My 40 Year Journey with Bruce Springsteen

Bruce’s recent batch of Anything Goes shows that closed out the 2016 River Tour, which saw him play some of the most electrifying and the lengthiest (at age 66) performances of his career triggered a staggering amount of thoughts and memories about all of the Springsteen events I’ve attended in the last 39 years.
I’ve always kept a loose and rather flexible Top 20 Shows list in my head, but crafting such a list on paper is an entirely different exercise. For the record, I’ve seen Bruce 224 times since I walked into Boston’s Music Hall with an $8 ticket on March 25, 1977, so it was a daunting task to whittle that number to 20. It required considerable research and memory-jogging and setlist digging of shows that spanned several decades, but that was the fun of it too
The criteria for shows that made the Top 20 list? It’s a combination of setlist and inspiration and emotion and passion and crossing a threshold that I call the Invisible Line. You’re at a show and Bruce and the ESB are building momentum and, at some point, it just hits you that you’ve entered rare musical territory. The show has crossed the Invisible Line. You’re not just thinking about it and listening to it at that point, you’re also feeling it on a profound level.
Ok, so here are the 20 favorite shows where I only reluctantly left the building– shows that have stayed with me even as some of those buildings have since been demolished. I’ve included some anecdotes and deeply personal stories solely to illuminate or lend context to the reasons why these shows ended up in my top 20 list.

Mike Grenier
October 2016

1. The River Show, Nov. 8, 2009, Madison Square Garden.


Until Bruce started doing full album shows a few weeks earlier, I never thought I’d see this double album played in its entirety. He didn’t do it in 1980-81 on the original tour, so I’d been chasing some of those songs for 29 years. It was a spectacular night all-around, exceeding my own lofty expectations.

1_handwritten-page-1-307x400Highlights: Bruce dramatically dropping to his knees for Fade Away, Bruce dancing with Patti during I Wanna Marry You, the breathtaking beauty of Drive All Night, and so much more. The post River segment of the show wasn’t bad either: Atlantic City, Sweet Soul Music, Can’t Help Falling in Love, and Higher and Higher, always a great way to end it. This show was conceived as a one-off and even though he toured The River in 2016 and I saw 10 of those shows, I still consider 11-8-09 a one-off. Clarence Clemons, already in declining health, played this one, and he summoned up the energy and strength and the skill to help make it the best show Eileen and I have ever seen.

E Street Lounge pass

E Street Lounge pass

A word about the MSG audience: from our vantage point, it was magnificent. Fans were respectful during the quiet songs and paid attention all the way through the 20 tunes. There was a sense that it WAS historic and they appreciated it.

2. MetLife 3, Aug. 30, 2016, East Rutherford, N.J.

GA ticket, Aug. 30, 2016, Bruce's first 4-hour U.S. show.

GA ticket, Aug. 30, 2016, Bruce’s first 4-hour U.S. show.


I know, I know. How can a recent show played in such a monstrously ugly stadium climb into the No. 2 spot? Leaning heavily on material from the 1970s, this was the most consistently great setlist I’ve ever seen. The majesty of New York City Serenade, infrequently played over the decades until the last few shows of this tour, opened things up, and then we got Blinded, Bus Stop, Saint in the City, Kitty, Summertime Blues, Incident, Pretty Flamingo, Living Proof, Jungleland, Secret Garden (just the third time he ever played it), and MANY others.


Absolutely loved probably 30 of the 34 songs and was surrounded by great people in the pit, which always enhances the experience. It was also my first 4 hour show (4:01 actually) and stood as the longest show he’d ever done in the U.S. That record stood for all of 8 days since he played 4:05 the following week in Philly. But the length of show was just a bonus. The quality was there from beginning to end, and I had to marvel, as we often do, at Bruce’s stamina on a hugely uncomfortable hot and humid summer night. Sometimes we crave even more music on his best nights – play one more! – and it’s just not fair. But we do it anyway.


3. New Year’s Eve 1980-81, Nassau County Coliseum, Uniondale, N.Y. 

A little context here. We had a frightening accident en route to Long Island when the truck in front of us dropped his cargo of plywood and a huge piece bounced directly into the windshield of our 1975 VW bug. It’s no exaggeration to say we could’ve been impaled. The windshield literally shattered into thousands of pieces. It was a frigid day/night and the car was undriveable unless I put my head out the window. The trip should’ve ended at that moment, nobody was fixing shattered windshields on New Year’s Eve even on an emergency basis, but we were young and foolish and somehow made it to the venue.


We NEEDED a great show after such a nerve-rattling incident and we got it on New Year’s Eve. The crowd was a little slow in coming around, but Bruce and the band were in a celebratory mood from the start. 38 songs on this marathon night, including the debut of the one-minute “epic” Held Up Without a Gun, along with In The Midnight Hour and Auld Lang Syne at midnight. This Land is Your Land was superb and the songs from The River album were particularly exciting, given the holiday factor. Once the crowd woke up, it was an all-out party.

Buttons, original River Tour, 1980-81.

Buttons, original River Tour, 1980-81.

Yes, we DID drive all the way home with heads out the window after the show. It was exhausting and scary, a surreal experience. But for many years this was the No. 1 show for Eileen and I.

4. Reunion Tour Finale, July 1, 2000, MSG, New York City.


Ticket stub, July 1, 2000, MSG, NYC. End of the Reunion Tour.

Ticket stub, July 1, 2000, MSG, NYC. End of the Reunion Tour.

Lots of apprehension and anticipation for this show since there was no guarantee that Bruce would keep the band together. Very emotional show for that reason.


My Love Will Not Let You Down got the crowd revved up, E Street Shuffle was magnificent and Lost in the Flood was played for the first time in 22 years. Show turned into a three and a half hour extravaganza that peaked at the end with Bruce doing The Promise (oh, man, I wish we’d heard this song more often over the years, solo or band version) on piano to lead the encores.


But in all my years of seeing Bruce, the supreme moment was hearing him do Blood Brothers, which contained a new verse specifically for the occasion. Bruce brought the band center stage and they clasped hands as he launched into the new verse. Bruce’s voice cracked, he nearly lost it altogether. I’d seen him get emotional before, but NEVER like this.

Blood Brothers

Blood Brothers

To this day, it’s tough to watch the video, as beautiful as it is.

5. Fenway Park 2, Aug. 15, 2012 


Fenway Mic View

Fenway Mic View

Like a good jazz musician, this was Bruce at his improvisational best. Definitely the most spontaneous Bruce show I’ve seen. Saw his handwritten setlist the next day and he skipped 18-19 songs from that list.


