Born to Run tours

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Born to Run Tours
ChickenScratchTourPoster.jpg
Tour by Bruce Springsteen
Associated album The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
Born to Run
Start date September 19, 1974 (1974-09-19)
End date March 25, 1977 (1977-03-25)
Legs 7
Shows 207 in North America
3 in Europe
210 Total
Bruce Springsteen concert chronology
Born to Run Tours
(1974-77)
Darkness Tour
(1978-79)

Born to Run was Bruce Springsteen's last, best hope for fortune and fame. As such it became a torturous recording process, and to make ends meet Springsteen and the E Street Band toured constantly during the first set of recording sessions for it, performing his new songs as he developed them. Before, during, and immediately after the album's commercially successful release, he toured again, sometimes in battle against his now highly promoted image. Financial success was short-lived, however, as he was soon plunged into legal battles with his former manager and enjoined from further recording. Again he toured to make a living, long after the conventional period of playing in connection with an album's release was over; only when his legal issues were finally resolved did he stop. From 1974 through 1977, these outings are collectively the Born to Run tours.

Tours[edit]

Prelude[edit]

During 1974, as in previous years, Springsteen was touring almost all the time. He had written the song "Born to Run" early in the year, and is known to have been playing it in concert by May if not earlier. Early versions of album futures "She's the One" (with parts of what would become "Backstreets") and "Jungleland" (without the Clarence Clemons' later-famous saxophone solo and with an extra section at the end) were beginning to appear in set lists. But several events crystallized in the late summer of 1974. Springsteen played his last ever gig as an opening act on August 3; after that, he would always be the headliner. On August 14, he played his last show with David Sancious and Ernest "Boom" Carter in the band.

New Members Tour[edit]

There was over a month's break, then on September 19 he played his first shows, at The Main Point in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, with Max Weinberg and Roy Bittan in the band; these were also the first shows where the band was explicitly billed as the E Street Band. This was clearly a new beginning of sorts, and can denote the first of the Born to Run tours.

Violinist and stage foil Suki Lahav joined the band on October 4. Shows were played up and down the East Coast to help integrate the new members' sound into the band as well as to provide some income while recording sessions dragged on — finances were always tight and manager Mike Appel often had to borrow money just to pay the road crew. An advanced, slightly different mix of "Born to Run" was given to certain progressive rock radio stations throughout November; it made an immediate impression and stimulated interest in Springsteen's first two albums and his concerts. On February 5, 1975, another Main Point show was broadcast in its entirety by Philadelphia's WMMR; "Thunder Road" made its first, work-in-progress appearance under the title "Wings for Wheels", and the (unusually long at the time) 2 hour 40 minute show overall is regarded as one of Springsteen's best ever. It was also frequently bootlegged soon thereafter, beginning a pattern that would extend for much of Springsteen's career.

This tour came to a close on March 9, 1975 after two shows in Washington, D.C.'s Constitution Hall. It is thought that Steven Van Zandt appeared in both shows, but in any case it was the last appearances of Suki Lahav, who moved back to Israel soon thereafter.

Born to Run Tour[edit]

The Born to Run Tour proper began more than a month ahead of the album's release date, on July 20, 1975 at the Palace Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island. Van Zandt was now a full-fledged member of the band. "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" made its first appearance, but the shows were still dominated by older material. Playing mostly the Northeast, by early August "Backstreets" itself had appeared. A prolific songwriter at the time, other Springsteen originals would appear, be played for a while, then disappear, never to make it onto any album.

Beginning on August 13 was a key 5-night stand at New York City's Bottom Line club. Columbia Records had put up posters of Springsteen around the city, the audience was heavy with press and music industry types, and an August 15 show was broadcast live by influential WNEW-FM. The shows were judged a success and further paved the way for Springsteen's big time emergence; many years later, Rolling Stone magazine would name the stand as one of the 50 Moments That Changed Rock and Roll.[1] A similar 4-night, 6-show, high-profile stand was conducted beginning October 16 at The Roxy in West Hollywood; in attendance were Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, Cher, Ryan O'Neal, and Carole King, as well as various entertainment industry executives. By October 27 the publicity push had reached its climax and Springsteen was on the covers of both Time and Newsweek.

