Joe Kivak certainly got around. The more Rob Oslan from Fanatic records releases in collaboration with Mister Anonymous, the more envious I get. Kivak got to be at some prime shows in Springsteen's career. It is often said that Springsteen is an artist who allowed you to watch him grow up. Joe Kivak did just that. He was there to witness the start of Springsteen mania in the Bottomline and he was there to see him make the transition from clubs to theaters and arenas, seeing some amazing shows down the line. This University Park show is no exception, it may be because I'm a fan boy, but it seems that Springsteen gave few mediocre shows in his career, let alone bad. So this April 13th show is an average show only by his standards, still pretty amazing. According to the original review in the Collegian Springsteen drove the audience into a frenzy despite the bad acoustics.
Unfortunately it are those acoustics that mar this otherwise fine tape. Especially at the start of the tape the sound sounds cluttered. In the more subdued parts Springsteen's voice comes out just fine. The story introducing "It's My Life" comes out especially nice on this recording. A fine performance of that song, though not as climatic yet as it would be a few months down the road. "Night" opened the show and hearing it on this recording now it doesn't surprise me that it is still frequently part of the opening set up till today. "'Cause you work all day, To blow 'em away in the night", what could set the mood better for an evening of R&R at break neck speed. And that's exactly what this show was. The tape may be muddy, but it is hard not to get caught up in the exitement of this particular show. Although the set slows down at times for an especially moving "Frankie" and a few others, Springsteen is on an high testosterone roll here. No wonder he would start warning for the health risks of his shows later on in his career. This stuff is not for the faint of heart. Especially the high energy encores, featuring "Raise Your Hand" together with the "Detroit Medley" and "Twist and Shout", are not for the weak. So maybe we are fortunate that the tape cuts off two minutes into the last song, or else we might not survive our exitement getting the best of us.
Download the full show here.
Sound: 2,5 out of 5
Show: 4 out of 5
Artwork: 4 out of 5