1971-01-22 Upstage (The), Asbury Park, NJ

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Scheduled: ??:?? Local Start Time ??:?? / End Time ??:??

Info & Setlist | Venue

One show, double bill, with Steel Mill headlining and National Debt opening. A pre-concert newspaper article in the Middletown Courier (see our News tab) mentions two shows scheduled for this night, but none for the following evening. These two shows were ultimately 'split', with one show taking place on this and the following night. The listed nine-song setlist can be found on a good quality (for the era) audience recording that can be dated with a fairly high degree of confidence to this show, Steel Mill's penultimate. The 90-minute tape surfaced in early 2017 after a Springsteen fan took an Uber ride in New Jersey with the taper's brother. As often happens in Jersey, Springsteen came up in the conversation, and the driver said that his brother taped one of the final Steel Mill gigs at The Upstage on a cassette recorder, and he had CDs of the show in the car. Before long a deal was struck, and the discs were passed on to a long-time collector. Aside from the information from the taper's brother, there are several other compelling clues that lead us to place this information here. Firstly, the set includes "Train Ride", with Robbin Thompson providing the lead vocals, dating it to after August 1970. Towards the end of the show, the band gives a ninety-second PSA from the stage. They talk about how important the club is, that it's the only place where they can play and jam, and it needs to stay open. These comments can only be referring to The Upstage. Bruce also comments about Danny Federici's legal issues that arose from the incident at the Clearwater Swim Club in Atlantic Highlands in September 1970, and his subsequent guilty plea that took place sometime in November. Finally, Springsteen also mentions that the band is also playing tomorrow, and we know a show took place on January 23. Perhaps surprisingly, this is Springsteen's first ever announced show at the Upstage. The tape is the only piece of substantial audio of Springsteen performing at The Upstage known to exist, and captures Steel Mill in fine, spirited form, with some scorching guitar work from Springsteen throughout the set.

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