Case in point: I've been yelling for years about how a certain early 1973 Bruce Springsteen show I attended was a) life-changing and b) demonstrably glorious, if only there were tapes of it somewhere to play for non-believers.
Springsteen completists are doubtless aware that a version of "Wild Billy's Circus Song," from the same Max's shows, turned up on the Bruce four CD box a while back, but other than that -- nada.
But now, via the intertubes, suddenly there's more.
Here's how I described the experience in a poorly compensated memoir for the Barnes and Noble website in the late 90s.
As it happened, Bruce was making his semiofficial New York debut that week, on a double bill with the similarly debuting original (Bob Marley and the) Wailers. (To put this in perspective: This was at Max's Kansas City, a club that sat fewer than 200 people. I don't want to say, "Those were the days," but frankly, they were.) Every rock critic in New York showed up for what would be their first exposure to live reggae, and yes, the Wailers' opening set was rapturously received by all (few bands have ever had two front men as charismatic as Bob Marley and Peter Tosh). After intermission, however, I realized that the aforementioned highly jaded press contingent, having already had their tiny minds blown by a bunch of Rastas turning the beat around, were not about to fall for any "New Dylan" hype and had beaten a hasty exit. This left me in the odd position of being alone in the back of Max's with 30 or 40 of Bruce's buddies from the Jersey Shore. I was, literally, the only stranger there.Ladies and germs -- from 7/23/73, please enjoy Bruce -- along with, among others, the late Danny Federici on the aforementioned mellotron, plus the criminally underrated David Sancious on piano -- at Max's Kansas City, with that aforementioned version of "New York City Serenade."
And the show was everything I'd hoped for, and more. Bruce and his E Street Band opened with a version of "Spirit in the Night" that made the album take sound anemic. He went on to preview the far richer material he had already written for what became his sophomore masterpiece, The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle, going so far as to use a mellotron on a gorgeous "New York City Serenade" that sounded like a Phil Spector record made flesh...
You can read the rest of the Springsteen piece, including the amusing (at least to me) bit about how he played "Route 66" after I yelled a request for it, over here.
In the meantime, lovely as the above is, it's obviously an audience recording; will whoever has the rest of the actual board tapes from those shows please post them on-line somewhere?