The No Nukes show represents the golden era for Springsteen and his cohorts, and is nothing short of “the greatest document of that era we will ever have,” explains longtime manager and record producer Jon Landau. “It’s a pure rock show from beginning to end, the energy level is transcendent, and the mastery of the art and the craft of rock music is awe inspiring.”
Held on Sept. 21 and 22 of 1979 at Madison Square Garden in New York, the shows found Springsteen in between his fourth and fifth studio albums, Darkness on the Edge of Town and The River. Both nights open with a trio of songs from the former and feature then-unreleased songs from the latter, like “Sherry Darling” and “The River,” which got its live debut at No Nukes.
Both concerts feature Springsteen and Co. performing Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs’ “Stay,” a ‘60s doo-wop song that had been reworked by Jackson Browne in the late ‘70s. Browne (who helped organize the No Nukes benefit) joins alongside Rosemary Butler both nights, while Tom Petty comes along for the second show.
The No Nukes film is edited by longtime Springsteen collaborator Thom Zimny from the original 16mm footage alongside remixed audio from Bob Clearmountain, according to a statement.
Zimny began re-examining the filmed archives in recent years and “quickly realized that these were the best performances,” he explains, “and best filming from the band’s legendary Seventies,” and so he dedicated himself “to bringing out the full potential of the footage.”
The film, he claims, is the “gold standard for Bruce and the Band live during one of their greatest creative periods.”