Annual Bruce Springsteen Gift Guide – 2019

November, 2019

It’ s that time of year again.

If you’re anything like me, it’s never too early to start thinking about holiday gift shopping. Let’s face it, it’s just easier continuing to sit here, watching football, hockey, basketball, tweeting, checking your FB page… But gifts must be got at some point, and if there’s a Springsteen fan on your list, you could do a lot worse than any of the items listed below.

Jersey!! Springsteen Fans!! Spring-Nuts!!

Batten down the hatches because The 4th Annual Spring-Nut Seaside Serenade (S4) is coming back to Asbury Park May 1st-May 3rd 2020! Join hundreds of Springsteen fans literally from around the world once again make the pilgrimage to the Land Of Hope And Dreams, Asbury Park NJ, for the biggest Springsteen party of the year! Find out all the details through the Spring-Nut Facebook page or by emailing Springnutsworldwide@gmail.com. Also check out their website: Springnutsworldwide.com
Don’t miss this epic event!

“Glory Days: Springsteen’s Greatest Albums” (second edition), by Peter Chianca

Longtime readers of the Blogness on the Edge of Town blog will remember “Glory Days: Springsteen’s Greatest Albums,” Peter Chianca’s 2012 eBook analyzing eight classic Springsteen albums and making an argument as to which was his best album ever. To mark Bruce’s 70th birthday, the second, expanded edition of “Glory Days: Springsteen’s Greatest Albums” was released this past September — in eBook form and, for the first time ever, available in paperback! (For only $5.99 from Amazon.com; $3.99 for the new eBook.)

This new expanded edition includes:

  • New introduction for 2019
  • New chapter analyzing Springsteen’s first two albums
  • Updated album rankings
  • Collected for the first time, six of the most popular Springsteen posts and essays from Blogness on the Edge of Town from 2013-2019

We guarantee it’s the best Bruce book you can get for under $6!

Bruce Springsteen Jersey Shore Tour and Book

When you make that pilgrimage to explore Bruce Springsteen’s Jersey Shore, of course you want to see the locations that Bruce has sung about, talked about in concert, in his autobiography and Broadway show. There’s so much to see in Asbury Park, Freehold, Belmar and many other towns.

The book, “Rock & Roll Tour of the Jersey Shore,” written by longtime Jersey Shore residents and tour guides Stan Goldstein and Jean Mikle, is your essential guide to all the places Brue, Southside Johnny, Jon Bon Jovi and others famous and not so famous. The close to 200-page book is filled with the addresses and locations of those must-see Springsteen-related places: the Stone Pony, Tenth Avenue and E Street, Bruce’s childhood homes in Freehold, the house he wrote the entire “Born to Run” album in and so much more. Plus there’s more than 200 photos of Bruce and other music icons through the years of their Jersey Shore history. The book is available through the website www.njrockmap.com

Stan and Jean are also available for private Springsteen-related tours of the area. They have given tours to thousands of fans for more than 20 years and love not only pointing out and taking you to all these special locations, but sharing their personal Springsteen stories.  They may be reached at njrockmap@aol.com for more information on the tours.

Limited Edition Bruce Springsteen Book, For You

Give the gift of Bruce Springsteen, give the book,
For You Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen’s Legendary Fans 

Did you miss out on owning one of the best-loved Bruce Springsteen books of the last ten years?
For You Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen’s Legendary Fans is a limited edition book first published in 2007. It has been sold out since 2009. It can be occasionally found on eBay and Amazon on auction for $300+. Now a decade later, for the first and only time, a limited edition reprint of the original book, including all the amazing stories and rarely seen photos is available again. Two hundred and eight pages jam packed with memories and over 400 photos shared by Springsteen fans from over 30 countries.

Buy this glossy book for the holidays, written by the people who love and feel changed by the music.
For You, is available now. Limited Edition: 1100 copies.
Order your copy today.

Shipping December 2019 (NB: Gift orders for North America only. Please check the web site after December 6 for confirmation of shipping date)

Order Here: www.ForyouBrucebook.com

Bruce Springsteen

The man himself has a couple of items on offer that might interest your Bruce devoted fan this holiday season.
Highly praised by both his fans, and the critics, Western Stars is Bruce Springsteen’s latest album.
His latest LP evokes country-tinged California pop from the Sixties and Seventies, sounding like nothing he’s done before. …once you settle in, the set reveals some of Springsteen’s most beguiling work ever.
Rolling Stone


Or surprise the Bruce fan in your life with the latest Archive Release from NUGS, due just around the corner in early December.

Happy Holidays to all Bruce Tramps.
See you on the road, somewhere, next year!

