ALbum cover artwork for Bruce SpringsteenSteven Van Zandt, the E Street Band guitarist, later admitted he was sceptical about the 1979 concerts against nuclear energy. He wondered how “a concert and audience full of hippies” would pressure politicians, asking: “What was preaching to the converted supposed to accomplish?”

Bruce Springsteen had his own doubts. He was about to turn 30, a milestone that made him uncomfortable. But the No Nukes shows – including the live debut of The River – dispelled any qualms he was getting too old to rock, and confirmed that he was fronting America’s greatest band.

MUSE – Musicians United for Safe Energy, a group which included Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and Graham Nash – issued a triple live album two months after the concerts, featuring Springsteen’s cover of Stay and his Detroit Medley (Devil With The Blue Dress/Good Golly, Miss Molly/Jenny Take A Ride). This album reinserts the medley’s “medical emergency” speech that was deleted from that album. “If there’s anybody in the house that has a weak heart or a weak stomach, or has recently had a heart or brain transplant, please leave the hall during the next five minutes of this show, as it might be dangerous to your health,” Springsteen tells the screaming crowd.

That’s about as outspoken as he gets. The music was his statement. And more than 40 years on, it’s just as potent.

The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band are out Nov 19 via Sony.

Read our extended review of Bruce Springsteen’s album of 2020, Letter To You.

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