Skip to main content




  • Bruce Springsteen - Lead vocals, guitar, harmonica; Roy Bittan - Piano, backing vocal; Clarence Clemons - Tenor and baritone saxophones, percussion, backing vocal; Danny Federici - Organ, glockenspiel; Garry Tallent - Bass, backing vocal; Stevie Van Zandt - Guitar, backing vocal; Max Weinberg - Drums
  • Recorded live with the Record Plant Remote Truck by David Hewitt and Phil Gitomer
  • Two-inch, 24-track analog master reels transferred by Jamie Howarth, Plangent Processes via Sonicraft, Freehold, NJ
  • Mixed by Jon Altschiller; Additional engineering by Danielle Warman
  • Mastered to DSD and PCM by Adam Ayan at Gateway Mastering, Portland, ME
  • Post Production by Brad Serling and Micah Gordon
  • Art Design by Michelle Holme
  • Cover Photo by Pjay Pluzter
  • Tour Director: George Travis
  • Jon Landau Management: Jon Landau, Barbara Carr, Jan Stabile, Alison Oscar
  • HD files are 24 bit/192kHz; Audiophile DSD files are DSD128 (“Double DSD”)

01. THE LAST TIME 03:37
02. BADLANDS 04:35
06. FACTORY 04:00
09. IT'S MY LIFE 05:14
10. THUNDER ROAD 08:22
12. JUNGLELAND 10:41

01. FOR YOU 05:36
02. FIRE 03:21
03. CANDY'S ROOM 03:11
05. POINT BLANK 08:29
06. KITTY'S BACK 14:22

01. BORN TO RUN 05:19


living is easy with eyes closed


Images (1)
  • BS
Last edited by desa33
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest


Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Atlanta, 10/1/1978

Down At The End Of Lonely Street

By Erik Flannigan

In high school, I got the chance to serve as a page in the Washington State Senate, a gig that allowed me to not only miss a week of school fully excused but get paid $150 for doing so. When I cashed that check, I knew exactly what I would do with the money.

A small record store had opened up across the street from Stewart Junior High, and on my first visit I saw an unusual record locked up in a glass case. It was Bruce Springsteen Piece de Resistance, credited as a September 1978 live recording from Passaic, New Jersey. While it was a three-LP box set, $35 still seemed like a lot of money to me at the time — that is, until my Senate-page windfall.

I didn’t know enough about Springsteen collecting to realize Piece de Resistance was sourced from a radio broadcast, but I did recognize it was a bootleg. My dad was a big record collector, and though his rock interests were limited to Bob Dylan and The Beatles, he did own a couple of boots. I told him about the store and the $35 Springsteen triple, to which he replied, “Bootlegs sound crappy.”

Ignoring his advice, I went out the next day and bought Piece de Resistance. I can still remember my trepidation as I dropped the needle on the LP hoping it didn’t sound too crappy.

From that point forward, finding and listening to Springsteen live recordings became a lifelong passion, with the Darkness tour the sentimental sweet spot of my quest. I’ve surely listened to the five 1978 radio broadcasts (thankfully all now available in the Live Archive series) several hundred times; the best soundboards and audience tapes nearly as often. Mediocre recordings, sure, plenty of those as well to catch rare songs. But I never listened to Atlanta, October 1, 1978, the provisional final show of the Darkness tour.

Springsteen’s legendary 1978 trek opened in Buffalo on May 23 and ran for 86 shows through what was to be the final stop, back-to-back concerts at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. Though Springsteen would return to the road in exactly one month, at the time, night two at the Fox was meant to be the tour finale. Soon thereafter it was decided Bruce should make “one final push,” as Jon Landau’s letter to Columbia Records put it, “concentrating on those markets where we have created very real excitement, and where, with one more concert coupled with imaginative promotion, we can finish the job.”

Back to Atlanta. The first night on September 30 is the fourth of the aforementioned radio broadcasts, and as many long speculated, the Record Plant Mobile Truck remained on site to preserve the second show on 24-track, 2-inch analog tape.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band took the Fox stage that Sunday night believing it to be their last gig and gave a performance fitting of the occasion. The 10/1/78 set is like a supercut of special inclusions familiar from the Roxy, the Passaic stand, and early tour sets combined with ATL specials to yield a tremendous, peak ‘78 recording new to (almost) all of us.

“This is the last night of our tour, tonight,” Bruce says at the top, “our 86th show. So one more time for the last time.” What could be a more fitting opener than a reverent cover of the Rolling Stones’ “The Last Time,” with Stevie Van Zandt as Keith Richards on background vocals to Bruce’s Mick Jagger lead. After its premiere in Atlanta, Bruce reprised “The Last Time” for what ultimately proved to be the true final show of the Darkness tour, Richfield, OH, January 1, 1979.

It’s a joyous start to a stonking first set as Bruce sings in his special-show, heightened-vocal range, and the E Streeters score perfect 10s from the judges. A crackling “Badlands”and lusty “Spirit in the Night” serve as the preamble before Springsteen says, “Tonight our story begins in the Darkness on the Edge of Town.” It’s a tremendous take, with every bar from “Tonight I’ll be on that hill” to the end exemplary of Bruce and the band’s commitment.