This tour ended with a New Year's Eve 1975 show at the Tower Theatre in Philadelphia. The show was recorded onto multitrack and eventually released as a bootleg. The show includes a rare performance of "Night" along with a ballad version of "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out."

European Tour[edit]

However, during the previous month, Springsteen had made his first very brief foray into Western Europe, playing London's Hammersmith Odeon on November 18, 1975. It did not go too well, as Springsteen famously had a meltdown when he saw a lot of hyped-up Columbia Records publicity for him everywhere in London. The performance was captured on film that night (later released on DVD as Hammersmith Odeon London '75), and Springsteen was clearly bothered and kept fussing with a too-large stocking cap on his head. Single shows in Sweden and the Netherlands followed, capped by a return to the Hammersmith on November 24. Chastened, Springsteen would not return to Europe for six years. (Ironically, by the 1990s and 2000s Europe would become Springsteen's strongest and most loyal fan base.)

Chicken Scratch Tour[edit]

This colorfully named tour began on March 25, 1976; the official 1984 Springsteen chronology would state of that date, "The fabled 'Chicken Scratch Tour' begins, taking Springsteen and E Streeters on an extremely meandering route through the south, midwest, and northeast United States." The name was actually given by the band's road crew, due to many of the shows being in secondary markets in the South.

After the April 29 show in Memphis' Ellis Auditorium, Springsteen decided to catch a taxi to Graceland. Upon arrivial he had noticed a light on in the house and proceeded to jump the gates and walk to the front door. Security intervened at which point Springsteen asked if Elvis Presley was home, but the King was in fact in Lake Tahoe. The guards not having any idea who this visitor was, even after Springsteen tried to explain it to them and state that he had been on the covers of Time and Newsweek, politely escorted him to the street. Years later Springsteen would tell the story in concerts and reminisce about what he would have said to Elvis had he answered the door.[2]

Then, of this tour's end on May 28, 1976, the officially chronology stated: "Chicken Scratch Tour draws to a merciless conclusion with a show at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, which features a rousing version of Frankie Ford's 'Sea Cruise'."

Interlude[edit]

This likely would have been the end of touring until a new album was out. But during 1976 the relationship between Springsteen and his now former manager and producer, Mike Appel, had deteriorated, and during July Appel threatened action against Springsteen, Springsteen filed suit against Appel, and Appel countersued.

Meanwhile, in August Springsteen and the band played some local shows, mostly in Red Bank, New Jersey, with The Miami Horns on loan from Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. New songs intended for the next album, Darkness on the Edge of Town were performed. "Action in the Streets" remains unreleased and it is unknown if it was ever recorded, "Don't Look Back" and "Frankie" would not be released until 1998 on Tracks, "The Promise" and "Rendezvous" were released in 2010 on The Promise, while "Something in the Night" ended up being the only song to make the album's final cut.

Except that on September 15, the judge in the lawsuits case ruled that Springsteen was enjoined from any further recording with Columbia Records until Appel's suit was resolved.

U.S. Tour a/k/a Lawsuit Tour[edit]

Thus Springsteen had to hit the road again to have any source of income (as proceeds from Born to Run sales being tied up in various accounting disputes as well).

What the official Springsteen chronology called the U.S. Tour ran from September 26 through November 4, 1976, starting at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Arizona and ending with a six-night stand at The Palladium in New York. This tour was also with a horn section, also billed as The Miami Horns, but different from the previous group and unrelated to the Asbury Jukes. Along the way Springsteen played his first headlining shows in an arena, The Spectrum in Philadelphia, but he used curtains to partition off part of the venue.

The Lawsuit Drags On Tour[edit]

The court cases carried on, with battles being fought over various procedural rulings, and still Springsteen could not enter the studio. So back out he went, for a group of shows that the official chronology does not even attempt to label. This run began on February 7, 1977 at the Palace Theatre in Albany, New York, and continued for 33 shows in the U.S. and Canada.

By now Springsteen was quite disheartened, and before a February 15 show in Detroit, he for the first time in his life did not want to get up on stage. "At that moment, I could see how people get into drinking or into drugs, because the one thing you want at a time like that is to be distracted—in a big way," he later told writer Robert Hilburn. Nonetheless, he rebounded, and eventually this run concluded on March 25, 1977 at the Music Hall in Boston.

