Just five days after keyboardist Danny Federici died from melanoma in April of 2008, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band played one of the most emotional shows of their long career at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. The entire band attended Federici’s funeral at Red Bank, New Jersey just day earlier and emotions were still raw when they took the stage in Florida where they were resuming the tour after postponing three shows. The concert has been a longtime favorite in Springsteen bootleg circles, but it was released officially today as part of Springsteen’s ongoing concert download series.
The show began with a Danny Federici tribute video paired with the studio recording of “Blood Brothers” from the Greatest Hits LP. The group then took the stage and kicked into “Backstreets.” Charlie Giordano had been subbing for Federici all year, but he remained offstage for this single song. It was a perfect way to demonstrate just how vital Federici’s organ was to the sound of the E Street band. It’s absence was impossible to ignore, especially when a spotlight hit the empty organ chair.
“We wanna thank you for all the prayers and condolences received for Danny,” Springsteen said before kicking into “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy),” one of Federici’s signature songs. “Roy, you better get this one right, man. Somebody’s watching.” Later in the night, they played the 1929 gospel classic “I’ll Fly Away” to honor the late keyboardist. Those moments aside, the show was largely a joyous affair with killer renditions of “Radio Nowhere,” “Because The Night,” “Atlantic City” and “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight).” You can listen to “Growin’ Up” from the show right here.
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The concert joins a long list of downloads that Springsteen has offered his fans in recent years. By this point, they’ve hit nearly every era since the Born To Run tour in 1975. For some reason, however, they have released nothing from from any of the early tours prior to Max Weinberg and Roy Bittan joining the band.