Bootleg City: Bruce Springsteen & the Max Weinberg 7 in Asbury Park, Christmas ’03

Six years ago I was fed up with the state of affairs in Bootleg City, but determined to do something about it.

A small group of Bootleg City school board members — David Byrne, Bob Marley, and myself — were tired of being constantly undermined by Mayor Cass, who we felt had a personal agenda. Additionally, a young whippersnapper named Matthew Boles had recently joined the board, and he quickly aligned himself with the mayor in a not-so-subtle move to advance his political career, without any concern for who he might be stepping on as he made his way up the government ladder. (You might be shocked to hear this about Boles, but over the past six years I’ve come to learn that this is merely everyday behavior for him. It seems that you can never truly trust someone who’s a fan of the Little River Band.)

On a quiet December afternoon, Byrne gave me a call to let me know that he had tickets to see a special Bruce Springsteen holiday concert in neighboring Asbury Park. (I say “neighboring,” but in reality it’s about a five-hour drive from Bootleg City.) He and I had things to discuss, especially our mutual growing concerns about the way our fair city was falling apart in the dictatorlike hands of Mayor Cass. I suggested to Byrne that he should grab some of his royalty checks from Stop Making Sense for gas money and invite Marley along for the trip, and soon we were on our way to Asbury Park, NJ!

Bruce Springsteen

Arriving at Convention Hall, we were amused to see Mayor Cass waiting outside in the bitter cold, parked in front of the box office. It seems “the Boss” hadn’t taken care of the tickets he’d allegedly promised to leave the mayor at will-call.

“Hey, Cass, it’s going to be a great show — we’ll see you inside. Oh, wait — I guess we won’t be seeing you inside,” I chuckled as we walked by our elected leader, who was visibly frustrated, possibly because he appeared to be on a first date. Needless to say, there was no second date.

So, how about that 2003 holiday show with Springsteen? Well, it was pretty amazing — the third and final night of three holiday shows from Bruce that year and the longest of the three, running three and a half hours! He called it “our Saturday Night Special, even though it’s Monday night,” and wow, what a show it was.

Many of Bruce’s buddies stopped by to join in the holiday fun: Little Steven, Nils Lofgren, Southside Johnny, and Sam Moore of Sam & Dave, to name a few. The Boss and his guests were backed for the whole shebang by the Max Weinberg 7, which means horns, horns, and more horns! I recall being a little bit pissed off at Marley since he told me Bruce Hornsby would be a special guest, but the entire night passed with no alternate Bruces. Actually, maybe Byrne said that — it was pretty loud and there was a lot going on, so I don’t remember — but the bottom line is that once again Marley was dead wrong. When will I learn?

Since we’re in the holiday spirit here at Bootleg City, I figured I’d offer you a recording of the night’s events so you can hear for yourself exactly how awesome it was. Unfortunately, this means that Mayor Cass will finally get to hear it as well, but hey, it is Christmastime, after all. Enjoy the show, old chap.

DISC ONE
Hold Out Hold Out {featuring the Victorious Gospel Choir}
I’ve Got a Feeling (Everything’s Gonna Be Alright) {featuring the Victorious Gospel Choir}
Christmas Day {featuring Jimmy Vivino}
So Young and In Love
None But the Brave {featuring the Alliance Singers}
Queen of the Underworld {featuring Jesse Malin}
Wendy {featuring Jesse Malin}
R.O.C.K. {featuring Garland Jeffreys}
96 Tears {featuring Garland Jeffreys}
Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight) {featuring Little Steven}

DISC TWO
This Time It’s for Real {featuring Southside Johnny and Little Steven}
Talk to Me {featuring Southside Johnny and Little Steven}
It’s Been a Long Time {featuring Southside Johnny and Little Steven}
Seaside Bar Song
Thundercrack
The Wish
Hold On, I’m Comin’ {featuring Sam Moore and the Alliance Singers}
When Something Is Wrong With My Baby {featuring Sam Moore}
Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)/I Thank You {featuring Sam Moore}
Soul Man {featuring Sam Moore}

DISC THREE
Shine Silently {featuring Nils Lofgren}
Because the Night {featuring Nils Lofgren}
Kitty’s Back
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Merry Christmas, Baby {featuring Sam Moore}
I Don’t Want to Go Home {featuring Southside Johnny and Little Steven}
My City of Ruins {featuring Sam Moore}
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town




  • ozarkmatt

    See, Wardlaw, there is something I guess you just don't understand. I only align myself with winners. And you wanna know why? Because I am a winner and I want to associate with my own kind.

    I never had heard the phrase “Hornsby will be a special guest” as a euphemism for “Don't bogart, dude” but hey, whatever floats your Lake Erie boat.

    Oh, and you can stop harassing me, I'll get that LRB boot to you as soon as I can . . .

    Nice show by the way, I was looking forward to this one.

  • http://mulberrypanda96.blogspot.com rwcass

    “See, Wardlaw, there is something I guess you just don't understand. I only align myself with winners. And you wanna know why? Because I am a winner and I want to associate with my own kind.”

    I know what Wardlaw's getting for Christmas — a SMACKDOWN!

    It's true that there was no second date. Wardlaw's tended not to agree with everything I said, so I had to cut her loose. (Oh yeah, Wardlaw — IT'S ON!)

