Saturday, April 26, 2008

Boot Tracker, October 27th 1976, The Spectrum, Philly

Fanatic records is on a roll again, this time with Joe Kivak tapes from '76. According to the description of this recording Rob Oslan from Fanatic was present at this show. Maybe it is because of the memories he has of this show that he feels this is an excellent recording. I feel I have to disagree with Rob, the recording is nice to good, excellent isn't a term I would use to describe it. There's some slurring in the old cassette and Bruce's voice or Max's drums fail to fly at moments. Bruce's belting is trapped in that weird echo that comes with arenas at times and Max sounds like he's drumming on cardboard boxes padded out with pillows on occasion. Overall the sound is quite good and an excellent representation of a fantastic show. A few years back a soundboard recording surfaced from this very same show and I dare claim that this tape is an upgrade from that recording. This Kivak master doesn't have the cuts and drops the soundboard recording had and is a complete tape of the show. The soundboard missed the closing "Born To Run". This audience tape is pretty consistent on the whole and really gives you the impression that you are there in the audience. If only because of that rather noisy public guest appearing on the tape. Even in '76 there was chatter and beer runs, long before the "Born In The USA" days.

This October show is a very different one from the August show released by Fanatic earlier this week. Dropping "It's My Life" in favor of "Incident On 57th Street" makes this show a decidedly more romantic one, less somber, more dreamy. The '76 versions of "Incident" often rank amongst my favorite, despite the sometimes odd high pitched background vocals, the guitar solos would never again be so atmospheric and Bruce's humming near the end of the song gives it an ad libbed feel. Compared to the '75 shows Springsteen is undeniably a more confident performer a year down the line. Gone is some of the boyish charm, Springsteen knows he's arrived, able to draw a crowd. The new found machismo in his attitude is striking. Of course an Arena like the Spectrum doesn't quite allow the same intimate demeanor as the smaller venues he still played in '75. In order to come across you'll have to boast, and boasting he does. Though the band is undeniably tighter, quite a few show pieces are still in development. "She's The One" is already stretching out in this show but isn't quite yet the slick R&R performance it would become in '78. The "Growing Up" story is developing nicely, but the young Bruce Springsteen has yet to piss in his desk or become a werewolf at night. '76 is Springsteen in transition and let me tell you, few artists are as exiting trying to find their groove as the Boss. Springsteen made the jump to large arenas only a month before this show and it is astounding to hear how fast he adapted to them.

High lights of this show includes a rare and stunning performance of "The Promise". At that time still introduced as a song that's going to be on the new album, "That I will get out" he boasts hopefully. Springsteen was still caught up in his legal difficulties with Mike Appel at this point, a battle that would stretch out till May next year. In the two years that it would take for the new album to see the light of day "The Promise" was dropped and shelved until it was re-recorded for "Tracks". And then there are the Miami Horns of course, legendary in their own right, working Rosie into a sweat and bringing that fine fine girl home.

The Promise

MP3 File

Download the full show here

Sound: 3,5 out of 5
Show: 4 out of 5
Artwork: 3,5 out of 5

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