Someone has put up on YouTube the long audio interview he did with a very young Bruce Springsteen in Phoenix on March 24th, 1974 (Way before the 1978 Phoenix show that included the legendarily filmed "Rosalita").
In part two of the six-part interview, Springsteen talks about the reception he's been getting out West, which was much better than back on the East Coast. (He also mentions, incredibly enough to someone hearing it today, that the band won't be able to go to Callifornia from Phoenix because they're out of money. "We have just enough to get everyone back on the plane to head back east," he says.)
As part of the discussion, he talks about his recent gigs in Houston.
Those performances, at the defunct Liberty Hall, have become a claim to fame for many Houstonians saying they were on to Bruce well before the rest of the country. (Estimated seating capacity at Liberty Hall, judging by how many people have claimed to have been there: 150,000.)
In the interview, Springsteen notes he was a bit nervous.
On the first night we went to play in Houston, they had a country-western band on. Everybody's got fiddles and they're playing the "Orange Blossom Special" and I said "Oh man, they ain't gonna dig us here. We're on the wrong side of the tracks. We are on the wrong side." And the joint went crazy. I couldn't figure it out. We don't get this kind of reception on the East Coast.
The photo accompanying this item is, according to the most meticulous database of Bruce gigs, "one of only a couple of known photographs of the entire Carter-Sancious lineup of The E Street Band, taken on the front steps of Liberty Hall." (That's drummer Boom Carter and pianist David Sancious he's referring to.)
It also notes Jimmy Spheeris opened for them, and no audio of the E Street Band's performance is known to exist.
To this day Springsteen still usually manages to throw in a Liberty Hall reference whenever he plays Houston. And he gets cheers from the half-million Houstonians who saw him play there back in `74.
-- Richard Connelly
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.