Nassau Coliseum 1980: Revisiting the Show’s Length and All-Time Ranking

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.

All-Time Rank:
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.

12 comments on “Nassau Coliseum 1980: Revisiting the Show’s Length and All-Time Ranking

  1. […] Discussion of where the Nassau Coliseum currently ranks all-time can now be found here. […]

  2. Joyce Bassett says:

    Reblogged this on Bruce Springsteen: A New York Serenade and commented:
    I sat outside ticketless for the Nassau Coliseum show. Had a chance to sneak in and chickened out. I should have gone for it.

  3. Jens Wildman says:

    Oslo 2012 was 3:48

    • Glenn R. says:

      That is an oft-repeated error, unfortunately. The Oslo show in 2012 was about ten minutes shorter than that.

      • Joey says:

        In fact it was 3:47 long. I took the time with my watch, from the first tone from the band till the last tone. So this concert should be ranked as number two on this list.

  4. […] 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 longe…  […]

    • Joe Sarmento says:

      L.A. 11/3/80 all 20 River songs.was 3:48 NOT counting minutes between encores. Stage time only.

      • Glenn R. says:

        Do you have a source on that? I have heard the claim before (that every song from the River was played that night) but have yet to see anything to substantiate it.

  5. Joe Sarmento says:

    I was at 3 of the 4 (10/31,11/1 and 11/3) shows at the Sports Arena. I kept track of the River songs each night unfortunately I didn’t write down setlists. I would time many concerts back then. Saw 30 shows on the River tour. My time for 12/31/80 was 3:39 (time he came on stage not when lights went down and not counting time offstage for encores). So I assume times listed above for other shows are start to finish from tapes. So 11/3 could be a few minutes longer using that method. I remember 11/3 first set was 1:30 and second set was 1:50 and encores 0:38. I’m positive about 2nd set time. Memory might transpose 1st set at 1:20 and encores at 0:48 but I think my first recollection is correct.

    • Joe Sarmento says:

      Actually went to 10/30 not 11/1. Could have tried but went to Disneyland instead. Got back too late to make it in.

      • Joe Sarmento says:

        Sorry about addition mistake above. 1st set 1:20+2nd 1:50 was at 3:10 before encore. Encore ran longer than others from this period because I think last show of LA stand was something special but can’t remember what might have been done after the Detroit medley.

  6. Salvador Trepat Andres says:

    Some time ago I made this list, after the 2016 River tour.

    LENGHT CITY DATE (dd/mm/yyyy)
    4:04:47 Helsinki, Finland 31/07/2012
    4:03:46 Philadelphia, PA 07/09/2016
    4:02:15 Foxborough, MA 14/09/2016
    4:00:20 East Rutherford, NJ 30/08/2016
    3:59:39 East Rutherford, NJ 25/08/2016
    3:56:57 Gothenburg, Sweden 25/06/2016
    3:52:01 East Rutherford, NJ 23/08/2016
    3:50:59 Rome, Italy 16/07/2016
    3:49:19 Virginia Beach, VA 05/09/2016
    3:47:00 Paris, FR 11/07/2016
    3:46:41 Melbourne, Australia 16/02/2014
    3:46:29 Philadelphia, PA 09/09/2016
    3:46:27 Washington DC 01/09/2016
    3:46:20 New York, NY 19/12/1980
    3:45:53 Uniondale, NY 31/12/1980
    3:45:32 Madrid, Spain 17/06/2012
    3:44:30 Oslo, Norway 21/07/2012
    3:44:21 Pittsburgh, PA 11/09/2016
    3:44:12 East Rutherford, NJ 19/09/2012
    3:43:42 Philadelphia, PA 02/09/2012
    3:43:06 Los Angeles, CA 19/03/2016
    3:42:51 Milano, Italy 03/07/2016

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