The Definitive Atlanta (Masterpiece GA93078 A/B/C)
Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA – September 30th, 1978
Disc 1 (72:30): Good Rocking Tonight, Badlands, Spirit In The Night, Darkness On The Edge Of Town, Independence Day, The Promised Land, Prove It All Night, Racing In The Street, Thunder Road, Jungleland
Disc 2 (71:38): Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Night Train, Fire, Candy’s Room, Because The Night, Point Blank, Not Fade Away/Gloria/She’s the One, Backstreets, Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
Disc 3 (30:22): Born To Run, Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, Detroit Medley, Raise Your Hand
One of several high profile Bruce Springsteen broadcasts from July to December 1978 included the September 30th gig in Atlanta. The regional broadcast simulcast by about 20 radio stations throughout the southeastern USA. It was a make-up show that had originally been scheduled for July 23rd but which had been postponed (along with three others) due to Bruce coming down with a throat infection.
Coming eleven days after the Passaic broadcast, Atlanta has seen several silver releases including the most recent on Everybody’s Rockin’ Tonight (Godfatherecords G. R. 598/599/600). During the broadcast storms raged in the region causing reception problems. Given the low number of recordings, the silver boots have always had to deal with this issue.
Earlier this year another source surfaced on two cassettes, dubbed from pre-FM recordings on ‘5 IPS reel-to-reel. According to JEMS: ‘The sound quality of the pre-FM source is truly first rate, lacking the heavy compression of the over-the-air broadcast and boasting much wider stereo separation than any extant FM source. The pre-FM also corrects most of the speed issues with the previous bootlegs.
“‘And we do pick up some previously missing audio bits. These includes a few sentences spoken by Bruce before ‘Santa Claus’ and, more significantly, the 40 or so seconds that were missing from the start of ‘Backstreets’ plus some band member intros after that song. That being said, the cassettes were in less-than-ideal condition and required re-shelling and baking for playback. Experienced ears might pick up on very minor fluctuations (e.g. on the tape flips) that couldn’t be corrected.
“In short, what we do have sounds awesome. However, because it is Atlanta, we’re still snake bit. The pre-FM source is missing the entire encore (presumably a lost third cassette, and yes, we’ve asked if it might be hiding behind dresser or something), needs a long patch (6+ minutes) from halfway through ‘Prove It All Night’ through the start of ‘Racing in the Street’ (we had hoped tape baking would fix this damaged part but it didn’t), plus a tiny patch at the very end of ‘Because the Night.’
“But even that bad news has a silver lining, as JEMS also found–gathering dust in its own archive–a 7-‘/2 IPS reel to reel of the full broadcast from WINZ-FM Miami that we feel is superior to what’s found on Same Old Played Out Scenes, having a more natural, less processed and compressed sound. This new reel was used to patch the longer missing bits (e.g. the ‘Prove It’ to ‘Racing’ chunk noted above) in the pre-FM and provide the encore.
“The only material flaw in the WINZ source are a few short (one second or less) dropouts in ‘Raise Your Hand’ that, while unfortunate, aren’t particularly annoying, they’re just there. After experimenting with using SOPOS to patch the dropouts, we decided that the ‘repaired’ version sounded worse than the original as the gaps are so short, the change in sources is jarring. So we’ve left ‘Raise Your Hand’ from the WINZ tape intact, with dropouts, but also included an extra file of ‘Raise Your Hand’ with no dropouts from Same Old Played Out Scenes. You can choose which you prefer.
“The end result is not perfect, but it is 100% complete, for the first time ever, and it is the best-sounding Fox Theater recording by a wide margin, especially the 85% of the show that’s now pre-FM, including the show’s one-off cover of James Brown’s ‘Night Train.'”
Cliff, in his review of the Godfather release, quoted Lynn Elder, author of bootleg guide Bruce Springsteen: You Better Not Touch, saying that “Fox Theatre Presents The Boss seven out of ten for sound quality, stating that the show “has not circulated in the quality of the other ‘78 broadcasts.”
And Cliff further points out that “Perhaps the energy and enthusiasm so effectively displayed here derives from a desire to impress a large radio audience from a region of the USA outside the main centers of Springsteen fanaticism; perhaps it has something to do with anticipation of the break that was to ensue following the next night’s show at the same venue – whatever the reason, it makes listening to these CDs a most enjoyable experience. Attendees were clearly impressed; King quotes two audience members who stated, “I don’t see how he does it,” and “I’m astounded.”
Definitive Atlanta come packaged in a standard fatboy jewel case. For a silver pressed version of the JEMS tape, it’s a very nice release worth having and certainly “definitive” for silver titles associated with this show.