If there’s one thing Bruce Springsteen’s fans can find fault with in their hero, it’s his early aversion to film cameras.
Because of that, there is very little onscreen documentation of Springsteen onstage in the mid- to late-1970s, when the power and majesty of the E Street Band combined with youthful exuberance for some truly epic concert experiences. Without a ticket and a good memory, they passed you by.
That makes this week’s release of a 90-minute film that shows them performing at the “No Nukes” benefit concerts in September 1979 significant for fans and music historians. It’s found money.
Before a friendly crowd at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Springsteen and his gang of Jersey toughs crackle with pent-up energy. They’d been off the road in 1979, recording “The River,” and are thrilled to be before an audience again. Their typical four-hour show was condensed into 90 minutes. Sharing a bill with artists like Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, and Bonnie Raitt, they burned to show peers what they could do.