Now on Jungleland, Jems Goody pitch corrected of Kansas City soundboard.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Kansas City, Kansas
June 16, 1978
(AK 1st Gen Tapes > DAT)
(A JEMS Group Project)
PLEASE NOTE, I MISTAKENLY LISTED COPIED FROM MASTER REELS, WE BELIEVE THESE WERE COPIED FROM MASTER CASSETTES. PLEASE ADJUST NOTES.
Transfer: Master Cassettes > 1st Gen Cassettes > Unknown Nakamcihi Deck > DAT > .wav file > Audition (Pitch Bender, various amounts; Align & center channels; 100s of noises reduced or removed; Level's adjusted) > Peak Pro 6 (post production) > xACT 2.39 > FLAC
01 Darkness On The Edge Of Town
02 For You
03 The Promised Land
04 Prove It All Night
05 Racing In The Street
06 Thunder Road
08 Paradise By The "C"
10 Adam Raised A Cain
11 Mona > She's The One
12 Growin' Up
14 Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
15 The Promise
16 Born To Run
17 Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
18 Quarter To Three
-Spirit In The Night: missing
After pressing “play,” I flashed back to the great audience recordings from Bruce Springsteen’s 1978 tour behind Darkness on the Edge of Town, like Boston (May 31), the Forum (July 5), the Spectrum in Philadelphia (August 18) and Saginaw (September 3) — each of which have seen significant upgrades in the file-sharing era.
Kansas City (June 16) brings another upgrade, this time from the early days of the ’78 tour. And it's a soundboard, a really good soundboard. Despite being incomplete (the tape begins after the third song), this version — mastered using a DAT made from first-generation cassettes from from the master cassettes — is materially better than previous incarnations. Those had pitch challenges, and were far less clear, lacking this one’s fuller fidelity.
The setlist in Kansas City — the Darkness tour's 17th date — plays out like others before it. Springsteen was playing songs ordered in a way where repetition built muscle memory. The fire and the passion and the joy? Those you either brought with you when you set out, or you didn’t. It’s that simple. There’s no practice for any of that. Still, it was early.
With the FM radio broadcast at the Roxy on July 7 exactly three weeks away, the E Street Band had plenty of time to tighten up — and did they ever, making their formal ’78 coming-out an event to remember. Note that the three known soundboard recordings from this part of the tour are separated by a week: this one (June 16), Portland (June 24), and Berkeley (July 1). It’s almost like someone wanted to hear how the music progressed as the Los Angeles radio date approached.
In the Darkness era, Springsteen was fastidious in his attention to detail, down to the clothes the E Street Band wore on stage. Whether to help Jimmy Iovine build the soundscape for the Roxy broadcast or to conduct the band more precisely, it’s hardly a stretch to think that he listened to tapes as he went along.
In all this preparation and getting better and just plain kicking rock ‘n’ roll ass every damn night, one wonders how it occurred to him that “The Promised Land” needed a new introduction. With a harmonica part played in a different key, no less. Maybe that kernel of inspiration came from listening to a taped performance like this one.
One might also wonder: where are those tapes now? Let’s be clear: no mobile recording unit followed the tour. The first evidence of one is in Berkeley, followed of course by one in Los Angeles and the following night (July 8) in Phoenix, then most likely not again until Passaic.
Save for Berkeley, should that ever see an official release, Kansas City could stand as an instance where we step closest to the source.
From start to finish, the music and its purpose come across in exceptionally good sound. Though the structure is a lot like other performances from that year, Kansas City isn’t quite a Darkness classic; still, the music more than holds its own.
Many outstanding soundboards and official live releases from the ’78 tour circulate, but none does justice to a crucial song from that era: “The Promise.” Played 22 times that year, it didn’t feature in any of the five radio broadcasts that year — hardly an accident, in our estimation — nor in nights two or three at the Capitol Theatre. Soundboard sources were limited to an incomplete Berkeley recording (partially upgraded by JEMS in 2017) and the Portland 6/24 tape.
With the Kansas City upgrade, this version of “The Promise” takes its place as the song’s highest-quality recording. It’s a monumental solo piano performance, made better by a superb capture: no hiss issues here whatsoever, just natural, clear sound. Stupendous.
This release is truly a group effort, it all began with AK's beautiful DAT made from 1st generation tapes directly copied from the master reels.
We have chosen not to patch the missing tracks with the audience recording because we do not have a new source to work with and it's not standard operating procedure to use an existing source for anything other than patching cuts in the source tape. Those tracks are readily available on other releases. We hope in the future we will get a low generation source of the audience show at which time a re-work may be in store. This one easily stands on it's own.
JEMS friend and partner goody did most of the heavy lifting on this one getting the drifting pitch just right. I would venture to say this is the first time this show runs entirely at the correct pitch, in addition he spent hours removing hundreds of the tiniest flaws and defects so what you have in your hands is the definitive version.
Slipkid68 once again handled performance notes and as is always the case, you are transported to the show before the first note rings off of Bruce's guitar.
mjk5510 tied it all together with final editing details, smoothing the rough edges and tying up loose ends.
BK's steady hand oversaw the entire project guiding the group to the finish line.
We must give the biggest thank you to AK who continues to be a key player in upgrading many shows over the years you now regularly listen to, without his deep archive we would continue to view the Mona Lisa through a layer of dust.
Artwork and a newspaper review of the show are included...
A JEMS Group Project (AK, BK, Goody, Slipkid68, mjk5510)