Random Music Notes #7: Point Blank

One of the pleasures of my daily nearly one hour commute to Santa Monica is that it it coincides with the morning broadcast on E Street Radio of a live Springsteen show from its archives. Lately I usually spend much of that drive on the phone, today was special though, from 7/7/78 the broadcast of a legendary show at The Roxy in Los Angeles that was broadcast live in LA. I will not devote this note to the entire show (one that I owned on bootleg for many years until I lent it to my friend Jimmy and never got it back) but before I get to the subject, a little back story.

The summer of ’78 was unquestionably the finest summer of life at that point, or probably since. It was a summer of Bruce, the Yankees and hanging at the beach…it was perfect.  Bruce released Darkness on the Edge of Town in late May and then embarked on a non-stop tour, one that me, Stu, Billy and others tried to see as many shows as we could on. The Yankees staged a miraculous comeback from 14 behind the Red Sox and behind my favorite player of all-time, Ron Guidry who was virtually unbeatable (25-3 that summer) caught the Sox and won a dramatic 1-game playoff to win the pennant and go on to win another World Championship.

In between Yankee games we tried to see as many Bruce shows as we could drive to, Philly, Long Island, Jersey, Hartford and of course NYC. The tour stopped in these cities three times over a 5 month period so there was ample opportunities. From the Spectrum to MSG, from the Capitol Theatre in Passaic to the Academy of Music in NYC, Bruce and the E Street Band was at its most powerful that summer, ripping thru 3 1/2 hour sets nightly.

But Point Blank, the show I heard this morning was the premiere of Point Blank, which would appear on The River two and a half years later, (interestingly right before they play it, someone in the crowd yells out Point Blank). One of my favorite Bruce songs ever it is a treat to hear it on this tour, since it is markedly different lyrically from the version that would appear on record in 1980. It shows the mind of perfectionist songwriter who took this and went back and reworked to get it a point that he thought it should be. The song live is great, a guitar solo that sounds like tears from I believe Steve, and then the harmonizing of Bruce and Steven’s amazing falsetto voice are a perfect blend here. The next time this song would be played would be in NYC on 9/16 and I was at that show and remember being blown away by the song. Just researching Bruce setlists and it is noted that the NYC version had different lyrics and musical feel to it from the one in LA, so it makes the LA version even more special to here again.

So thanks E Street Radio for taking me back to a very memorable summer for an hour this morning and Jimmy H., I want my bootleg back!

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