1973-04-28 Cole Field House, College Park, MD

One show, triple bill, with Chuck Berry headlining, Jerry Lee Lewis second billed and Bruce and the boys opening. A show now steeped in legend. Berry's contract stipulated that it was the promoter's responsibility to supply him with a backing band for this concert. Apparently Bruce learned about a week before the show that the promoter was seeking a group to support Berry and immediately volunteered his band's services for free, which the promoter gladly accepted. There was no rehearsal or soundcheck with Berry, so Bruce and the boys improvised as best they could. The show was Bruce's first known appearance in Maryland. Bruce and the boys opened their part of the show with a 50-minute set, followed by a 60-minute set by Jerry Lee Lewis and his band. Chuck Berry (with Springsteen's entire band backing him, including Bruce and Southside Johnny) closed the evening's festivities with a 70-minute performance. Springsteen recounts some hilarious details in the 1987 Chuck Berry documentary Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll, but does not mention Southside Johnny’s appearance. Fearing that Berry might not want a harp player Bruce positioned Southside in the shadows at the extreme end of the stage. However Berry enjoyed the harp playing and near the end of the show he actually acknowledged Southside to the crowd saying "that white boy can blow, can’t he!" The above-mentioned setlist represents most, if not all, of the performances from both Springsteen's opening slot and from the Chuck Berry performance. This almost sold out gig in the 15,000 seat Cole Field House was not without some controversy. Such was the demand to see the show that the school newspaper reported that twenty people were arrested when police spotted individuals sneaking into the concert via an open female lavatory window at the back of the building. Apparently 200-300 people made it in before the police caught wind of what was going on.

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