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1970


1970-01-02 - NORTH HALL, ESALEN INSTITUTE, BIG SUR, CA

No set details known. One show, held indoors in North Hall, with Steel Mill the sole act on the bill.
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1970-01-08 - AVALON BALLROOM, SAN FRANCISCO, CA

No set details known. Steel Mill audition in the afternoon (along with two other bands) for the right to play a series of open dates at the venue... but they don't get the job.
00Help-32.png If you have any information (eg. setlist, memories, ticket stub or other images, as applicable) regarding this date please get in touch.



1970-01-10 - COLLEGE OF MARIN, KENTFIELD, CA

No details known.
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1970-01-13 - THE MATRIX, SAN FRANCISCO, CA

THE WAR IS OVER (13.52) / LADY WALKING DOWN BY THE RIVER (9.59) / JEANNIE I WANT TO THANK YOU (9.47) / AMERICA UNDER FIRE - AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL (6.27) / GUILTY (7.09) / THE TRAIN SONG (6.48) / GOIN' DOWN SLOW (16.19)

Soundboard recording, released in 1990 on the CD 'Live At The Matrix' (Great Dane Records). One show, with Steel Mill the sole act on the bill. Boz Scaggs was the scheduled headliner but he cancelled at that last minute due to illness and so Steel Mill played alone. This is the show attended by critic Philip Elwood, who turned up intending to review Scaggs but ended up writing a highly favorable review of Steel Mill that appeared in the January 14 edition of The San Francisco Examiner. The above noted setlist emanates from a long circulating, excellent quality soundboard audio from one of the California gigs. This is very likely (but not absolutely certain) to emanate from this January 13 show, as it seems to correspond closely to details noted in Elwood's article. Elwood mentions that the group opened with a brief warm-up instrumental rendition of "Satin Doll", that track doesn't appear on the circulating tape. However the other tracks mentioned by Elwood do appear and the crowd noise corresponds with Elwood's 1984 comments that very few people were in attendance.
00Help-32.png If you have any information (eg. setlist, memories, ticket stub or other images, as applicable) regarding this date please get in touch.
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1970-01-22 - THE MATRIX, SAN FRANCISCO, CA

No details known. One show with Steel Mill opening for headliner The Elvin Bishop Band. According to Vinnie Roslin the group was paid only $5, which they split among one another. The Elvin Bishop Band received $90 as headliner.
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1970-02-09 - FILLMORE WEST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA

No set details known. One show with Steel Mill the sole act on the bill. The first of two performances at this venue during this early 1970 California trip. Owner Bill Graham had apparently seen one of Steel Mill's performances at The Matrix and subsequently contacted the group, hiring them as a last-minute substitute for another act that cancelled. This performance led to another gig at Fillmore West the following week, a studio demo session and, lastly, a $1,000 signing offer from Graham that the group declined.
00Help-32.png If you have any information (eg. setlist, memories, ticket stub or other images, as applicable) regarding this date please get in touch.



1970-02-12 - THE MATRIX, SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Set details unknown. Steel Mill open for headliner Boz Scaggs. As the show opener this performance is likely to have been limited to 60 minutes.
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1970-02-13 - THE MATRIX, SAN FRANCISCO, CA

No details known. One show, with Steel Mill opening for headliner Boz Scaggs. As the show opener this is likely to have been about a 60 minute performance.
00Help-32.png If you have any information (eg. setlist, memories, ticket stub or other images, as applicable) regarding this date please get in touch.



1970-02-14 - THE MATRIX, SAN FRANCISCO, CA

No set details known. One show, double bill, with Steel Mill opening for headliner Boz Scaggs.
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1970-02-18 - FILLMORE WEST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA

No set details known. Steel Mill opens for another up-and-coming young Maryland based band Grin (led by Nils Lofgren). Springsteen first met Nils at this time. This show took place at Fillmore West (also known at the time as the Carousel Ballroom) either on Tuesday (17th) or Wednesday (18th) , these early midweek shows for new artists were rarely advertised. The Grin/Steel Mill billing was recently noted and confirmed by Vini Lopez. In a 2002 interview for Backstreets magazine Nils Lofgren put forward a different version of events, arguing that both bands were there to audition for an opening slot at the venue along with around 30 other acts. Each act, according to Lofgren, played 20 minutes.
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1970-02-22 - PACIFIC RECORDING STUDIO, SAN MATEO, CA

GUILTY / GOIN’ BACK TO GEORGIA / THE TRAIN SONG

Steel Mill rehearsals at site and then formal recording of 3 Springsteen compositions and Bruce’s first time in a recording studio since a session with The Castiles in 1966 (see May 18th 1966 listing). After brief in-situ warm-up rehearsals, which weren’t recorded, the band recorded each song in one take. These were the only three songs rehearsed and the only three songs recorded. Pacific Recording Studios (also known as ‘Pacific Recorders’) was then located at 1737 S. El Camino Real, not too far from Springsteen’s parents’ home in San Mateo. This studio is perhaps best known as the place where both The Grateful Dead’s Aoxomoxa LP and Santana’s debut LP were recorded. Promoter Bill Graham, who at the time had recently started his fledgling ‘Fillmore Records’ label (Elvin Bishop and Cold Blood were among his initial signings), actually offered Steel Mill a contract, which the band rejected due to its poor terms and conditions.
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1970-02-24 - COLLEGE OF MARIN, KENTFIELD, CA

