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Springsteen Web Site: '78 Summit Show Best Video Ever

Springsteen Web Site: '78 Summit Show Best Video Ever

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, "Fire," live at the Summit 12/8/78

Since one of the extra goodies is a complete video of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band's December 1978 concert at the Summit, Rocks Off is sure Houston's Boss fans don't need much more reason to buy the expanded version of Darkness On the Edge of Town (retitled The Promise: The Darkness On the Edge of Town Story) scheduled for release on Tuesday.

But here's one anyway. the Internet's largest Springsteen fan community, backstreets.com, says the footage of that Summit show may be the single best E Street concert video ever. Ever.

See for yourself:

While you may have wished for mythical footage from Madison Square Garden or Winterland, we couldn't ask for a much better concert video from the Darkness tour than Houston, December 8, 1978.

Shows from the aforementioned venues have long captured the imagination of folks pondering what sat in the vaults, but Houston is a show that evidence suggested shouldexist even though no one had ever seen a frame of it until recently. The Summit opened in 1975 and like other venues built in the era, it featured a state-of-the-art, in-house video system and big screens.

These were used during games for the venue's primary tenant, the NBA's Houston Rockets, but also for the many rock and pop concerts held there. Fast-forward 25 years and video recordings of some Summit concerts began to leak out, including shows by the Who, Aerosmith, Queen and Prince.

Given the Who show took place in 1975 and the Prince show in 1981, Springsteen's 1978 appearance seemed a likely candidate to have been recorded, and it turns out it was. How it wound up in the Thrill Hill Vault is another story.

 

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, "Streets of Fire," live at the Summit 12/8/78

There's much that makes Houston especially appealing, including its relatively late appearance in the itinerary of the eight-month tour. As such the set varies considerably from the oft-seen videos of Passaic and Largo, featuring three songs - "The Ties That Bind" (opening the second set with a bang and featuring Bruce on the rarely played Fender Electric XII guitar), "Independence Day," and "Point Blank" - that would appear on Bruce's next album, The River.

We also get the as-yet-unreleased "Fire" and "The Fever," an epic "Mona">"She's the One" complete with the "I Get Mad" rap, the first video release of the beloved "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and the only appearance of the Dovells' "You Can't Sit Down" from the tour's final leg.

For many of us intimately familiar with the Winterland radio broadcast that aired exactly one week after this show and has been replayed millions of times on bootlegs, the Houston footage solves one of its enduring mysteries.

During the breakdown in the "Detroit Medley" at Winterland, Bruce teases, "See, it ain't so bad, when me and the Big Man do this. And it ain't so bad when me and the Big Man do this. And you could even get off with light injuries and a short trip to the emergency room, when we do this.... Now I bet all them guys on the radio are wondering what we're doing."

In Houston the rap is slightly different ("Are you tough enough to stand it when me and the Big Man do this? And can you take it when me and the Big Man do this? Can you hold on... when we... do this?"), but what we couldn't see on the radio from San Francisco, we now get to see on stage and in color in Houston.

We won't spoil the surprise, but suffice it to say it involves some very impressive hand gestures.

- November 11, 2010 - Thanks to Johanna Pirttijärvi's "Storyteller" transcriptions at Brucebase for some of the info above

Rocks Off is sold. We just hope our parents are reading this, because we do have a birthday coming up...

SET LIST

Badlands Streets of Fire It's Hard to Be a Saint In the City Darkness On the Edge of Town Spirit In the Night Independence Day The Promised Land Prove It All Night Racing In the Street Thunder Road Jungleland The Ties That Bind Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town The Fever Fire Candy's Room Because the Night Point Blank Mona Preacher's Daughter I Get Mad She's the One Backstreets Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) Born to Run Detroit Medley 10th Avenue Freeze-Out You Can't Sit Down

Length: 3 hours, 16 minutes


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