Cheers,
Lawrence Kirsch

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Sold Out Bruce Springsteen book – ‘For You’ Is Re-Released December 2019

Did you miss out on owning one of the best-loved Bruce Springsteen books of the last ten years?
Over 400 photos and 200 stories from his dedicated fans

NEW YORK, NEW YORK October 28, 2019
For You Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen’s Legendary Fans is a limited edition book first published in 2007. It has been sold out since 2009.
What the previous book promised is what we are getting set to deliver, again. This reprint of the book is a new item for you to consider adding to your collection of Bruce Springsteen cherished books.

The original volume took over two and half years in research and production, and includes hundreds of stories and anecdotes written by his legendary fans, as well as over 400 photographs, most of them never previously published.

Publisher Lawrence Kirsch said: “Being a life-long Springsteen fan myself, I recognized there was a pent-up desire for fans to come together and share.
Something magical happens at a Springsteen concert. Each concert is like a huge family reunion, even though in all reality you actually know few of the people there. Complete strangers connect with an immediacy that is tangible.”

“So, in 2005 I came up with the idea for this book and set up a web site called: For You Bruce
to confirm if my theory was correct. I asked fans to write in with their experiences, and I was simply amazed by the response. Over 1500 fans from across the globe submitted stories and anecdotes to the website. It was difficult to make the final selection.

Unfortunately, there was no way to include them all. All I can offer is that the experiences and memories that are there are representative of so many other stories we received. Fans will be able to identify and relate through the memories of others.
I promise you there is something for everyone in this book.”

Although Kirsch requested the stories be submitted in English, he did in fact receive a number of stories in a wide variety of the world’s languages.
So, to underscore the fact the music made by Bruce Springsteen and the legendary E Street Band, the Sessions Band – as well as the other musicians and performers with whom he has played, does indeed cross the language barrier, touching fans across the globe, Kirsch has scattered throughout the book some stories written in languages other than English. His personal recognition For You – the fanatical Springsteen fan, no matter what language you actually speak.

“I wanted everyone to feel included,” said Kirsch, “so these non-English language stories serve as reminders that the Boss has a worldwide fan base and his music and the Bruce Springsteen concert experience transcend the boundaries of one specific language.”

About the book:
Pre-Order starts October 2019
This 208 page, large format, 9” x 12”/222mm x 300mm full color, hard cover book is printed on EuroArt Silk 200m paper stock and contains over 400 photographs.
The book is only available online for purchase at: For You
Limited edition of 1100 copies.

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Genesis – Four “Ah Ha” Moments That Changed the Rock and Roll World as We Know It.

Genesis – Four “Ah Ha” Bruce Springsteen moments that changed the rock and roll world as we know it.

Springsteen
This book is especially important for those that have already consumed a plethora of other biographies that range from Bruce: A – Z to hyper-focused themes such as “Rocking the Wall: The Berlin Concert That Changed The World. Unlike the last ‘real’ book I consumed over a few days about our rock hero, Bruce, by Peter Ames Carlin (2012), for obvious reasons it took a few weeks to get through Born To Run, made up of three books, multiple chapters and verses within each, a deliberate and succinct approach for Bruce to us his story his way.
Within each meticulous chapter there are dozens of heart-wrenching facts, thoughts, explanations & conclusions often jammed packed into a single sentence that leaves the reader riveted, visualizing and hearing the protagonist’s voice as laser clear as when he, his multitude of ghost-like ancestors, his soul soothing red-headed savior and legendary E Street disciples are on stage whaling similar words. Live show after live show giving his “ people’s” standing tall , necks stretched, arms upright like soldiers in thin air, on our tippy toes right below our story teller; touching his holy leathered worn boots from the sacred pit, looking way up honoring and absorbing each note, riff, lyric just like…his book.
There are three ‘books’ within this magnificent book made up of a total 78 chapters and 511 pages including credits. Given the depth of each book , chapter and page, this review will only focus on “Book One” where I believe are some of the most significant foundations laying “a ha Moments” that I’ve been hoping and yes, waiting for; validation, confirmation, truth and resolve. I believe he offered us plenty in the first book, 28 chapters, 200 pages…but I’m sure not all.