So we got Bruce and Roy opening with the 1975 version of Thunder Road and then a series of summertime songs. Played an awesome five-pack of Knock on Wood, Bus Stop, Frankie, Thundercrack and the 1978 Prove it All Night. Had to rely on pit crowd to start Quarter to Three because the band was in a fog about it. Bruce loved playing Fenway in 2003 and that was very much the case in 2012.


A funny and enlightening post show moment. Bruce had announced that he was playing Knock on Wood for the first time ever. Our friend Mike Fondo (deserves full credit for this one) said to friends, “Bruce played Knock on Wood in Memphis in ’76. How could he not remember that?” So there you go, Bruce. You should always consult your fans when you’re a bit vague on rarities.


6. Darkness in Maine, Aug. 12, 1978, Augusta Maine Civic Center


I have to chuckle at people who say that Bruce’s setlists are too rigid these days. If you were around for the Darkness tour in ’78, those setlists had little variation, but the shows were ferociously intense (Bruce used to say during this tour, “You’re AT the show and you’re IN the show,” and, believe me, we felt we were a part of those shows). This one, in a 6,000 seat venue in the middle of Maine, was a typical example. Bruce played every note like it was his last. After opening with Summertime Blues, Badlands and Spirit (he went way up into one of the side stage sections for that one), the crowd was so deafening and boisterous that when it finally quieted down, Bruce said in amazement, “Have you people just been released from jail?” That’s when Eileen, who’d seen him only a couple of times at that point, fell in love with Bruce and the band. And she’s accompanied me to most shows for the last 39 years.
A bit more context here: It used to take Bruce a long time to “come down” from those ’78 shows. So we waited him out, and in the process, we talked with all members of the ESB in a grassy area near the tour bus for a very long time on what was a hot, humid Saturday night. I mean, the guys in the band were just hanging around and we talked to them like they were neighbors at a block party. When I spotted Bruce I went inside and talked to him before he got a chance to meet other fans.

Bruce greets fans Augusta, Maine Darkness Tour. Grenier is on the right(w/hat)

Bruce greets fans Augusta, Maine Darkness Tour. Grenier is on the right(w/hat)

August 12, 1978 Augusta, Maine Photo Collage. Max Weinberg autograph at the bottom.

August 12, 1978 Augusta, Maine Photo Collage. Max Weinberg autograph at the bottom.

Unbeknownst to me, Lawrence Kirsch of Montreal got a picture of that impromptu chat with Bruce, but a friend of his lost the negative (fortunately, Kirsch, who has done a pair of wonderful books on Bruce, made it a point to find me at a show at University of Vermont on Nov. 4, 1978 and mailed me another picture) But obviously, this night in Maine had our spirits soaring for a long time (and Kirsch still calls it the best show he’s ever seen).

7. Doubletake Magazine benefit, Somerville Theater, Feb. 19, 2003


Unique, to say the least. And by far the most intimate Bruce performance one could ever imagine. The Somerville Theater, built in 1914, has a seating capacity of 900, so anyone who has a ticket for this one has to feel very, very fortunate.
7_somerville-collage1-copyThe format is basically once in a lifetime. Bruce comes onstage with his songbook, gives you insight into his thinking and writing about his compositions and then performs the songs acoustically or on the piano. C’mon, is that heaven or what for hardcore fans? The setlist includes My Father’s House, Nebraska, Adam Raised A Cain, Souls of the Departed, Growing Up, a new one called The Wall, and he tells us about every single line in Does This Bus Stop on 82nd Street. If you closed your eyes, you can picture Bruce doing this kind of thing for friends in his living room in Colts Neck or some other cozy place where he’s completely at ease. It’s the rarest of opportunities and I can remember just hanging on every word and every story from Bruce, and the music was sublime.
After the music and conversation, Bruce did a Q and A with fans. That was a surprise, and Bruce fielded some pretty intelligent questions. That whole night, we saw a different side of Bruce, one we never thought we’d see. Years later, Armando, a friend from Argentina, and I were discussing the greatest Bruce shows we’d seen and he put his finger in my chest and said, “You saw the ultimate show,” referring to Somerville. Okay, so it’s not quite No. 1 on my list, but it’s a show I cherish and I know exactly what Armando was talking about because there’s never been anything else like it.

8. Music Hall, Boston, March 25, 1977.



My first Bruce show. The treasured bootleg that came out of this was called Forced to Confess. Very appropriate, since I’m forced to confess that I didn’t like Bruce at all prior to this show. Eileen can recite chapter and verse on why I thought Bruce was all hype for years, and the only reason I was on the sidewalk looking for a ticket was that a couple of friends had urged me to go.

Photo by C.Breining

Photo by C.Breining

Short version of how I got into the sold out show at this relatively small venue: young African American man is hanging around the sidewalk and I ask if he has a ticket to sell. I buy it for 8 bucks and ask him why he isn’t going to the show. He says “too many white folks in there.” We both laugh.
I take my seat in the orchestra and I’m a complete skeptic, so I’m half hoping Bruce is a fraud to confirm my skepticism. I don’t know the songs, don’t know anything, but about 30 minutes in, I’m starting to like everything. He plays a ridiculously long version of a song I later find out was Incident (many veteran fans who have the bootleg feel it’s the best version he’s ever played), and I love the sound of Action in the Street, and he plays Jungleland and Backstreets, both of which sound powerfully bigger-than-life LARGE. Late in the show, he plays songs that I actually know: Little Latin Lupe Lu, You Can’t Sit Down and Higher and Higher. I’m completely blown away. I walk out on to Tremont Street after the show, get on a pay phone and call my friends in Wellesley who had urged me to go. I think I woke them up, but I didn’t care. Bruce had just exploded into my life and I needed to talk about it. I felt like a human Drone that night and could’ve flown home.

Photo by C.Breining

Photo by C.Breining

And for the next 14 months, until the beginning of the Darkness Tour, I talked incessantly to Eileen about Bruce and how I couldn’t WAIT to take her to a show.

9. Bruce and Joe Grushecky, Soldiers and Sailors Hall, Pittsburgh, Nov. 4, 2011.


What is this show doing in my No. 9 slot? To me, this is the most overlooked gem in Bruce’s illustrious history. Technically a Gruschecky show, Bruce owned it for nearly 3.5 hours.
Free from the pressure of his own touring, Bruce was completely relaxed and you could sense early on that he just felt like playing. When he’s in that kind of mood, you know you’re going to get the extras – extra songs, extra emotion, extra stories, extra surprises. The three song acoustic opener — Your Own Worst Enemy, Incident, I’ll Work for Your Love — just gorgeous. After that it was a couple of exuberant hours of Bruce and Gruschecky rockers, with Bruce going all out like it was an ESB show, and a nice cover of Brown Eyed Girl. Bruce did not want to leave the stage after that, so he strapped on the acoustic again, talked about his songwriting a bit, and played No Surrender, Bus Stop, Surprise Surprise and Thunder Road. It felt, again, like one of those performances that Bruce might put on for friends. Just a shockingly great show in a perfectly small venue.


