The next release in Bruce Springsteen’s concert-archive series will be of his Aug. 6, 1984 concert with the E Street Band at the Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford. CDs and downloads can be purchased here.
Springsteen’s Born in the USA album had come out in early June, and his Born in the USA Tour had started later that month. This was the second night of a 10-show stand at a venue that was still relatively new (having opened in 1980).
It was also the height of presidential election season. The Democratic Convention, in which Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro were nominated, had taken place a few weeks previously. The Republican Convention, at which incumbents Ronald Reagan and George Bush would be re-nominated, took place later in August.
The show opened with the anguished “Born in the U.S.A. and included a cover of The Rolling Stones’ dependably rabble-rousing “Street Fighting Man,” as well as a somber-but-determined acoustic version of “No Surrender.”
Springsteen and the E Street Band performed “Street Fighting Man” 27 times in 1984, and once in 1985. This will mark the first time their version will be officially released.
Erik Flannigan writes in the album’s liner notes: “ ‘Street Fighting Man’ is a call to arms, telling us the ‘time is right for a palace revolution’ against those in power. Its inclusion in the set is a not-so-subtle suggestion of where Springsteen stood just a few months ahead of the 1984 Presidential election.
“A year later, Bruce famously introduced his cover of Edwin Starr’s ‘War’ by stating, ‘blind faith … in your leaders … will get you killed.’ ‘Street Fighting Man,’ first played on opening night of the tour, and ‘War,’ debuted at the final L.A. shows in ’85, can now be viewed as thematic bookends questioning U.S. leadership, something Springsteen continues to do in 2020.”
Here is the complete setlist, and you can listen to Springsteen’s “Street Fighting Man” below.
“Born in the U.S.A.”
“Out in the Street”
“Spirit in the Night”
“Open All Night”
“Prove It All Night”
“The Promised Land”
“Dancing in the Dark”
“Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”
“Because the Night”
“Racing in the Street”
“Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)”
“I’m a Rocker”
“Born to Run”
“Street Fighting Man”
“Twist and Shout”/”Do You Love Me”
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