Postlude[edit]

Meanwhile the lawsuits had moved in the direction of settlement, and final settlement was reached on May 28, 1977. Springsteen entered the studio three days later to begin recording sessions for Darkness on the Edge of Town. The Born to Run tours were finally over.

The shows[edit]

It was during these tours that the Springsteen concert image took form. He had stopped wearing sunglasses on stage and was now more accessible. His baggy pants, T-shirt, worn leather jacket and sloppy headwear look was now offset by two frontline visual foils, as both saxophonist Clarence Clemons and guitarist Steven Van Zandt were stylishly dressed in suits and distinctive hats.

Musically, the E Street Band now had its fullest sound, with two keyboards and a saxophone augmenting two guitars and the usual bass and drums. Springsteen did not just play songs as they were on his records — they were often rearranged or extended with playful, poignant, or angry spoken narratives. Oldies from the early to mid-1960s were often brought in to supplement Springsteen's own material; The Animals' "It's My Life" was one such example, slowed down to try to increase the song's tension factor and preceded by what would become a Springsteen concert staple, the long bitter story about how he and his father did not get along at all with respect to the course Springsteen's life took as a teenager.

Springsteen's performances were also frenetic, with him jumping into crowds and singing on tables during the shows held in clubs.

Material from Born to Run grew in importance as the tour went on, but even the newest material could be quickly recast. Most notably, "Thunder Road" was changed from the spirited, sweeping album version into a surprisingly quiet and pleading show opener, featuring Springsteen singing while standing still at the microphone stand, guitar slung behind him, with only Roy Bittan's piano and Danny Federici's electronic glockenspiel accompanying him. (Producer Jon Landau later said that the stark presentation was partly due to the full band having trouble playing the album's arrangement.) "Backstreets" was augmented with a guitar line far more prominent than on record, while "Night", one of the least visible tracks on the album, became a show opener for a spell as well.

As the later tours took place and Springsteen became frustrated with his legal situation, the shows became his only outlet. Horn sections were added, songs further arranged, and more oldies pulled out. Performances sometimes reached the three- or four-hour mark. New material such as the bitter "The Promise" would appear out of nowhere, then disappear again.

Songs performed[edit]

Commercial and critical reaction[edit]

The high-profile August 1975 Bottom Line shows won raves from music critics. Rolling Stone said that a star had been born and that "Springsteen is everything that has been claimed for him," while the E Street Band "may very well be the great American rock & roll band." The New York Times said that the shows "will rank among the great rock experiences of those lucky enough to get in." Bottom Line co-owner Alan Pepper said that Springsteen "brought the house to a fever pitch again and again and again, and the band stayed with him all the way. It was absolutely amazing, and I mean that. In all my years in the music business, I have never seen anything like those performances."

Reaction was similar in other locations; Los Angeles Times writer Robert Hilburn later stated that "the Born to Run shows were hailed in city after city as among the finest ever in rock."

Broadcasts and recordings[edit]

In addition to the Main Point and Bottom Line shows already mentioned, the October 17, 1975 show at The Roxy in West Hollywood was broadcast live on KWST-FM. Springsteen also made some visits to radio stations during the tours in which interviews and performances were conducted.

The 1986 Live/1975-85 box set contained just one selection from any of the Born to Run tours, the "solo piano" (and electronic glockenspiel) "Thunder Road" taken from the following night's show at The Roxy. (The lack of further coverage of the tours was one reason for fans' dissatisfaction with the box set at the time; Springsteen management said the available recordings did not have good enough sound quality).

In 2005, as part of the Born to Run 30th Anniversary Edition re-release package, a full-length concert film was assembled of the notorious November 18, 1975 Hammersmith Odeon show in London and included as a DVD. This was subsequently also released as the CD Hammersmith Odeon London '75.

