Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

10May/0886

Just in Time for Summer – Bruce Springsteen & The E. Street Band – Live at the Cleveland Agora 8/9/78

Bruce - Darkness

Springsteen fans worldwide were salivating on Thursday morning as details began to circulate of a Bruce Springsteen benefit concert from that previous night at the historic Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJ. The benefit show was an event that had been set up to raise money for the purpose for restoring the 80 year old theater to its original glory. The unexpected part of the night was the last minute bit that revealed that the show, which had previously been announced as a solo performance by Springsteen, would instead feature the entire E. Street Band. When is the last time YOU saw a performance from Bruce and the band in a theater seating just over 1,500? A show that instantly became a night to remember, became even more special as Springsteen led the band through full album performances of Darkness on the Edge of Town, and Born to Run, wrapping up with a four song encore set backed by a horn section that included the rarity So Young and In Love, and wrapped with the very 1978 appropriate Raise Your Hand.

Bruce setlist - Count Basie Theatre 2008 - Basie Setlist 2

2008 marks the 30th anniversary of Darkness on the Edge of Town. Plans were reportedly underway for a lavish treatment of the album, similar to the box set that was issued for Born to Run, although I've seen some recent rumors that suggest that the alleged release June release date has been bumped. It certainly isn't the first time as Springsteen fans that we've seen something slip off the release schedule, but hopefully the retrospective package will find its way onto the release schedule shortly with a definite date. I think I can speak for the average Bruce fan in making note that the Born to Run package was awesome, and certainly gives plenty to look forward to in what we might expect quality wise from a Darkness package.

The 1978 tour found Bruce and band on fire delivering many legendary performances. Luckily for all of us, there were a good number of those performances that were broadcast live on the radio and captured for posterity. A December show at Winterland was one notable performance, and my personal favorite happened earlier that year in August.

Bruce Springsteen Agora Poster

The Cleveland Agora was the scene of the crime on August 9th, 1978 for a Springsteen performance that would become legendary. The concert helped mark the 10th anniversary for local radio station WMMS, and was broadcast nationwide live as it happened on WMMS and a select network of stations including stations in Detroit, Cincinnati, and Minneapolis.

Former WMMS program director John Gorman has a great remembrance of the show:

Though there were many WMMS Tenth Anniversary concerts and events, the one that will always be first and foremost is Bruce Springsteen’s live concert broadcast at the Agora on Wednesday, August 9, 1978. For many Springsteen aficionados that show stands as Bruce and the Band’s all-time best live performance. I concur.

It wasn't long after I arrived in Cleveland in 1989, that someone found out that I was a Springsteen fan and told me about the legendary Agora performance. Bootlegs at that point, were something you found in the "special" record stores, and via mail order. It would take me about 6 years to locate my first copy of the show, via a "limited edition" bootleg called The Teenage Werewolf which had been issued, and very quickly sold out. I traded emails with a Springsteen fan in Atlanta who let me know that he had seen a copy of the bootleg in one of his local record stores. I got in touch with the store, and forked over 75 dollars plus shipping for the 3 disc set. I was stoked beyond belief. Unfortunately, that excitement turned to dismay when the CD set showed up with deep scratches on all of the discs. I was sure that my quest was doomed, but happily, the store had another copy of the bootleg. As scarce as The Teenage Werewolf had become, I couldn't believe my good fortune.

I've gone through several different versions of the show since then, with the Just in Time for Summer set being my favorite copy of them all. I pull out this show at least once a year to fulfill a request from a friend that needs a copy for someone, and often to share it with a newly encountered Springsteen fan that is unaware of the performance. My friend Michael was the most recent recipient of a copy of the Springsteen Agora show, and he asked me "is it a good show?"

After I recovered from the shock of the question that I had just heard, I told him that indeed it was a great show, a legendary show with great performances of Sherry Darling (before it was recorded,) The Promised Land......."actually, it's got great performances of a LOT of songs!" And, not to mention that it is rated as one of the top 50 essential must have "Brucelegs!"

As detailed previously, Springsteen's music (and the love and support of my parents) got me through some troubled times growing up. When I first heard the Agora show in the mid 90s, the unique renditions of so many of the Springsteen classics contained within became the soundtrack that would carry me through the early challenges of trying to make it in the "real world," as I had begun to take those essential steps involved in growing up, including the classic coming of age event, moving out of the parents' house. I had gotten my own apartment, and money was tight, but I had good music to make up for the things I was lacking financially.

Sadly, we said goodbye to longtime E. Street Band keyboard player Danny Federici nearly a month ago in April. This concert, recorded on August, 9th 1978 at the Cleveland Agora is one of the many recorded highlights that really put the spotlight on Federici, and what a great player he was.

Click here for information on how you can support The Danny Federici Melanoma Fund, and consider making a donation in whatever amount you can afford.

Leave a comment, story or two, and enjoy the show! You might be a casual fan, or perhaps you are a diehard - regardless, this is one of the finest Springsteen shows you'll ever hear!

