Hunter’s music is made to be heard live. Right now you can open the nugs.net app and listen to a dozen live shows stretching all the way back to 1996.
Hunter was born in Rhode Island and developed a detailed knowledge of the guitar from his mother who repaired them for a living. In 1993, after some time playing with Michael Franti’s “Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy,” Hunter released his first album as the Charlie Hunter Trio. Since then, he’s released music under a variety of titles and toured with a number of notable icons like Galactic’s Stanton Moore. When we asked Hunter about his dream lineup for a band he told us he’s been lucky to play with some great musicians and he wouldn’t change a thing.
His signature sound comes from a custom seven-string guitar. Hunter uses the extra string to add a bass range that he can use for counterpointing. He is truly a master of the guitar and his live improvisations are a treat to the ear of any fan. Give these shows a listen and stay tuned for even more releases from Charlie Hunter on nugs.net.
Our collection of shows from The Allman Brothers Band just got a whole lot sweeter. We’ve added a ton of new shows including performances from 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2014. This era of the Allman Brothers lineup included founding members Gregg Allman, Butch Trucks and Jaimoe along with percussionist Marc Quinones, guitarists Warren Haynes, and bassist Oteil Burbridge.
Most poignantly the lineup featured virtuoso slide guitarists Derek Trucks who is Butch Truck’s nephew. He originally joined with the group when he was a mere teenager. With Derek Trucks’ uncanny ability to reinterperate the late Duane Allman, Gregg Allman’s strong voice and Warren Haynes leading the way, this line up was truly the second coming of one of America’s greatest bands.
The energy of this era was explosive as the band hit a second peak in their career, with purpose, chemistry, and high on studio album releases which featured writing by not only the Allmans but also Oteil, Warren and Derek. Founding members Greg Allman, Butch Trucks and Jaimoe lead the band with their jazz infused classic southern blues. The jaw-dropping solos by Derek Trucks interplay perfectly with Warren Haynes tight rhythm guitar & sharp vocals, while soul-moving bass riffs by Oteil Burbridge create a deep foundation of funk n’ groove.
Greensky Bluegrass’ trio of Red Rocks shows this weekend promise to be some of their biggest performances of the year and we’re thrilled to be webcasting every moment on nugs.tv starting with tomorrow’s show. We’ll also have live coverage of Friday’s opening set featuring The Lil Smokies and Sunday’s Billy Strings performance.
This weekend will be the band’s first multi-night run since their own Camp Greensky festival which took place earlier this summer. If Camp Greensky was any indication, GSGB should have some fun surprises in store for us at Red Rocks. If you’re looking for a primer heading into this weekend’s webcasts, the Camp Greensky shows will be a great place to start.
Taking place in Wellston, MI, Camp Greensky 2019 featured sit-ins with Billy Strings, The Lil Smokies’ Jake Simpson, and tons more. The band also had some fun with the number two. Greensky Bluegrass mandolinist Paul Hoffman told us, “While we strive to make every show unique and special, maybe these ones are more special. We played two ‘two’ songs to celebrate our second year.” The first two-themed cover was Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston’s “It Takes Two” and was followed by Eddie Money’s iconic “Two Tickets To Paradise.”
Check out the Camp Greensky shows below and get ready for this weekend’s webcasts. We’ll see you at Red Rocks!
Like all great live performers in rock history, Bruce Springsteen has been heavily bootlegged on vinyl and CD, and the five live radio broadcasts from the Darkness tour were manna for home tapers and bootleggers alike. Bruce acknowledged as much himself during the July 7, 1978 Roxy broadcast in Los Angeles (the city at the epicenter of the bootleg business) when he declared: “Bootleggers out there in radioland, roll your tapes!”
Those legendary transmissions began to appear on illicit wax the following year, 1979. Live in the Promised Land (Winterland, San Francisco, December 15, 1978) was first, followed by Piece De Resistance, which pressed the Passaic 9/19/78 radio broadcast to six hot sides of vinyl in a box set. Bootleg historians say Piece De Resistance is almost certainly the best-selling Springsteen title of all time, which makes sense given that the show aired in his biggest East Coast markets.
When Live/1975-85 was announced in 1986, many presumed the legendary Passaic broadcast would provide the bulk of the Darkness tour material, but in fact, nothing from the show made the box set. The Roxy and Winterland 12/16/78 proved to be the sources for all 1978 tracks featured on Live/1975-85.
The wait is finally over. Passaic 9/19/78 arrives in its glorious entirety, newly remixed by Jon Altschiler from multi-track, Plangent Processed master tapes. It offers a fresh take on the familiar broadcast version, crackling with energy and putting Bruce and the band so close you might reach out and try to touch the Big Man’s sax. It’s not a first-row seat; it is a first-row seat directly in front of the PA speakers.
Bruce is introduced with an exclamation: “The Boss comes home!” Indeed, this was a homecoming. The three Passaic dates were Springsteen’s first proper concerts in New Jersey since 1976, and the culmination of a NY-NJ Metroplex residency that included a trio of gigs at Madison Square Garden in August (his first-ever headlining the legendary arena) and three shows at the Palladium in the city just prior to Passaic. Following that introduction, it was off to the races.
