1978-12-15, Winterland, San Francisco, CA

Darkness on the Edge of Town Tour
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Eyewitness accounts

Were you there? Write about it!
John Hocking wrote: I'm very lucky to have been at this show, one of Bruce's most highly bootlegged. I can had a little to what is heard on the radio broadcast.

At one point, during the Detroit Medley, I think, Bruce acted like he had been called off the stage. He return after about 30 seconds and asked the band to "bring it down." He announced that he had "been asked by the hall management to ask those with a weak heart or a weak stomach to step out into the lobby during the next section of the show." So something really big must be coming, right.

He and Clarence stood in profile on the left side of the stage, and he said something like, paraphasing, "when we do this you might suffer light enjuries... when we do *this* you might get off with major injuries and a trip to the hospital, but when we do THIS, you're in trouble.

There's a pause and Bruce says, "now all the people on the radio are wondering what we're doing." The audience begins to react, but quietly at first, but as more people get the joke, the response develops into a roar as people realize that we are necessary to play the joke on everyone listening that night, and as it turn out, everyone ever to hear the bootleg for perhaps a 100 years.

What were Bruce and Clarence doing? Essentially nothing. They took a step forward each time he said "this," and did what I would call as under exaggerated hip thrust.

It was a joke on those who could see how little they were doing, but a funny one only if the audience played alone, and we did, as more people realized it was a joke and we were necessary to pull it off. So louder and louder the response came as we realized we were both benificaries and part of the joke.

At the end, after Raise Your Hand, Bruce and the Band were off the stage for three of four minutes. The equipment was off, house lights were turned on and I think post-show music was playing. I say, "I think," because the audience was just roaring at about 115 decibels. (Festival seating - about 5,000 capacity) This transistioned into, "Bruce, Bruce, Bruce, Bruce...and then back into the roar. Finally, Bruce came back by himself. He was completed drenched, as if he had stepped into a shower. He said, "we're off the radio now, but we'll do one more for you guys."

Within a minute or so the band was back on the stage, the equipment back on, and Bruce said, "this is the first song I learned to play on the guitar." It was about ten minutes of Twist and Shout, with Bruce standing on speakers eight or ten feet off the stage for the big ones. [He did not play Quarter to Three - my best guess is that was played the next night, a show I could have easily attended but did not, a mistake I regret to this day.]

At the end, he pulled his shirt open, button flying everywhere, and shouted, "I'm just a prisoner.... of ROCK n' ROLL.

Dave wrote: I was there. He DID play "Quarter to Three" and at the end he said "I Am A Prisoner of Rock And Roll, and I think we've got something in common!" and he slammed the microphone down and left.

John Hocking wrote: Dave, I'm not taking my best guess at what he played. He played Twist & Shout. I'd bet my life on it.

I have an audience boot of the show the next night. He does play Quarter to Three at that 12/16/78 show. If he played two shows at one venue he rarely, if ever, would close with the same song, at least at that point in his career.

You probably were there on the 16th.


Anthony Bisti wrote: The radio broadcast of this show can be found on the Wolfgang's Concert Vault website.

John Hocking wrote: It does, Anthony, and you can listen for free, although there are about three seconds between songs, or, I think, pay to download the seamless show.

You do have to join "Wolfgang's Vault," which can be easily found with a google search, but it's free.

The show ends before Twist & Shout was played.

Also the sound at the beginning seems a little lacking in richness - Badlands is the opener, considering it's a soundboard and a radio broadcast. It gets better quickly.

If you haven't heard Backstreets, as played at many Darkness shows, it may put you in shock. When I saw a similar presentation in Atlanta, on September 30, also a radio broadcast, I didn't know what he was doing. I completely lost track that he was still playing Backstreets. That performance of Backstreets was the greatest performance art I have ever seen.



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