The First Friday fruits from Bruce Springsteen continue to be a bounty of plenty!

The archive vault opens on the first day of June, and lo and behold we’re plugged into one of the greatest Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band shows of all time. This one from Madison Square Garden on November 8, 2009, on what was technically still the Working On A Dream tour, but this was nothing of the sort.

This was historic. This was epic. This was the first time that they would perform The River album in its entirety. In fact, not one song off the Working On A Dream album was performed that night.

That this show was the night after another one for the record books—the first ever full album performance of The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle, ramped the anticipation up to a whole new level.

Me? I’d missed the Saturday night show while at an industry event in Napa. Far, far away.

Let the record show, your honor, that I was not pleased to have missed that show and was on the first flight out on Sunday morning to Newark.

Plane (1), train (1) and automobiles (2) indeed.

I rendezvoused with my daughter Meg coming thru Penn Station, Newark—me via the airport and she via the Coast Line and off we went.

She’d been the lucky beneficiary of my ticket the previous night, and was pumped. I’d heard from a bunch of friends and read all the social media stuff about how great the show was and blah blah blah.

I COULDN’T STAND IT. hahahahaha

Tom Cunningham

But The River was a whole different beast. It was long. It was a rocker. It was introspective. It was up. It was down. It was Bruce’s biggest album at that point in his career in terms of sales, not to mention his first ever Top 5 single. In short, it was brilliant.

In retrospect, hearing Bruce describe the album as they launched into it nightly during The River Tour 2016 brought everything full circle. Then at the conclusion of “Wreck On The Highway” Bruce told us that the album was about time and adulthood and family. It was like church

I’ve often wondered (and discussed with some of my equally obsessive pals) if the 2016 tour did anything to lessen the historical impact of this particular show. And we always come to the same conclusion—no.

One BIG difference on this particular night at the Garden in 2009 was the presence of Clarence Clemons. All due respect to the many and multiple talents of Jake Clemons, but the Big Man was on fire that night. Toss the amazing trumpet of Curt Ramm into the mix and that was a lethal one-two brass punch.

The E Street Band blew the roof off the place the entire night. Stevie Van Zandt has long been known to be partial to this album—his first time getting a full production credit alongside Bruce and Jon Landau, and was particularly in his glory. The songs that followed the album (ok, that followed “…Sunny Day”) were transcendent and took the whole show Higher & Higher. “Can’t Help Falling In Love” while romantic and with purpose felt slightly out of place, but it was very well intentioned.

This is the second show in the archive series that was recorded at the World’s Most Famous Arena. Fitting for one of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band’s most famous shows. And a welcome addition for collectors all around the world.

WRECKING BALL (with Curt Ramm) / THE TIES THAT BIND / SHERRY DARLING / JACKSON CAGE / TWO HEARTS - IT TAKES TWO / INDEPENDENCE DAY / HUNGRY HEART / OUT IN THE STREET / CRUSH ON YOU / YOU CAN LOOK (BUT YOU BETTER NOT TOUCH) / I WANNA MARRY YOU / THE RIVER / POINT BLANK / CADILLAC RANCH / I'M A ROCKER (with Curt Ramm) / FADE AWAY / STOLEN CAR / RAMROD / THE PRICE YOU PAY / DRIVE ALL NIGHT / WRECK ON THE HIGHWAY / WAITIN' ON A SUNNY DAY / ATLANTIC CITY / BADLANDS / BORN TO RUN / SEVEN NIGHTS TO ROCK / SWEET SOUL MUSIC (with Curt Ramm) / NO SURRENDER / AMERICAN LAND (with Curt Ramm) / DANCING IN THE DARK / CAN'T HELP FALLING IN LOVE / (YOUR LOVE KEEPS LIFTING ME) HIGHER AND HIGHER (with Curt Ramm)

(set list via Brucebase)