Personnel[edit]

Tour dates[edit]

New Members Tour[edit]

Date City Country Venue
North America
September 19, 1974 Bryn Mawr United States The Main Point
September 20, 1974 Upper Darby Township Tower Theater
September 21, 1974 Oneonta Hunt Union Ballroom
September 22, 1974 Union Township Kean College Campus Grounds
October 4, 1974 New York City Avery Fisher Hall
October 5, 1974 Reading Bollman Center
October 6, 1974 Worcester Atwood Hall
October 11, 1974 Gaithersburg Shady Grove Music Fair
October 12, 1974 Princeton Alexander Hall
October 18, 1974 Passaic Capitol Theatre
October 19, 1974 Schenectady Memorial Chapel
October 20, 1974 Carlisle Dickinson College Dining Hall
October 25, 1974 Hanover Spaulding Auditorium
October 26, 1974 Springfield Julia Sanderson Theater
October 29, 1974 Boston Boston Music Hall
November 1, 1974 Upper Darby Tower Theater
November 2, 1974
November 6, 1974 Austin Armadillo World Headquarters
November 7, 1974
November 8, 1974 Corpus Christi Ritz Music Hall
November 9, 1974 Houston Houston Music Hall
November 15, 1974 Easton Kirby Field House
November 16, 1974 Washington, D.C. Leonard Gym
November 17, 1974 Charlottesville Memorial Gymnasium
November 21, 1974 Blackwood Lincoln Hall Auditorium
November 22, 1974 West Chester Hollinger Field House
November 23, 1974 Salem Salem State College Auditorium
November 29, 1974 Trenton Trenton War Memorial
November 30, 1974
December 6, 1974 New Brunswick State Theatre
December 7, 1974 Geneva Geneva Theater
December 8, 1974 Burlington Burlington Memorial Auditorium
January 5, 1975 Asbury Park The Stone Pony
January 12, 1975
January 19, 1975
February 5, 1975 Bryn Mawr The Main Point
February 6, 1975 Chester Widener Field House
February 7, 1975
February 18, 1975 University Heights John Carroll Gymnasium
February 19, 1975 University Park The Auditorium (later called Eisenhower Auditorium)
February 20, 1975 Pittsburgh Syria Mosque
February 23, 1975 Westbury Westbury Music Fair
March 7, 1975 Owings Mills Painters Mill Music Fair
March 8, 1975 Washington, D.C. DAR Constitution Hall
March 9, 1975

Born to Run Tour[edit]

Date City Country Venue
North America
July 20, 1975 Providence United States Palace Concert Theater
July 22, 1975 Geneva Geneva Theater
July 23, 1975 Lenox Music Inn
July 25, 1975 Kutztown Keystone Hall
July 26, 1975
July 28, 1975 Washington, D.C. Carter Barron Amphitheatre
July 29, 1975
July 30, 1975
August 1, 1975 Richmond The Mosque
August 2, 1975 Norfolk Chrysler Hall
August 8, 1975 Akron Akron Civic Theatre
August 9, 1975 Pittsburgh Syria Mosque
August 10, 1975 Cleveland Allen Theatre
August 13, 1975 New York City Bottom Line
August 14, 1975
August 15, 1975
August 16, 1975
August 17, 1975
August 21, 1975 Atlanta Electric Ballroom
August 22, 1975
August 23, 1975
September 4, 1975 Bryn Mawr The Main Point
September 6, 1975 New Orleans Theater for the Performing Arts
September 7, 1975 Ya Ya Lounge
September 12, 1975 Austin Municipal Auditorium
September 13, 1975 Houston Houston Music Hall
September 14, 1975
September 16, 1975 Dallas Dallas Convention Center Theatre
September 17, 1975 Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall
September 20, 1975 Grinnell Darby Gymnasium
September 21, 1975 Minneapolis Guthrie Theater
September 23, 1975 Ann Arbor Hill Auditorium
September 25, 1975 Chicago Auditorium Theatre
September 26, 1975 Iowa City Hancher Auditorium
September 27, 1975 St. Louis Ambassador Theatre
September 28, 1975 Kansas City Memorial Hall
September 30, 1975 Omaha Civic Auditorium Music Hall
October 2, 1975 Milwaukee Uptown Theater
October 4, 1975 Detroit Michigan Palace Theater
October 10, 1975 Red Bank Monmouth Arts Center
October 16, 1975 West Hollywood Roxy Theatre
October 17, 1975
October 18, 1975
October 19, 1975
October 23, 1975 New York City Gerde's Folk City
October 25, 1975 Portland Paramount Theatre
October 26, 1975 Seattle Paramount Theatre
October 29, 1975 Sacramento Memorial Auditorium
October 31, 1975 Oakland Paramount Theatre
November 1, 1975 Santa Barbara Robertson Gymnasium
November 3, 1975 Tempe Gammage Memorial Auditorium
November 4, 1975
November 6, 1975
November 10, 1975 Tampa Jai Alai Fronton
November 11, 1975 Miami
Europe
November 18, 1975 London England Hammersmith Odeon
November 21, 1975 Stockholm Sweden Konserthuset
November 23, 1975 Amsterdam Netherlands RAI Congrescentrum Theater
November 24, 1975 London England Hammersmith Odeon
North America
December 2, 1975 Boston United States Boston Music Hall
December 3, 1975
December 5, 1975 Washington, D.C. McDonough Gymnasium
December 6, 1975
December 7, 1975
December 10, 1975 Lewisburg Davis Gym
December 11, 1975 South Orange Walsh Gymnasium
December 12, 1975 Brookville C.W. Post Dome Auditorium
December 16, 1975 Oswego Laker Hall
December 17, 1975 Buffalo Kleinhans Music Hall
December 19, 1975 Montreal Canada Théâtre Maisonneuve
December 20, 1975 Ottawa NAC Opera House
December 21, 1975 Toronto Seneca College Field House
December 27, 1975 Upper Darby Township United States Tower Theater
December 28, 1975
December 30, 1975
December 31, 1975