10. Danny Federici’s Final Show, Boston Garden, Nov. 19, 2007 — The most poignant show I’ve gone to, completely gut wrenching.. Word leaked out to fans in the pit and elsewhere in the building before the show that this would be it for Danny; that he was too ill (melanoma) to keep touring. Sadly, he would pass away a few months later. The thing I remember the most is how brilliant Bruce was in orchestrating the show, gradually shifting the focus to Danny. We got to see him stretch out on Kitty’s Back and Sandy and, of all things, This Hard Land, which was a tour premiere that night. I have vivid memories of fans teary-eyed in my area of the pit; I was certainly one of them. When Danny was front and center and at least part of the crowd (the ones who learned about his illness) was chanting Danny, Danny, it was heartbreaking. And lip readers close to the stage said Danny reacted with, “I think they know.”

It was a great show but a grim, bittersweet night. As longtime fans, we’d been jolted by the news about Danny and because of that we were in no hurry to go home that night. A bunch of us went to one of those pub restaurants on Canal Street across the street from the Garden and we sat around and talked about Danny’s mortality and how Bruce and the band and we, as longtime fans, would move on. 10_rsc1861lg375

It was November, 2007, and I think even at that point we took it for granted that the band would remain intact for many more years. But things had changed irrevocably that night.

11. The St. Louis Spectacular, Aug. 23, 2008 


Bruce proves, for about the 1,000th time, that you don’t need to be in a hotbed city like Boston, New York or Philly to get a fabulous show. This one was one of the most wildly exuberant shows ever, starting with the first note of the opener “Then She Kissed Me.” Bruce went sign searching early and teased the crowd about stumping the band and challenging the band. We got an energizing four-pack of Rendezvous, For You, Mountain of Love and Backstreets and the centerpiece was a gorgeous Drive All Night (isn’t that song always gorgeous?). Girls in Their Summer Clothes felt so right on a warm August night and Bruce followed it up with Jungleland. An exciting cover of Little Queenie was played late in the show.
Bruce referenced Miss Sophie several times during the show and dedicated Twist and Shout to her. For those of you who’ve never heard of her, Miss Sophie was living in St. Louis in 1980 when her son and daughter went to a movie, spotted Bruce sitting by himself and invited him back to their house to meet their parents. Bruce accepted the invitation from these complete strangers and Miss Sophie cooked for Bruce and her kids.
So, 28 years later, Bruce was obviously still fond of Miss Sophie, who was sitting in the family and friends section of the arena on this night. I climbed over the hockey boards to meet Miss Sophie after the show and asked for her address, telling her I would send the bootleg of the show. I’ll never forget her response: “Are you going to charge me for this?” I DID send her the bootleg and never heard back from her, but I suspect she liked the recording. Don’t we all.


12. End of The Rising, Shea Stadium, N.Y. Oct 4, 2003 — Here we go again with the rather unreasonable expectations we place on Bruce when he does a multiple-night stand at the same venue, thinking we deserve the “best” show just because we’re there for Shea Stadium 3 to end the Rising Tour. Shea 2 the previous night was exceptional with Roulette, Rendezvous, NYCS and the ultra-rare Janey Don’t You Lose Heart among the songs played, yet we wanted to bow out of this very important tour with something better, something even more memorable.
Bruce was up to the task, cramming 30 songs into 3 hours, 20 minutes. Code of Silence was a solid opener and the early five pack of Roulette/Night/I Wish I Were Blind/Empty Sky/You’re Missing was particularly inspired, and Tunnel of Love was a welcome addition to the setlist. Back In Your Arms, which to my ears always sounds like a soul-drenched song from the 1960s Stax-Volt era when performed live, was thrilling just before the encores.

In what was a HUGE moment, Bob Dylan came out to do Highway 61 Revisited. To put in bluntly, the song itself belly flopped seemingly due to technical issues with Dylan’s mic, but the look on Bruce’s face was priceless as he accompanied one of his all-time heroes and influences. The show and tour wrapped up with the stunning Blood Brothers, reminiscent of 7/1/2000 version from the Reunion Tour, except this time it was Clarence who had tears running down his cheeks.

13. Hot Hartford Night, May 8, 2000, Hartford Civic Center.


Savvy Bruce fans like to zero in on the second night of back-to-back shows in the same city because you’re likely to get several surprises. We got a little greedy here because Hartford 1 would’ve been viewed as exceptional as a stand-alone, but we expected Bruce to outdo himself, and he did. A sizzling Routlette was the opener, but the roof-shattering crowd reaction came a bit later when he started Darlington County and veered into the Rolling Stones’ Honky Tonk Woman (other than a European show a dozen years later, I’ve often wondered why he hasn’t repeated that snippet since it would guarantee instant hysteria). Bruce had the crowd in the palm of his hands after that, and the underplayed masterpiece, Racing In The Street was a big time highlight.
For whatever reason, Bruce always seems to put on excellent shows in Hartford. This one is my favorite by far.

14. Three Days After John Lennon’s Murder, Dec. 11, 1980, Providence Civic Center.


On this savagely cold (on many levels) night, we really, really needed Bruce. Eileen and I arrived early hoping to talk to Bruce but hardly optimistic about our chances. We went to the back side entrance of the Civic Center and saw maybe 10-15 people hanging around, shivering like we were. Don’t remember how long we waited, but a couple of vans eventually pulled up to the garage. Bruce had his driver stop and he disembarked. Alone.
As Bruce began to walk our way, fans started whipping out picture discs, album covers and other collectibles from underneath their heavy winter jackets. I remember being startled by that. I suppose, rightfully, they were thinking this was their once-in-a-lifetime chance to collect Bruce’s signature, but my purpose was different, my mind in a different place. Bruce went down the line and obliged every autograph seeker, but when it was my turn, I just said, “I’m not looking for you to sign anything, but could you dedicate a song to Lennon tonight.” He said yes he would, and then we shook hands. And then, as fans huddled around him again, Bruce hitched up his collar on the long overcoat he was wearing and said, “Go on inside. I’ll warm you up tonight.”
Did he ever. Bruce had played an extremely emotional show two nights before (the band had urged him to cancel the Dec. 9 show) at the Philly Spectrum and it carried over to Providence. Bruce played Darkness in the No. 4 slot, then alluded to what happened three nights earlier in New York as he dedicated The Price You Pay to Lennon. Bruce went on to play Racing in the Streets and other favorites in his 33 song set and lightened the mood with Santa Claus is Coming to Town late in the show, but this night was about catharsis as far as I was concerned. I hardly think I was the only one who felt that way.


