I’ve always dated my Springsteen fanaticism from the concert he performed in 1978 in Passaic, NJ–and broadcast live on the radio in both NYC and Philly. I listened to the show on a crappy FM radio, alone in my freshman dorm room at Penn. Afterwards, I realized I no longer merely appreciated the band–Bruce and the boys had become my musical heroes.
Well, I’m not the only one. Check out this site from the Bruce tribute band Tramps Like Us. they are staging exact song-for-song recreations of the 1978 Passaic show.
I’m also waiting to get a copy of Lawrence Kirsch’s book “The Light In Darkness” which alternates between critical reviews on the album and tour, with interviews of hundreds of fans recalling their experiences and over 200 photos of the band from the tour. Kirsch pulls no punches on his opinion of the Passaic show:
The September 19th concert at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, in Bruce’s home state of New Jersey, is arguably Bruce Springsteen’s single greatest live performance. Why this particular show? Because first, it was Bruce’s single largest audience in his career up to that point: it was broadcast up and down the entire East Coast, Bruce’s original fan base. This show was therefore not only a concert ‘thank you’ to those loyal fans, but a de facto live album in the making, with Bruce’s engineer on Born To Run and Darkness – and future Interscope Records head – Jimmy Iovine, mixing live. Though the entire Darkness tour was brilliant, and the band always played at an impossibly tighter level for the radio; there was something about this show that puts it above and beyond even the legendary Bob Dylan Royal Albert Hall ’66 show as the greatest single rock and roll show ever.