No set details known. One evening show, featuring Steel Mill. This was the group's final gig before hurriedly departing California to return by car/truck to the east coast and a show scheduled to take place in Richmond in about 65 hours.
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1970-02-27 - THE CENTER, FREE UNIVERSITY, RICHMOND, VA

No set details known. One evening show, held at ‘The Center’, with Steel Mill the sole act on the bill. The band drove non-stop from California to Richmond to make it on time to this gig and they just made it. In a 1979 interview in the fanzine ‘Thunder Road’ Vini Lopez commented: "we had to get back to Richmond in 3 days to do a gig. We made it. But that was a delirious show. I drove most of the way back, me and Tinker".
Note: this venue would be re-named ‘The String Factory’ in May 1970.
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1970-02-28 - THE CENTER, FREE UNIVERSITY, RICHMOND, VA

GUILTY / JEANNIE I WANT TO THANK YOU / YOU SAY YOU LOVE ME / CALIFORNIA BLUES / I AM THE DOCTOR / GOIN’ BACK TO GEORGIA / AMERICA UNDER FIRE / THE WAR IS OVER / ON THE ROAD / SWEET MELINDA / CROWN LIQUOR / LADY WALKING DOWN BY THE RIVER

One show, held at the school’s 'The Center' (this venue will soon be renamed 'The String Factory' in May 1970), with Steel Mill the sole act on the bill. The above mentioned 12 song setlist is culled from a 90 min+ audience tape of the show that is in extremely limited circulation. This is likely to represent most if not the entire show and it includes the only known audio of “You Say You Love Me” and “On The Road”, plus a rare performance of Billy Chinnock’s composition “Crown Liquor”. This gig is believed to have been bassist Vinnie Roslin’s final performance as a member of Steel Mill. His replacement will be Steve Van Zandt.
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1970-03-00 - CHALLENGER EASTERN SURFBOARDS, WANAMASSA, NJ

No set details known. Steel Mill rehearsals, featuring new member Steve Van Zandt on bass (replacing Vinnie Roslin). Van Zandt had been a guitarist in The Whirlwinds (1964), The Mates (1965-66), The Shadows (1966-67), lead guitarist/vocalist in The Source (1967-69) and keyboardist in The Jaywalkers (1969-70) prior to joining Steel Mill.
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1970-03-27 - HULLABALOO, RICHMOND, VA

No set details known. One show, with Steel Mill the sole act on the bill. This is the earliest verified public performance to feature new member Steve Van Zandt on bass. By 1970 the once-hip national Hullabaloo chain of discothèques had veered in a decidedly top 40 direction, far removed from the progressive rock of Steel Mill. Tom Yolton, guitarist for Richmond band Mercy Flight, has jokingly commented..."when word came out that Steel Mill was playing Hullabaloo everyone said...where the hell is that? It turned out it was well away from the VCU campus. It was a club with mirrors on the walls. I remember asking someone in the band about it later and getting some reply like "Oh man, did that suck...nobody was there and they wanted us to play dance music".
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1970-03-28 - HULLABALOO, RICHMOND, VA

No set details known. One show, with Steel Mill (featuring new band member Steve Van Zandt on bass) the sole act on the bill.
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1970-04-11 - CHALLENGER EASTERN SURFBOARDS, WANAMASSA, NJ

No set details known. A special promotional Steel Mill rehearsal performance designed to generate local publicity for the band in the wake of their California tour and Steve Van Zandt recently joining the lineup. A small group of local media personalities were invited to come and meet/chat with the band and watch them rehearse in an informal setting. One of the few journalists who actually turned up was Joan Pikula of the Asbury Park Press, who then wrote a nice article about the group that appeared in the paper a few days later (15/04/70). This was the first of what would turn out to be several positive articles/reviews from Pikula over the next 15 months.
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1970-04-18 - OCEAN COUNTY COLLEGE, TOMS RIVER, NJ

GUILTY / BLACK SUN RISING / CALIFORNIA BLUES / I JUST CAN'T THINK / SWEET MELINDA / RESURRECTION / AMERICA UNDER FIRE / GOIN' DOWN SLOW - TWENTY MORE MILES

No circulating audio. One show, with Steel Mill the sole act on the bill, performing before an audience of around 1,500. The above-mentioned partial setlist is from a review of the show by Joan Pikula that appeared in the April 20, 1970 edition of the Asbury Park Press. Several other songs were played but the titles were not mentioned in Pikula's review.
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1970-04-24 - MONMOUTH COLLEGE, LONG BRANCH, NJ

FUNKY BROADWAY - SOUL FREAKOUT (2:20) / GUILTY (7:58) / GOIN' BACK TO GEORGIA (5:31) / THE WIND AND THE RAIN (19:19) / RESURRECTION (13:28) / GARDEN STATE PARKWAY BLUES - SWEET BABY JAMES (29:40)

