by Robert Wilkinson
Today we give a giant shout out to Bruce Springsteen on his 61st birthday. He's one of the awesome musical Libra tribe that includes such greats as John Lennon, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne and John Mellencamp. His tunes grab people all over the world, whether as social conscience or just great music. Today we have a lot of amazing videos of live performances!
I've been hip to this guy and his music since the early 70s, and he puts on one of the most electrifying live shows anyone could even want to see! For your consideration, a happy birthday assemblage of some great performances.
This year's celebration fixes all the busted links from the past two years. From the beginning of his career, "Spirit in the Night" - Live in Los Angeles with the E Street Band, 1973.
A more recent version from Sacramento, 2008 of "Spirit In The Night."
Another major hit from his first album, later made a hit again by Manfred Mann and the Earth Band, "Blinded By The Light"
A great acoustic performance of "Blinded By The Light" from Oct 15, 2005 in Madison, Wisconsin.
A GREAT must see alternate version! "Blinded By The Light" A total groove out!
An October 2009 performance from the Spectrum in Philadelphia, PA of "Rosalita," one of the first of his many tunes that let me know he was a force majure.
THE song that woke a lot of the world up! A great performance of "Born To Run" from The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA, on October 25, 1976.
Another great performance of "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band at Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, Az, July 8th 1978. (Let it buffer for awhile or it'll stop several times in the performance.)
Here are two more great performances of "Born to Run," this one from Landover,MD, from November 24th 1980, and this one at Madison Square Garden, New York, from the All Star Benefit for the Homeless Children on December 13, 1987.
From the same album, here's a great performance of "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out" at the Capital Center, Largo, MD, on the 24th of November 1980.
Here's "Prove It All Night," another great turn from his early days.
From the same era, Bruce and the E Street Band doing the ever incredible "Thunder Road" from the 1979 No Nukes concert. Here's another magnificent performance of "Thunder Road" from 1976 (when he made the covers of Time AND Newsweek on the same week!)
Another of my favorites, Intro & "Badlands" live in Bergen, Norway, in 2009. Here's a version of "Badlands" from Sevilla on July 29, 2009, (Let it buffer for a little while or it'll stop and start throughout the performance.)
From the next chapter in his career, the awesome "No Surrender" by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band in Washington DC, 11th October 2004.
Here's Bruce doing "I'm Goin' Down" live in Camp Nou, Barcelona, 20th July 2008.
As long time fans know, Bruce has deep feelings about our country and all that's right and wrong about it. Here he is doing the legendary Woody Guthrie song once proposed as the "true" national anthem for the US, "This Land is your Land" live at the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA on September 30, 1985. I also found Bruce and another American icon and champion of the working class, Pete Seeger, doing "This Land is Your Land" at Obama's Inaugural fete.
A while back I did a post on "Chimes of Freedom," one of the most remarkable songs ever written. Here is an amazingly powerful performance by Bruce from Copenhagen in 1988 of "Chimes of Freedom," written by America's Bard, Bob Dylan. At some point, please take a moment to reread my post, since I posted the lyrics, and after all, the Chimes of Freedom are flashing for all of us.
(As a bonus, here's Bob Dylan performing "Chimes of Freedom" at the Newport Film Festival in 1964)
Bruce once said, "blind faith in your leaders can get you killed." I found this unbelievable video of Bruce Springsteen doing "War" and posted it, along with the lyrics, back in 2007 during a global protest of the Iraq war. I saw him perform this way back when, and it still grabs me by the throat.
Here are a few more great tunes written by others, done by Bruce:
"Who'll Stop The Rain" live in Stockholm 2009.
From the same concert, we move back into three of my favorite songs written by the Boss:
Here's more of his hits,
"Dancing in the dark" from Barcelona 2002
"Glory Days" from Dave Letterman's last night on NBC.
Here's Youngstown done live in Youngstown.
The song he says Patti Smith "stole" from him, in that she definitely made it a major hit on her own before Bruce's version, the awesome "Because the Night" from a 2007 European performance.
Here's his rocking version of the Gary U.S. Bonds mega-hit "A Quarter To Three" in Sevilla.
I found a few clips of Bruce with various friends doing other people's songs. These are some great performances, so check them out!
First, U2 & Bruce Springsteen live at Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame doing "I still haven't found what I'm looking for."
We close this brief Happy Birthday celebration with Bruce joining Neil Young in 2004 doing one of my favorite tunes of all time, "All Along The Watchtower" in Minneapolis. Dylan wrote it, Hendrix did the definitive version, and Springsteen keeps it alive!
Thanks for being the workingman's voice all these years. I was once told that very few good things come from New Jersey, and that you were definitely one of them (along with Jon Stewart and a few more!) You've proved that true over the years. Thanks for the incredible tunes over the past 40 years! May you have many more as you rock on into your 60s!
Copyright © 2010 Robert Wilkinson