Bruce Springsteen will begin offering fans the ability to download complete concerts following the kickoff of his 2014 tour in Cape Town, South Africa on January 26th. "Fans around the world can purchase a special USB wristband, both online and at the tour venues," says a press release. "They will be able to pick one show of their choice to download on their USB wristband (approximately 48 hours after the show)."
Springsteen explained his decision in a recent interview with NPR. "I'd like to make things more available through the Internet," he said. "The Internet has become our friend . . . I think we live more in a Grateful Dead touring idea, that everything you do is recorded now. And that's OK with me, you know. As a matter of fact, I believe on this tour, we're starting to do something like you can come in, you can buy a [wrist]band, you can get a copy of the night's show. So hopefully we're gonna do that at a really nice-quality level."
Many groups (Pearl Jam, Phish, Metallica) have been offering their fans instant bootlegs for years, but until now Springsteen has been extremely reluctant to release official live material. Despite heavy touring, his last live album with the E Street Band was 2001's Live in New York City, and even that wasn't a complete show. There have been a handful of live DVD/Blu Ray releases filmed at recent tours.
After four gigs in South Africa, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band head over to Australia and New Zealand for four weeks of shows. The only known date beyond that is the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on May 3rd, though today's release says that "additional tour dates [are] expected to be announced."
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, we asked Springsteen about the possibility of additional dates in America. "It's not impossible," he said. "We had a few other select dates . . . a few in the States, sort of event shows. We're looking at it. I don't want to say 'yes' because I don't want to disappoint, but I certainly don't want to rule it out, too. We're looking closely at it. And there's places we missed on the last tour. As much as we played, we didn't get to Texas, where I love to play. We didn't get to Florida. There were some other places we didn't get on that entire tour. It might be fun to get back to some of those places."