One show, with Steel Mill the sole act on the bill. This was a replacement concert for a cancellation of the musical "Hair". The above-mentioned setlist is taken from a circulating soundboard of very good to excellent quality, although end-user quality tends to vary widely due to the fact the material has been in circulation for over twenty years and some circulating copies are many generations downstream. This six-song, 78-minute segment of audio, long referred to in collector circles as 'the West End gig', would have to rank as the most misidentified, misdated and cannibalized of all Springsteen recordings. To make matters even messier though, the show's epic 30-minute finale, "Garden State Parkway Blues", is sometimes edited into separate segments and assigned invented titles such as "Mountain Child", "I Got A Woman" or "Sunlight Soldiers". Many LP and CD bootlegs (such as 'Torn and Frayed', 'The Bruce Springsteen Story, Vol 3' and 'Deep Down In The Vaults') contain one, two or several of these tracks, assigned to a wide variety of incorrect dates/venues. However 'Sunlight Soldiers At The West End' (Rattlesnake) includes the complete audio and merely messes up the correct date/venue.

This soundboard tape is very deceptive in that drummer Vini Lopez's voice microphone is abnormally dominant in the mix, so much so that it sounds like a co-lead singer (i.e., Robbin Thompson) is interacting with Springsteen throughout the show. However under an extremely close comparison it can be determined that the 'co-lead' vocalist is actually drummer and background vocalist Lopez, with his microphone turned way up in the audio mix. Robbin Thompson’s voice is definitely not present.

There are three critical clues during the performance that, when combined, powerfully point to the true location and date of this show. Firstly, Bruce’s dedication to the "West End Fire Department" signifies a Long Branch or close proximity location. Secondly, the distinct sound of wooden side bleachers being stomped during the final song signifies it’s indoors and it's a gymnasium (not a theatre or concert hall). Thirdly, Bruce recites the opening line of James Taylor's song "Sweet Baby James" during "Garden State Parkway Blues" this places the show no sooner than late March, 1970. Consequently this audio can, to a high degree of probability, be identified as coming from this April 24 show.
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1970-05-01 - HULLABALOO, RICHMOND, VA

No set details known. One show, with Steel Mill the sole act on the bill. A return weekend engagement at the club (the group had first played here in late March).
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1970-05-02 - KENAN STADIUM, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA, CHAPEL HILL, NC

Cancelled Steel Mill performance. This was a 3 day, multi-artist outdoor music festival held in the school’s 40,000 seat Kenan Stadium, running from 1-3 May. Many attendees camped around or in the vicinity of the venue, creating a ‘mini-Woodstock’ atmosphere. The major headliners for the event were Joe Cocker and James Taylor. Although Steel Mill were not booked to play, the guys hatched a brazen plan whereby they would sneak their equipment van (and themselves) into the venue, pretend they were one of the scheduled acts, set up their equipment and just start playing to the crowd! Hilariously they managed to beat security, get in and start setting up their sound system several hours before James Taylor’s afternoon appearance, only to be thwarted at the very last minute when they were just about to start playing. They were then thrown out. Thanks to the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library for the additional information on the dates of the concert.
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1970-05-02 - HULLABALOO, RICHMOND, VA

No set details known. One show, with Steel Mill the sole act on the bill.
00Help-32.png If you have any information (eg. setlist, memories, ticket stub or other images, as applicable) regarding this date please get in touch.




1970-05-00 - HIGHLAND SPRINGS HIGH SCHOOL, HIGHLAND SPRINGS, VA

No set details known. One show, with Steel Mill the sole act on the bill and performing for the school prom. Recent information from the High School Library points towards the fact that Steel Mill did not play this event. The band that played the 1970 prom was Ron Moody and the Centaurs.
00Help-32.png If you have any information (eg. setlist, memories, ticket stub or other images, as applicable) regarding this date please get in touch.



1970-05-10 - MONMOUTH COLLEGE, LONG BRANCH, NJ

One show, double bill, with Steel Mill headlining and Mercy Flight opening. This was an end of the school term, 2.00pm, outdoor show. Set details are unconfirmed, although there are recollections that "For What It's Worth", "Guilty", "I Am The Doctor" and "Resurrection" were among the songs performed. This gig took place several days after the tragic shooting of students at Kent State University in Ohio. It's now suspected this fully documented May 10th show is the true source and date of the long-rumored May 4th 'Kent State' tribute gig that allegedly took place at the college. The May 4th date does not match historical information in the school’s archives. It should also be noted that the circulating audio from the April 24 show at Monmouth may possibly be from this show.
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1970-05-23 - VCU GYM, VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY, RICHMOND, VA

MC Introduction - KT-88 (4:13) / JEANNIE I WANT TO THANK YOU (9:07) / I AM THE DOCTOR (7:31) / SOMETHING'S GOTTA BREAK (8:00) / TEMPORARILY OUT OF ORDER (6:49) / SWEET MELINDA (5:47) / COME ON (4:30) / RESURRECTION (11:10) / AMPLIFIER BLUES (9:29) / FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH – RUN SHAKER LIFE – TWENTY MORE MILES (end cut, 12:59)

