Springsteen releases recording of 1996 Freehold concert


The cover of a live recording of Bruce Springsteen’s 1996 Freehold concert.

Bruce Springsteen is officially releasing one of the most unique concerts of his career in digital and CD form, as part of his ongoing Live Bruce Springsteen series: His Nov. 8, 1996 acoustic show in the gymnasium of his old elementary school, St. Rose of Lima in Freehold.

It was an evening full of intimate music and reminiscences, and marked the debut of his wickedly funny autobiographical song, “In Freehold.”

Downloads are available now, and the CD can be pre-ordered. Visit

I was lucky enough to attend the show. It was open only to Freehold residents, but as a member of the press, I was allowed to review it (for the Star-Ledger newspaper). I’ve already written a post about my memories of the night; you can read it here.

Proceeds from the show went to a Latino community center at the St. Rose of Lima Church. Though it was mostly a solo show, Springsteen was joined on six songs by violinist Soozie Tyrell, and on three of those songs by his wife, singer Patti Scialfa, too. Also, Springsteen’s guitar assistant, Kevin Buell, played some atmospheric offstage keyboards.

As Erik Flannigan writes in an essay that will be included with the CD: “In hindsight, a deeply personal Springsteen solo performance at an intimate venue sounds not dissimilar to his current run on Broadway. Shows like the Christic Institute in 1990 (released as part of the live download series), Freehold 1996 and the Doubletake benefit in Somerville, MA 2003 are antecedents to Bruce On Broadway, juxtaposing Springsteen storytelling at its most personal with special setlists.”

Here is the show’s setlist:

“The River” (with Soozie Tyrell)
“Adam Raised a Cain”
“Straight Time”
“Highway 29”
“Darkness on the Edge of Town”
“Johnny 99”
“Mansion on the Hill” (with Tyrell and Patti Scialfa)
“The Wish”
“Red Headed Woman”
“Two Hearts (with Tyrell and Scialfa)
“When You’re Alone” (with Tyrell and Scialfa)
“Open All Night”
“Used Cars”
“Born in the U.S.A.”
“The Ghost of Tom Joad”
“Sinaloa Cowboys”
“The Line”
“Balboa Park”
“Across the Border”

“Growin’ Up”
“This Hard Land”
“My Hometown” (with Tyrell)
“Racing in the Street” (with Tyrell)
“The Promised Land”
“In Freehold”

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