A Ha Moment #1 – “My Street” (Page 5) summed up by two simple and foreshadowing words – “Watch Out”, painfully sets the stage for its reader, crafted so meticulously, much aligned with the fanatic effort put towards his break through song “Born to Run”. There were five houses sitting “L-Shaped” in configuration. These landmarked his critical and painful childhood territory …situated “literally in the bosom of the Catholic Church…just a football’s toss away across a field of wild grass”. Now when he says ‘wild’, he meant it. Maybe not as unfriendly as the infamous ‘Hatfields and McCoys’, but the four Irish and one Italian home were his family’s territory.
His paternal grandmother’s home in particular where he lived as a very young boy, ear-marked by the writer as, “the greatest and saddest sanctuary I have ever known”. Seemingly foreshadowing the future, mounted on the wall within this loving, chilling and confusing home owned by his great-grandmother was the painful portrait of his Aunt Virginia, his father’s younger sister who at the age of five was tragically killed by a truck “while riding her tricycle past the corner gas station”. It is within this context that his two words “Watch-Out” descend as he stares at “a sepia-toned formal portrait of a little girl”. These are his aunt’s words, not his. Living amongst this horribly sad portrait provides the reader a better understanding of his bumpy foundation, of his internal and external angst he so brilliantly morphs into lyrics that helped him cope with the hand he was dealt. Ironically, as the book unfolds, he shares his own experiences of not being able to get out of bed for up to two years. The writer’s own challenges with deep depression is obviously well inherited but now makes more sense hearing that his grandmother, post loss of her little girl spent the next two years in bed marshalling her son, Bruce’s father, “neglected with rickets, off to the outskirts of town to live with other relatives while she recovered” while ultimately, Mr. Springsteen Sr. never recovered.

A Ha Moment #2 – “I was approached by a Greek guy named George” (Pages 98, 99, 100).
As the writer’s early fame continues to rise; management changes, new band members and names such as The Castiles, Earth, joyfully playing popular underground NYC gigs always commanding note-worthy sized growing crowds ultimately fans for life. In the book he calls out a variety people that played an important and supportive role in his emerging career during the mid to late 60’s but he mentions one particular person whom the reader would be led to believe was a critical and pivotal mentor in his career. He says…”I was approached by a Greek guy named George” – so casually written, it appears “George” gave him the guts and ‘permission’ to tell himself and his folks that he was going to quit school and focus all of his time and energy on his passion, his craft – writing and performing –to fulfill his vision of being a global rock star – just like his early year idols Elvis and The Beatles.
Unless I missed something (big), why does the writer not provide this one particular and hugely important ‘scouts’ last name ? Does anyone know who this George is? Yes, maybe this is a deliberate gap that ensures we do more digging hoping to find out just who that mystic angel George is. A definite turning point, he leaves George and his first real exposure to the “real music business”…he continues…”I left that night finally feeling a musical future in front of me.”
He goes home and with deep courage, new found insights and a clear vision, he shares this ‘transitional moment” with the reader and with “new resolve” he tells parents how he is going to live the rest of his life. The traditional educational path will cease immediately.
George appears to be one of his angels, a guiding light as he was ‘never able to get George back on the phone again”.

A Ha Moment #3 – “The Accidental Presence “: Bring it on – and I brought it”. (Page 106).
With sparks flying, no one can upstage the author of Born to Run except the Upstage Club itself – a magical building on Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park, where great things happened. At 18, the man with “no name” offered up thirty minutes of “guitar Armageddon”. An innovative bi-level, jamming coffee house, open when everything else is closed thankfully provided this holy blessed group of emerging sea side stars the serendipitous location to find each other. The Upstage ultimately and literally set the stage for thousands of live performances that would later give birth to mainstream marketing tag lines such as, “Is it live, or is it Memorex™”.
Call it what you may, witnessing the immaculate conception of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band and lessor yet still iconic rockers in the flesh or later bootlegged onto a dark ribbon-like substrate, enclosed in plastic, topped off with a sticker for naming the holy grail transformed all of us.
Boy, did those original Potter characters Tom and Margaret have it right – they truly were spirits in the night.

A Ha Moment #4 –“I decided to stay in Freehold where I could make a small living”. (Page 108, 109).
The final a ha moment for this reader is so big and complex that you can re-read page 109 fifty times each time hearing a stoic teenager’s deep inner pain wrapped in selflessness and forgiveness.
The outcomes of a dramatic family shift; his parents departing their NJ hometown for the wild west, leaving the emerging holy grail rock-star behind penniless, to this day continues to be embedded in the veins of his songs, speeches and interviews. “By nineteen I was already gone. Into that other world”…and selfishly for all of us, from that moment on “there were just dreams and music”.

Toby Davidson
Toronto, Canada
January 2017

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Phil Beard- Lifelong Bruce Springsteen Fan.

My journey, from Liverpool UK to Freehold NJ, and all points in between.

“My first year in retirement, little did I know what was about to happen!”

My journey started in April 1976 at age 23, when I first heard and fell in love with the music of Bruce Springsteen and from that day forward has been the soundtrack to my life and as each year passes his music gains another layer and sinks that bit deeper into my soul.

The first one!

The first one!

