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Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band | The Roxy July 7, 1978

One of the greatest shows The Boss and his band of brothers ever played finally gets an official release.

“All you bootleggers out there in radioland: Roll your tapes!” Bruce Springsteen boisterously cracks midway through this legendary club set. Naturally, said tapers were only too happy to oblige. And thank Clarence they did. Otherwise, we would have had to wait four decades to hear what is widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest shows The Boss and his band of brothers ever played. Don’t just take my word for it — even though I’ve pretty much memorized most of the performance, thanks to a truncated vinyl copy I scored back in the day from my local Records on Wheels outlet. No, take it from the man himself — Springsteen included a full eight songs from the Darkness-era Sunset Strip show — including high-voltage versions of Adam Raised a Cain, Backstreets and Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) — on his Live/1975–85 box set. Truth is, he could have included plenty more. Like the debut performance of Point Blank, the solo-piano rendition of Independence Day, and the house-party covers of Mona, Twist and Shout, Rave On and Heartbreak Hotel that pepper the three-hour set. Freshly mixed from the master tapes (as opposed to the bootleg ones), everything sounds infinitely crisper, cleaner and sharper than it does on my well-worn LP. It doesn’t hurt that the band is firing on all cylinders, tearing through their heavier new material and putting plenty of heft into the classics. As usual, Bruce is a chatty Cathy between and during songs as he spins tall tales, takes requests, mocks his picture from that day’s paper and even apologizes to everyone who couldn’t get into the sold-out gig. Sucks for them. If, on the other hand, you can’t get into this show, you’re just not a Springsteen fan.

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