Max’s Kansas City Night 1973 (Crystal Cat CC-874)
Max’s Kansas City, New York, NY – January 31st, 1973
First show: Introduction by Micky Ruskin, Mary Queen Of Arkansas, Bishop Dance, Circus Song (Intro Heat Wave), Spirit In The Night, Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street?, Thundercrack. Second show: Saga Of The Architect Angel, Song To The Orphans, Rosalita (Come Out Tonight), Phantoms (outtake)
Max’s Kansas City Night 1973 is the second silver release of Bruce Springsteen’s January 31st show and like Godfather’s Does This Bus Stop At Max’s? is likewise sourced from the recent posting on Wolfgang’s Vault. Crystal Cat include Micky Ruskin’s introduction and a short tune up at the beginning of the set, both omitted on Godfather, and slightly increased the volume. Otherwise the sound quality is basically identical between the two.
Springsteen has a six-night, twelve show run at the venue in support of Biff Rose and this show was recorded by the King Biscuit Flower Hour with only one song, “Bishop Danced,” being broadcast and officially released on Tracks. Earlier releases of this show include Live At Max’s Kansas City (The Swingin’ Pig) with “Song To Orphans” cut, and The Unsurpassed Springsteen Vol. 1 with the complete track. These early versions of the show contained “Thundercrack” edited down to 6:50, with the “comedy break” eliminated, since it was distributed by Springsteen’s management to select industry people for promotional purposes. But these latter releases have the entire eleven-minute rendition.
Crystal Cat also include the three surviving songs from the last show whereas only two are on Godfather. “Song To The Orphans” is complete, taken from Unsurpassed Springsteen Volume 2 (Yellow Dog), and “Rosalita” is the song’s debut. The final track is the studio recording “Phantoms” dating from the May 1973 Phase 1 sessions. This song would be retitled “Zero & Blind Terry” later on in the year. Crystal Cat package this title in a standard single jewel case with a thick, twelve page glossy paper booklet insert with copious liner notes and photos from the gig.
There is also a copy of Dan Nooger’s concert review form The Village Voice and testimonials from David Bowie (who attended the gig to see Biff Rose but came away a Springsteen fan) and Cherry Vanilla. The differences between Crystal Cat and Godfather are minimal regarding the early Max’s show, only the Max Ruskin intro. The deciding factor would be which bonus tracks you need, whether you want an live or studio “Zero & Blind Terry,” and whether you prefer jewel cases to cardboard gatefold sleeves.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)