Live In Boston, May 31st, 1978 (Crystal Cat Records CC 1072-73)
Music Hall, Boston, MA, USA – 31 May, 1978
Disc 1: Intro, Badlands, Night, Spirit In The Night, Something In The Night, For You, The Promised Land, Prove It All Night, Racing In The Street, Thunder Road, Paradise By The “C”, Fire, Adam Raised A Cain
Disc 2: Mona/She’s The One, Growin’ Up, It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City, Backstreets, Rosalita (Come Out Tonight), The Promise, Born To Run, Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, Quarter To Three
Crystal Cat’s rather unimaginatively titled new Springsteen release brings us the label’s take on what was only the seventh concert of the Darkness Of The Edge Of Town Tour. I have already reviewed the show which was released on the Masterpiece label as Early Darkness, concluding that, “it is a fine performance of an unusually early show.” Readers are directed to that review (posted on 22 October, 2011), for further details of the performance.
I also praised the sound quality of Early Darkness, stating that the audience tape “presents the show in full, clear and wonderfully dynamic sound…For a 1970s audience tape the sound is stunningly good.” The source for the older release is the second speed/pitch-corrected version of the torrent Looking For That Million Dollar Sound. However, Brucebase notes that, “a substantial upgrade was recently made available via a first generation tape transfer (mjk5510)” and this is Crystal Cat’s source. Mkk5510’s notes on the Jungleland website give the following details:
“This torrent release is a newly transferred version deriving from a 1st generation tape of the only known source that has been in my possession since the early 1980’s and is one of the very best captures from the “Darkness” tour or any number of tours for that matter. There have been a number of reports regarding the struggles nailing down the sound early in the tour as the tour moved to different sized venues, none of that is apparent in this capture. The sound and the taper are both dialed in from the first to the last notes. Almost no audience interference is present…
For whatever reason I was having trouble dialing in the pitch on this one so I sent it off to the good professor’s lab before final mastering took place, a big thanks to Prof Goody for the pitch adjustment settings.”
Mkk5510 also notes, in a post on Jungleland, that this release is, “an EXACT copy of the 1st Gen tape I released.”
The sound on this new release is a little more well-defined and dynamic than that of Early Darkness, with marginally more warmth and depth, though bearing in mind that I praised the earlier title for its “excellent sound quality” and that buckshot, posting on Jungleland, notes that, “this was already one of the five best audience tapes of this tour,” Brucebase’s claim that the difference in sound quality is “substantial” is somewhat overstated.
The two discs are housed in a slimline double jewel case with a sixteen page booklet and a rear insert printed on Crystal Cat’s usual glossy paper. There are numerous on stage and off stage photographs from the era (many very familiar), together with a couple of magazine covers featuring Springsteen, and pages from a tour itinerary document with details of venues, hotels and so forth. The rear of the booklet shows the outside of the venue at the time of the shows (this being the third of three shows on consecutive nights). The inside of the rear insert bears images of numerous tickets, ticket stubs and backstage passes from the tour. Overall, the packaging is most attractive and, again, an improvement on that of the earlier release so that anyone who has not yet acquired this show should be looking to purchase this new Crystal Cat version.