First Friday. Two words that at this point put a smile on the face of Bruce Springsteen fans all over the world.

Tis the day when the fruits of the latest visit to the vault is revealed. The day when the newest Springsteen Archive release is announced.

This one is truly historic. Monday, November 19, 2007—the final full show that Danny Federici performed with Bruce and the E Street Band.

It was the second night of back-to-back shows at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston on the Magic tour. And it was a show for the ages.

Tom Cunningham
Tom Cunningham

I’d long wanted to see Bruce and the Band in Boston and all the stars had aligned.

I went right from the 105.7 The Hawk studios to the airport and it was BYE BYE NEW JERSEY AND WE WERE AIRBORNEEE (I’m so ashamed).

The chance to see two shows in two nights was just too good to pass up. And besides, it was a “business trip.”

Throughout that fall, there had been quiet conversations about Danny’s health. He’d been diagnosed with melanoma in 2005, and since Bruce had toured solo that year and then with the Seeger Sessions Band the following year, it was a gift that Danny was well enough to hit the road with the band when the Magic tour kicked off in October 2007. Sadly, it didn’t last all that long.

When I got to the arena that Sunday night, the talk behind the scenes was that Danny would be leaving the tour following Boston and that Charlie Giordano would be subbing in, after doing such a wonderful job when Bruce was out with the Sessions Band. He was to slide in after the tour took a week off to make its way to Europe.

The Sunday night show was a good one, with great versions of “Jungleland” and “Jackson Cage” and “Tunnel Of Love” performed.

As we were leaving the building, and while it wasn’t publicly announced, it was understood that the Monday night show would be something that Bruce and The E Street Band had never faced before.

The inclusion of “This Hard Land” early in the set on that Monday night was a tip-off that Bruce had crafted a show that would include significant songs. That was followed by one of Danny’s great signature songs, “4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy).” Then came “The E Street Shuffle.” Bruce’s second album would be represented again toward the end of the night with a red-hot version of “Kitty’s Back” that you could tell meant something extra special to the people on that stage. I was told after the fact that Danny himself was asked to pick some of the setlist that night. Don’t know how true that is/was, but I always hope that that was indeed the case. Danny rallied enough to make it to Indianapolis the following April and take the stage with his blood brothers and perform a handful of songs. He’d pass away 13 months later.

I’m always proud of the fact that Danny had been a guest on the Bruce Brunch--he was on the show in July 2005 to talk up his solo album Out Of A Dream.

That’s the beauty of this archive series. That we’re now able to own these slices of history. In such pristine quality to boot. This release rightly joins Clarence Clemons’ last show as ‘must haves’ for the faithful. As a fan of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band this is the stuff that I’d always dreamed about officially owning. I can’t wait to jump in with both feet this Sunday morning at 9 on the Bruce Brunch on 105.7 The Hawk!


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