I had to wait until 1981 for my first Bruce Springsteen “Live” concert experience which took place at Wembley Arena in London on the original River Tour and since that all-encompassing evening I have attended a further 62 nights of pure joy and raw emotion at shows all around the world, where I was lost in the stars for that brief moment in time. I know this is certainly not as many shows as the hard core fans and perhaps some would even class me as a lightweight in comparison, but it is probably many more than the average fan. I would personally have loved to have been able to go to more but unfortunately I was restricted by time and money, but I am truly thankful and treasure every single moment of the ones I have been fortunate enough to be a part of, which are all now a memory etched in my mind forever and revisited many times over due to the magic of bootlegging and now the gift of official downloads – the wonder of modern technology!

Forty years later and I am now age 63 and I and my lovely wife Eileen are still on this journey together, I am extremely fortunate to have had her along on this wonderful ride, her passion and commitment has always been absolutely infinite, no questions asked! (Thanks Ei).

We both retired in October last year after a full life of committing to the daily rigours of getting out to work each day, but little did we know beyond our wildest dreams what was about to unfold in our first year of retirement and that our well-earned retirement fund was about to be considerably plundered…!

Our excitement started last December with the announcement of the American River 2016 tour dates which meant it was now a question of which shows fitted in with our already committed plans, the only two shows that worked for us were Washington DC and Newark, ticket sale day arrived with all our devices ready and primed, we got straight in and were lucky enough to get a couple of GA tickets for the Washington DC show but got totally shut out for Newark. This was disappointing, but ever the optimists, we always say things happen for a reason and we’ve now reached a point in our lives where for any concert, we need to be either in the pit or great seats first block next to the stage and will do what needs to be done to achieve this! So desperate measures for Newark were required, we decided to pony up and go for the Steve Van Zandt Rock and Roll Forever Foundation donation package, which meant a meet and greet with Steve before the show and great seats next to the stage.

We were now ready for lift off with our tickets firmly in hand and looking forward to and excited to see and hear the River in full once again, having previously been to Madison Square Garden in 2009 for both the wonderful WIESS and River shows.

msg_2009_the_river-362

 

Thankfully it all worked out very nicely for us, considering that a week before our shows the east coast of America had that mighty snow blizzard, sadly causing misery for many travelling fans due to the cancellation of the first MSG show.

In the pit at The Verizon Center, Washington DC, My Soul Sister! My Springsteen Buddy! My Lovely Wife, Ei

In the pit at The Verizon Center, Washington DC, My Soul Sister! My Springsteen Buddy! My Lovely Wife, Ei

washington_2016c300The Washington show gave us our first indoor pit experience in North America, on all our previous 16 US shows up to this point we had always had seats. On the afternoon of the show we got our wristband numbers 40 and 41 and lucky us, number 10 was drawn in the lottery, we were in! It was awesome being so close to all the action on stage and being able to actually see the expressions on Bruce’s and the Bands faces close up made it such an intimately cool experience and what a show, the River in full in 2016 really has taken on a life of its own, it’s like being taken on a journey from the opening chords of The Ties That Bind to the final refrain of Wreck on the Highway where Bruce says “Well, the subtext of the river was time, time slippin away and how that once you entered adult life, the clock starts ticking and you realise you have a limited amount of time to do your work and raise your family and try and do something good” – so true and a fantastic night with so much more to follow!

New Jersey, Brooooce!

New Jersey, Brooooce!

Off to the Prudential Center in Newark next for a totally different experience, we got to meet Steve Van Zandt before the show and had a conversation about his music soundtrack for Lillehammer and his choice of coupling A Salty Dog by Procol Harum for Bruce’s scene in the final episode, “perfect”, he said he was very proud of this and had been trying 5 f**#*# years to get them in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he was so passionate about this. We then mentioned to him that it was about time Bruce and the Band finally played a live show in Liverpool, he agreed and said he would look into it! Watch this space.

Great seats in Newark!

Great seats in Newark!

Showtime, Meet me in the City and we’re off, a great show in Bruce’s home state no less and the crowd around us in the seats were fantastic, especially during all the songs where quiet is a must! You could have heard a pin drop and because of this Point Blank, Fade Away, Drive All Night and Wreck on the Highway became very special moments to cherish from the show, sometimes not always the case! and it was nice that Bruce, prior to singing The River, dedicated to and told the story about his sister Virginia and brother-in-law Mickey Shave who were both in attendance tonight, a heartfelt moment and he also got to dance with his Mom during Dancing In The Dark once again, wonderful. At shows end we looked at each other, smiled and walked out on a cloud while listening to the wonderful voice of Alison Krauss singing Let’s go down to the River and Pray, with the air filled with the excitement of what we had all just experienced and personally of what was yet still to come!

This trip was a fantastic way to start the year and we were now all waiting for a possible announcement of a European River 2016 Tour.