Field GA ticket, Wrigley Field, Chicago, 9-7-2012, Grenier's 200th show.

Field GA ticket, Wrigley Field, Chicago, 9-7-2012, Grenier’s 200th show.

15. Wrigley Field, Chicago, Sept. 7, 2012. Show No. 200 for me, and still the only time I’ve ever brought a sign, courtesy of Eileen, who spent a lot of time on it. The sign request was an either/or thing for The Price You Pay or None But The Brave, both of which were rarities at that point. With the great Eddie Vedder in the house, the show started in auspicious fashion with ’78 Prove it All Night and My Love Will Not Let You Down. Tom Morello joined Bruce for a couple of songs and Vedder came out for an excellent version of Atlantic City. We were one back from the B stage on Roy’s side and when Bruce was super close to us for Darlington County, we held up the sign — briefly — and Bruce grabbed it so it wouldn’t block people’s view, looked at it and left it on the B stage. That was the end of the request, I figured, but after playing Shackled and Sunny Day, Bruce said, “I think this is a tour debut. This is for all the hardcore fans,” and None But The Brave followed. So, yes, of course it was a special moment, and Eileen and my friends were happy for me. It was all I could ask for.

16. European Euphoria, Munich, Germany, June 18, 1985

Jumbo Sized. This was our one journey to Europe to see Bruce and everything was Jumbo Sized on this leg of the Born in the USA tour: the stadiums, the crowds, the hype, Bruce’s muscles and even the shape of the tickets, oversized beauties with Bruce’s picture that were destined for the family scrapbook.

Ticket, Munich, Germany, June 18, 1985.

Ticket, Munich, Germany, June 18, 1985.

Since Eileen was a few months pregnant with our daughter Nicole, we had to play it smart at these stadium shows, which were generally wild affairs. We avoided the stadium floor and stood (no one sat) in the stands, where it was just wacky enough.
Olympic Stadium, where this show was held, had a seating capacity of 80,000 but it seemed more like 800,000 that night. The setlist was standard Born in the USA Tour crowd pleasers, but the crowd was electric and it was impossible not to get caught up in it. A vivid memory from late in the show: the merchandise booths on the field had sold out of everything, and people who had worked behind the counter spontaneously jumped on the merch tables and danced the night away. A remarkable sight.
I think we were predisposed to have an exceptional time that night based on what happened to us earlier in the day. We walked into the Munich Hilton in the afternoon to pick up our tickets and Nils was in the lobby. Nils was an avid basketball fan and a good friend of Boston Celtics great Kevin McHale. I was wearing a Celtics jacket and Nils recognized me as a newspaper guy he’d seen in the media room at the Boston Garden a few times. He invited us to sit in the lobby with him and started peppering me with questions about the Celtics-Lakers NBA Finals series that had just concluded. We talked for several minutes and after our session, Nils got up, pulled a large stack of tickets out of his pocket and offered to treat us that night. Had to turn him down, but as you can imagine, that chance meeting with Nils, and his kindness, left us in a great frame of mind for the show that night.

French poster for Born in the USA show, St. Etienne, France, June 25, 1985

French poster for Born in the USA show, St. Etienne, France, June 25, 1985

Paris record store, June, 1985.

Paris record store, June, 1985.

17. Fenway Park the 2003 Version, Night 2, Sept. 7, 2003.

The locals were well aware of the Red Sox ignominious history at this juncture — no World Series title in 85 years and the dubious distinction of being the last MLB team to integrate, so it was a coup when they were able to recruit Bruce for back-to-back nights at the ballpark. And while Night 1 was terrific and Bruce showed genuine excitement in playing there, Fenway 2 would prove to be more satisfying.
For the second night in a row, Bruce opened with Take Me Out to the Ballgame with Danny on organ and followed it up with Diddy Wah Diddy, a nod to a Boston band, Barry & The Remains, which had a minor hit with a cover version of the song in the mid-60s. Those were the appetizers for a main course that included Adam Raised A Cain, Something in the Night (high on my list from the Darkness album), For You, the obscure but well-loved Frankie, which set things up for the always majestic Jungleland.

Bruce’s longtime buddy Peter Wolf was aboard for the show ending Dirty Water.

Bruce with Peter Wolfe

Bruce with Peter Wolfe

Some other quick observations from the Fenway shows: there was an unmistakeable buzz in the streets both days with people getting there several hours before showtime to take it all in….the soundcheck was loud and clear outside the ballpark, creating excitement and a sense of anticipation….people who were shut out of tickets brought chairs or sat on the sidewalk and took in the entire show. The whole two nights felt like a carnival….prior to Fenway 1, Red Sox principal owner John Henry approached the pit, stopping just outside the rail. I recognized it as a chance to thank him for bringing Bruce in for two shows, so I went to the back of the pit to say hello. Henry said, “How do you get these (pit) tickets anyway?” I told him it was a bit complicated, but it struck me as funny that Henry, whose net worth is $1 billion, would ask a fan about getting close to the stage. I invited him to join us in the pit, but he politely declined, saying, “Think I’ll go back (to the suite).” Too bad. I think he would’ve enjoyed the show more in the pit.

Mike and Eileen Grenier - Green Monster, Fenway Park, Boston, Sept. 7, 2003

Mike and Eileen Grenier – Green Monster, Fenway Park, Boston, Sept. 7, 2003

18. The Asbury Park Blizzard Christmas Show, Night 3, Dec. 8, 2003

A chaotic, albeit memorable weekend on the Jersey shore due to a major snowstorm that blanketed the area, forcing people to cancel/alter plans and Bruce to rearrange the scheduled shows. We had friends who drove from Boston and points north in dicey conditions to get to the Saturday night show, only to turn around when the show was pushed to Monday night. It was just a horrendous inconvenience for many loyal fans.

The lucky ones who were able to stick around for the Monday night finale were rewarded with a generous 3.5 hour show at tiny Convention Hall that was part Christmas, part rarities (So Young and in Love, None but the Brave, Thundercrack,Seaside Bar Song, The Wish) and part soul revue. With Bruce conducting the band and absolutely beaming, Sam Moore’s mini-set consisting of Hold On, I’m Coming, When Something is Wrong With My Baby, Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa (Sad Song)/I Thank You, and Soul Man had the feel of a night at the Apollo Theater. A lot of the Christmas Shows Bruce did in 2000, 2001 and 2003 were pure fun, but this one was musically striking and a treasured memory.


