Thirty years ago tonight….


NEW DATE! Friday, February 13
7:00 – 8:00 PM
Visible Voice Books
1023 Kenilworth Ave.
Tremont District
Cleveland, OH

For all upcoming appearances, click here


Just a little over four months after their last area appearance, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band spent New Year’s Eve ’78 and New Year’s Day ’79 in Cleveland, playing two sold-out shows at the Richfield Coliseum.

We tried to convince Jon Landau, Bruce’s manager, to do a live remote broadcast of the show but, by that time, there were at least a dozen known bootleg albums of various design from Bruce’s WMMS 10th Anniversary Concert at the Agora, and he believed, for that reason, it was best not to broadcast the show.

(A few months later two bootlegs, one an audience recording – The Firecracker Show and a soundboard recording – New Year’s Eve ’78 were released.)

Leading up to 12 midnight, Bruce Springsteen said “It’s getting near that time.”  He counted down, “Five, four, three, two, one – Happy New Year!  Kiss your girlfriend!”

Then some joker tossed an M-80 on stage, which exploded dangerously close to Bruce’s face and shook up the band, who had been joined on stage by wives and girlfriends.

Springsteen said, “Well, I almost lost my eye thanks to some asshole, but that ain’t gonna ruin my New Year and I hope it don’t ruin yours.

“Best of 1979 to you all you guys.  This has been a great town for us.  You’ve always treated us fantastic. I just wanna let you know that we appreciate it very much.

“All right – let’s go!”

(As he went into a cover of Buddy Holly’s “Rave On,” if I recollect properly)

” It’s a good thing it only happens once a year!”

Following “Rave On,” Springsteen said to Clarence Clemmons, “Big Man, give us the speciality.  Big Man took a one-week course at the Guy Lombardo Saxophone Institute for this next number…”

…and Clarence played “Auld Lang Syne.”

There was one member of the E-Street Band who was still wearing rage on his face.  The man formerly known as Miami Steve said, “Bruce is, you know, .if anybody saw the cat that threw that firecracker, man….almost took his fucking eye out, you know.

“Now, I asked everybody ’cause I’ve seen people hurt at shows with firecrackers before, you know and ah, I’ll ask again because we’re gonna be here tomorrow night and this is been, ah, you guys have always been great in this town.  We love coming here and we love playing here. That’s why we came on New Year’s Eve – and the only thing I ask is that people don’t throw stuff to hurt other people and to hurt themselves and hurt me and whoever else is up here ’cause we came here to play (he was interrupted by 18,500 cheers).some rock and roll for you and you guys paid your money so if you come and listen without being afraid of getting hurt or blown up or whatever.  So if anybody, if anybody sees anybody throwing stuff or anybody, you know, .like, you know, right, .just tell somebody so we get them out and if you wanna throw something, we’ll give you your money back and you can throw it outside, you know.

“It’s like you can do whatever you want (more cheers). I don’t want nobody throwing that fucking shit in here, you know, it can hurt people that came down here.”

At that point, Bruce put his shoulder on Miami Steve, whispered something to him, probably “you made your point,” and the show went on into the wee hours of the morning.


New Year’s Eve set list:
Kid Leo introduction
Streets of fire
Spirit in the night
Darkness on the Edge of Town
Independence Day
The Promised Land
Long guitar solo into Prove it all Night
Pretty Flamingo
Thunder road
The Ties that Bind
Santa Claus is comin’ to Town
Candy’s room
Because the night
New Year’s countdown and fireworks blast
Springsteen comments
Rave on
Springsteen sets up Clarence
Auld Lang Syne
Miami Steve rant
Good Rockin’ Tonight
Point Blank
Preacher’s daughter
I Get Mad
She’s the One
Born to Run
Detroit Medley
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
Quarter to three


New Year’s Day set list:
No intro
Rave On
Spirit in the Night
Darkness on the Edge of Town
Streets of Fire
Heartbreak Hotel
The Promised Land
Long guitar solo into Prove it all night
Racing in the street
Thunder road
Meeting across the River
For You
It’s hard to be a Saint in the City
Santa Claus is Comin’ to town
I Fought the Law
Because the night
Candy’s Room
Point Blank
She’s the One
The Last Time
Born to Run

 A poor audience recording of this show titled Meeting Across the River was released on CD.  If you see it, don’t buy it.

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