Bruce Springsteen Releases Clarence Clemons’ Final E Street Gig as Live LP
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s November 22nd, 2009 concert in Buffalo, New York – the final stop on the Working on a Dream tour and their last full gig with saxophonist Clarence “Big Man” Clemons before his June 2011 death – was officially released as a live LP (and a last-minute Christmas gift to fans) Saturday through Springsteen’s site.
The performance also featured Springsteen and the E Street Band playing his 1973 debut LP Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. in its entirety, from “Blinded by the Light” to “It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City.”
The three-and-a-half-hour, 35-song November 22nd, 2009 concert is available to download now through the Live Bruce Springsteen site, with a physical release scheduled for January 23rd.
While the Live Bruce Springsteen site was frequently updated in 2016 with every gig from the band’s recent River Tour, the November 2009 Buffalo concert marks the first archival release since Springsteen unearthed his famed 1990 solo “Christic Shows” this past June.
As Ultimate Classic Rock notes, the November 22nd show also fell on guitarist Stevie Van Zandt’s birthday, resulting in a few surprises: a rendition of “Happy Birthday” and the live debut of The River era outtake “Restless Nights,” one of Van Zandt’s favorite tracks.
Following the Buffalo concert, Springsteen and the E Street Band would perform with Clemons one final time during a small Asbury Park gig for a Vevo webcast.
In Springsteen’s memoir Born the Run, the rocker wrote at length about Clemons’ final gig as well as auditioning saxophonist Jake Clemons, the Big Man’s nephew who showed up late and unprepared for the E Street audition.
“Let me get this straight,” Springsteen wrote of his audition interaction with Jake Clemons. “You are coming to audition for Clarence ‘Big Man’ Clemons’ seat in the E Street Band, which is not a job, by the way, but a sacred fucking position, and you are going to play Clarence’s most famous solos for Bruce Springsteen [referencing myself in the third person], the man who stood beside him for 40 years, who created those solos with him, and you’re gonna ‘sort of’ know them? Where … do … you … think … you … are? If you don’t know, let me tell you. You are in a CITADEL OF ROCK ‘N’ ROLL. You don’t DARE come in here and play this music for Bruce Springsteen without having your SHIT DOWN COLD! You embarrass yourself and waste my precious time.”
Jake Clemons returned to his hotel, learned the material and ultimately won the role previously held by his uncle.