In December of 1978, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played a historic three-night stand at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom, which was later released as a live album. The shows were a culmination of the band's Darkness on the Edge of Town tour, which had started earlier that year and took them across North America and Europe. The Winterland concerts were particularly memorable because of the energy and intensity that the band brought to the stage, as well as the unique setlists and extended versions of many of their songs.
The Winterland concerts were a chance for Springsteen and the E Street Band to showcase their live prowess, which had already been well-established by this point in their career. The shows were also an opportunity for the band to play songs that they hadn't played live in years, or in some cases, ever. The opening night of the run featured an opening set by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, and Springsteen and the E Street Band took the stage to a rapturous reception from the sold-out crowd. The band opened with "Badlands," which set the tone for the rest of the show. Springsteen's performance was particularly fiery, and he prowled the stage like a caged animal, pouring his heart and soul into each song.
One of the highlights of the first night was a 12-minute version of "Prove It All Night," which featured an extended guitar solo by Springsteen. The band also played a number of songs that hadn't been played live in several years, including "Growin' Up," "For You," and "Spirit in the Night." The first night of the run was also notable for the inclusion of a cover of Buddy Holly's "Rave On," which was a nod to Springsteen's early influences.
The second night of the run was even more intense than the first, with Springsteen and the band playing for nearly four hours. The setlist included many of the same songs as the first night, but with some notable additions, such as a cover of The Isley Brothers' "Shout," which had become a staple of their live shows. The band also played a 16-minute version of "Backstreets," which featured an extended piano and guitar solo, as well as an emotional vocal performance by Springsteen. The second night also featured an encore that lasted for nearly an hour, with the band playing a number of their biggest hits, including "Thunder Road," "Born to Run," and "Jungleland."
The final night of the run was just as electric as the first two, with the band playing for over three hours. The setlist included many of the same songs as the previous nights, but with a few surprises, such as a cover of Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel." The band closed out the show with a rousing version of "Raise Your Hand," which featured a call-and-response with the audience and Springsteen at his most exuberant.
The Winterland concerts were a high point in Springsteen's career and cemented his reputation as one of the greatest live performers of his generation. The shows were also an important moment for the E Street Band, who had been through a tumultuous few years following the release of their previous album, Born to Run. The Darkness on the Edge of Town tour and the Winterland concerts were a chance for the band to regroup and prove their mettle, and they rose to the occasion in spectacular fashion. The shows were later released as a live album, Live/1975-85, which is widely regarded as one of the greatest live albums of all time.
In conclusion, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's three-night stand at the Winterland Ballroom in 1978 was a historic moment.
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