Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Album Review: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band’s - The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band’s
The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts
***** out of *****

Compiled from two concerts (9/21 & 9/22) of the MUSE benefits held at Madison Square Garden with a huge lineup, The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts is a coming out party for Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band in more ways than one. 

The band had not been on tour, working in the studio on The River when they busted out with the raw abandon of a gang on holiday for these sets. This combination collection of the two nights captures the band in smoking form with Springsteen starting to ramp up his activism, finding a direct cause of No Nukes. The concert has high profile guests, covers and powerful renditions of many of Springsteen's crowd favorites, jumping up from the theaters of The Darkness tour to full fledge arenas, commemorating the first time Springsteen played MSG. 

A fairly tight "Prove It All Night" opens the set with the highlight being Clarence Clemons sax solo before the band slam home on a passionate "Badlands". The tune seems cathartic as Max Weinberg's drums lead the charge with Roy Bittan on piano and Danny Federici on organ sliding up and down the keys as Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt scream their hearts out; stellar kick ass rock and roll. 

Springsteen then takes a well earned mini break minute to introduce "The Promised Land", dedicating the song to all of the people participating in No Nukes. With a bright harmonica shining the way the song rings out proud before only the second version of his newest song "The River" was played live. The stark tale is in all of its heart-wrenching form from the beginning of its tear inducing existence. 

The party picks back up for the Jersey Shore swing of "Sherry Darling" highlighted by Van Zandt's lithe guitar work which displays Caribbean flashes as the whole band cuts loose, enjoying themselves with yelps and hollers. The massive hits follow as Springsteen evolves into the arena god almost before the fans eyes, "Thunder Road" is massive, "Jungleland" is epic, "Rosalita" is exciting and "Born To Run" is inspiring. Each one proves Springsteen & The E Street Band's scope and scale as they embark on a decade where they would own the rocking world. 

Tom Petty and Jackson Browne join the group for Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs “Stay” as the oldies roll out. The bands tried and true "Detroit Medley" complete with the early rock tunes of "Devil with the Blue Dress On / Good Golly Miss Molly / C.C. Rider / Jenny Take A Ride" delivers the hip swinging fun, rolling our for almost twenty minutes when you add the bands cover of Gary U.S. Bonds "Quarter To Three". The old time rock and roll wraps up the night with "Rave On!" as the band blasts out and the crowd explodes with vibrant energy.  

This collection vaults to right near the top of the best Springsteen live releases ever as the quality is exquisite. The only real downside is that all of these tunes are familiar to fans in multiple live versions before and there is very little mystery here. That stated, the time constraints of a 90 minute set actually compress Bruce and E-Streets energy and instead of the sprawling three hour concerts he played before and after, The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts solidifies the fact that Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band are one of the best live rock and roll acts in history.
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