Bruce Springsteen has added his and The E Street Band‘s two performances at Madison Square Garden in 1979 to his online archive for the first time ever. The two shows were initially performed on September 21st and 22nd of that year as part of the “No Nukes” benefit concerts, which were organized by fellow rock artists Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Bonnie Raitt, and John Hall, who operated under the organizational acronym MUSE–Musicians United For Safe Energy.
No Nukes 1979 features The Boss himself on lead vocals, in addition to E Street Band members Roy Bittan, Clarence Clemons, Danny Federici, Garry Tallent, Stevie Van Zandt, and Max Weinberg. The live album can be purchased digitally through Springsteen’s archive website, with a CD format scheduled to arrive for order on January 21st of next year. This is the first time that Springsteen has shared the complete performances from both nights of the benefit shows, as portions were initially included on his No Nukes concert film and soundtrack released back in 1980.
The setlist on night one (September 21st) included songs like “Prove It All Night”, “Badlands”, “Thunder Road”, “Born To Run”, and the live debut of “The River”, with the last track also acting as the title to Springsteen’s fifth studio album, which would arrive in October 1980. The band’s live rendition of Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs’ “Stay” on night one would feature a guest(s) sit-in from Jackson Browne and Rosemary Butler, with Tom Petty also joining in to help perform the 1960 doo-wop hit the following evening. The 11-song performance recorded on September 22nd featured the same setlist as the night one, with exception of “Detroit Medley”.
A partial inspiration for the anti-nuke concerts came from Three Mile Island accident near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in March 1979, which “highlighted the risks of nuclear power to the entire nation and further galvanized the already active anti-nuclear movement,” as Erik Flannigan pointed out. Springsteen and the band had been in the process of recording the material which would end up becoming The River at the Power Station recording studios located up the street from Madison Square Garden on West 53rd Street at the time of the shows. Springsteen would dedicate his live debut of “The River” to his brother-in-law on night one; And to his mother and sister the following evening.
Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band – “The River” – 9/21/1979
More information on the release of the performances as well as the digital download purchase option can be found on the Springsteen Archive. $2 from each album sale will go towards Musicians United For Safe Energy.
[H/T Rolling Stone]