Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
featuring the Miami Horns
Maple Leaf Gardens Concert Bowl
February 13, 1977
Nothing to Lose: The 1977 Tour Revisited Vol. Six
Recording Gear: Teac M-100 microphone > Sony TC-153SD cassette recorder
JEMS 2015 Transfer: master cassettes > Nakamichi 670 azimuth-adjusted playback > Wavelab 24/96 > iZotope RX4 > iZotope Ozone 5 > iZotope RX MBIT+ resample 16/44.1 > Peak Pro XT (volume smoothing / edit / index) > xACT 2.21 > FLAC
03 Spirit in the Night
04 It’s My Life
05 Thunder Road
06 Mona > She’s the One
07 Tenth Avenue Freeze-out (w/ Miami Horns)
08 Something In The Night
09 Growin’ Up
10 Action in the Streets (w/ Miami Horns)
13 Rosalita (w/ Miami Horns)
14 Raise Your Hand (w/ Miami Horns)
15 Born to Run
Welcome to the sixth edition of JEMS’ Nothing to Lose series revisiting Bruce’s remarkable 1977 tour. For the full history of our obsession with this era and the back story on these “Official Audience Tapes,” please refer to the notes in Vol. One found here:
Installment No. 6 rewinds to the first week of the tour and a 15-song set at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens, the legendary hockey arena, set up in its Concert Bowl configuration which cut the arena to half its normal size. It is the first of three JEMS master recordings done on the ’77 tour, and, dare I say, we think you’re going to like this one quite a bit.
Toronto ’77 has circulated among collectors since not long after J taped it that frosty February. A master-to-DAT transfer was done in the early days of the format, copies of which almost certainly provided the source for releases like Soul Crusaders (E Street) and No Trouble In Receiver (EV2). It’s long been one of the better audience recordings of the tour, but it has never sounded as good as it could. This marks the first direct digital transfer of the master, and every step along the chain, from the azimuth-adjusted playback to high-resolution capture to final mastering, is superior to what was done to DAT 25 (how can it be?) years ago. Additionally, it lacks some of the minor edits found in the extant versions.
It’s also one of those shows that I personally played dozens and dozens of times throughout the years; the recording which definitively made be believe the following: “Night” is one of Bruce’s greatest show openers; “It’s My Life” had reached its zenith; “Something in the Night” is an under-appreciated classic; “Growin’ Up” can support more than one tall tale; “Action in the Streets” should have been resurrected when the horns came back in 1988 and 2012; the “You lied!!!” moment in “Backstreets” may never be rivaled; “Raise Your Hand” should have been played every night of the tour; and, finally, that J was (and remains) a highly skilled taper.
Hereís what J himself had to say about the show: ìBack in 1977, a taper had to rely on a network of friends and collectors across the country to get early warning of shows and ticket sales. In the case of Toronto, we had a great friend up north in fellow taper The Lewk. He took care of us on our many road trips into Ontario, and he exceeded expectations with this Bruce show, getting me and my friends great seats at Maple Leaf Gardens, curtained off lengthwise to form the ‘Concert Bowl.í The curtain improved the notoriously bad sound there, and The Lewk got me a seat just off the center aisle, ten rows back from the stage. This was the first of three Bruce shows I saw and recorded on this tour, using my Sony TC-153SD and Teac M-100 mic, which I mounted high in a headband. We expected new material on this tour as we presumed that Bruce was probably a month or so away from putting out a new album. After all, it had been a year and half since Born To Run was released. The Toronto show was unique, in that the fire marshall insisted there be an intermission, making it the first time Bruce had split the set, a feature that would later become a staple of the show structure. We got great versions of ‘Rendezvous’, ‘Something In The Night’ and ‘Action In The Streets,’ but the real highlight this night (and at all 1977 shows) was the incredible version of ëBackstreets.í It was never better than it was in 1977!î
Like this entire series, the Toronto performance is a pleasure to listen to and the sound quality (to my ears) approaches the best tapes of the tour, including those of our pal Steve Hopkins and whoever did the official audience tapes. It offers an airy high end, punchy low end and vivid clarity to pick out each member of the band making magic. Samples provided.
I know a lot of you have this recording already and, make no mistake, Toronto has always sounded good, but I think this version is definitive. Then again, I’m biased. We’re making it available in both standard and high-resolution 24/96 editions.
Massive credit goes to J for his outstanding original recording and for pulling out the masters one last time to capture them at 24/96 and giving me so much to work with. Thanks yet again to M, for providing his ’77 source tapes; to the folks on the Stone Pony message board whose thread sparked this series; and to mjk5510 who continues to provide invaluable assistance as JEMS’ packaging and distribution supervisor.
Our next stop in the ’77 series is two nights hence in Detroit and one of the greatest show openers of all time.
BK for JEMS