Southboro, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/29/2014 -- A legendary performance. In the trajectory of Bruce Springsteen’s career, May 9th, 1974 is a historic milestone. His performance that night at Harvard Square Theater opening for Bonnie Raitt was when journalist Jon Landau, his manager to this day, witnessed and proclaimed Springsteen, “rock and roll future.” It was also the night that “Born to Run” was played live for the first time as a way to impress The Real Paper writer.
Springsteen was still an unknown. Music historians have commented that Springsteen knew that he had a special opportunity that night, and was determined to make the most of it. Real Paper music critic (and Rolling Stone contributor) Landau was to be in the audience. But Springsteen was not the headliner, he was opening for Bonnie Raitt. As photographer Barry Schneier arrived in the afternoon for soundcheck, "I could sense it. The way he directed the band through rehearsal and the way they responded... this was a man on a mission. A man with a purpose that the band wholeheartedly understood." Springsteen's performance that night became that of legend.
Having Springsteen on the bill that night was not, however, part of the original plan. Windowpane Productions, a music promotion company based in Boston, booked the Harvard Square Theatre for May 9th, 1974 with the intention of only having Bonnie Raitt perform. Raitt was a regional favorite and the promoters wanted to present her as a headliner in an intimate setting: she would be the only act on the bill.
But Schneier, the photographer for Windowpane, saw Springsteen perform a month earlier at Charlie’s Place and was so impressed he told the promoters they had to book him for a show. At Barry’s apartment in Brookline, MA, Ira Gold, one of the promoters, listened to “The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle” and was taken by his unique sound, Ira and his production partner followed up with a visit to see Bruce at Charlie’s Place in Cambridge, MA. Ira, interested in showcasing new and upcoming acts to bring to the public suggested to his partner, that even though it was late in process, they add Bruce to the bill. Since the tickets weren’t printed yet, they decided they could do it and offered Bruce the opening slot, to which he replied,”Sure”.
Schneier captured the concert that night, both shows, as seen in his collection. But here, sitting at the piano playing “For You”, this photo of Springsteen is captivating with its clarity and composition; but it’s also an amazing look at a young artist as he begins a song, and begins an impressive career. This photo is archived at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is currently part of an exhibit at the Woodie Guthrie Center entitled “The GRAMMY Museum Presents: Bruce Springsteen: A Photographic Journey.” Like the concert itself, it showcases a decisive moment, a young man present on a big stage: a remarkable evening that almost never came to be.
The show would turn out to be a watershed moment in the young Springsteen’s career. The phrase “I saw the future of rock and roll and his name is Bruce Springsteen” would become the bane of Bruce’s existence in the months that followed, but would lay the foundation for his relationship with Jon Landau which remains as strong as ever today.
Photographic technology in 1974 was no where near as advanced as today, and lighting in rock and roll venues back then was minimal… as was the sound. But this image is evidence of photographic talent, understanding of perspective, instinct and luck.
How is it that the light on Springsteen’s face could generate such detail? Is it the tiny piano lamp that is perfectly placed and exposed?
And how is it possible that an artist like Springsteen could be captured with such clarity and detail? He was, and is, a frenetic performer, yet here he is not at rest, but he is about… to begin.
The perfect print brought to light.
The Gallery: 5.9.1974 limited edition print of Bruce Springsteen at the Harvard Square Theatre in Cambridge, MA, May 9, 1974, is the perfect print of this stunning moment. On display at the Woody Guthrie Center starting April 29, 2014 (and curated by the Grammy Museum) and archived at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this photograph is a little known photographic gem. For collectors this is the perfect time to learn more.
After Mr. Schneier took the Springsteen photographs he continued his art. He moved to California, took photographs and showed his portfolio, with the Springsteen photo included. Few knew who Springsteen was back then, and no one understood the significance of this photo. Mr. Schneier became interested in film, put his photography portfolio aside, helped raise a family and time passed. Over the past 5 years he began to look at, organize and think about his work, and talk about it with friends and colleagues. The Gallery 5.9.1974 offering brings this great piece of work to light.
There are no other known audio recordings, video recordings or photographs of this concert: the 2nd concert on 5.9.1974 at 10PM with Landau in attendance. The concert where it is believed Springsteen first performed "Born to Run". This photograph is from Mr. Schneier's collection, and will be offered as an exclusive limited 20” x 30” edition.
100 prints of this photo will be released on and after 5.9.2014. 5 prints will be donated to non-profit organizations, 5 prints will be given away to the general public, and 90 will be offered for $5000. See http://www.gallery591974.com for details.
They will be offered as follows:
5 prints will be donated to non-profit organizations. These organizations will include Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran’s organizations, local organizations in the Harvard Square, Cambridge, Greater Boston and Massachusetts area, national music organizations and others.
5 prints will be given away to the general public via a lottery system. Registration to the lottery is gained by liking the Gallery 5.9.1974 Facebook page