Lo and behold it happened with 4 of the shows scheduled for the UK, we decided on only 2 shows out of the 4 because we now find it so physically demanding these days, age just creeps up on you very slowly and we have to conserve our energy to enable a total and complete show experience. So it was GA for Manchester and Wembley, with roll call planned for both, we had to get in the pit!

manchester_2016e

A Rainy Manchester, Again!

A Rainy Manchester, Again!

Manchester was a tough day! We arrived at The Etihad at 7.30 am and were given numbers 178 and 179, so it will be a great spot in the pit. Roll calls at the usual intervals then lining up from 12 o’clock midday, sadly this is when the heavy rain started and was continuous pretty much until show’s end. There were transport issues for fans trying to get to the Etihad, causing many to miss the first few songs, meaning many empty seats at show time, however despite all this we were treated to a great set, with a fantastic trifecta start of Atlantic City, Murder Incorporated and Badlands. We got a pounding Darkness on the Edge of Town, into a five song River stretch, which included a fantastic I Wanna Marry You, The River and Point Blank and to open the encore my favourite of the night, a mesmerising Backstreets … Bruce once again took us to the edge of the universe and beyond! This was the toughest show, physically and mentally we have ever been to, by show’s end we had absolutely nothing left in the tank, so much so that we even found it difficult to talk about what had just happened in the last three hours, we had never felt like this coming out of a Bruce Springsteen show before, we had totally seized up and even found it difficult to just walk back to the hotel! It was a long day, but thankfully we had recovered by the next morning and soon forgot what we had put ourselves through the previous day and were then able to reflect on the sheer joy on what we had just experienced.

It was on to Wembley Stadium next, which we had planned as our final show of the tour … little did we know! We travelled down to Wembley the day before the show to once again join in roll call. We got numbers 229 and 230, so once again a great spot in the pit. We always enjoy meeting and talking with fellow fans during the whole roll call queuing process and Wembley was no exception. We met a fantastic couple called Jan and Graham Logan, who were in line next to us on show day and they told us they had also travelled the 230 miles south from Liverpool, it will turn out to be a happy coincidence for us all! We all had so much to say to each other and they were both as passionate and fanatical as ourselves, not just about the music of Bruce Springsteen but music and life in general, they also told us they had tickets for both Paris shows next month, I think the seed was planted! We exchanged emails and have since met up back in Liverpool on numerous occasions since.

Entering the hallowed Pit at Wembley!

Entering the hallowed Pit at Wembley!

Wembley ShowTime and first off we were treated to an unusual choice of a solo piano version of Does this Bus Stop at 82nd Street, Bruce needs to practice his whistling! Next up was an absolutely blistering Seeds with Bruce absolutely strangling the neck off his guitar during his guitar solo, we then all enjoyed the rarely played Be True which was followed by the always welcome double of Candy’s Room and She’s The One. It’s sign time again and Bruce pulls out one for I’ll work for your Love, he decides to go solo acoustic, but struggles finding the right key (much to the watching band’s amusement) … once found he absolutely nailed it. Further on into the set the mood changed when we got a very serious and heartfelt American Skin (41 Shots); it really did need a little quiet in here!

We were pleased to see Patti here tonight and we got a great version of Tougher than the Rest, then finishing the main set with a barnstorming Badlands, the encore opened with what is many a fans favourite, “Jungleland”, which is always a very special moment, then flying through the rest of the encore and finishing the show with a heartfelt solo acoustic Thunder Road. The end of another perfect day.

wembley_2016f-455

The next day on our train journey back home to Liverpool, I had one of those moments where you start to lose all sensible and logical thought process – you’ve all had them! (Probably best described as about to enter Planet Springsteen!) I was deep in thought about what our new friends Jan and Graham had said to us and got me wondering if Paris # 2 really was a starter for us, we already had front row tickets for Elvis Costello at The Liverpool Philharmonic which coincided with Paris # 1, so after arriving home, the decision had been made and 2 hours later I had flights, hotel and 2 pit tickets all bought and paid for – Paris here we come! This will definitely be our new final show of the tour! We were most definitely back on Planet Springsteen!

We arrived in Paris on the evening after the first show and had arranged to meet Jan and Graham and their friend Simon for a drink and to get their thoughts on Paris # 1, we ended up closing the bar at 2 o’clock in the morning! A wonderful evening.

