[no title]JEMS Date: 20 Jul 1975 Location: Palace Concert Theatre, Providence, RI Format: FLAC (16bit/44.1kHz) Duration: –
01- INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET
02- SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT
03- TENTH AVENUE FREEZE-OUT
04- GROWIN' UP
05- IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY
06- THE E STREET SHUFFLE
07- BORN TO RUN
08- THUNDER ROAD
09- NEW YORK CITY SERENADE
10- KITTY'S BACK
11- ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHT)
12- 4TH OF JULY, ASBURY PARK (SANDY)
13- A LOVE SO FINE
14- SHA LA LA
15- QUARTER TO THREE
Opening Night of the Born to Run tour
First show with Miami Steve Van Zandt
Steve Hopkins master via JEMS
Taping Gear: Sony ECM-99A > Sony TC-152SD (recorded on Maxell UD 120-minute tape, Dolby B encode) Front row balcony, left center
Recollections of Providence '75 from Steve Hopkins:
"We did not have tickets to this one, although we really wanted to see the show. Rumors and anticipation about the new album and new tour were in high gear, so, early Sunday afternoon, myself and a buddy headed out for Providence. My buddy claimed to have a friend on Bruce's road crew; I was skeptical, but had nothing to lose, and by mid-afternoon we were in Providence, banging on the side door of the Palace Theatre. Someone finally came to the door, somewhat annoyed, and we told him our story. He headed back inside to track down the roadie. Twenty minutes later, the roadie appears, invites us in and offers us backstage passes.
The band was on stage for a part soundcheck, part rehearsal. I desperately wanted to start recording, but being the only ones in the theatre, it would have been impossible without exposing my mic and deck. So we just hung out for a while. Wish I could recall what they played, but without tape, my memory fails me. We didn't dare venture backstage either, with recording equipment in hand.
The next problem was where to record the show from, as the theatre was sold out. With no chance of finding an empty seat, we headed up to the balcony and sat up front until all the seats filled up. Then, we just sat in the aisle, set up the mic on the ledge and started recording. Early in the show a security guard showed up, but we flashed our passes, told him we were with the band, and they left us alone for the rest of the night."
JEMS is proud to partner with Boston taper Steve Hopkins to release some of the essential Springsteen recordings he made between 1974 and 1977. Steve recorded Springsteen a total of nine times, and he has previously torrented three of those shows from his masters: Cambridge, MA, May 9, 1974; and Boston, MA October 29, 1974.
This is the first release in what will hopefully be a series of Steve's remaining masters, newly transferred from the master cassettes at 24/96 and freshly mastered for release.
We begin with a show of true historic importance: opening night of the Born to Run tour and the first show with new band member Miami Steve Van Zandt. I'm not sure I had ever listened to the show before and I have come to love it. Many, myself included, have waxed rhapsodic about shows like the Main Point, February 25, 1975, which feel like a bridge between what was (the expansive sound of the second album) and what came next (Born to Run). Only at that time, no one really knew what was coming next even though Bruce was performing new material.
Fast forward five months to Providence and now, as Hopkins himself writes, anticipation was peaking for both a new tour and the forthcoming album, and man can you feel it in this recording. After performing nearly continuously for the prior three years, Bruce and the band had been off the road for almost half a year and they were returning with a purpose. Listen to the rapturous response that greets them at the start of the show and from the first notes of the opener, "Incident on 57th Street." This may well have been the earliest Springsteen show where hardcore fans in the northeast converged because it was the first chance to see him in months.
The stunning version of "Incident" here merits new consideration as one of the best, and the rest of the set balances gorgeous performances of past epics ("New York City Serenade," "Kitty's Back") with brand new songs like "Thunder Road" (no longer "Wings for Wheels" as it had been until this show), "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" (welcome to the band, Miami Steve) and the Born to Run outtake "A Love So Fine."
It's almost shocking to imagine a time when Bruce would ever say, "This is the title track of the next album, called 'Born to Run'." The version that follows might well be the fastest live performance of the song ever, so much so that it left me questioning if the tape speed was correct. We checked, and it is--turns out they just played "Born to Run" with that much urgency.
And that's the thing with this show: it feels urgent, a combination of "we're back" and a declaration of where they were going with a new album under their belts.
Steve's front-row-balcony recording captures the show beautifully and this release marks the first time the complete show has been presented. Steve recorded on a 120-minute tape and had to flip in the middle of "New York City Serenade," missing about 30 seconds in the process. A couple of years ago, a fine master from another area taper, Dan Lampinski, was posted to DIME, coincidentally recorded with exactly the same microphone and tape recorder as Hopkins used. Lampinski had to flip in different places which is good news as he cut a different song. But his recording had "speed flaws" in "New York City Serenade" and was never pitch corrected prior to release. Happily, the 30 missing seconds of the Hopkins tape are intact on Lampinski's, and a pitch-corrected patch has been made here to complete the song and the show. Samples provided.
Thanks to Steve for making his master tape available. Your comments are welcomed.
Butterking for JEMS
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