The Palladium, New York, NY, USA – 29 October, 1976
Disc 1: Night, Rendevous, Spirit In The Night, It’s My Life, Thunder Road, She’s The One, Something In the Night, Backstreets, Growin’ Up
Disc 2: Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, Jungleland, Rosalita (Come Out Tonight), Quarter To Three[/Twistin’ The Night Away], 4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy), Raise Your Hand, The Promise, Born to Run
Bonus tracks: The Palladium, New York, NY, USA – 2 November, 1976: A Fine Fine Boy [Girl]; The Palladium, New York, NY, USA – 3 November, 1976 – Be True To Your School/Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
Between 28 October and 4 November, 1976 Springsteen played a stand of six shows at New York’s Palladium, and this release brings us a recording of the second of those shows. Georgia Christgau, writing in Village Voice contends that, “the show was excellent…Springsteen was introduced as ‘the fabulous,’ and from that moment there was no doubt that he was.” A vibrant Night opens the set and this is followed by a vivacious performance of Rendevous and an infectiously good-humoured Spirit In The Night. This trio of songs makes for a delightful start to the show and the audience is audibly responsive from the start.
The emotional impact of It’s My Life is heightened by the lengthy spoken introduction common at this time in which Springsteen details his younger self’s problematic relationship with his father. It is a superbly atmospheric performance. Roy Bittan’s brief piano intro then opens a splendid rendition of Thunder Road, which ends among appreciative cheers and applause and this is succeeded by a version of She’s The One which features an extended, guitar-based intro.
Something In the Night as usual at this time, is enhanced by Steve Paraczky’s trumpet part. The lyrics were changing during this tour and, as Brucebase states, the song is, “lyrically now arranged into third tour variation, with another rewritten last verse (utilized for the remainder of the tour).” The last verse is now effectively the one used on the album version, with only minor differences.
An emotive Backstreets contains a relatively brief spoken interlude enhanced by tubular bells and Growin’ Up features the usual mid-song “spaceman story.” An energetic, vibrant Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out is splendidly enhanced by the contribution of the faux-Miami Horns and this is followed by a very fine Jungleland, featuring a vigorous performance of the faster section of the song.
Rosalita is prefaced by a spoken introduction in which Springsteen relates that his mother likes to bring out his old high school yearbook which contains numerous messages from his then-girlfriend such as,”we’ll always be in love.” However, he reveals that, “she ran off with this guy that owns this gas station.” It is an utterly exhilarating performance, featuring another splendid contribution from the horns, which has the audience clapping along energetically from the start. As one would expect, the song also contains the band introductions.
A notable feature of this show is the appearance of Gary U.S. Bonds, whom Bruce had met for the first time a week or so prior to this show. Bonds guests on the first encore number, an exuberant performance of his own Quarter To Three, which includes a snippet of Sam Cooke’s Twistin’ The Night Away. The performance has already been released as a bonus track on Godfather’s release of the next night’s show, Land Of 1000 Dances.
The wistful 4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy), featuring Danny Federici on accordion, is followed by a spirited Raise Your Hand (to which the horn section makes another fine contribution) and a stunning, genuinely heart-rending version of The Promise. The show then concludes with a frantic rendition of Born to Run.
Brucebase notes a previous release of the audience tape on CD-R entitled Twisting The Night Away (Red Rose) and mentions that the show is, “also available…from the master cassettes as part of the Original Master Series.” The Jungleland website notes of the latter, quoting Rob of fanatic Records: “ORIGINAL MASTER AUDIENCE RECORDING…The sound on this recording is remarkable and there was no EQ work needed. Fanatic Records in association with Mr. Anonymous is proud to share this recording with Bruce Tramps worldwide! Enjoy!” My assumption is that the Fanatic Records torrent is the source for this release. The sound on Night is lacking a little in clarity and dynamics and is oddly balanced, but things pick up somewhat from then on, with It’s My Life in particular sounding better than the previous songs, and there is further improvement in sound quality from Something In the Night onwards and then again from Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, so that, from the latter song, the sound quality is most impressive. There is a fair degree of audience noise, though it is not overly distracting and adds to the atmosphere.
There are a couple of bonus tracks taken from the fourth and fifth shows of the stand. These shows have also appeared in Fanatic Records’ Original Master Series and the tapes of both shows have been remastered by Ev2 with the title Palladium Nights – The Master Series Sources. The first song, from 2 November, is a vivacious gender-transposed version of Darlene Love’s A Fine Fine Boy. Springsteen performed the song on only six occasions, twice at the Spectrum in Philadelphia and four times during the Palladium stand (all in October and November 1976), until it finally re-emerged, with Love herself guesting, at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame 25th Anniversary concert at Madison Square Garden on 29 October 2009. The second bonus track is Rosalita, from 3 November. Although this duplicates a song from the main show presented here, the rationale for its inclusion for is presumably the unusual utilization of The Beach Boys’ Be True To Your School (with lyrical modifications which effectively transform it into Be True To Your Band) as a short introduction. Sound quality is again impressive.
The discs are housed in a slimline double jewel case. The single sheet front insert, rear insert and discs display several onstage photographs, some from the actual show. Rather oddly, the front cover shot is the same one utilized on the previous no label release of the last show of the stand, entitled Paid The Cost To Be The Boss.
That last show, from 4 November, is a tremendous performance distinguished by what is certainly the only recorded E Street Band performance (and possibly only ever performance) of We Gotta Get Out Of This Place and by the appearance of Ronnie Spector performing three of her Ronettes-era hits during the encore, in addition to several other highlights, not least a superb performance of It’s My Life. That would be my preference among available shows from the Palladium stand, though this excellent new release constitutes a very desirable supplement which will bring much pleasure to Springsteen collectors. The Godfather release mentioned above, which features Patti Smith on Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)/Land Of A Thousand Dances, is also well worth having.