19. No Nukes Show, Sept. 22, 1979, MSG, New York City

This was a star studded affair and we saw Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, but it was overwhelmingly Bruce-centric crowd, and an impatient one at that as the show started to run way behind schedule.
An unforgettable sight: Petty, supposedly getting accustomed to playing large arena shows, frozen like a statue at the mic as the crowd kept screaming for Bruce during Petty’s 40 minute set. The story goes that when Petty finished up and went backstage, Raitt tried to reassure him that the crowd wasn’t booing him, they were Brooocing him. To which Petty replied, “What’s the difference?”
Bruce had barely played any shows in ’79 and Eileen and I could feel the floor shake when the ESB practically ran to their spots on stage. Bruce was simultaneously intense and snarling, so we witnessed the good and the bad that came out of that mood.

The bad part: Bruce spotted his former girlfriend, photographer Lynn Goldsmith, taking pictures when she shouldn’t have been, and ordered security to bring her to the stage. Bruce grabbed her forearm and said to the audience, “This is my ex-girlfriend.” He then took Goldsmith to the back of the stage and basically tossed her to security. A little later, after someone gave him a birthday cake to celebrate his 30th, Bruce tasted a little frosting and promptly threw the cake into the crowd.
The good part: Bruce and the band played a scorching set, burning through 11 songs in just under 90 minutes. It wasn’t just Bruce, the entire band was fired up, and that fueled the crowd some more. The most emotional song by far was the debut performance of The River, played a year before the album even came out. Bruce’s eyes blinked constantly as he tried to hold it together during the song, which was written for his sister Ginny and her husband, who were going through difficult times financially.
The No Nukes Show. It was a hard night and a confusing night and a great night rolled into one.


20. Devils and Dust, the Penultimate Show, Trenton, N.J., Nov. 21, 2005.

Here’s something I really loved about this solo tour: Bruce not only played the D & D material, but by the end of the tour (this was the second to last night), he’d also played every song from his fabulous Nebraska album. There’s something to be said for that.
As is seemingly his habit towards the end of every tour, the setlists get more unpredictable and expansive. Bruce opened with the instrumental Rumble in honor of guitar great Link Wray, who had passed away a few weeks earlier. He also played the extremely obscure Song for Orphans for the first time in 32 years. We also got Santa Ana, from the same period and similarly obscure. Fade Away, Meeting Across The River, State Trooper, Nebraska, Drive All Night, Atlantic City…it was just an incredibly wide ranging setlist. I was drawn to the intimacy and the story telling that Bruce did on the Joad and Devil and Dust tours. Bruce was alternately funny and serious, edgy, irreverent and articulate, and ALWAYS interesting and compelling. It was magical on occasion. This was one of those occasions.


The Hat! Grenier has worn the same hat to Bruce shows for nearly 40 years.

We pulled a lot of all nighters going to Bruce shows over the years, driving long distances back home to the Boston area at ungodly hours. Thanks to all my friends, ESPECIALLY Michele and Walter, who might have been tempted but who never left me stranded in Philadelphia or New Jersey or New York or Albany or (worse) Newark or Bridgeport. Sometimes the nights were so exhilarating, so momentous, so damn near perfect that I simply wanted to talk to everyone in the pit or the arena or the stadium. Didn’t want to leave the venue, period. But you guys waited for me. And waited. And waited. For that and many other things, I’m eternally grateful.

Mike Grenier, 67, was a staff sportswriter for the Salem Massachusetts News for 38 years and is now semi-retired. In addition to attending as many Springsteen concerts as possible, he is an eclectic music fan with an extensive CD/LP collection, and an avid reader of non-fiction books. He also dotes on his two-year-old grandson Brody.
Mike’s favorite Bruce album is Darkness on the Edge of Town. Mike and his wife Eileen, also a longtime Bruce fan, live in Lawrence, Mass. Mike Grenier:

Special thanks to Rocco Coviello of Amesbury, Mass; long time Bruce Springsteen fan and photographer for his contribution of many of the outstanding photographs included in this story. You can see a full range of Rocco’s photographs here: Rocco’s Photo Tavern

And a big shout out to Bruce Base for providing many of the pieces of memorabilia and photos illustrating Mike Grenier’s story. Bruce Base is the most valuable and comprehensive Bruce Springsteen archive resource on line.

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“Even if I don’t finish, we need others to continue. It’s got to keep going” – Terry Fox, July 10, 1980

In support of the Marathon of Hope – The Terry Fox Run, September 18, 2016

To maintain the vision and principles of Terry Fox while raising money for cancer research through the annual Terry Fox Run, National School Run Day, as well as via memoriam donations and planned gifts. In accordance with Terry’s wishes, all monies raised in his name are to be used strictly for cancer research.

Terry was not interested in fame and glory when he embarked on his Marathon of Hope in 1980. His sole purpose was to raise money to find a cure for cancer.

The Terry Fox Run is an all-inclusive and family-oriented event. While Terry himself was an athlete, he wanted his Run to be open to walkers, bikers and families. We acknowledge all participants as victors if they have given or raised funds for cancer research in Terry’s name.

You can help the fund raising efforts for the 2016 Marathon of Hope by donating here. All monies collected will be donated to the Terry Fox Foundation. Read about the Marathon of Hope and Terry Fox here:

Terry Fox was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and raised in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, a community near Vancouver on Canada’s west coast. An active teenager involved in many sports, Terry was only 18 years old when he was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer) and forced to have his right leg amputated 15 centimetres (six inches) above the knee in 1977.

While in hospital, Terry was so overcome by the suffering of other cancer patients, many of them young children, that he decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research.

He would call his journey the Marathon of Hope. It was a journey that Canadians never forgot.

After 18 months and running over 5,000 kilometres (3,107 miles) to prepare, Terry started his run in St. John’s, Newfoundland on April 12, 1980 with little fanfare. Although it was difficult to garner attention in the beginning, enthusiasm soon grew, and the money collected along his route began to mount. He ran close to 42 kilometres (26 miles) a day through Canada’s Atlantic provinces, Quebec and Ontario. However, on September 1st, after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 miles), Terry was forced to stop running outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario because cancer had appeared in his lungs. An entire nation was stunned and saddened. Terry passed away on June 28, 1981 at the age 22.

The heroic Canadian was gone, but his legacy was just beginning.

To date, over $600 million has been raised worldwide for cancer research in Terry’s name through the annual Terry Fox Run, held across Canada and around the world.

