Live 07 Dec 2010 version
Johnny works in a factory and Billy works downtown
Terry works in a rock and roll band lookin' for that million-dollar sound
I got a little job down in Darlington, hey but some nights I don't go
Some nights I go to the drive-in, some nights I stay home
I followed that dream just like those guys do way up on the screen
I drove a Challenger down Route 9 through the dead ends and all the bad scenes
And when the promise was broken, I cashed in a few of my own dreams
Well now I built that Challenger by myself, but I needed money and so I sold it
I lived a secret I should'a kept to myself, but I got drunk one night and I told it
All my life I fought this fight, the fight that no man can ever win
Every day it just gets harder to live this dream I'm believing in
Thunder Road, ah baby you were so right
Thunder Road, there's somethin' dyin' down on the highway tonight
Well I won big once and I hit the coast, hey but somehow I paid the big cost
Inside I felt like I was carrying the broken spirits of all the other ones who lost
When the promise is broken you go on living, but it steals something from down in your soul
Like when the truth is spoken and it don't make no difference, somethin' in your heart turns cold
Thunder Road, fallen for the lost lovers and all the fixed games
Thunder Road, here's one for the tires rushing by in the rain
Thunder Road, remember me and Billy we'd always say
Thunder Road, we were gonna take it all then throw it all away
The above lyrics are for the live 07 Dec 2010 performance of THE PROMISE at Carousel House in Asbury Park, NJ, during the taping of the "Songs From The Promise" webcast. The song was played twice, in a full-band arrangement featuring David Lindley on violin, and is similar to the studio version released on The Promise. This live 07 Dec 2010 version of THE PROMISE was released on The Promise: The Making Of Darkness On The Edge Of Town home video in 2011.
The song was played twice, and the above lyrics are for the take that was part of a webcast the following week and that was officially released in 2011 (read below for more details). It is unclear which of the two takes was webcast and released. In a Backstreets.com review, Flynn McLean wrote: "The performance [of 'The Promise'] featured an intro similar to the build-up to 'Point Blank' from the 1980-'81 tour or a darker version of the 'Spirit in the Night' prelude in recent years before Max and Roy began the song together. While the solo piano performance of this song has been a highlight of every show in which Bruce plays it, the full band arrangement adds power to the song without losing any of the loneliness."
On 07 Dec 2010 Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed a concert in front of no more than 60 people at the historic Carousel House in Asbury Park, NJ. They played ten songs from The Promise, in addition to the holiday classic BLUE CHRISTMAS. Most – if not all – of the songs were sound-checked prior to the show which lasted nearly four hours. Below is a list of the songs performed during the show, in order. All of the songs were performed several times, consecutively.
The band comprised of its original 1978 line-up only: Bruce Springsteen (guitar, lead vocals, harmonica), Roy Bittan (keyboards), Clarence Clemons (saxophone, percussion, vocals), Garry Tallent (bass guitar), Steve Van Zandt (guitar, vocals), and Max Weinberg (drums). Charles Giordano played organ, substituting for the late Danny Federici. David Lindley, who was involved in the early recording sessions of Darkness On The Edge Of Town, played violin on RACING IN THE STREET, COME ON (LET'S GO TONIGHT), THE PROMISE, and BLUE CHRISTMAS. GOTTA GET THAT FEELING, THE BROKENHEARTED, TALK TO ME, and BLUE CHRISTMAS featured a full horn section comprising of Ed Manion, Barry Danielian, Curt Ramm, Clark Gayton, and Stan Harrison.
Footage for five songs from the 07 Dec 2010 concert (RACING IN THE STREET, GOTTA GET THAT FEELING, AIN'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU, THE PROMISE, and BLUE CHRISTMAS) were released internationally on 15 Dec 2010, streaming online for free viewing. Titled "Songs From The Promise", the webcast was directed and edited by Thom Zimny and mixed by Bob Clearmountain.
These same five tracks are included as bonus material on The Promise: The Making Of Darkness On The Edge Of Town DVD and Blu-Ray, released on 03 May 2011.
The live 07 Dec 2010 version of THE PROMISE was also released on a Record Store Day exclusive single in 2012.
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List of available versions of THE PROMISE on this website:THE PROMISE [Official 1977 studio version]