One show, double bill, held in the VCU Gym, with Steel Mill headlining and Mercy Flight opening. This gig is infamous because it ended with Vini Lopez arrested for unruly behaviour. The above-noted setlist is culled from a circulating 80 minute audience recording of only fair quality. There are continuity cuts between most songs. This is not the complete show, which contained at least twenty minutes more music (two-four songs). This audio has never appeared on any mainstream bootleg but does circulate via various custom sources, some with between-song chatter deleted or songs missing. This audio is sometimes attributed to an alleged gig at VCU Gym on May 16. However VCU’s archives don’t indicate any show on the 16th. Comments made by Springsteen during the show point to the audio as being from the documented May 23 VCU gig. Mercy Flight’s co-manager, Russell Clem, can be heard introducing Steel Mill. During the middle of the country-rock inspired “I Am The Doctor” Springsteen tells the crowd "we went swimming today down in the James River [outside Richmond] and we took our surfboards with us". During the intro to "Resurrection" Springsteen mentions canoeing earlier that afternoon. Bruce sings, "here we are back in Richmond, Virginia again" as the opening line of "Amplifier Blues".

From the outset of this show there were problems with the school's generators. There was a power outage during Mercy Flight's opening tune, "Mississippi Queen" and the problems continued intermittently for the remainder of the evening. This, combined with VCU officials' complaints about the loudness of Steel Mill's performance, caused tension between the band and officials. Springsteen and Lopez can be heard making related comments during the show. Following "Jeannie I Want To Thank You" Bruce remarks to the crowd "there's a weird thing going on between your officials and us". At another point Bruce can be heard exclaiming “there should be no restrictions on me”. At another point Bruce tells the crowd "we're gonna finish this one with you guys and split to the middle of the road and play". Despite the drama the audience is enthusiastic and the band's performance is excellent. The MC's comments and opening instrumental are in the correcting performing order. The rest of the audio is in its likely running order. Although it has not surfaced as part of the circulating audio, there is attendee recollection that “Guilty” was performed following the opening instrumental "KT-88" (there's an edit so this is plausible). All songs are complete except for the final song, which is cut prematurely close to its true conclusion. It is likely there was another song played after "Twenty More Miles" that's missing from the audio source, and it would seem it was during that point that VCU officials shut the band’s power off as they overran the 11:00pm curfew. Lopez in an act of defiance continued playing his drums, which resulted in him being hauled way for disorderly conduct, an incident that Vini has jokingly referred to in several interviews.
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1970-06-05 - REGENCY HOTEL, LAKEWOOD, NJ

No set details known. One show, double-bill, with Steel Mill headlining (but playing first) and Mercy Flight closing. This was a private function 'The 1970 Rumson-Fairhaven Regional High School Junior-Senior Prom'. Steel Mill opened at 9:30pm and played a 1¾ hr show consisting of their usual self-penned material. After a short intermission Mercy Flight came out and played a 1¾ hr show consisting of dance/top-40 covers (not their usual setlist). Festivities ended at 2.00am.
00Help-32.png If you have any information (eg. setlist, memories, ticket stub or other images, as applicable) regarding this date please get in touch.



1970-06-13 - OCEAN ICE PALACE, BRICKTOWN, NJ

GUILTY (minor cuts, 9:04) / COME ON (4:30) / KT-88 (3:28) / BLACK SUN RISING (8:11) / I AM THE DOCTOR (5:36) / JEANNIE I WANT TO THANK YOU (fades, 7:37) / SOMETHING'S GOTTA BREAK (7:21) / GARDEN STATE PARKWAY BLUES (cut, 5:12)

Audience tape (Unbooted). Two shows, double bill, with Steel Mill opening for headliner Grand Funk Railroad. Bruce and the boys were a late substitution for Detroit's now-legendary MC5 (who, ironically, had just released an album produced by Jon Landau). There was no time to print new tickets to img src=reflect the billing change, as evidenced by the ticket scan. The above-mentioned eight-song setlist is from a circulating audience audio source (weak quality) and is likely to represent the complete performance. An announcer can clearly be heard at the beginning explaining to the audience that the MC5 are delayed in Connecticut and, as such, Steel Mill will be playing instead. These remarks positively link this performance to this venue and date. Nothing in the audio identifies if this is the early or late show.

This material is often identified as being from a variety of incorrect shows, notably February 1970 in Richmond. There is a concert review in the June 15 Asbury Park Evening News that probably relates to this concert, anyone who may have chance to get a scan of this please get in touch.
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1970-06-14 - FREAK BEACH, LONG BRANCH, NJ

No set details known. One outdoor afternoon show, double bill, with Steel Mill opening for headliner David Peel & The Lower East Side. According to recent comments by Vini Lopez, Steel Mill’s performance was cut short because of a thunderstorm.
00Help-32.png If you have any information (eg. setlist, memories, ticket stub or other images, as applicable) regarding this date please get in touch.



