Fan recordings of Bruce Springsteen’s emotional Asbury Park show have been circling in the years since the Boss hit the stage on November 24th, 1996 for the start of a three-night stand. Now, Springsteen has just officially released the show as the latest offering from his ongoing live download series.
At this show — part of his acoustic Ghost of Tom Joad tour — Springsteen was joined by a host of guests, including Patti Scialfa, E Street Band keyboardist Danny Federici and future E Street Band violinist Soozie Tyrell. The setlist was packed with early favorites from his catalog that hadn’t been played on tour until that point, including “Rosalita (Come out Tonight),” “Wild Billy’s Circus Story” and “4th of July, Asbury Park.”
“I was about 18 and I first started to come out to Asbury Park in 1968,” he told the crowd before playing the latter song. “Asbury was always a little more open than most of the towns that sort of surrounded it. [For the] many musicians who gathered here, it was our little taste of the city, a place where you could kind of come out and find yourself…I really found friendships here that lasted me my whole life. I met my wife here in a bar and I got a chance to see my kids running around the theater tonight, so that sort of brings it all ’round a full circle. I’m glad to be able to come back to town and to be able to play here in this theater. It’s a treat for me.”
The show also included a rare performance of the Born in the U.S.A. B-side “Shut out the Light,” which you can hear right here. Up until a gig in Akron, Ohio, two months earlier, he hadn’t played it live since 1985.
Springsteen has a couple of New York charity shows (Stand up for Heroes, The Concert for the Rainforest Fund) on his schedule right now. He hasn’t announced specific plans for next year, but he’s said several times he hopes to release a new album with the E Street Band and tour behind it.