Merci Beaucoup Parreee! Merci Beaucoup Brooooooce

Merci Beaucoup Parreee! Merci Beaucoup Brooooooce

Paris # 2 ShowTime, we got a great spot near the front of the pit and there was great anticipation in the air for Bruce to finally play the River in full for the first time ever in Europe, he didn’t disappoint after what for me was the perfect opening double of The Iceman and Lucky Town, this was only the 4th time The Iceman had ever been performed live and Bruce’s guitar solo in Lucky Town was out of this world, then with a few words in French from Bruce we all knew it was the River start to finish in what for us was to be our 4th time and just as enjoyable as all the others. The Paris crowd were fantastic, so respectful and quiet when needed and then full power and enthusiasm at just the right times. A truly wonderful Parisienne night and after the show we closed the bar again with Jan, Graham and Simon at 2 o’clock in the morning!

As far as we were concerned this really was our last show of the tour … until we met Jan and Graham again for a coffee in Liverpool. They told us that it was Grahams 60th birthday on the 28th August which coincided with the Chicago show and guess what; they said “we got a deal through Expedia and managed to get two great seat tickets for the show”. We were so pleased for them. We were interested and started asking them about the deal they got and during our return journey home Eileen and I started talking about another possible trip (That Planet Springsteen moment yet again!) no we just can’t do another show or can we!

Coincidentally, the previous week I had received a couple of emails from the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation with information on pit tickets and great seats for the remaining American shows on the tour.

On arriving home Eileen and I continued to briefly discuss the possibility of doing yet another final show of the tour! It really was a no brainer, the retirement fund was about to take another unexpected hit, but we have been saying for years, you only live once and if you can, just do it!

I emailed the Foundation and secured a couple of pit tickets then found a great 4 nights hotel and flights deal on Expedia, Chicago here we come … who knew!

Hello Chicago………………!

Hello Chicago………………!

Chicago ShowTime, on this final American leg of the tour Bruce had been digging deep into his back catalogue of songs and providing the fans with some special surprises, he was starting the shows with New York City Serenade with the strings and playing songs from his first two albums, Greetings from Asbury Park and The Wild, The Innocent and throwing in for good measure Jack of All Trades also with the strings, which really added another dimension to this song.

For the Chicago show he kind of changed it round quite a bit from the planned set list by taking in quite a few signs and mixing it up, which for us was a good thing. On a personal note we got to hear the rarely played None But The Brave for the first time and were blown away by hearing New York City Serenade (with strings), Racing in the Street, Jack of All Trades (with Strings) and reflecting the current issues in the news the double of American Skin (41 shots) straight into Murder Incorporated and once again we got a fantastic version of Backstreets to open the encore with a fun Rosalita and surprisingly finishing the show with a heartfelt Bobby Jean, perhaps not a hard core fans favourite, but for us it was a question of, this was really our last show of the tour, Good Luck, Good Bye………….

And we closed yet another bar after the show with Jan and Graham at 4.00 am in the morning in Chicago.

Our Full Set 2016!

Our Full Set 2016!

And on to Jersey!

We usually take our late summer vacation to America around the last two weeks in September, which includes the date of our wedding anniversary 23rd Sept – just a happy coincidence, honest!

In August 2015 we had booked an 18 night trip to incorporate a 6 night visit to New York City, a visit to the Museum at Bethel in the Woods which is the original site of the Woodstock festival of 1969 and a 10 night trip around New Jersey, staying in Edgewater, Newton, Flemington, (we visited Danny Federici’s grave to pay our respects), Eatontown, Freehold, Asbury Park, Ocean Grove and East Rutherford and little did we know at the time what was going to happen on this trip!

In June 2016 it was announced that Bruce Springsteen had written his autobiography to be titled Born to Run and would be published and made available worldwide on 27th Sept 2016, amazingly we had already booked and planned to stay at the Freehold Radisson on that night! Would Bruce do a book signing, especially in his hometown, these were the questions. Was it meant to be, all our friends were convinced it would happen, we could only hope!

Anyway on Monday 12th September I awoke early and checked the iPad for any news and lo and behold, the night before a test page announcing a Bruce Springsteen book tour had been leaked on the internet and was about to take place in various venues around America and the first one was to be at the Freehold Barnes and Noble on the 27th Sept. Could this really be happening, with the five hour time difference between England and the American east coast I had time to keep checking all possible websites for any information and at 9.00 am eastern time the announcement became official, which meant it was 2.00 pm in England. I immediately tried to access the Barnes and Noble website for ticket information but was unable to find anything listed, so I phoned the Freehold Barnes and Noble at 9.15 am ET to be told the tickets were free and now available on the Eventbrite website, I immediately logged in and quickly got 2 tickets (at this time it was showing as 1700 tickets still available) amazingly we were in, we couldn’t quite believe it, it was obviously meant to be. We were on cloud 9 for weeks! We were finally going to meet Bruce in person, all year we had been saying, does it get any better than this and it just did!

And it’s all about to happen!

And it’s all about to happen!

