Listen to a 23-Year-Old Bruce Springsteen on One of His Very First Live Recordings

On March 2, 1973, the Boss performed early tracks and rarities just weeks after the release of his debut album.

Music Features Bruce Springsteen
Share Tweet Submit Pin
Listen to a 23-Year-Old Bruce Springsteen on One of His Very First Live Recordings

Did you know that Paste owns the world’s largest collection of live music recordings? It’s true! And what’s even crazier, it’s all free—hundreds of thousands of exclusive songs, concerts and videos that you can listen to and watch right here at, from Dizzy Gillespie to The Kinks to Public Enemy to HAIM. Every day, we’ll dig through the archive for the coolest recording we have from that date in history. Search and enjoy!

On March 2, 1973, a young, scraggly, no-name punk from New Jersey landed in Berkeley, Calif., just weeks after the release of his first studio album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., to record a performance for the King Biscuit Flower Hour radio show. Bruce Springsteen opened the show that night for Blood Sweat and Tears, ravaging his way through a seven-song set, each tune picking at the essential storytelling-songwriting so heavily influenced by Dylan in those early years.

This performance showcases an early iteration of the E Street Band, with bassist Garry Tallent, keyboardist and accordionist Danny Federici, and Springsteen’s essential partner, saxophonist Clarence Clemons. (The world wouldn’t see the full classic lineup, including guitarist Steve Van Zandt, until 1975.) But it’s the Boss himself who steals the night with an unrelenting energy and obvious wealth of ambition. Some tracks, like “Wild Billy’s Circus Story” and “Bishop Danced,” are folkier and more story-driven. (The latter, with its fluttering accordion, has been rarely performed and never appeared on a true studio recording). Others, like “Lost in the Flood,” “Spirit in the Night” and “Blinded By the Light,” have remained constant in Springsteen’s 40-year touring career. He also offers a fun, fast-tempo “Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?”—cheekily chiming in, “A song about New York City, 82nd Street bus,” after a near two-minute intro. Springsteen completes the set with “Thundercrack,” an 11-minute epic that allows each member of the band to jam, with some provocative guitar work about halfway through.

You can tell the young Springsteen is having a great time as he performs—something that has never changed. This is quite possibly the very first professional live recording of The Boss to surface, recorded 45 years ago on this date. Listen to the entire set, beginning with “Lost in the Flood”: