Probably no artist in rock history has delivered live performances that are as consistently revelatory as Bruce Springsteen's, and when push comes to shove, most diehard fans of The Boss cite his 1978 tour with the E Street Band, in support of Darkness On The Edge Of Town, as the greatest of the great. In fact, it's tough even to select one boot from the '78 tour among the many that could credibly vie for "best Springsteen show ever" honors -- both of the September shows in Passaic, New Jersey are breathtaking, and the December show at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco (the first non-Beatles boot I recall getting my hands on, when I was in high school) is another absolute classic. But in a poll a few years back by the Brucelegs fan site, this recording -- of the show at the Agora Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio on August 9, 1978 -- topped them all.
And sure enough, it is something else -- not just an astonishing performance, heavy on material from Darkness and Born To Run (with "Because The Night," which I still prefer to Patti Smith's version, in the setlist for good measure), but thanks to a live broadcast by Cleveland radio station WMMS, a near-perfect soundboard recording as well. It's also a marathon, as most Springsteen shows in this period were, clocking in at just under 3 hours, and requiring 3 CDs to hold it all. For that reason, this will be a two-part post -- grab the first two discs now, then come back later in the week for the third one.
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & THE E STREET BAND - Just In Time For Summer - Live at the Agora Ballroom, Cleveland, OH, August 9, 1978
01 Intro - Denny Sanders of WMMS
02 Intro - Kid Leo of WMMS
03 Summertime Blues
05 Spirit In the Night
06 Darkness On The Edge Of Town
08 The Promised Land
09 Prove It All Night
10 Racing In The Street
11 Thunder Road
01 Intro - Denny Sanders
02 Paradise By The "C"
04 Sherry Darling
05 Not Fade Away > Gloria > She's The One
06 Growin' Up
08 Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
I'll post Disc 3 in a few days.