About the Terry Fox Charity
Canadian foundation which raises money solely for cancer research in Terry’s name while at the same time is a leader among charitable organizations in maintaining low administrative and fundraising cost ratios. Currently, more than 85 cents of every dollar raised goes towards finding a cure for cancer. Please visit to learn more.

Terry Fox- Marathon of Hope

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Bruce Springsteen – Our Light in Darkness. Suzanne Morin, a teacher from Amesbury, Mass remembers the effects 911 had on her students.

MY relationship with Bruce Springsteen, the man, his band(s), and his music began thirty years ago. I had purchased the Born to Run album at the Haverhill Music Center and foolishly decided to loan my record to a boy I had a crush on. The album was a coveted item when I was a freshman in high school and the gesture was intended to impress him. My mother had warned me about lending things out to people, especially things of sentimental value. “A borrower nor a lender be,” she would say. Her prognostication that I would lose my first collection of Springsteen’s music was accurate and it was a long time before I was reunited with the album. It was recovered in a wedding trunk when I married that same boy in 1979.

My husband and I have traveled to over sixty shows to see Bruce. We have watched him explode into the world as a musician, performer, poet, activist and songwriter.

Integrating Bruce into the Curriculum

Integrating Bruce into the curriculum seems both natural and logical to me. He is an individual whose music profoundly shaped a generation of Americans, who now have children of their own. These children are my students. Implementing an educational curriculum and synthesizing what will be included, in a world of endless material, is not based on personal taste. There needs to be an evaluation of an artist’s musical accomplishments and their place in the goals of the music curriculum. The idea is to set the benchmarks and standards of what students need to know to acquire musical literacy and appreciation and then hope you have hit your mark. Bruce embodies so many of the ideals of what a comprehensive music program hopes to realize. He exemplifies what it means to use music as a tool to educate, liberate, heal, unify, and clarify.

In the months following 9/11, there were limited outside resources to provide children with the support and clarification they needed to come to grips with what was a confusing and horrifying time. I found myself in a situation where I was instructed by educational administrators to be very cautious when dealing with issues around this subject. We were encouraged to avoid conversations with the younger population whenever possible. Our school, like countless others, became cloaked in sadness, despair, helplessness, and paralysis. Because American Airlines Flight 11 originated in Boston, our community suffered significant personal losses. It was not only the images on television that these children were bombarded with, but the knowledge that some members of the community had lost members of their families.

Then came The Rising. It was the first significant musical contribution that answered the call to make sense of the events of September 11th. I knew as soon as I heard the first song that this body of music had the potential for initial healing and, far more important, it would tell the stories. It became invaluable in helping a fragile population sort out the unimaginable in language that was both poignant and sensitive. The Rising represented what each and every child needed–hope. They longed to be assured that the pervasive air of fear, grief, and profound sadness would in time pass and give way to a rising of unification, renewal of spirit, and light. Bruce gave us that. As a gifted lyricist, he has an uncanny talent for conjuring up powerful metaphors to frame events in history or to simply describe a contentious situation in words of the common man.

In 2005 came the next significant Springsteen curriculum contribution, the Seeger Sessions. The music of Pete and Ruth Seeger helped shape my own musical career and I in turn considered it my professional obligation to introduce this same folk music to my students. I was thrilled when I heard that Bruce would be involved in paying tribute to an individual I consider a national treasure.

When Bruce and his newly appointed band of musicians hit the airwaves at our school, the electricity was akin to that of  The Beatles at Heathrow. I am not exaggerating. There was not a single student who failed to be swept up in the excitement of the music and hungry to learn the lyrics. The term folk music, formerly uninteresting, old, and boring, became bold, hip, and most of all, really fun. The biggest draws to the Seeger Sessions album were the participatory nature of the songs, the great refrains, and most importantly, the stories. The kids loved hearing about the heroism of John Henry, the romance of Jesse James’s philanthropy, and the sentimentality of a mule named Sal on the Erie Canal. Everyone loves a great tale, and if there is any chance that there is a degree of truth to it, it becomes irresistible. Add to that Bruce’s incredible arrangements, profound musicianship, and a bit of American folklore, and you have something kids can get very excited about. And that’s what happened. In the halls, playgrounds, ball fields, and cafeterias, the stories of American characters filled the air. The topper was that when the kids went home to tell their parents about this great new music they had heard, the parents were able to chuckle and say, “Hey, I know that music. That’s my music and now it’s your music.” Isn’t that what it’s all about? The primary thing I learned as a music educator when I introduced my students to the Seeger Sessions was that I could never underestimate the power of music to bring people together.

Bruce’s Politics

I am generally not in favor of actors, musicians, and sports figures lecturing me on political issues unless I actually see them doing something to bring about significant change. It is only then that I take notice. Bruce doesn’t just talk about change, he works to bring it about. The message in his music bids one to take responsibility, take pride locally and globally, and most of all, know that we are stronger as a group than we are individually. He does this, not as an exception but as a rule, in his music, his personal life, and through countless work initiatives.

Bruce’s work ethic has inspired me to offer students the same encouragement to work a little harder, care a lot more, and look out for the other guy whenever possible. I am fortunate to hold a position where I am able to take that lesson and pass it on to a new generation of citizens who will very soon have the greatest impact on our future. Bruce’s devotion to chronicling political and social injustice, particularly of the working class, has both endeared him to the American public and provided political retractors with ammunition. He has stood undaunted, caring more about singing about what he believes in and conveying his message, that we are all responsible to take notice of what is going on in our own country, than about musical ratings.

An opportunity to utilize Bruce’s music presented itself during a theater production in which young students were learning about the plight of factory workers in the Northeast. Students were working on a play they had written about a very young labor activist named George McNeill. George was a fourteen-year-old boy who in 1862 organized the now famous Derby Strike at the Amesbury/Salisbury Woolen Mill, a factory in the town where the students lived. The young boy cast as George McNeill had been through a very difficult time recently, and I was very grateful to have him working on something that would take his mind off problems far too lofty for a nine-year-old. He requested a solo in the production, and the song he selected, after hearing several options, was “Factory” from Darkness on the Edge of Town. He felt that the song really captured the plight of the working man and presented a palatable image of the agonizing pain and hopelessness of the factory worker. He liked that Bruce talked about the ability of the factory to both give and take life. It hit him hard, as it did the rest of the audience. It ended up becoming the anthem of the play, and the kids were deeply moved by the riveting images evoked by the lyrics of the song.