Anyway the day finally arrived and we parked up at 10.00 am in the Freehold Raceway car park and walked over to Barnes and Noble, their car park was all set up for the event and so well organised. We took our place in the line, Bruce turned up at 10.30 which meant proceedings could start early. We were taken into the store where we were given a wristband and paid for our books, which we would receive after we had met Bruce, we then went back into the car park and lined up again to wait for our turn to enter the store, we were then taken into the store at about 11.00 am and wound our way around the aisles and finally getting to meet Bruce at about 12.00 midday. We stepped onto the podium, shook Bruce’s hand and told him we had travelled in from Liverpool, he acknowledged this and I then said to him “You’ve never played a live show in Liverpool, don’t you think it’s about time you did” and he responded with “Well, we’ll have to see what we can do about that”. The seed was sown! We got our photos and then it was on to the next in line. A brief moment in time perhaps, but a brief one we’ll never forget! Bruce certainly didn’t have to do this book tour, but I think it is fantastic the way he has made such an effort and given some of his most ardent fans that rare opportunity to spend this moment with him. I have never seen so many happy, smiling faces in one place before. It was a great day we met some great people, had great conversation and the Barnes and Noble staff were fantastic and later that afternoon we went to Jersey Freeze for a peanut butter single scoop!

Phil & Eileen Beard and Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run Book Launch

Phil & Eileen Beard and Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run Book Launch

Next we moved on to Asbury Park and I arranged for a visit to the Bruce Springsteen Collection at Monmouth University. I contacted Eileen Chapman, who is the current custodian of the collection and arranged a time for the visit. We wanted to see and read the original Bruce Springsteen Time and Newsweek cover issues from 1975, which we did and had a fantastic visit with Eileen who had many stories to tell and we had much conversation covering our hometown of Liverpool, The Beatles, The Cavern, The Stone Pony, Asbury Park and of course Bruce Springsteen, it was a good day.

At Last and do you love those special gloves! The Bruce Springsteen Collection, Monmouth University, Oct 2016.

At Last and do you love those special gloves! The Bruce Springsteen Collection, Monmouth University, Oct 2016.

On arriving back home in Liverpool we thought time to take a step back and reflect on what a fantastic trip we had just had and wonder where we were off to next? But it turned out we weren’t finished yet! On Monday 17th Oct Bruce appeared at Waterstones Piccadilly in London for another stop on his book tour, and then on Wednesday 19th October Bruce was interviewed on the BBC by Simon Mayo, who had asked fans to submit a question via the BBC website. I wrote in and asked “When are you going to play a show in Liverpool” and it turned out I was not the only one – it was the second most asked question. Bruce responded favourably and said he had also been asked this question by a couple of guys at the book signing in London the previous Monday, Bruce said “We’ll have to see”. This was now starting to gain momentum and I decided to contact the Liverpool Echo with my Freehold story to see if we could move this on any further, they phoned me back for an interview and the rest is history. (See link for the story)

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/springsteens-biggest-fan-leading-campaign-12065846

There may just be more of this story still to come … to be continued perhaps!
An amazing first year in retirement no less!
Does it get any better than this, I think it does!
And one last final thought, we should always remember … it all starts with the Music, without which we have nothing.

Phil Beard, Liverpool UK
November 2016

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Why Bruce Springsteen Has Been In My Soul, Mind and Heart Since 1978

Why Bruce Springsteen Has Been In My Soul, Mind and Heart Since 1978
and Why 2016 and The River Tour Has Bridged Many Gaps.

by Toby Davidson

October, 2016

My journey from Asbury to vanity

My journey from Asbury to Vanity

Let me begin this post by sharing three experiences that happened over the past 12 months starting with the most recent.

Seattle – Bruce and me – the hug! + Seattle – Toby’s Plus One

Seattle – Bruce and me – the hug! + Toby’s Plus One

#1: On Oct 1st 2016, in Seattle, WA at Elliott Bay Books, I had the incredible (dream-like) opportunity of meeting Mr. Springsteen (finally) one on one, face to face, soul to soul. This monumental event included a photo opt and a chance to say….THANK YOU.

Seattle - From 1978 to 206

From 1978 to 2016

I got the” hug of a lifetime”. I must say, that up until this point, sadly or not, this was the best day of my life. If you are reading this post I believe there is no need to waste valuable character space explaining how or why this came to life.

Toronto River Ticket + River Tour Poster 2016

Toronto River Ticket + River Tour Poster 2016

#2: On Sept 23rd Bruce’s 67th birthday, fans around the world celebrated with him and boy did we have a great time in My Hometown of Toronto, Canada at a Rockin’ Roll centric downtown establishment called The Cadillac Lounge, the closest thing to The Stone Pony north of the border. The owner, Sam Grosso, also a life-long Bruce super – fan was the only BruceBud I knew upon arrival. Within minutes, I had 10+ more dedicated “Bruce Community Friends”.