1970-06-19 - THE STRING FACTORY, RICHMOND, VA

WHERE WAS JESUS IN OHIO / GARDEN STATE PARKWAY BLUES

No other set details known. One show, with Steel Mill the sole act on the bill. In November 2013 a fair quality audience recording of "Where Was Jesus In Ohio" surfaced, followed shortly after by a twenty minute "Garden State Parkway Blues". The former is Springsteen's response to the May 4, 1970 massacre at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. Performed by Springsteen alone with an acoustic guitar, it's an early example of Springsteen moving away from his band, as his focus switches to solo material over the next few years. The exact detail of this tape is not clear at the moment, we don't believe the tape is complete and it is not currently in mainstream circulation. While this song was performed solo, the taper confirms this was a Steel Mill show; the band took a break while Springsteen played alone. We have placed this audio here since we understand it was recorded at The String Factory, but it may emanate from the next night, or potentially other unrecorded shows. Brucebase reader Tom Eure contacted us about a show at The String Factory he vividly recalled. He remembers Springsteen playing with nothing on but a pair of jeans, in hot, humid conditions while a massive thunderstorm raged outside. The audience were sat on the floor, watching mesmerised as the stage was periodically lit by flashes of lightning. The room was surrounded by large windows, making the light show all the more impressive. The unmistakable sounds of thunder can clearly be heard (as can the audience reaction) during the quiet sections of "Garden State Parkway Blues", suggesting this may be the show that made such an impression on Tom.

This venue had previously been owned and operated by Free University under the name "The Center" and Child/Steel Mill had player here several times (see listings). It was sold in March 1970 and re-opened, revamped and under private ownership, in May 1970 as "The String Factory".
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1970-06-20 - THE STRING FACTORY, RICHMOND, VA

No set details known. One show, with Steel Mill the sole act on the bill.
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1970-06-21 - CLEARWATER SWIM CLUB, ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ

This show is postponed due to heavy rain. It is rescheduled to the following evening.
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1970-06-22 - CLEARWATER SWIM CLUB, ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ

No set details known. One outdoor evening show, double bill, with Steel Mill headlining and Glory Road opening (whose line-up includes Garry Tallent and Bill Chinnock). As can be seen in the press report, the audience of around 4,000 was almost certainly the largest Springsteen had played in front of up to this point in his career. Despite some pre-event complaints by local residents, the show ended without incident about 1.00am and was deemed a major commercial success by the Swim Club owners, who immediately began organizing a similar event for the end of summer (see September 11). Please note that audio once incorrectly attributed to this show can now be found under the listing for July 17.
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1970-07-17 - SUNSHINE IN, ASBURY PARK, NJ

DANCING IN THE STREET (10:50) / COME ON (4:45) / SHERLOCK GOES HOLMES (9:44) / GARDEN STATE PARKWAY BLUES (27:25) / RUN SHAKER LIFE (end cut, 4:10)

One show, double bill, with Steel Mill headlining and Lotus opening. The above-mentioned partial setlist is taken from a circulating 58 minute soundboard recording of good-very good quality. This audio has has only partially circulated on a vinyl bootleg "Don't Sweat It" in limited quantities and in poor quality. It is circulating in complete form via private CDR sources (usually identified only as "summer 1970" or "mid-1970" or "unknown location"). The audio seems to include the first three songs of the night and the final two songs, with "Run Shaker Life" cut very prematurely. This would represent only about half of a normal show's length. Following a nice show-opening "Dancing In The Street" Springsteen jokingly comments "It's all happening out there in the street, so what are we doing in here?" During the epic "Garden State Parkway Blues" Bruce mentions driving through Ocean Grove on a Sunday, as well as the fireworks at the Freehold Raceway, both comments draw a noticeable crowd reaction. These comments indicate this audio is from an indoor summertime performance in the Asbury Park area. When combining the sound of the audience size, the track listing and the very limited gig bookings the band had during the summer of 1970 there is a strong likelihood this audio is from either this night or the following night's show at the same venue.
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1970-07-18 - SUNSHINE IN, ASBURY PARK, NJ

Set details unknown. One show, with Steel Mill headlining and Lotus as the support band.
00Help-32.png If you have any information (eg. setlist, memories, ticket stub or other images, as applicable) regarding this date please get in touch.



1970-07-27 - THE UPSTAGE, ASBURY PARK, NJ

No set details known. A rare performance by Funky Dusty & The Soul Broom, a short-lived (summer-fall 1970) 4 piece band consisting of Steve Van Zandt ('Funky Dusty') and Garry Tallent, 'Southside' Johnny Lyon and drummer Bobby Williams (‘The Soul Broom'). Apparently Springsteen was in attendance and joined in a late evening jam. At this point in mid-1970 both Tallent and Williams were full time members of Glory Road (along with David Sancious and Bill Chinnock), Van Zandt was a member of Steel Mill and Southside was a free agent, having recently left his former band Maelstrom. The Funky Dusty & The Soul Broom side-project was a catalyst for what became The Big Bad Bobby Williams Band in late 1970 and Sundance Blues Band in spring 1971. Funky Dusty & The Soul Broom were singer Jeannie Clark’s backing band at the infamous Clearwater gig on September 11.
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1970-08-08 - THE BEACHCOMBER, LONG BRANCH, NJ