Chicken Scratch Tour[edit]

Date City Country Venue
North America
March 25, 1976 Columbia United States Township Auditorium
March 26, 1976 Atlanta Fox Theatre
March 28, 1976 Durham Cameron Indoor Stadium
March 29, 1976 Charlotte Ovens Auditorium
April 1, 1976 Athens Memorial Auditorium
April 2, 1976 Louisville Macauley's Theatre
April 4, 1976 East Lansing MSU Auditorium
April 5, 1976 Columbus Ohio Theatre
April 7, 1976 Cleveland Allen Theatre
April 8, 1976
April 9, 1976 Hamilton Cotterell Court
April 10, 1976 Wallingford Paul Mellon Arts Center
April 12, 1976 Johnstown Cambria County War Memorial Arena
April 13, 1976 University Park Rec Hall
April 15, 1976 Pittsburgh Syria Mosque
April 16, 1976 Meadville Shafer Auditorium
April 17, 1976 Rochester Strong Auditorium
April 20, 1976 Johnson City Freedom Hall Civic Center
April 21, 1976 Knoxville Knoxville Civic Auditorium
April 22, 1976 Blacksburg Burruss Auditorium
April 24, 1976 Boone Varsity Gymnasium
April 26, 1976 Chattanooga Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium
April 28, 1976 Nashville Grand Ole Opry House
April 29, 1976 Memphis Ellis Auditorium
April 30, 1976 Birmingham Boutwell Memorial Auditorium
May 3, 1976 Little Rock Robinson Municipal Auditorium
May 4, 1976 Jackson Mississippi Coliseum
May 6, 1976 Shreveport Shreveport Municipal Memorial Auditorium
May 8, 1976 Baton Rouge LSU Assembly Center
May 9, 1976 Mobile Mobile Municipal Theater
May 10, 1976
May 11, 1976 Auburn Memorial Coliseum
May 13, 1976 New Orleans Municipal Auditorium
May 27, 1976 West Point Eisenhower Hall Auditorium
May 28, 1976 Annapolis Halsey Field House

U.S. Tour a/k/a Lawsuit Tour[edit]