“Badlands” bursts out of the gate, with more meaty guitars in the mix than we’ve heard before and Max’s drum rolls and trills snapping like someone lit a firecracker strip. Longtime fans will have heard the start of this show hundreds or maybe thousands of times before, but that familiarity coupled with the freshness of the mix makes for a thrilling listening experience. The sense of release “Badlands” delivers has never felt more tangible.
The first set features exemplary versions of core Darkness tracks “Streets of Fire,” “The Promised Land,” “Prove It All Night” with its tension-building instrumental intro, “Racing in the Street,” and the title track. We also get a preview of where Bruce is going next through “Independence Day,” played for only the fourth time in a still-evolving arrangement. The song was recorded for Darkness, and Bruce mentions it should end up on the next album. Another future River track, “Point Blank,” makes a spellbinding appearance in set two.
Along with “Fire” and “Because the Night,” Passaic 9/19/78 features four Springsteen originals that were not released at the time. While we have come to take the live performance history of these songs for granted, Bruce is virtually alone in featuring so much unreleased music in his sets, and the inclusion of songs you can only hear at the shows was part of the magic that defined the live Springsteen legend.
The first set ends with a special and apropos “Meeting Across the River.” It is the live version I’ve heard the most and my all-time favorite performance of the song, sounding moody and marvelous as Bruce spins the tale accompanied by Roy Bittan and Garry Tallent. “Meeting” into “Jungleland” (as they are sequenced on Born to Run) to close the first set is the coup de grâcefor 80 minutes of sheer perfection.
Bruce begins the second set with “one for all the folks in Philadelphia listening in,” “Kitty’s Back.” The resplendent E Street showcase cooks for 13 minutes and has not sounded this crystal clear since Sally left the alley. The same can be said for a stunning “Candy’s Room,” as Steve’s backing vocals soar — you can even pick out Clarence’s baritone voice in the left channel as Bruce sings “what…she…wants…is…me.”
Riches abound as we move through “Because the Night,” “Point Blank,” a long “Not Fade Away” into “She’s the One,” and a sublime, luscious “Backstreets” before the set closes with a pacey “Rosalita.” The encore slows down to mythologize the Shore with “Sandy,” and the moment when Bruce sings, “the boys from the casino dance with their shirts open,” then asks, “is that you out there?” is a charming reminder that Passaic 9/19/78 is indeed one for the locals.
Incredibly, the encore sustains and at times exceeds the energy level of the main set. “Born to Run” is taken at breathless full speed. “Tenth Avenue Freeze-out’ downshifts slightly in tempo, though Bruce remains fully committed to his wide-ranging vocal gymnastics. “Detroit Medley” presents one final opportunity to showcase the band’s chops (tune into the right channel for Stevie Van Zandt’s guitar lick masterclass) in a full-frontal rock ’n’ roll assault.
Because there always has to be one more, a final encore of Eddie Floyd’s soul classic “Raise Your Hand” closes the night, a lyrical reminder that Bruce and the band are there in service of the audience, be they inside the Capitol or listening at home in the markets Springsteen namechecks.
Though he couldn’t have known it at the time, 41 years later, Bruce gives us another chance to experience Passaic in the comfort of our own homes and marvel at the prowess of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band playing their hearts out for longtime fans.
We’re partnering with Third Man Records to release live recordings from The Raconteurs, The White Stripes, Jack White, and The Dead Weather on nugs.net. Starting today, you can listen to 12 archive shows from the Third Man Records archives, including a never-before-released recording of The White Stripes. Every show is available to download or stream in the nugs.net app.
Today’s release is only the beginning. Starting in September, the third Thursday of each month is Third Man Thursday featuring brand new releases from the Third Man Records archives. Additionally, we’ll be webcasting every moment of The Raconteurs three-night run at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium free on nugs.tv starting this Thursday.
Starting today, you can listen to O.A.R. on nugs.net. Hop in and check out guitarist/saxophonist Jerry DePizzo’s curated collections. Jerry’s Picks feature the band’s best live moments from 2009 – 2016. It’s the perfect primer to introduce you to O.A.R. Having produced music and toured for over two decades, Of A Revolution has refined their live performance to perfection. There’s something special about taking your high school band and turning it into worldwide mainstream success; that’s exactly what O.A.R. has done. No matter if you’re a day one fan or if it’s your first time listening, these collections are the perfect O.A.R. experience.
Check out all of Jerry’s Picks + three full live shows from their 2014 tour
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:
Richie Havens Bert Sommer Sweetwater Melanie Tim Hardin Ravi Shanker Arlo Guthrie Joan Baez
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
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
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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.
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.
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?
Which band member does the best British accent?
Charlie does the best Ringo. Please find him and ask him to do it!
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.
Peach Festival kicks off tomorrow in Scranton, Pennsylvania and live performances from the festival’s Peach Stage will be streamed for free on nugs.tv. The webcasts start tomorrow at 3 PM ET and will continue all weekend through Sunday night.
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
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
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)
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.”
“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.”
“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”.”
“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.”
“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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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 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.”
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.
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.
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’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.”
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 & 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