As to how parents have responded to my exposing their children to Springsteen’s politics, I would say the response has been positive. I believe when a program is structured in an appropriate manner and children learn material within the context it was intended to be taught, the casualties of misunderstanding are minimized. Having presented learning objectives in that manner has afforded me the luxury and privilege of utilizing the musical genius of Bruce Springsteen with little opposition. I have been able to use Springsteen’s work to provide students with opportunities to think analytically and move outside their comfort zones. They are asked to stretch themselves with regards to their preconceived notions and look and listen with new eyes and ears.

Suzanne Morin
Amesbury, MA

This story was first published in the limited edition book For You, Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen’s Legendary Fans, 2007

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It’s BRUUCE time – A Special “For You”

In support of the Montreal General Hospital’s Spring 2016 fundraising campaign, Lawrence Kirsch, publisher of “For You, Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen’s Legendary Fans” and “The Light in Darkness,” is holding a raffle with a chance to win a brand new copy of “For You,” which has been sold out since December 2008.


The generosity of donors, volunteers and auxiliaries has made the MUHC what it is today…these precious funds are used for the benefit of current and future patients at the MGH. I am donating funds to the hospital in loving memory of my mother, Mrs. Aileen Kirsch.

To help raise funds, I am raffling a brand new signed copy (by the publisher) of For You: Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen’s Legendary Fans.

If you missed your chance to purchase a copy of this limited-edition book, or even if you just want a second copy to keep as a collector’s item, this is your last opportunity. First edition copies of “For You” often sell for hundreds of dollars on eBay, when you can find a copy.

Each 10 dollar ticket you purchase gives you one chance to win and a 15 dollar ticket gives you three chances to win the book. The contest is open to everyone and tickets can be bought from April 29 – May 9, 2016. You can enter to win here:, where the winner will be announced May 12, 2016.

Participants can enter the contest as many times as they wish and all proceeds go to the Montreal General Hospital. The book, autographed by the publisher, will be shipped to the winner free of charge anywhere in the world, so everyone is encouraged to enter.

You can help the fund raising efforts for the 2016 campaign by participating in the raffle for a copy of For You. All monies collected will be donated to the Montreal General Hospital.

The Montreal General Hospital, founded in 1821, enjoys a distinguished world reputation, as well as an impressive history of community service. The Montreal General Hospital, a pioneer hospital in North America, introduced teaching at the bedside and founded the first medical school in Canada — the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University.

The hospital has remained allied as a teaching hospital for the century and a half of the Faculty’s existence. The Montreal General Hospital is dedicated to patient care through diagnosis, treatment, research and teaching.

“Through the years, I’ve read almost every book written about Springsteen. Some are great and many are not. Over time, I’ve even become cynical when I hear about new books. In the last few years, there have been a plethora of coffee table book releases in the Springsteen world. Each one in itself is a gorgeous work of art that will glisten on your polished coffee table. However, chances are you are still missing the ultimate Bruce Springsteen keepsake: For You. When I heard about this book a year ago, I dismissed it thinking I didn’t really need yet another glorified coffee table book. I was wrong, dead wrong. For You takes the reader on a magical, mystical and poignant journey through forty years of Bruce Springsteen’s life. It’s a time machine to the past where tickets were once $7, the E Street Band was a boy’s only club, Steve Van Zandt looked like a member of Jimmy Buffet’s band and most of the members of the E Street Band could have begun their own television show – ‘Stashin.’ I wasn’t impressed with the book, I was bowled over.

Anthony Kuzminski

“In reading For You, at first it’s hard to believe that one performer could possibly have touched this many people this deeply – lifted them from depression, kept them from suicide, helped them through divorce or the death of a parent, or worse, a child. But story after story reveals just how much Springsteen’s music and his almost superhuman presence on the concert stage have penetrated people’s lives and, in as much as it is possible for music to do so, made them whole.

In fact, there’s a running theme of these reminiscences, one that is sure to warm any Bruce fan’s heart: that you are not crazy. Not crazy for seeing dozens or even hundreds of concerts; not crazy for feeling that Springsteen’s songs and lyrics have actually helped carry you through some of life’s toughest moments; not crazy to think that this man whom you’ve never met has and continues to fill some kind of void in your life.”

Peter Chianca
Excerpt from Blogness on the Edge of Town

Please help share the news of the For You book raffle on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks as always for your generous support, Lawrence Kirsch

Blog it All Night
BackstreetsBTX | Greasylake
Blogness on the Edge of Town 

For You Book
A supporto della campagna di fundraising per la primavera 2016 del Montreal General Hospital, Lawrence Kirsch, editore di “For You, Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen’s Legendary Fans” e “The Light in Darkness,” promuove una lotteria di beneficenza con la possibilità di vincere una copia di “For You”, titolo ormai andato esaurito già da dicembre 2008. Ora, per la prima volta, hai la possibilità di vincere una copia nuova di questo rarissimo libro da collezione.


È la generosità dei donatori, dei volontari e degli ausiliari che ha reso il McGill University Health Centre ciò che è oggi… questi preziosi fondi sono utilizzati a beneficio degli attuali e futuri pazienti del Montreal General Hospital. Voglio donare dei fondi all’ospedale alla memoria di mia madre, Mrs. Aileen Kirsch.

Per aiutare a raccogliere fondi metto in palio una copia nuova e autografata (dall’editore) di For You: Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen’s Legendary Fans.

Se hai perso l’occasione di comprare una copia di questo libro a tiratura limitata, oppure se ne vuoi una seconda copia da conservare come pezzo da collezione, questa è l’ultima opportunità. Le copie della prima edizione di “For You” costano spesso centinaia di dollari su eBay, sempre che se ne riesca a trovare una.

Ogni biglietto da $10 offre una possibilità e un biglietto da $15 offre tre possibilità di vincere una copia. La gara è aperta a tutti e i biglietti sono acquistabili a partire dal 29 aprile al 9 maggio 2016. Partecipa qui:, dove i vincitori saranno annunciati il 12 maggio 2016.

Si può partecipare alla gara un numero illimitato di volte e tutti i ricavi andranno al Montreal General Hospital. Il libro, autografato dall’editore, sarà inviato al vincitore gratuitamente in tutto il mondo, perciò tutti sono invitati a partecipare.

Puoi aiutare gli sforzi per la campagna di raccolta fondi del 2016 partecipando alla lotteria con in palio una copia di For You. Tutto il denaro raccolto sarà donato al Montreal General Hospital.

Il Montreal General Hospital, fondato nel 1821, ha un’autorevole reputazione a livello mondiale ed una straordinaria storia per i suoi servizi alla comunità. Ospedale pioniere in Nordamerica, ha introdotto l’insegnamento in presenza del paziente e fondato la prima scuola di medicina in Canada — la Facoltà di Medicina alla McGill University.

