After releasing the groundbreaking rock record Darkness on the Edge of Town in 1978, the expectations were certainly raised for Bruce Springsteen’s next album. He initially prepped a 10-song release entitled The Ties That Bind for the following year that following along the same lines as the moody precursor. Those rushed plans were eventually scrapped in favor of going bigger and (what ended up being) better.
In 1980, Springsteen released the only double album in his discography, The River, a rock epic that relied less on the tramps and miscreants from his earlier work and instead focused on the broader working class struggles that heavily imbued the remainder of his music career.
The expansive album features several tracks that were left on the cutting room floor of the Darkness sessions which turned out to be some of the record’s strongest efforts, including “The Ties That Bind,” “Sherry Baby,” “Independence Day” and “Point Blank.” But The River isn’t merely leftovers. The album also includes the absolutely heart wrenching title track and, of course, his first big pop sensation, “Hungry Heart.”
Springsteen revisits The River with the E Street Band on Thursday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Originally conceived as a two-night run celebrating the 35th anniversary of the album and the coinciding box set The Ties That Bind: The River Collection, The Boss once again went for bigger and better, extending the tour to more than 30 dates. He stressed that the immense amount to effort put into rehearsing for those two nights felt frivolous, so why not extend into a full tour?
Springsteen puts on the hardest working live performances and the singer/guitarist can still go at 66 years old. So even though the band will play The River front-to-back to start the show, you can expect another couple hours of Springsteen digging through his deep discography.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band celebrate the 35th anniversary of The River at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, 1001 N. 4th St. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Stream of the Week
“Tonight, we drink/ Tonight, we drink to drinking/ To everything/ Tonight, we drink/ Tomorrow, we go to work,” Joe Cannon sings matter-of-factly on the opening track off the new full-length from post-punk three-piece WORK, who celebrated the release of the 10-song Doing the Lords at Company Brewing last Friday night. It’s quite an impressive start, as lingering emotions are seemingly buried deep beneath the calloused exterior. Every subsequent song exposes another layer.
This Week in Live Music
Monday, February 29: Silverstein with Being As An Ocean, Emaros and Rarity at The Rave, 6:30 p.m. ($20) – (2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., TheRave.com)
Thursday, March 3: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, 7:30 p.m. ($55-$150) – (1001 N. 4th St., BradleyCenter.com)
Also: The Kacey Musgraves Country & Western Rhinestone Revue with The Cactus Blossoms at The Riverside Theater, 7:30 p.m. ($27.50-$40) – (116 W. Wisconsin Ave., PabstTheater.org)
And: Crystal Bowersox with Marshall Ruffin at Colectivo Coffee on Prospect, 8 p.m. ($25-$75) – (2211 N. Prospect Ave., PabstTheater.org)
And: Aaron Lewis at The Rave, 8 p.m. ($25-$119) – (2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., TheRave.com)
And: Infected Mushroom at The Miramar Theatre, 9 p.m. ($25-$35) – (2844 N. Oakland Ave., TheMiramarTheatre.com)
Friday, March 4: The Rashita Joneses with Mortgage Freeman, Trophy Dad and Tapebenders at Cactus Club, 9 p.m. – (2496 S. Wentworth Ave., CactusClubMilwaukee.com)
Also: Haunter with Apollo Vermouth and Gauss at Company Brewing, 10 p.m. ($3) – (735 E. Center St., CompanyBrewing.com)
And: Greg Koch and the Tone Controls at Shank Hall, 8 p.m. ($15) – (1434 N. Farwell Ave., ShankHall.com)
And: John Mark Nelson with Joe Crockett and Ladders at Club Garibaldi, 9 p.m. ($10) – (2501 S. Superior St., ClubGaribaldis.com)
Saturday, March 5: Jamey Johnson at The Rave, 8 p.m. ($30-$144) – (2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., TheRave.com)
Also: Bo & Airo with Zed Kenzo, Sayth and Mic Kellogg at Mad Planet, 9 p.m. ($5) – (533 E. Center St, Mad-Planet.net)
And: Dark Star Orchestra at The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m. ($25 advance; $27.50 door) – (116 W. Wisconsin Ave., PabstTheater.org)
And: Milwaukee to Mars (David Bowie Tribute) at Shank Hall, 8 p.m. ($10 suggested donation) – (1434 N. Farwell Ave., ShankHall.com)
And: Bright Black with Faux Fiction and Hired Rivals at Bremen Cafe, 10 p.m. (FREE) – (901 E. Clarke St., BremenCafe.com)
And: Dogs in Ecstasy with Asher Gray & Richard Galling, Selector Max, MS 115 and YJ at Quarters Rock ‘n Roll Palace, 9 p.m. ($3) – (900 E. Center St.)
Sunday, March 6: Nobunny with Indonesian Junk, The Bang Bang, Bad Wig at Cactus Club, 9 p.m. ($8 advance; $10 door) – (2496 S. Wentworth Ave., CactusClubMilwaukee.com)
Also: Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes at Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m. ($29.50) – (1032 N. 4th St., PabstTheater.org)