On May 17, 2012, at the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, history was made: Bruce Springsteen played again the 1978 version of “Prove it All Night”, the long and epic version he used to do during his 1978 Darkness on the Edge of Town tour, the year of release of the album Darkness on the Edge of Town. Back then Bruce used to play a very special version of the song, preceeded by an instrumental introduction based on Roy Bittan’s piano chords, in a constant in crescendo, during which Springsteen launched a furious guitar solo culminating into the beginning of the song. The fury and rage of that tour was concentrated in ten explosive minutes.
Perhaps for many fans it is just a meaningless detail or they simply haven’t even heard about that particular version, but for the bulk of veteran fans and/or collectors of Springsteen’s live recordings, that version is considered some kind of holy grail of his onstage career. An unreachable myth, unattainable for anyone who was not in the United States in 1978 in one of these now legendary concerts (or in the only two occasions after that, when he performed it again in Los Angeles in 1980 during The River tour).
As expected, many fans have asked Bruce over the years to do it again, but the resquests always fell on deaf ears: Springsteen refused, and replied to requests, both in concert and during interviews: “So you’re one of the ’78 piano intro guys… there are clones of you throughout the United States”. He also talked about it, to laughter: “If you’d like to hear it again… that’ll probably never occur, my friend. But it was good while it lasted!“.
Last May, four Portuguese fans decided to continue the efforts to bring back to the stage the ’78 Intro, and for this they created a large black sign with red letters that said: “With Intro ’78. Prove it All Night”.
So Hugo Sá, Casimiro Jones, Moreira Paulo and Pedro Ferreira got down to business:
“We made a poster with a black plastic and painted big red letters over it, with the words ‘With Intro 78’ and then ‘Prove it All Night’ below that, so there was no doubt at all that we wanted the intro. We put the sign up since the beginning. Bruce saw it while walking from side to side in the front of the stage, pointed to us and inmediately started talking to Steve. But he sang “Talk to Me” next so we lost hope and put the sign down. But then, eleven songs later we confirmed Bruce had seen the sign as the first notes of the ’78 intro started sounding. We screamed and celebrated the feat”.
And so, 32 years later, Springsteen performed once again this legendary version of one of this best songs, “for Barcelona… for this man, over here…“.
Photo: Hugo Sá
Video: versions of the song in 1978 (the original version, in Passaic, New Jersey) and 2012 (Barcelona)