November 1, 1974
The Big A master via JEMS
Audience Recording (equipment unknown) by The Big A
01 Incident on 57th Street
02 Then She Kissed Me
03 Spirit in the Night
04 Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?
05 The E Street Shuffle > Havin' a Party
06 Born to Run
07 Spanish Harlem
08 Saint in the City
09 She's the One
11 Kitty's Back
12 New York City Serenade (small cut)
15 A Love So Fine > Shout
JEMS is pleased to release another previously uncirculated recording
of an historically significant and otherwise unheard show.
This time we're transported to the Tower Theater in Philadelphia for a
performance that bridges Springsteen's past and future in late 1974.
For starters, it is the first Philly show with Max Weinberg on drums
and Roy Bittan on piano, and the "new" band sounds considerably more
polished than they did at Kean College six weeks earlier. The set
marks the last 1974 performance of "Then She Kissed Me" and more
notably the last known recording of the lovely "Spanish Harlem." The
Ben E. King cover appears to have made way for another cover song
featuring Suki Lahav on violin, Dylan's "I Want You," which is
believed to have debuted the next night and sticks around through
February. But "Spanish Harlem" is a true lost gem and the performance
here is majestic. As Brucebase notes, parts of the arrangement bear an
uncanny resemblance to "Wreck on the Highway" six years later.
"Born to Run" also returns to the set for its first known appearance
since August and two days later, Bruce would play the studio version
for Ed Sciaky's listeners on WMMR. This is one of but a handful of
recorded performances of the song from '74. Also previewed from
Bruce's next album are embryonic versions of "She's the One" (complete
with the explanatory Bo Diddley beat intro) and "Jungleland." Both
feature myriad lyric changes from their eventual released versions and
"Jungleland" benefits marvelously from Lahav's contributions. The
night closes with another song recorded for (but not released on) Born
to Run, "A Love So Fine."
Our new friend The Big A recored this one on, as he calls it, "a
standard-for-the-time, no-frills, fat-paperback-sized Radio Shack-type
tape recorder with a
built-in mike." Unlike Kean (which was recorded on a single 180 minute
tape), the Tower was recorded on two tapes (a 120 and a 60) and the
sound quality, while not excellent, is superior to Kean and quite
listenable. The 120 minute tape ends during "New York City Serenade,"
which picks up again on the 60 minute tape, but for whatever reason
(two different tape brands/formulations), the sound changes noticeably
on the second tape. In mastering, we've attempted to match the sound
of the second tape to the first.
The tapes themselves were in remarkably good shape considering their
age, and as we often do in these situations, we re-shelled them (i.e.
we cracked the original tape shells, took out the tape itself and put
the old reels into newer cassette shells that run smoother) to
optimize playback. There's a bit of brittleness in the high end,
especially in louder passages, but we've done our best to manage that
and get the most out of the source.
The best news of course is that this is a show you haven't heard
before from such a fascinating period in Springsteen's career, when
you could get "Jungleland" into "Kitty's Back" into "New York City
Serenade." Hearing the early Born to Run songs is also a treat, as are
the cover songs.