The glorious official release of the December 31, 1980 show from the Nassau Coliseum from the Springsteen archives now calls for a re-evaluation of the show’s length and its ranking among the longest-ever Springsteen shows.
That topic is of particular interest here, and was previously explored on this site in June of 2012, when Bruce was playing a remarkable series of shows in Europe, approaching his all-time records and finally, on the last night of the tour in Helsinki, cracking the four-hour mark.
The Nassau show had for years been regarded as the longest-ever (until July 31, 2012), and with the benefit of a complete recording running at proper speed, it can now be properly measured…and perhaps properly ranked.
Obtaining an accurate measurement:
The official recording of the Nassau show runs 3:47:21. Applying principles previously explained here, the measurement of the show starts with Bruce’s first words to the crowd, “Are you ready to send out 1980?” The set break (between “Thunder Road” and “Cadillac Ranch”) is not counted. There are a few seconds left on the end of the recording after “Raise Your Hand” ends that also must be disregarded.
Accordingly, this site recognizes, for ranking purposes, that the length of the December 31, 1980 show is 3:45:53.
The Nassau Coliseum show comes in ahead over the longest (non-Helsinki) Wrecking Ball shows.
The February 16, 2014 show in Melbourne, Australia – known for being the only High Hopes tour show to not be officially released – was 3:46:41, good for second-longest all-time.
Coming in just ahead of the Nassau Coliseum show is the December 19, 1980 show at Madison Square Garden. The relatively new JEMS upgrade of the show – after the typical show-measurement methodology is applied – runs 3:46:20.
There is, however, the possibility that the tape from that show runs a touch slow which could throw the measurement off slightly.
Barring a definitive official release of the New York show to provide a perfect comparison, the top-5 length rankings are currently believed to be:
1. Helsinki, July 31, 2012, 4:04:47
2. Melbourne, February 16, 2014, 3:46:41
3. New York, December 19, 1980, 3:46:20
4. Uniondale, December 31, 1980, 3:45:53
5. Madrid, June 17, 2012, 3:45:32
A prior version of this post mistakenly omitted the Melbourne show from the rankings. Thanks to T. for the correction. This site regrets the error.