This special evening included an open mic jam dedicated to Bruce tunes followed by watching the much anticipated Late Nights Show with Stephen Colbert with Bruce being the sole guest, promoting his much anticipated autobiography. Other than the seasoned interviewer saying, “I didn’t know you were Catholic”, it was, like always, a heart-felt, authentic, charismatic interview peppered with engaging snippets of storytelling that his beloved fans wait on baited breath for.

Gillette – Boston

Gillette – Boston

Thirdly, the first time in my 38 years as a Springsteen super-fan, attending many concerts over the years, I consciously committed to taking the time, money and energy to attend as many shows as I possibly could on the most recent River Tour ending in Foxboro, MA on Sept 14, 2016.

I’m proud to say that I participated in a total of 12 shows (previous tour record was 5); 2 in Europe, 1 in Canada and the balance in the USA. Of the 12, I made it into the pit 5 times. Prior to this tour I had NEVER taken the time to do the pit line process. It’s now time to segue into how it all started and why, 38 years later, I made the three items above a priority in my rather hectic life throughout 2016.

San Siro Ticket

San Siro Ticket

San Siro Web Ad

San Siro Web Ad

San Siro E Street Lounge

San Siro E Street Lounge

I often think back to that specific spark that started the fire and since then has never stopped burning. In 1978, one evening while home visiting, my 18 year old, university attending elder sister walked into my bedroom and casually tossed me an album and said, “someone on campus saw this guy live, a ‘folk singer’ and I though you may like it”…. That was it. Lights off, only a narrow crack of light from the hallway streaming through my bedroom door, with precision, I dropped the needle on my portable bedside turn table, placed my bulky ear phones snuggly across my head and proceeded to expose my 16 year old anxiety ridden heart, soul & spirit to something that since that moment has made my little life so much bigger, better safer, happier & yes, calmer.

San Siro Tramps

San Siro Tramps

It was a visceral & spiritual connection. An unimaginable feeling of unconditional belongingness. It was 1978 but the album was not “Darkness” but rather the inaugural, uniquely complex sound & words of “Greetings”. It was love at first sound byte.

My First Listen

My First Listen

I listened to” Greetings” start to finish, both sides, over and over and over ,night after night until I organically and privately knew every word (and there are lots of them) to most songs (can’t say all, but most). I also recall staring at the iconic colorful, cartoony sea-side image laden album cover that had a ‘flap’ that I would toggle between memorized, reading the words in a dream-like way over and over and over night after night. So here I am, in 2016, fully immersed in a Bruce-centric year and now able to better understand…WHY.

River Tour Tix & Wristbands 2016

River Tour Tix & Wristbands 2016

Since that first note streamed through my consciousness in the late 70’s, finding a permanent spot, Bruce, his music and his mind has provided all of us lucky fans a “tool” or “mechanism” to turn to 24/7 when life becomes overwhelming, and when isolation seems to be the only solution. Bruce once said, “Isolation is a very dangerous place”.

She's the one

She’s the One

The 2016 River Tour gave The Boss loving global community a platform to beautifully and creatively convey how the past 30+ years unfolded for him and reflect on the journey. How he was able to reach into his own tool box to participate in life in a way that when he was 16 probably could never had imagined.

Auburn Hills Palace

Auburn Hills Palace

With his inherent generosity of character, unfathomable work-ethic, this tour gives those that really “get him” a communal place to ‘regroup’ and feel safe in a world ridden with darkness and know that life with all its ups and downs is sunny and that dancing in the dark is balanced with glory days.

Auburn Hills Spring Nuts

Auburn Hills Spring Nuts

Bruce, if you are listening, I am forever grateful and until my very last breath I am fully committed to being a part of this epic journey that I’m sure will be filled with many twists and shouts.

 Buffalo - River Tour Poster Photo ©Kirsch

Buffalo – River Tour Poster Photo ©Kirsch

You are a gift to all of us and yes, faith is rewarded. Joyfully, super-fan, Toby Davidson

Toby Davidson, serial entrepreneur, founder Cookin’s Greens Brand, and principal at Concept to Shelf Management Consulting Firm. Toby lives in Toronto, Canada. Besides attending as many Bruce Springsteen concerts as possible, she likes to travel, rescue dogs and dance. Her favourite Springsteen album is Greetings from Asbury Park.

Many thanks to Bruce Base for providing original memorabilia and photos illustrating Toby Davidson’s story. Bruce Base is the most valuable and comprehensive Bruce Springsteen archive resource on line.

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