Bruce Springsteen / The E Street Band: The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts Album review

The word “legendary” may sound too heavy for a performance given at a charity concert that was the epitome of its time. Unlike the Concert for Bangladesh or Live Aid, the No Nukes benefit concerts did not leave a lasting cultural imprint. The legendary concerts without nuclear weapons of 1979, builds on a pivotal moment in Springsteen’s rise to stardom, offering the first professional E Street Band preview recorded and filmed at full blast. The performance also marks the first time Springsteen has dipped his toe into political activism, an element that would eventually become an integral part of his public figure.

Springsteen was not one of the founders of Musicians United for Safe Energy, the organization that started No Nukes concerts in the fall of 1979. Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Bonnie Raitt and John Hall (member of the soft band -rock Orleans, best known for his 1976 hit “Still the One”, which would later be elected to the House of Representatives) formed MUSE in the wake of the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, a disaster that made the world famous. one of the newspapers that spring. The Three Mile Island tragedy inspired Springsteen’s “Roulette”, a cathartic terror strike that was the first song cut during sessions from her 1980 album. River but remained dormant until its release on the B side in 1988.

Springsteen wrote “Roulette” in the first person, focusing on the human toll of the nuclear power plant collapse rather than its politics and, in fact, this is how he also approached the No Nukes concerts. . He avoided the spotlight at the promotional events leading up to the September shows, and he didn’t do much in terms of actual activism during his association with MUSE. He attended the photoshoot which resulted in a 1979 Rolling stone cover touting the concerts, but he did not attend the accompanying press conference or issue a statement on nuclear energy. He simply joined in on the poster, agreed to be filmed and recorded for the following benefit album and documentary, and that was more than enough: tickets for his two headlining shows sold out. sold in an hour.

Those quick sales show just how much of a beloved Springsteen figure in the New York City area was, and The legendary concerts without nuclear weapons of 1979 overflowing with the euphoria of mutual adoration of artist and audience. The E Street Band seems as excited to perform the concert as the crowd is to see it: they had spent most of the year locked in the studio sweating on an album titled The ties that unite, and in September 1979, its completion seemed imminent, although Springsteen later withdrew it in favor of the eventual double album. River. The studio fog lifted when they finally reached the stage on September 21, 1979, just before Springsteen’s 30th birthday.

Bruce alludes to his advanced age during the No Nukes shows, saying he “can’t go on like this, I’m 30!” My heart is about to fall on me! And yet, he looks incredibly young and muscular as he leads the E Street Band through a sprinted marathon. As seen in the movie, Springsteen is restless – jumping, dancing and prowling – and his passion translates to record. It helps that the setlist is structured like a party, opening up to an intense explosion of Darkness on the Edge of Town material before the austere ballad “The River” made its stage debut. The quieter moment of the concert, “The River” took inspiration from his sister’s teenage pregnancy story and pointed to a growing sense of the art of songwriting, which he would further develop. on haunted folk Nebraska. Here it is accompanied by another new track titled “Sherry Darling”, a loud and funny rocker that sends beats of brotherhood all the way to the Jersey Shore. “Sherry Darling” leads a constant escalation of energy and vigor, paved by a pair of Born to run songs about the escape (“Thunder Road”, “Jungleland”) followed by a happy “Rosalita” and a delightful “Born to Run”.

From there, Springsteen finds deliverance in a former rock’n’roll ensemble, inviting Jackson Browne and Tom Petty for a version of “Stay” by Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs, a song Browne rewrote in a medley. with “The Load Out”. to Running empty. The E Street Band then embarks on a thrilling 25-minute race through “Detroit Medley,” “Quarter to Three” by Gary US Bonds and “Rave On!” by Buddy Holly! Propelled by the hard swing of Max Weinberg, they take the time to showcase Clarence Clemons’ R&B saxophone and the streamlined keys of Danny Federici and Roy Bittan, elements that evoke memories of golden oldies but are transformed by the intensity of the group. Springsteen would refine this aesthetic on River, leading to her first hit with “Hungry Heart”, but The legendary concerts without nuclear weapons of 1979 delivers an uncut dose of pure rock’n’roll. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were building up a full catalog by then, but they remained connected with their audiences through the common vernacular of old hits. Those familiar choruses and hooks are workhorses, but the E Street Band uses them as a vehicle of transcendence. Years of similar performances haven’t diminished the potency of this one: it has a distinctive blend of magic and power, the sound of a band who know they’ve hit their beat and remain stunned by the noise they make. ‘he does. It’s a bar group delivering communion.

To buy: Gross trade

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