Date City Country Venue
North America
September 26, 1976 Phoenix United States Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
September 29, 1976 Santa Monica Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
September 30, 1976
October 2, 1976 Oakland Paramount Theatre
October 3, 1976 Santa Clara Toso Pavilion
October 5, 1976 Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Bowl
October 9, 1976 Notre Dame Athletic & Convocation Center
October 10, 1976 Oxford Millett Hall
October 12, 1976 New Brunswick College Avenue Gymnasium
October 13, 1976 Union Township Wilkins Theatre
October 16, 1976 Williamsburg William & Mary Hall
October 17, 1976 Washington, D.C. McDonough Gymnasium
October 18, 1976
October 25, 1976 Philadelphia The Spectrum
October 27, 1976
October 28, 1976 New York City The Palladium
October 29, 1976
October 30, 1976
November 2, 1976
November 3, 1976
November 4, 1976

The Lawsuit Drags On Tour[edit]

Date City Country Venue
North America
February 7, 1977 Albany United States Palace Theatre
February 8, 1977 Rochester Rochester Auditorium Theatre
February 9, 1977 Buffalo Kleinhans Music Hall
February 10, 1977 Utica Utica Memorial Auditorium
February 12, 1977 Ottawa Canada Ottawa Civic Centre
February 13, 1977 Toronto Maple Leaf Gardens
February 15, 1977 Detroit United States Masonic Temple Theatre
February 16, 1977 Columbus Veterans Memorial Auditorium
February 17, 1977 Richfield Township Coliseum at Richfield
February 19, 1977 Saint Paul St. Paul Civic Center Theatre
February 20, 1977 Madison Dane County Coliseum
February 22, 1977 Milwaukee Milwaukee Auditorium
February 23, 1977 Chicago Auditorium Theatre
February 25, 1977 West Lafayette Elliott Hall of Music
February 26, 1977 Indianapolis ICC Ballroom
February 27, 1977 Cincinnati Riverfront Coliseum
February 28, 1977 St. Louis Fox Theatre
March 2, 1977 Atlanta Atlanta Civic Center
March 4, 1977 Jacksonville Civic Auditorium
March 5, 1977 Orlando Jai Alai Fronton
March 6, 1977 Miami
March 10, 1977 Toledo Toledo Sports Arena
March 11, 1977 Latrobe Saint Vincent College Gymnasium
March 13, 1977 Towson Towson Center
March 14, 1977 Poughkeepsie Mid-Hudson Civic Center
March 15, 1977 Binghamton Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena
March 18, 1977 New Haven New Haven Veterans Memorial Coliseum
March 19, 1977 Lewiston Central Maine Youth Center
March 20, 1977 Providence Alumni Hall
March 22, 1977 Boston Boston Music Hall
March 23, 1977
March 24, 1977
March 25, 1977
Cancellations and rescheduled shows
October 21, 1974 Blackwood, New Jersey Lincoln Hall Auditorium Rescheduled to November 21, 1974
October 27, 1974 Millersville, Pennsylvania Millersville State College Campus Grounds Cancelled
November 10, 1974 Dallas, Texas Dallas Sportatorium Cancelled
February 21, 1975 Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Johnston Hall Cancelled
February 27, 1975 University Heights, Ohio John Carroll Gymnasium Rescheduled to February 18, 1975
March 1, 1975 Syracuse, New York Syracuse Repertory Theater Cancelled
March 2, 1975 Plattsburgh, New York Memorial Hall Cancelled
March 9, 1975 New York City, New York Felt Forum Cancelled
August 29, 1975 Coral Gables, Florida University Center Patio Cancelled
September 9, 1975 Dallas, Texas Electric Ballroom Rescheduled to September 16, 1975 and moved to the Dallas Convention Center Theatre
September 11, 1975 Arlington, Texas Texas Hall Cancelled
October 10, 1975 Red Bank, New Jersey Monmouth Arts Center Rescheduled to October 11, 1975
October 14, 1975 Miami, Florida Jai Alai Fronton Rescheduled to November 14, 1975
October 28, 1975 Eugene, Oregon Beall Concert Hall Cancelled
November 9, 1975 Tampa, Florida Jai Alai Fronton Rescheduled to November 10, 1975
November 14, 1975 Miami, Florida Jai Alai Fronton Rescheduled to November 11, 1975
December 21, 1975 Toronto, Canada Minkler Auditorium Moved to the Seneca College Field House
April 26, 1976 Chattanooga, Tennessee Tivoli Theatre Moved to the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium


Sources[edit]

References[edit]