Cancelled concert, never re-scheduled. This all-day, outdoor event was supposed to feature Steel Mill as headliner and three or four support acts, including Mercy Flight and Jeannie Clark. So the "1st Annual Nothings Festival" turned out to be just... nothing! Thanks to Tom Cool for the info.
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1970-08-14 - 7TH AND MARSHALL STREET PARKING DECK, RICHMOND, VA

MC introduction - DANCING IN THE STREET (8:20) / COME ON (4:30) / KT-88 (3:50) / THE WAR IS OVER (14:28) / WHY'D YOU DO THAT? (6:14) / SHERLOCK GOES HOLMES (9:46) / GOIN' BACK TO GEORGIA (5:18) / RESURRECTION (13:52) / GUILTY (7:58) / WE'LL ALL MAN THE GUNS (11:26) / RUN SHAKER LIFE - TWENTY MORE MILES (14:43) / GOOD LOVIN' WOMAN (9:34)

One show, triple bill, with blues band Marlo Mays & The Stingers opening, Mercy Flight performing second and Steel Mill headlining and closing. Held under the stars on the upper deck of the parking complex. The general concept for this show was modeled after The Beatles memorable rooftop performance in the film "Let It Be" (which was in theatres at the time). This is one the most famous of all Steel Mill’s gigs and it’s now firmly a part of Richmond folklore. Promoter Russell Clem provides the immortal MC introduction. This was Steel Mill’s first gig in about a month and their performance actually starts off somewhat ragged as a result, something both Bruce and Vini Lopez apologize for this during the show.

The above-mentioned 12 song setlist is culled from audio from this show that circulates in several variations. An audience tape of only fair quality has been in circulation for many years. Fortunately a substantially better (very good) quality and more complete specimen of this audience recording has emerged in the collector market over the past couple of years,and is absolutely worth obtaining. In addition to the new audience source, some soundboard audio has also emerged from this show. The soundboard audio is missing two tracks ("The War Is Over" and "Guilty") found on the audience recording and the soundboard quality isn't nearly as good as the better of the two audience sources. Importantly though, the soundboard audio includes the show's encore "Good Lovin' Woman", which is not found on the audience audio. None of the above-mentioned audio has ever been released on any mainstream bootleg.

The 12 song, 110 minute setlist is not the complete show. It would appear that the audience audio is complete up to and including “We’ll All Man The Guns”. There is then a 2-4 song segment of the show that has never circulated from any source. One of the songs definitely performed during this “missing” segment was “The Wind And The Rain”. Both "I Am The Doctor" and "Sweet Melinda" have cropped up in attendee recollections and may have also filled this gap in this show. From an historical standpoint the two most important tracks are "We'll All Man The Guns" (Bruce introduces it as just written) and Bruce's 1969 song "Good Lovin' Woman" (Bruce introduces it as "an old song"). Neither of these two songs are available elsewhere.

A day or so after this show Springsteen met privately with Mercy Flight's lead singer Robbin Thompson and offered him a position in Steel Mill. After a few days of deliberation Thompson accepted the offer, resigning from Mercy Flight on August 23 and relocating to New Jersey to join Steel Mill the following week.
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1970-08-25 - CHALLENGER EASTERN SURFBOARDS, WANAMASSA, NJ

DANCING IN THE STREET / GOIN' BACK TO GEORGIA / GUILTY / TRAIN RIDE (Thompson)

No set details known. Formal hiring of new Steel Mill vocalist Robbin Thompson and 3 days of intense rehearsals at Challenger in preparation for the Steel Mill concert at the upcoming Nashville Music Festival. Robbin, a Florida native, had been lead singer (and songwriter) in popular Florida-based bands The Hanging Five (1963-4), The Five Gents (1964-5), The Tasmanians (1966-7) and Transcontinental Mercy Flight (1968) before relocating from Florida to Richmond in early 1969 and forming Mercy Flight. The songs listed were noted by Robbin Thompson.
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1970-08-28 - UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, RICHMOND VA

No set details known. The debut public performance of Steel Mill's new vocalist Robbin Thompson, who specifically remembered that this was his first performance with Steel Mill.
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1970-08-29 - CENTENNIAL PARK BAND SHELL, NASHVILLE, TN

GUILTY

No set details known. One show, a morning until late evening outdoor extravaganza 'The 3rd Annual Nashville Music Festival', sponsored by popular city radio station WMAC. This was an outdoor event, with the artists performing inside the Centennial Park Band Shell. About 20 different artists took part, ranging in style from traditional country to progressive hard rock. Headliners included Roy Orbison, Brian Hyland, Ronnie Milsap, Bobby Bloom and rock bands Ballin' Jack, Ten Wheel Drive and Illusion. Steel Mill was one of only a couple of acts on the bill without a record contract, some college students with connections on the festival’s organizing committee had seen Steel Mill perform previously in Richmond and helped the band procure a slot on the bill. The weather was lovely and the crowd was about 50,000, the largest audience Springsteen would play in front of until the 1980s. Springsteen famously recalled this show in his speech inducting Roy Orbison into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1987..."In 1970 I rode for 15 hours in the back of a U-Haul truck to open for Roy Orbison at the Nashville Music Fair. It was a summer night and I was 20 years old and he came out in dark glasses, a dark suit and he played some dark music." An attendee at this concert specifically remembers "Guilty" (aka "He's Guilty (Send That Boy To Jail) as having been played.
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1970-09-06 - CHALLENGER EASTERN SURFBOARDS, WANAMASSA, NJ

