August 21st, 1976: The Night Springsteen Played At The Palace Theater In Waterbury
Sprung from a cage out on Highway 9, headed for the Palace Theater stage off Highway 84. The best way to get there? Just take the E Street.
One of Connecticut's most memorable shows took place 32 years ago this week. On Saturday night August 21st, 1976 Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band played a show at the Palace Theater in Waterbury a year after their legendary "Born To Run" album had been released and only less than a year after Springsteen made the cover of both Time and Newsweek. His star had already risen by the time he arrived at The Brass City yet it was just the beginning for Bruce and his band as the ensuing years would prove.
The Hartford Courant's J. Greg Robertson was there that night and noted in his review that Springsteen didn't take long to kick things into high gear. He was, you could say, chrome-wheeled and fuel-injected pretty much from the starting line.
"By the second number, Springsteen was out in the audience, stirring up a frenzy," Robertson wrote. "His choreography was straight out of the old James Brown routine: staccato, pumping steps, lithe slides and whirling, 180-degree turns."
Springsteen also gave fans a preview of a song that wouldn't appear on record until two years later. Bruce and The E Street Band performed "Something In The Night" - a song that would end up on his next album 'Darkness On The Edge of Town'; an album that fans (and maybe Bruce too) feared would never come.
At the time Springsteen played in Waterbury he was tangled up in a legal battle with former manager Mike Appel which kept Bruce and his band out of the studio for nearly a year. He wouldn't reach a settlement with Appel until the following year and 'Darkness on the Edge of Town' wouldn't see the light of day until 1978.
While Springsteen's setlist was heavy on songs from his recent release 'Born To Run' he also added some covers including The Animal's "It's My Life", Eddie Floyd's "Raise Your Hand", and "You Can't Sit Down" - a song originally made famous by Phil Upchurch and his Combo in the early 60s.
Here's a look at the complete setlist from that night at The Palace courtesy of setlist.fm:
3. "Spirit in the Night"
4. "It's My Life" (The Animals cover)
5. "Thunder Road"
6. "She's the One"
7. "Born to Run"
8. "Something in the Night"
10. "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" (with The Miami Horns)
11. "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)"
(Theme From Shaft snippet)
12. "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)"
13. "Raise Your Hand" (Eddie Floyd cover) (with The Miami Horns)
14. "You Can't Sit Down" (Phil Upchurch Combo cover) (with The Miami Horns)
While no footage of the Waterbury show has surfaced on YouTube I did find this video courtesy of YouTube's 2010dreamon who posted clips from a November '76 show at Auburn University in Auburn, AL: