While Bruce Springsteen has no current plans to tour, the New Jersey rock icon will bring out from the Thrill Hill vault a new box set featuring one of The E Street Band's most seminal performances.
The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts, a multi-format set coming October 22, features newly remixed and restored audio and video footage from the band's sets at Madison Square Garden in New York City in late September 1979. The star-studded "No Nukes" concerts were put on by MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy), a coalition of artists and activists (including Jackson Browne, Graham Nash and Bonnie Raitt) who came together in the wake of the Three Mile Island meltdown earlier that year to urge against nuclear power.
Springsteen and the band's appearance at the No Nukes concerts were pivotal for multiple reasons. Already a burgeoning critical and commercial success (both Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town had reached the Top 5 of Billboard's album charts), the tape rolled on their sets would be the first time people would experience the mythic power of The E Street Band without buying a concert ticket. (Portions of the sets made it into a concert film and triple live album.) It also marked the first time Springsteen - already intrinsically seen as a working class hero by his faithful fans - would definitively align with a political or humanistic cause, something he'd only do more of as his career continued.
The set was packed with highlights from Born to Run ("Thunder Road," "Jungleland" and the title track) and Darkness ("Badlands," "The Promised Land," "Prove It All Night") along with a standout from his earlier discography (the immortal "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight") as well as two tracks stemming from the sessions of what was to be Springsteen's newest release for Christmas 1979: "Sherry Darling" and the stark, contemplative "The River." (Within a month, Bruce would send this proposed album, The Ties That Bind, out to master then immediately cancel its release; the chart-topping double album The River, featuring even more material from those sessions, was released almost exactly a year later.)
The sets closed with a powerhouse combo of rock and soul covers: Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs' "Stay" (featuring vocals from Jackson Browne and Rosemary Butler, who'd turned the track into a hit on Browne's sensational 1977 live album Running on Empty), the by now legendary Detroit medley (featuring "Devil with the Blue Dress On," "Good Golly, Miss Molly" and "Jenny Take a Ride"), Gary U.S. Bonds' "Quarter to Three," and Buddy Holly's unforgettable "Rave On!" - a powerful closer to a powerful set.
The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts contains 13 performances from those two classic sets (10 of them previously unreleased in a wide physical format; both sets were released in full as now-unavailable downloads/CD-Rs via Nugs.net in 2018), newly remixed by Bob Clearmountain and matched to the original 16-millimeter film footage, restored in HD by Thom Zimny. Also included in the box is a 24-page booklet featuring rare photos and memorabilia, an essay, and reproductions of an original ticket, envelope and sticker.
No Nukes is available in three different formats, all of which can be pre-ordered below.
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts (Columbia/Legacy, 2021)
- Prove It All Night
- The Promised Land
- The River
- Sherry Darling
- Thunder Road
- Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
- Born to Run
- Detroit Medley: Devil with the Blue Dress On/Good Golly, Miss Molly/Jenny Take a Ride
- Quarter to Three
- Rave On!
All performances recorded live at Madison Square Garden, New York, NY - 9/21-22/1979
Version of Disc 1, Track 4 released on Blinded by the Light: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Columbia/Legacy 19075 95574-2, 2019
Versions of Disc 2, Tracks 3-4 released on No Nukes - The MUSE Concerts for a Non-Nuclear Future - Asylum ML-801, 1979
DVD/Blu-ray (same program as Discs 1-2)