No set details known. First of several days of Steel Mill rehearsals for the upcoming September 11th Clearwater Swim Club show, featuring Mercy Flight drummer Dave Hazlett, who has come up from Richmond on short notice to be a temporary fill-in for drummer Vini Lopez, who is stuck in Richmond sorting out legal difficulties.
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1970-09-11 - CLEARWATER SWIM CLUB, ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ

No set details known. One five hour show, held outdoors, with Steel Mill headlining a quadruple billing featuring support bands Task, Sid's Farm and local folk singer Jeannie Clark (with her backing band consisting of Steve Van Zandt, Garry Tallent and Southside Johnny). A gig now steeped in folklore. In Steel Mill's lineup for this show was drummer Dave Hazlett (from vocalist Robbin Thompson’s former band Mercy Flight). Hazlett had come up from Richmond to fill in for the absent Vini Lopez, who was stuck in Richmond due to a marijuana bust on a communal property where Vini’s then-girlfriend lived (everyone in the commune were charged - Vini was merely in the wrong place at the wrong time). Steel Mill was intending to use its earnings from this show to help defray Vini’s legal costs. So the unique Steel Mill lineup for this Clearwater gig was Springsteen, Van Zandt, Federici, Thompson and Hazlett.

Steel Mill had played a similar event at this venue in June that had gone smoothly. However some local residents had subsequently complained to town officials about the noise level so late at night, this resulted in the curfew time for the September concert being lowered from 11.00pm to 10.00pm, as well as a much stronger police presence. Several audience arrests for marijuana possession raised tensions in the crowd. Then when 10.00pm came around (Steel Mill was part way through its set) the police took a hard line about the curfew and switched off the power to the instruments, infuriating the crowd. Several members of the band then plugged into overhead light sockets, forcing the police to enter the stage and ask the band to stop playing, which then escalated the crowd into a near-riot. During the ensuing mayhem some sound equipment fell onto the local Chief of Police (who was very slightly injured). Danny Federici earned his famous nickname of 'The Phantom' by disappearing from the melee with lightning speed. However news reports in the days after say that police were searching for Federici, charged with assault on a police officer and resisting arrest. 21 people were arrested for a mixture of drug and assault charges and ten policemen were injured. The aftermath of this show was extensively covered in the local media at the time. Danny eventually turned himself in and was bailed in November 1970. This show was filmed, but unfortunately the resulting recording was subsequently lost in a fire. Thanks to Billy Smith for this information.

Springsteen spoke about the events at Clearwater Swim Club during his eulogy to Danny Federici in 2008. Click here to read a transcription of the eulogy.

The text below is copyrighted to Jeannie Clark Fisher. Many thanks to her for all her help. Clearwater Swim Club, Atlantic Highlands, NJ, 9-11-70
"I was doing my set on a small stage away from the main concert. Steve, Garry and Johnny (Funky Dusty & The Soul Broom) were backing me up. I was wearing a mink wrap with heads and tails still attached that my crazy Uncle Lenny gave me. The wrap really grossed-out my friends, Rob and Paul, but I thought it was a very Janis Joplin thing to wear. She also had a great influence on my singing style then. That was one of the best times, musically, that I remember."
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1970-09-19 - BEACON BEACH, POINT PLEASANT BEACH, NJ

One show, a daytime double bill held on the beach in front of the Beacon Manor motel, featuring Sid's Farm and local folk duo Jack And Vern. This hastily organized, word-of-mouth-only concert was put together to raise funds to help defray the legal costs of individuals arrested at the September 11 Clearwater gig. Although long listed as a Steel Mill concert date neither Steel Mill or any of its band members performed at this gig. However, Steel Mill did donate its sound equipment for use at the show. It is speculated that Steel Mill may have initially contemplated performing but backed out due to the unavailability of Danny Federici and/or Vini Lopez. This show went off without incident and $200 in donations was raised.
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1970-10-11 - THE MOSQUE, RICHMOND, VA

I CAN’T TAKE IT (8:35) / WHY'D YOU DO THAT? (5:58) / SHERLOCK GOES HOLMES (10:02) / GOIN' BACK TO GEORGIA (4:50)

One show, double bill, with Steel Mill opening for headliner The Ike And Tina Turner Revue. A soul band and a progressive rock group was a strange billing combination, consequently it’s perhaps not surprising that less than half the tickets to the 3,000 seat Mosque were sold. Former Back Door Club owner John Richardson, who orchestrated the event, has stated that he lost a fair chunk of money on this show. The above-mentioned setlist is taken from a circulating 29 minute audience recording of only fair quality. This audio has not been issued on any mainstream commercial boot but is circulating via custom sources, sometimes with the venue/date unidentified. As undercard Steel Mill would have played about 60-70 minutes, so there are likely 3 to 5 songs missing from the circulating audio. The audio evidence supports reports that the venue was half empty. The crowd reaction to Steel Mill is polite but indifferent, an indicator the band wasn’t headlining. "Why'd You Do That?" includes a customized refrain mentioning the town of Woodland Falls that seems to have been used only when playing in Virginia. “Goin’ Back To Georgia” features Bruce and Robbin Thompson alternating the lead vocal.
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1970-10-17 - MC GYM, MONMOUTH COLLEGE, LONG BRANCH, NJ

