New Tape Of A Young Springsteen Remembering His First Houston Gigs
In part two of the six-part interview, Springsteen talks about the reception he's been getting out West, which was much better than back on the East Coast. (He also mentions, incredibly enough to someone hearing it today, that the band won't be able to go to Callifornia from Phoenix because they're out of money. "We have just enough to get everyone back on the plane to head back east," he says.)
As part of the discussion, he talks about his recent gigs in Houston.
Those performances, at the defunct Liberty Hall, have become a claim to fame for many Houstonians saying they were on to Bruce well before the rest of the country. (Estimated seating capacity at Liberty Hall, judging by how many people have claimed to have been there: 150,000.)
In the interview, Springsteen notes he was a bit nervous.
On the first night we went to play in Houston, they had a country-western band on. Everybody's got fiddles and they're playing the "Orange Blossom Special" and I said "Oh man, they ain't gonna dig us here. We're on the wrong side of the tracks. We are on the wrong side." And the joint went crazy. I couldn't figure it out. We don't get this kind of reception on the East Coast.The photo accompanying this item is, according to the most meticulous database of Bruce gigs, "one of only a couple of known photographs of the entire Carter-Sancious lineup of The E Street Band, taken on the front steps of Liberty Hall." (That's drummer Boom Carter and pianist David Sancious he's referring to.)
It also notes Jimmy Spheeris opened for them, and no audio of the E Street Band's performance is known to exist.
To this day Springsteen still usually manages to throw in a Liberty Hall reference whenever he plays Houston. And he gets cheers from the half-million Houstonians who saw him play there back in `74.
-- Richard Connelly