April 27, 1974: When Springsteen Played Connecticut — Twice
Dear Jon Landau: We actually saw rock ‘n’ roll future first only you were smart enough to bring a pen and paper to your show. Damn you!
On Saturday April 27th of 1974, less than two weeks before Landau - the critic and future Springsteen manager - saw Bruce play in Cambridge, Mass. and made his famous declaration: ``I saw rock 'n' roll future, and his name is Bruce Springsteen", Springsteen played two Connecticut college campus shows.
With just one album under his belt - 'Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ' - the then relatively unknown Bruce greeted fans in the ice hockey arena in the parking lot of the University of Connecticut in Storrs before going on to play another gig that evening at the home of the Hartford Hawks - The University of Hartford. Unfortunately Bruce had already recorded his classic song "Spirit In The Night" otherwise he could have added Howie The Hawk to his list of characters. Crazy Janey, Wild Billy and Howie The Hawk? Ah, what could have been.
All kidding aside, there were some important characters that would play an integral part of Springsteen's future who weren't there with Bruce that afternoon and evening in Connecticut. The yet-to-be-named E Street Band lineup that day included Garry Tallent (bass), Clarence Clemons (saxophone), Danny Federici (keyboards, accordion), Ernest "Boom" Carter (drums) and David Sancious (keyboards). About four months after these two Connecticut gigs Sancious and Carter left to form their own jazz fusion band and were replaced by Roy Bittan (keyboards) and Max Weinberg (drums). Steven Van Zandt (guitar, vocals) wouldn't officially join the band until the summer of '75.
While Bruce's setlist at the time was made up mostly of tracks from his first album he did experiment with covers and songs that would end up on future albums. A great statistical rundown of the songs he played over the course of 1974 can be found HERE courtesy of the website setlist.fm.
Although there are no recordings of either of Bruce's Connecticut shows on April 27th of '74 that exist online here is a recording of a show he played in '74 that gives fans a good indication of how "Rock 'n' Roll's future" sounded 44 years ago: