Since seeing Springsteen in April, I have been completely under his spell… listening to every album in chronological order, including the box set Tracks and a handful of incredible bootlegs including Bruce and The E-Street Band Live at the Main Point in 1975 and at Winterland in 1979. Both contain there fair share of miracles… moments that make your skin tighten and your nervous system ignite. The version of E-Street Shuffle from 1975 is one of those moments; you can hear in every note that the band is playing for their lives and that Springsteen has everything to prove, everything to live and die for.
I have also been reading Clinton Heylin’s compelling, E-Street Shuffle: The Glory Days of Bruce Springsteen and The E-Street Band. It is a superbly researched book that takes the reader deep into, the at times infuriatingly perfectionist world of Springsteen, from his early days with The Castilles up to the recording of Tunnel of Love and the end of the first E-Street era. And for the real buffs, it provides detailed notes on the 300 songs Springsteen penned during this time. It really is the work of a true aficionado.
One of the few issues I took with the book was Heylin’s final note; that the moments of miracle are fewer these days. Anyone who experienced the recent ‘Wrecking’ shows would attest to the fact that night after night, Springsteen continues to perform miracles. Maybe it is because audiences go expecting nothing less, and that these days Bruce and band are performing in much larger arenas that some of the subtle magic is lost. I can’t say for sure… but what I do know, is it wasn’t lost on me.
Here’s three moments of miracle from three different E-Street eras. Get your fill.
Now I am off to start reading Peter Ames Carlin’s ‘Bruce’.