Welcome, First Friday.

This is indeed a Friday with some very outstanding ‘firsts’ in respect to the Bruce Springsteen archive series and today’s release with The E Street Band.

It’s the first show that we’ve gotten from 1981.

It’s the first show that we’ve gotten from London.

It’s the first ever performance by Bruce & The E Street Band of “Jole Blon.”

It’s the first ever performance of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” in England.

There are those (ahem) who consider Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band’s concert performances between 1978 and 1981 to be the sweet spot of their legendary careers.  The band was lean, mean and firing on every possible cylinder.

This show, from June 5th was the 6th and final night of a run of shows at Wembley Arena.

This was Bruce and the band’s first extensive tour of Europe.  It would be a game changer for multiple reasons.  Touring behind “The River,” it would be Stevie Van Zandt’s last tour with the band until 1999.  The excursion through Europe changed SVZ’s world view drastically and sent him on a solo career and so much more, and also prompted his Boss to revisit some of the history books that he’d left behind.

The Elvis Presley influence on this set can’t be overlooked, what with “Follow That Dream,” “Johnny Bye-Bye” and the aforementioned “Can’t Help Falling In Love.”  I’ve long wanted a clean and clear version of “Follow That Dream” from Europe 1981 to play on the Bruce Brunch.  Sunday!

A month later Bruce and the band would return home to New Jersey to open a brand spanking new arena in the Meadowlands.  The late, great Gov. Brendan Byrne—we salute you.  The shows there and later in the month at the Spectrum in Philadelphia was some of the greatest that I’ve ever seen.  Wish I could say that I saw them all.

In Dave Marsh’s 2nd book about Springsteen called Glory Days, he does a great job chronicling the 1981 European tour.  This latest dip into the Bruce Springsteen vault brings those well-written words to life more vividly than ever.

6/5/1981  Wembley Arena, London

BORN TO RUN / PROVE IT ALL NIGHT / OUT IN THE STREET / FOLLOW THAT DREAM / DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN / INDEPENDENCE DAY / JOHNNY BYE-BYE / TWO HEARTS / WHO'LL STOP THE RAIN / THE PROMISED LAND / THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND / THE RIVER / I FOUGHT THE LAW / BADLANDS / THUNDER ROAD / HUNGRY HEART / YOU CAN LOOK (BUT YOU BETTER NOT TOUCH) / CADILLAC RANCH / SHERRY DARLING / JOLE BLON / FIRE / BECAUSE THE NIGHT / HERE SHE COMES - I WANNA MARRY YOU / POINT BLANK / CANDY'S ROOM / RAMROD / ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHT) - SWEET SOUL MUSIC / I'M A ROCKER / JUNGLELAND / CAN'T HELP FALLING IN LOVE / DETROIT MEDLEY - SHAKE - SWEET SOUL MUSIC  (setlist via Brucebase)