Legendary performances by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at the September 1979 MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy) benefit concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The No Nukes concerts came nine months after the end of Springsteen’s breakout tour in support of Darkness on the Edge of Town in 1978, the year when the legend of Springsteen’s marathon shows was born.
The 1979 MUSE concerts yielded a concert film, No Nukes, released theatrically in 1980, which gave fans their first opportunity to see Springsteen live on screen, even for just a few songs, along with many other artists on the all-star bill. Between the film and a concurrent triple-LP live album released by Asylum Records, still only a smattering of Springsteen’s performances from this high-profile event were part of the official record.
For this project, director/editor and longtime Springsteen collaborator Thom Zimny recovered and restored the original No Nukes camera film footage in HD. Zimny’s cut features all 13 songs Bruce performed over the two nights, ten never before seen. “The River” and the unreleased “Sherry Darling” gave a taste of Springsteen’s next album, joined by live favorites “Prove It All Night,” “Badlands,” “The Promised Land,” “Thunder Road,” “Jungleland,” “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)” and “Born to Run.”
The thrilling “Detroit Medley,” Springsteen’s Mitch Ryder tribute (combining “Devil With a Blue Dress On,” “Jenny, Jenny,” “C.C. Rider,” and “Good Golly, Miss Molly”), was a highlight of the No Nukes album and garnered radio airplay, but it did not appear in the original movie. Cover songs like these have always helped fuel the rock ‘n’ roll frenzy of E Street Band concerts; also featured are their renditions of Gary U.S. Bonds’ “Quarter to Three,” Buddy Holly’s “Rave On” and Maurice Wiliams’ “Stay,” featuring Jackson Browne, Tom Petty and Rosemary Butler. The audio is remixed from multitrack masters by Bob Clearmountain.
More than 40 years later, No Nukes is a chance to witness the future Rock and Roll Hall of Famers just six years into their story, on the cusp of superstardom as their live legend grew, based precisely on explosive performances like these, with something to prove all night.