Bruce Springsteen & The E. Street Band - Just in Time for Summer
Live at the Cleveland Agora - August 9th, 1978

additional details

Disc 1: zipped download
01 Intro - Denny Sanders of WMMS
02 Intro - Kid Leo of WMMS
03 Summertime Blues
04 Badlands
05 Spirit In the Night
06 Darkness On The Edge Of Town
07 Factory
08 The Promised Land
09 Prove It All Night
10 Racing In The Street
11 Thunder Road
12 Jungleland

Disc 2: zipped download
01 Intro - Denny Sanders
02 Paradise By The "C"
03 Fire
04 Sherry Darling
05 Not Fade Away > Gloria > She's The One
06 Growin' Up
07 Backstreets
08 Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)

Disc 3: zipped download
01 Denny Sanders intro > 4th of July Asbury Park (Sandy)
02 Born To Run
03 Because The Night
04 Raise Your Hand > Kid Leo signoff
05 WMMS Station ID by Clarence Clemons
06 WMMS Station ID by Bruce Springsteen

Southside Johnny w/ Bruce Springsteen - I Don't Wanna Go Home (Cleveland Agora 1978)

Note: The above performance is also from the Agora, taken later that month from a special appearance that Bruce made with Southside Johnny. Bruce had performed earlier that night at the Richfield Coliseum (R.I.P.) and sped over to the Agora after the show to join Southside and crew for part of their set, which was in full blaze by the time Springsteen arrived. And it only heated up from that point.

  • Maddison

    went to those shows, first saw bruce at John Carroll university in Clevo about 197x amazing

  • Halz

    THANK YOU!

  • Zades55

    I WAS THERE….. was SO close to the stage that Bruce’s sweat sprayed me.  Went to the after party and met Clarence and Gary and i have the pictures and autographs to prove it !!!  It was a night I will NEVER forget !!!!!

  • KJB

    Fookin awesome!! I am listening to this show on Sirius right now. I grew up on Bruce, even met him a few times at Matty DeLia’s shop in Jersey (before he blew up the world with Born to Run). As fate would have it, I was driving back to college in Michigan on 8/9/78. When I got close to Cleveland I tuned in WMMS. The station was rated the No.1 in rock-n-roll in the country and I looked forward to tuning in every time I went back to NY on breaks. I was on I-80 W. and came upon a sea of cars parked along the sholders, on the grass, anywhere they could tuck in. I pulled off as well to find we were ALL tuned into WMMS. Rockin to Bruce & The E Street Band. What a ripping-good show. I stayed there for over two hours. Well over 100 cars in a makeshift tailgate party. Ohio COPs were cool with the whole thing, well, I guess they had to be… “THE BOSS” was in town! Bar-none the best rendition of Growin’ up I ever heard and one of my best memories doing the same. A sincere thanks to everyone that made this show happen. Loved it!       

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  • mark todd

    hey iam mark todd from cleveland i was at that show and could never find a copy of growing up with bruce talking about his youth and that god damn gutar if theres any way i can buy a copy  please email me at bowtiefubar@yahoo.com i now live in florida and no body has ever heard the version he did for us in cleveland with kid leo praying for more watts thank fellow clevander

  • John E Moll

    I was at this show and when I lost my wallet in the months following it, my only regret was not for the lost money, drivers license, etc, but for the ticket stub from this concert.  Thank you to Drew Lasker for taking me with him!

    John Moll

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  • Tlauer

    I was there. I was in the front right against the stage.  At one point I was told to try not to lean against the piano, but it was so crowded I was getting bumped against it!  Greatest concert ever! 

  • jack

    Good story..Fazios on W136 and Lorain.  I live in Louisiana now, great memories of my old neighorhood!

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  • MagicRat59

    Thank-you Matt. Lost my files but found you, so have my heaven back. 1st listened live in 78 in parking garage installing stereo in 77 f250. MMS was on and all worked stopped until concert was over. Girlfriend soon to be fiance to be wife to be ex – could wait up also. Proceeded to record convention and spent 80$ that we didn’t have, on vinyl bootlegs. She freaked – we got divorced because I was so irresponsible. Since, have followed him to other cities and have seen him every time since, in Cleveland. She didn’t know what she was messing with.

  • PDaleC

    I was introduced to BS by friends in college, including this concert. I made a cassette dub of their LP set from the concert, and played it till it died, years ago. I’ve searched for it every few years since then–can’t believe I’ve finally got it! THANK YOU! The “Drive All Night” bridge in “Backstreets” is a treasure all by itself.

    Even now that I’ve found you and your copy, I would STILL pay to get an official release. C’mon, Springsteen’s mgmt! It would make a great companion piece to _The_Promise_!

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  • john

    My name is John and i live in cleveland, ohio. i was 14 when that show happened, being to young to go, i also taped it. Since than there have been many copies circulated. I fortunantly have the original copy taken from the mixing board, i’ve gotten to know many people from wmms, the radio station that put on the show. After asking everyone i could, i finally got an unreal copy, the only problem is, twist and shout is not on it. They thought bruce was done, so they started packing up. I’m actually making copies as we speak for friends. I think my fav song is she’s the one, the intro freaking kills. People always talk about what show is the best he’s done, well, the Agora show from 78 is without a doubt the best show i have ever heard, from anyone.

  • Udflyersmp

    don’t know if you’re still around, but i’m looking for where i can buy this concert set on CD.  any help?  please let me know. 
    udflyersmp the y.  thank you!  s.

  • udflyersmp

    thank you AGAIN matt…I’ve downloaded the zip files and with help will get them put on disc for my brother for xmas. he’ll sh*t !! happy holiday to you and yours. cheers!

  • Matt

    Doh! I was going to make you CDs, right? Send me a note to addictedtovinylATgmailDOTcom and I can at the very least get you better quality files to burn those CDs with!

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  • Ray Rodgers

    I taped this concert (on two 8-tracks) the night it was broadcast. Lent them to a ‘friend’ and never saw them again. Was just talkin’ to my ex-roommate about it last night. This is awesome. Can’t wait to tell him about it.