    So is Bob Marley a really vocal backseat driver? I've always wondered.

  • http://www.popdose.com DwDunphy

    Aw, come on Matt. You're lying and you know it. I'm in Red Bank, which is fifteen minutes from Asbury and if we had seen anyone from Bootleg City sneaking in, we'd have run you all right back out with chants of, “Go Home, Bennys!” (I was not a nice person back in 2003 and, yes, I was The Original Situation.)

  • http://mulberrypanda96.blogspot.com rwcass

    “I was not a nice person back in 2003.”

    Dw. was still running with the Tony Soprano crew back then.

  • jay d

    Awesome. How can I save this to my iPod?

  • jay d

    I figured it out. Thank you thank you thank you. A nice add to an extensive collection.

  • Pingback: A Batch of Live Bruce Springsteen & The Max Weinberg 7 In Asbury Park, Christmas 2003…Cool Guest Appearacnces. « Rock God Cred()

  • Matt

    You're not a nice person in 2009 either – don't mislead the innocent citizens of Bootleg City, Dunphy! Maybe that kind of thing flies in the town where you live, but here in Bootleg City, we have a citywide sort of “neighborhood watch” where we look out for suspicious characters like you!

  • Matt

    Got it – when you mailed me those Ricky Martin audience recordings, I figured that things had gotten slightly crossed up in the mail room at the Boles household. Admittedly, I was also a little bit embarrassed to know that you own CDs like that.

    Glad you dug this show – the Springsteen holiday shows are a fun listen!

  • Matt

    Crass,

    My people are coming for you! How dare you, bringing my mother into this discussion? I mentioned this to your mother at breakfast this morning, and she was aghast. Also, she thought it was pretty funny, the idea of you going on a date.

    Marley doesn't talk a lot on road trips, and the bastard never, EVER offers to help with the driving.

  • Matt

    Cool! Enjoy.

  • http://www.popdose.com DwDunphy

    Suspicious? I'll have you know my shadiness is HIGHLY conspicuous!

  • Pingback: Christmas in Bootleg City | Addicted To Vinyl()

  • http://mulberrypanda96.blogspot.com rwcass

    Mama, noooooooooooooooooo!

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    Almost done listening to it. Amazing to have Sam Moore here, and it makes up for not having Rosie in there between I Don't Wanna Go Home and Santa Claus, the way he closed the 2000 and 2001 holiday shows.

  • http://mulberrypanda96.blogspot.com rwcass

    Rosie O'Donnell? Awesome!

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    Perez.

  • http://mulberrypanda96.blogspot.com rwcass

    I now see that you're talking about “Rosalita,” but at first I had no idea who Rosie was.

  • http://jusiper.blogspot.com sini

    Sam Moore got about as much time on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame anniversary concert as Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson combined. I believe that mystery is now explained. I hope, however, that Rosalita didn't demean our national anthem like she did that other time–at least not in front of Bruce.

  • http://mulberrypanda96.blogspot.com rwcass

    So THAT'S who Bruce has been singing about all these years. I had no idea!

  • http://jusiper.blogspot.com sini

    Given his well known love for the sport, Rosalita's act that fateful night cut pretty deep. One of the reasons he still closes some shows with “Rosie,” is so young fans will always remember to respect the national anthem. If that's not a reason to love Bruce, I don't know what is.

  • Matt

    Cass, you moron. How could you not know what “Rosie” was?

  • http://mulberrypanda96.blogspot.com rwcass

    I know you call your cheeks “rosey” whenever you're “happy,” but we all know that's just code for DRUNK AND DISORDERLY CONDUCT. Plus, you're a huge Gin Blossoms fan. Dead giveaway!

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    I thought his palm was rosy?

  • http://mulberrypanda96.blogspot.com rwcass

    BAM! And Dave actually knows how to spell “rosy,” unlike me!

    Therefore Dave is fired (just as soon as I find out where he works in Bootleg City).

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    With all the thievery I do in Bootleg City it would be wrong for me to work here. The phrase “shitting on your own doorstep” comes into play.

  • http://mulberrypanda96.blogspot.com rwcass

    Yes, this dilemma has come up before:

    http://popdose.com/bootleg-city-marshall-crenshaw/

    And though I applaud your efforts, which rival the pioneering spirit that helped create Bootleg City so many years ago, I am going to have to order Lindsey Buckingham to use extreme prejudice the next time he sees you. Is Lifton a name of Celtic origin? Then expect lots of anti-Boston remarks from Buckingham. Seriously, they'll be incredibly prejudiced remarks. You'll probably cry. But don't say I didn't warn you.

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    I know not of the origins of my surname, although there is a fishing village called Lifton in the south of England. My paternal grandfather's original Eastern European last name was Americanized at some point, so I have no Celtic roots. And, as a native New Yorker and Yankees fan, the Buckster can rag on Beantown all he wants without objection from me!

  • dan

    I found this http://bigozine2.com/roio/?p=352#comments, which identifies these tracks as being from different shows (and not the 2003 show). These tracks are cleaner than the ones you posted, but it cuts out about 20 minutes of banter.

  • dan

    I found this http://bigozine2.com/roio/?p=352#comments, which identifies these tracks as being from different shows (and not the 2003 show). These tracks are cleaner than the ones you posted, but it cuts out about 20 minutes of banter.

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    Interesting article and nice blog you have too!