The vocal showcase continues with “Heartbreak Hotel” and Bruce in full Elvis mode. In this slower arrangement (compared to The Roxy), one can feel emotional resonance when he sings to “all the broken hearts in the crowd,” as he says in his introduction, from “way down at the end of lonely street.” That lyric never jumped out to me before, but it is clearly a place Springsteen knows all too well and a perspective from which some of his greatest work originated.

“Factory,” a lively “Promised Land” (with some fresh details in the bridge and a great closing vocal), and a guttural, 11-minute-plus “Prove It All Night” extend the winning streak before the return of “It’s My Life.”

The Animals’ classic was a staple of 1976-77 setlists, presented as an epic showpiece tied to stories about Bruce’s relationship with his father. Performed on those tours, the song was a defiant statement of independence to come. In its short, seven-show reprise on the Darkness tour, the tone shifts to reflect a protagonist no longer aspiring to but living his pledge. The Atlanta performance is the final one (to date), perhaps because Bruce outgrew it. Fun fact: “It’s My Life” premiered at C.W. Post College on December 12, 1975, meaning the first and last performances of this classic cover are now included in the Live Archive series.

A distinct Roy Bittan piano introduction comes ahead of “Thunder Road,” the musical bed for Bruce to recall meeting a kid backstage the night before who told him he had formed his own band. “It meant a lot to me,” Bruce says earnestly. “It reminded me why I started doing all of this stuff in the first place. See you out on ‘Thunder Road’.” It’s a sweet moment that only adds to the uplifting power of this version.

“This is a song we don’t play much at all,” Bruce proclaims before a warmly received and instantly recognized “Meeting Across the River,” played but five times on the Darkness tour and incredibly, one of only 70 known occasions to date, making it one of the rarest in-concert tracks from the classic canon. It leads, as it should, into an immense “Jungleland.” “The latest rage,” “a real death waltz,” “the poets,” the extended, soaring “hoohhhhhhhs”—he crushes them all.

To open the second set, Bruce reaches back to “For You,” an every-nighter early in the tour not played for the better part of a month before or after this appearance. It’s another captivating cut that peaks with the line, “You laugh and cry in a single sound.” He then lets “Fire” “go a little longer” to lighten the mood before turning serious in a stunning sequence of “Candy’s Room,” “Because the Night,” and “Point Blank.”

“Candy’s” has always been a self-contained masterpiece, so distinct in the catalog and explosive in live performance as it is here. For my money, the 1978 versions of “Because the Night’ are THE versions. The guitar work in the intro and the end, coupled with drama the band infuses into the arrangement behind Bruce’s desperate vocals, was never better. While the guitar amps are cooling, Bittan and Danny Federici take over and set the scene for the noir romance of “Point Blank,” another Atlanta performance that rivals the very best.

It’s time to give the band some, and with that “Kitty’s Back” purrs to life on a night packed with firsts, lasts, and infrequents. This would prove to be the final appearance of “Kitty’s Back” with the E Street Band for nearly a quarter-century. After 13 minutes of back-alley majesty, Bruce says those words we all want to hear: “[Let’s] do some more stuff off of Wild & the Innocent.” He goes on to dedicate “Incident on 57th Street” to his lighting designer Marc Brickman. “He’s like a member of the band. There’s nobody better.” “Incident” would also go unplayed for the rest of the tour and, save for its officially released one-off performance at Nassau Coliseum in 1980, wouldn’t appear again on E Street until 1999.

It speaks volumes that Atlanta 2 features “Meeting Across the River” into “Jungleland” AND “Incident on 57th Street” into “Rosalita.” That Double-Double only happened three times (the others being Palladium 9/17/78 and Capitol Theatre 9/21/78), all in the last 15 days of the original Darkness tour routing, a stretch that merits consideration as one of the best in Springsteen’s on-stage history.

“Rosalita” brings the night to crescendo, and the encore-opening trio of “Born to Run,” “Tenth Avenue Freeze-out,” and “Detroit Medley” is a flawless blast of joy from seven musicians in top form.

Before “Quarter to Three,” Bruce takes a minute to shout out several members of the crew by name, going out of his way to point out what they do so well and thanking them for their hard work. Bruce’s choice of “Quarter” as the presumptive final track of the tour is fitting. It’s a song he passionately loves; one that he knows will get the audience moving (“If you don’t dance to this, slap yourself in the face, you might be dead”); and a vehicle to allow the band to sing in full voice (they effectively take all the vocals from 2:30-3:20) for this raucous, ten-minute rendition. Crew, audience, and band, all given their due.

Eight years into the Live Archive series and 40 since I bought Piece de Resistance on the State of Washington’s dime, the thrill of hearing a vintage live recording in this quality for the first time hasn’t faded. Atlanta 10/1/78 is the great lost show of the Darkness tour.


living is easy with eyes closed

Last edited by desa33

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.