Springsteen @ The Roxy, LA 7.7.78

Springsteen fanatics have debated his best shows for decades now. There was the New Year's Show at Nassau in 1980, The Bottom Line shows in '75, Main Point, the Christic Benefits, Harvard, The Capitol Theatre and countless others. These debates have taken place in parking lots before shows, all over the many, many Springsteen fan pages and just about anywhere that Springsteen fans congregate.

I'm now about midway through his famous Darkness-era show at the Roxy in LA. I don't recall ever hearing an artist so loose and engaged with the crowd. As I listen, it sounds as if him and the band are in the middle of the crowd. It also sounds as if the band's life depends on this show. Absolutely nothing is left untouched. As Bruce and the band literally yell.....Well the dogs on main street howl cuz they understand / If I could take one moment into my hands / Mister I ain't a boy, no I'm a man / And I believe in a promised land.....it's almost impossible not to just dive through my window in excitement. There's no pretension whatsoever. No gloss. Not a moment of hesitation. The crowd is nearly as explosive as the band.

There's little question that my adoration for Springsteen can be over-the-top. That said, when listening to a recording like this, it's impossible to be hyperbolic. Perhaps Springsteen fans are wired differently, but the jaw-dropping sound and emotion coming from that stage seems something only possible via imagination.

Tonight, tonight, the strips just right / I wanna blow 'em off in my first heat / Summer's here and the time is right / For racin' in the street

The setlist:
01 Rave on
02 Badlands
03 Spirit in the night
04 Darkness on the edge of town
05 Candy's room
06 For You
07 Point blank [Different lyrics]
08 The promised land
09 Prove it all night [With long guitar intro]
10 Racing in the street
11 Thunder road
12 Paradise by the C
13 Fire
14 Adam raised a Cain
15 Mona
16 She's the one
17 Growin' up
18 It's hard to be a saint in the city
19 Backstreets
20 Sad eyes - interlude
21 Heartbreak hotel
22 Rosalita (Come out tonight)
23 Independence day (solo piano)
24 Born to run
25 Because the night
26 Raise your hand
27 Twist and shout