“Incident on 57th Street” performed by Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band

“Spanish Johnny drove in from the underworld last night . . . ”

Talk to any Springsteen fan and this song with likely been on their list of favorites. This live version is just amazing. It was on a B-Side years ago but you can’t find it anywhere now – it’s not on iTunes. The video here isn’t great as someone splices together a bunch of video clips, but it has this excellent live version. Wait for the beautiful guitar solo at the end.

  

Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road” live with the late Clarence Clemons

RIP Clarence Clemons. The sax solo at the end of most live versions of “Thunder Road” shows Clarence at his best.

  

Matthew Ryan: Dear Lover


RIYL: Bruce Springsteen, Josh Rouse, Ryan Adams

Singer and songwriter Matthew Ryan is one of the most prolific musical artists out there, as evidenced by the fact that his new release, Dear Lover, is his twelfth album, and his sixth since his last major label effort, 2000’s East Autumn Grin. Since then, Ryan has been refining and re-inventing his sound, enjoying the fact that he can make music his own way without the “input” a major label tends to impose on its artists. On Dear Lover, the same smoky, Americana-tinged vocal that is Ryan’s trademark is there, and the subject matter is personal and profound yet universally appealing. Musically, however, Ryan seems to have stalled a bit this time around, as if he’s been running on the same treadmill for a while and can’t get off of it. That doesn’t mean it’s awful; it only means that the music is not much different from recent efforts, and there is a bit too much similarity in tone, tempo and arrangement. If you’re a fan of Ryan’s, chances are you’ll find something to like here, particularly, the mid-tempo but raunchy title track, the piano-laced “We Are Snowmen” or the dark and introspective “The End of a Ghost Story.” But if you’re just discovering him for the first time, you might want to jump back into his catalog a bit for perspective. (The Dear Future Collective 2010)

Matthew Ryan MySpace Page

  

Book Review: The Light in Darkness by Lawrence Kirsch

bruce and band

For many die-hard Bruce Springsteen fans, the 1978 tour ranks as his best. It was Springsteen at the height of his powers, when his live shows truly became the stuff of legend. The tour lasted only seven months, and he wasn’t playing arenas yet so he wasn’t yet drawing the huge crowds that would see him in the 1980’s, but the tour lived on in the numerous bootlegs created during these incredible shows.

So, when I heard of a new book about the tour, I had to check it out. The Light in Darkness by Lawrence Kirsch is an excellent tribute to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and the memorable tour from 1978. Bruce would release Darkness on the Edge of Town during the tour, which broke a three-year drought caused by Springsteen’s legal battles with his previous manager following the success of Born to Run.

The first thing you notice is the photography. Kirsch compiled an impressive collection of photos from that time period, many of which came from fans and had never been previously published. But the stories are equally rich, as writers, fans, DJs and others who saw the tour or participated in various ways share their experiences.

Bruce piano

Growing up in Cleveland, I was introduced to Springsteen through WMMS, the legendary AOR station that featured Kid Leo as the afternoon drive DJ. Kid Leo became Springsteen’s most enthusiastic supporter outside of Springsteen Jersey/Philly base. I didn’t get to see my first Springsteen show until 1980, but I was introduced to the 1978 tour when WMMS would replay the incredible free concert Bruce gave at the Agora in Cleveland that was broadcast on WMMS. Like everyone else I taped it and memorized the entire show. Kid Leo game the memorable introduction to Bruce and the band that everyone can hear on the recording: “I have the duty and the pleasure of welcoming, ladies and gentlemen, the main event. Round for round, pound for pound, there ain’t no finer band around – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band!” Bruce then tore into Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” and then “Badlands” to kick off the epic performance. Through the years you hear the evolution of Springsteen’s live versions of his signature songs, but the raw intensity he displayed on this tour has always stuck with me as Bruce at his very best.

In The Light in Darkness, Kirsch includes four stories about this memorable performance, two from die-hard fans, one from John Gorman who helped produce the show’s broadcast and one from WMMS DJ Denny Sanders. I learned that Bob Segar was quoted as saying “This was the greatest rock and roll show I ever heard,” and that Max Weinberg called it “The best show the E Street Band ever did.”

The book is a celebration of rock history. If you’re a Springsteen fan, it’s something you’ll have to add to your collection. You’ll want to break out the old bootlegs and rock out to the Boss all over again. If you’re a rock and roll junkie who’s never been a big Springsteen fan, this book might be the introduction you need to one of the best live artists in rock history.

inside front cover

  

Elvis crashes the Bruce Springsteen concert in Philly

Hilarious.

  

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