DANCING IN THE STREET / GOIN' BACK TO GEORGIA / CHANGE IT / GARDEN STATE PARKWAY BLUES / I CAN’T TAKE IT / TRAIN RIDE / RESURRECTION

No circulating audio. One show, double bill, with Steel Mill headlining and Sunny Jim opening. The above-noted partial setlist is culled from a review of the show by Joan Pikula in the Asbury Park Press on 19/10/70. A sellout performance in the College’s Gym, with a crowd that Pikula estimates at near 4,000. This was the debut public performance of Sunny Jim, a group formed in May 1970 that included former Castiles drummer Vince Manniello and former Castiles and Earth organist Bob Alfano.
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1970-10-23 - MILLHISER GYMNASIUM, UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, RICHMOND, VA

Set details unknown. One show. Steel Mill headline. New Jersey folk singer Jeannie Clark is the support act. This is the first of three shows in a massive road trip from Richmond to Nashville and back. It has been mentioned in interview by Robbin Thompson.

The text below is copyrighted to Jeannie Clark Fisher. Many thanks to her for shedding some light on this concert of which very little was previously known.
University of Richmond, VA, 10-23-70
"I rode down to the gig in Tinker’s truck. We stopped at a gas station and I bought a packaged cupcake with cinnamon crumb topping. Tinker made me look at the ingredients and he gave me a lecture about all the chemical junk it had in it. He seemed very ahead of his time to me with his California awareness of nutritional issues. I opened the show for Steel Mill at the University of Richmond standing on one of end of the gymnasium, playing my guitar and singing to a crowd of students, all sitting on the floor. The music went well, but I was starting to get the sense that the lone, folk troubadour was not going to have as vast an audience as it had in the ‘60s. The times were changing again."
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1970-10-24 - NASHVILLE MUNICIPAL AUDITORIUM, NASHVILLE, TN

GUILTY

No known audio. After the show at the Centennial Park Band Shell on 29th August a number of bands were invited back to perform in this 'Best of the Bands'. One attendee remembers Vini Lopez playing with short hair, and that the song He's Guilty, was played.



1970-10-25 - RICHMOND ARENA, RICHMOND, VA

No set details known. One show, quadruple billing, featuring Steel Mill, Big Brother, Feast and S.R.C. The headliner, S.R.C., was a Detroit-based outfit that, at the time, had three weak selling LPs out on Capitol Records, as well as a classic 60s garage-type single "Black Sheep, Black Sheep". S.R.C. is probably best known via its earlier mid-60s incarnation called The Fugitives.
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1970-11-25 - NEWARK STATE COLLEGE, UNION, NJ

No set details known. One show, double bill, with Steel Mill headlining and Institution opening. This was a 9.00pm - 1.00am show, so Steel Mill must have played at least 2 hours.
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1970-11-27 - SUNSHINE IN, ASBURY PARK, NJ

Early Show: DANCING IN THE STREET (13:49) / WE'VE GOT TO DO IT NOW (13:15) / I CAN'T TAKE IT (9:07) / OH MAMA (4:25) / CHANGE IT (9:58) / I GOTTA BE FREE - TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT (11:27) / TRAIN RIDE (13:49)

Two shows, triple bill, with the bottom-billed Steel Mill opening for the 2nd billed Cactus and headliner Black Sabbath (fronted by a spooked Ozzy Osbourne, who received death threats before the show). According to Robbin Thompson the members of Black Sabbath and Cactus had a fistfight over who should close the show. The above-mentioned 7 song setlist comes from an excellent audio quality soundboard and represents the complete 76 minute performance from the early show, with no continuity breaks in the audio. This is not Steel Mill at its best, but it does contain the previously uncirculating "We've Got To Do It Now". Previous information suggested the title of this song was merely "Do It Now", but a lyric sheet with the full title emerged recently. The original master tape had the recording date on it and, additionally, there is verifying commentary by Robbin Thompson during the performance. About 8 minutes into "Dancing" the generator power fails for 12 seconds, much to the frustration of Bruce who comments "we must be the guinea pigs here tonight". According to an attendee recollection each of the three bands played similar length sets. After the end of the evening Springsteen spent about an hour backstage jamming with Cactus bassist Tim Bogart. There is no circulating audio from the late show.
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1970-12-00 - UNKNOWN CLUB, SAN MATEO, CA

No details known. Springsteen travelled to California by car in December 1970 to visit his parents and young sister Pamela. Information is sketchy, but apparently Bruce may have performed/jammed with some local musicians at club(s) in the San Mateo area during the 2-3 weeks he was visiting.
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Page last edited by Peteadmin on Jan 2, 2014 2:43 pm
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