Per tutto il secolo e mezzo di vita della Facoltà, la ha affiancata come ospedale di insegnamento. Il Montreal General Hospital è dedito alla cura dei pazienti attraverso diagnosi, cura, ricerca e insegnamento.

“Nel corso degli anni ho letto quasi tutti i libri scritti su Springsteen. Alcuni sono eccellenti e molti no. Col passare del tempo sono perfino diventato cinico quando sento parlare di nuovi libri. Negli ultimi anni c’è stata una pletora di pubblicazioni illustrate da collezione nel mondo springsteeniano. Ciascuno, di per sé, è una meravigliosa opera d’arte da far brillare sul tavolino del soggiorno. Eppure, è probabile che vi stiate perdendo il non plus ultra su Bruce Springsteen: For You. Quando sentii parlare di questo libro un anno fa, lo archiviai pensando che non avevo veramente bisogno di un altro incensato volume da collezione. Mi sbagliavo, mi sbagliavo di brutto. For You porta il lettore in un viaggio magico, mistico e intenso attraverso quarant’anni della vita di Bruce Springsteen. È una macchina del tempo verso il passato quando i biglietti costavano 7$, la E Street Band era un club di soli maschi e Steve Van Zandt pareva uscito dalla band di Jimmy Buffett […]. Non sono rimasto impressionato da quel libro, sono rimasto sopraffatto.

Anthony Kuzminski

“Leggendo For You, all’inizio è difficile credere che un artista abbia toccato così profondamente così tante persone – sollevate dalla depressione, trattenute dal suicidio, aiutate attraverso un divorzio o la morte di un genitore o, peggio, di un figlio. Ma storia dopo storia rivela quanto la musica di Springsteen e la sua presenza quasi sovrumana sul palco abbiano penetrato la vita delle persone e, per quanto sia possibile alla musica fare ciò, le abbiano completate.

“In effetti c’è un tema ricorrente in queste reminiscenze, uno che sicuramente scalderà il cuore ad ogni fan di Bruce: che non sei pazzo. Non sei pazzo se hai visto decine o persino centinaia di concerti; non sei pazzo se senti che le canzoni e i testi di Springsteen ti hanno veramente aiutato ad attraversare alcuni dei momenti più duri della vita; non sei pazzo se pensi che quest’uomo, che non hai mai incontrato, ha riempito e continua a riempire una specie di vuoto nella tua vita.”

Peter Chianca
Estratto da Blogness on the Edge of Town

“Un libro spettacolare intitolato For You è uno dei migliori libri su Bruce Springsteen che siano mai stati pubblicati.”
Stan Goldstein NJ.Com

Per favore, aiutaci a condividere la notizia della lotteria per For You su Facebook e Twitter.

Grazie come sempre per il vostro generoso supporto, Lawrence Kirsch
BackstreetsBTX | Greasylake
Blogness on the Edge of Town
Land of Hope and Dreams(fr)

Translated by Marta Giani –

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A River Story

It all started on November 27, 1980
Thanksgiving night.
My best friend and I were bored so we decided to take a train from New Hyde Park in Long Island to New York to see Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band at Madison Square Garden for one his River tour concerts.
We only had $35 between us but figured that should be enough to get us two tickets. Boy were we wrong! The prices were high and the scalpers laughed at our low offers. Finally the show started and we weren’t in, YET… So we figured one more walk around The Garden and then we’d head on home. Just as we were about to give up a scalper agreed to sell us 2 lodge seats for $35.
Not a favor, more like the scalper thought they were now worthless.
We raced in like we just got tix via a Willy Wonka candy bar. Big smiles, and we ran up the escalators. A few security guards yelled “slow down!” But we keep on going.
We had great seats, first level by the stage. Bruce & The E St Band were amazing. We stood on our seats, danced and during the quiet songs sat on the edge of our seats. It was fun and sad to hear Bruce speak about the memories of his father. The worst was pouring his heart out about his dad disliking him. It seemed to us that most fans did not feel his sadness. Many cheered as Bruce shed a few tears.
The rest of the show was upbeat, a bit preachy and a religious experience.
A down right addictive drug!
When the show finally ended we swore we would be back the next night and escape life for 3 more hours with reverend Bruce.  Before the November 28th show my art major friend decided she could copy a Bruce Springsteen Tour ‘Working Pass’ so we would definitely be at both shows in December. We kept stopping MSG arena personnel to get a closer look out their pass so she could make us our own.

Authentic Madison Square Garden Pass, River Tour 1980

Phoney Madison Square Garden Pass, River Tour 1980

They came out great! The hardest part would be getting in. So, on December 18, my fellow Bruce tramp and I get on line at the VIP guest door. In front of us are David Lee Roth and his date. It was exciting and very nerve racking.
We approach a lady with a clipboard and she asks, “Who gave you those passes?” Shaking in my boots I blurt out “My dad is the president of IBM!” She waved us in and we shared the elevator ride with David Lee Roth and his friend. That in itself was exciting beyond words to me as I am a major Van Halen fan!
Then the elevator stops and the doors open. We went straight to the seating area and walked around the Garden.

I believe we sat in the guest seats for half of the show and then walked backstage without being questioned by anyone. I noticed a tent area and behind a bar was Keith Richards. I was fine to stay put there. My friend made a beeline straight to the restricted area for band members only. We did see Bruce drying his head with a towel and go into his dressing room. Just then we were caught! Security was called and over the P.A. we heard repeated a few times “I need back up to escort two out of the building.” It was a total walk of shame.
Strange thing was as we were being escorted out, promoter Bill Graham was standing right there and invited us back in. I recognized him from being a big  Grateful Dead fan. It was a total pinch me I’m dreaming moment. So there we are back in the guest section to enjoy the rest of the show.  What a thrilling way to end an incredible evening.
I’ve seen Bruce and the E Street Band many more times and paid for every single ticket.

I’m still a huge  Bruce Springsteen fan and have my own fan group called “Boss Talk” on Facebook and Twitter.
To quote Bruce, “Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night”
Thank you Bruce!

Laura Balducci
Boss Talk on Facebook –

Limited Edition Bruce Springsteen book, The Light in Darkness.
IF you have ever considered buying this book, Now is the time.
The book focuses on Darkness on the Edge of Town, Springsteen’s iconic 4th album and 1978 concert tour. Read about the live concerts from fans who were there – the Agora, Winterland, Roxy, MSG, Capitol Theatre, Boston Music Hall, The Spectrum and over seventy more, this book is a must have.
With less than 20 copies left, now is the time to order this collectible book.
We are offering savings on Shipping anywhere in the world.
Save Now- Order Here: The Light in Darkness

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