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  • Writer's picturePete Chianca

'Rock and roll future': Was the show that spawned that phrase Springsteen's most important?

"...Tonight there is someone I can write of the way I used to write, without reservations of any kind. Last Thursday, at the Harvard Square theatre, I saw my rock'n'roll past flash before my eyes. And I saw something else: I saw rock and roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen. And on a night when I needed to feel young, he made me feel like I was hearing music for the very first time.
"When his two-hour set ended I could only think, can anyone really be this good; can anyone say this much to me, can rock'n'roll still speak with this kind of power and glory? And then I felt the sores on my thighs where I had been pounding my hands in time for the entire concert and knew that the answer was yes."

The above — as, if you've gotten this far, you are most likely aware — is from "Growing Young With Rock and Roll" by Jon Landau, published in Boston's "The Real Paper" on May 22, 1974, and written about a show performed May 9, 1974, almost exactly 50 years ago. And we all know what happened next: Landau and Springsteen became friends, and then colleagues, and continue a fruitful personal and professional relationship to this day. And Bruce Springsteen did indeed, in many ways become rock and roll future, and rock and roll present, and (much as we hate to admit it) is on his way to becoming rock and roll past. But not yet.

But the question remains: Was that Harvard Square performance — actually an opening set for Bonnie Raitt (and so amazingly captured on film by Barry Schneier) — the most significant concert of Springsteen's long career, simply for the quote it spawned that helped define him? Or was it one of the other storied concerts that have become legend in the decades since that fateful night?

That's where you come in: Answer the poll below with what you think is the most important show Springsteen ever played — not necessarily the "best," but the one that continues to most resonate through the ages as he (eventually) winds down his amazing career.

Some choices listed below are individual shows, some are full stands, and one is a 13-minute TV spot (but what a spot!). But we're just spitballing — make ample use of the "Other" option if you feel another show deserves the title. Choose up to three, and we'll share your picks and comments in time for the "rock and roll future" anniversary on May 9.



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