Un libro su Bruce Springsteen, “The Light in Darkness” presenta il punto di vista dei fan del Boss su “Darkness on the Edge of Town”

“Con Darkness on the Edge of Town Bruce Springsteen e la E Street Band presero una posizione precisa proprio quando tutto era in discussione,” scrive Vike Savoth nella prefazione di “The Light in Darkness”. “Erano pronti a pagare il prezzo di un violento ingresso nell’oblio del rock and roll prendendo le distanze dal sound e dal look che aveva dato loro popolarità e fortuna”.

Con oltre 200 fotografie e 100 racconti originali raccontati dai leggendari fan di Springsteen “The Light in The Darkness” è il punto di vista dei seguaci del Boss sul suo quarto album.

Spesso trascurato rispetto agli altri classici di Springsteen “Darkness on the Edge of Town” contiene un sound più crudo ed arrabbiato rispetto alle opere precedenti. Uscito al termine di un’aspra battaglia legale durata tre anni con il primo manager di Springsteen molti fans e la critica hanno fatto fatica ad apprezzarne le sonorità.

“Ho dovuto ascoltare quell’album intensamente, più e più volte per scoprire dove l’avrei incontrato, o in realtà dove lui stava incontrando me” scrive Suzanne Scala. “questo era quando ascoltare un album significava sdraiarsi sul pavimento, testa tra le casse, far cadere la testina sul disco ancora e ancora per ascoltare e riascoltare quella canzone”

Nonostante tutto non ci volle molto tempo perché l’album prendesse il suo posto nel cuore dei fans più accaniti. Molti di essi ancora oggi lo definiscono come il loro album preferito e continuano a trovare rifugio all’interno dei suoi testi ermetici.

“La canzone Darkness on the Edge of Town mi parla direttamente“, dice l’editore del libro, Lawrence Kirsch. “Si, l’umore è più scuro che nei precedenti album, ma non senza speranza. Darkness on the Edge of Town è puro ed energico Rock and Roll ed è uno dei più bei lavori che Springsteen abbia mai concepito”.

Nonostante i toni più scuri del disco il tour che ne seguì fu uno dei più energici della carriera di Springsteen. Con più di 200 foto “The Light in The Darkness” mostra Bruce ai suoi apici mentre corre sul palco, salta dal pianoforte e guada le folle dei fans. Con il tour del 1978 Springsteen iniziò la tradizione dei suoi concerti epici da più di tre ore. All’epoca fu una novità così rivoluzionaria che molti, pensando che lo show fosse terminato, lasciavano il concerto durante l’intervallo.

Nonostante il Boss abbia appena compiuto 60 ancora oggi mantiene la tradizione di allora con concerti epici che non trovano uguali in qualsiasi altro artista.

“Lui era come un fulmine attraverso le tenebre, e la band era il tuono” scrive Ron Wells. “Non ho mai visto nessun altro musicista così pieno di energia e gioia. Era in missione. Non era solo un concerto per lui; era libertà e gioia fatta persona.

Narrando alcuni dei suoi show più famosi, come l’Agora di Cleveland, il Roxy di L.A. ed il Winterland Ballroom di San Francisco, “The Light in Darkness” riporta sotto i riflettori alcuni concerti epici suonati in piccoli club.

“Il libro regalerà ai lettori almeno una piccola prospettiva di quello che abbiamo vissuto nel ‘78” dice Kirsch. “La connessione ed il legame creato tra il musicista e la sua audience durante questo tour ha definito il nuovo punto di riferimento per tutti gli album ed i tour che sarebbero seguiti”.

A distanza di 30 anni l’eccitazione e la passione che questo album ed il tour riuscirono ad accendere nel cuore dei fans non sono diminuite. “The Light in The Darkness” riporta in vita l’incredibile legame che i seguaci del Boss hanno con questo periodo della sua carriera rendendolo un’opera che i fans non potranno perdere.

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Please Help Japan

Hello Lawrence,
I’m Hiroki, big Bruce Springsteen fan for the past 15 years.
I’m temporarily living in South Korea now. So I am safe.
But some of the destroyed nuclear power plants are relatively close to my hometown.
They are still struggling to cool them down. So that’s the biggest concern now.

As you can imagine, I have many songs that I can relate to this horrible disaster.
My City of Ruins, The Rising (I was a police officer in Japan), You’re missing, Roulette…
This Hard Land is one of them. Especially that last verse now has a complete new meaning to me.
Lots of evacuated people literally sleep in the feelds, hungry, just trying to be alive, making a plan to survive everyday…

Being a big Springsteen fan in Japan or in South Korea makes me feel a little bit ‘lonely’ because it’s not so easy to find another fan like me around here.
I  have many books on Bruce Springsteen and his music. Your ‘For You’ and ‘The Light in Darkness’ are both my favorites ’cause they make me feel less lonely. It’s good to Know there are many fans out there who have the same passion for his music. It’s good to know I’m not alone.
So thanks for your hard work. I really appreciate it.
And thanks for caring for us. Please prey(sic) for us.

Hope you keep doing what you’ve been doing.

Best regards
Hiroki Ono

Date: Sat, 12 Mar 2011 21:08:56 -0500
Subject: Safe?
From: musicfoto@videotron.ca
To: (xxxxx)@hotmail.co.jp

I have seen the terrible destruction of the Tsunami in Japan.
Are you safe?

Is there anything I can do to help?

Best regards,
Lawrence Kirsch

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The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle: Madison Square Garden, New York November 7, 2009

The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle is the second album by Bruce Springsteen and the as-yet-unnamed E Street Band, and is described by Allmusic as “one of the greatest albums in the history of rock & roll.”

I leave every Bruce show feeling like it was the best show I have ever seen, but there was something extremely rare, magical and ethereal about WIESS- MSG 2009. I was in an altered state from it. Nothing compares to that show for me.

I would like to share a memory from that show. By that point in the tour, my concert buddies were ‘bruced’ out (I have all new concert buddies now)… there was no way I was missing that show, so I went alone, which can be the best way to go sometimes. I did not have great seats, and had to climb over an older man who was slumped in his seat, looking grouchy and annoyed. He was sitting on the aisle and was also alone and obviously didn’t want to talk to anyone. When the show opened with Thundercrack, I couldn’t contain myself and screamed to him “Oh my god, oh my god!” He kind of smiled. I was in a complete zone of ecstasy. When Bruce played Sandy, I felt someone grab my arm, pull me close and whisper in a thick Irish brogue “that was me wife’s name, this song is the reason I’m here” and he was very emotional. He had flown in from Ireland just for that one show. We shared the rest of the show together. It was an unforgettable experience.

Jill Ray  March, 2011

Even from my seat, it was the most magical experience.

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Columbia Records will release Bruce Springsteen’s “The Promise: The Making of Darkness On The Edge of Town”


Columbia Records will release Bruce Springsteen’s “The Promise: The Making of Darkness On The Edge of Town” documentary on DVD and Blu-Ray May 3. The award-winning film will be accompanied by the bonus features “Songs From the Promise,” a five-song concert event filmed in Asbury Park, NJ, and “A Conversation With His Fans,” an intimate question-and-answer session.

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New York, New York 1978

Darkness on the Edge of Town: A Concert Revisited

Bruce Springsteen, Madison Square Garden, New York 1978

Your admission to this story is a ticket to a time machine. If you're a latter-day Bruce Springsteen fan who became an aficionado of the man's music and live shows in the decades following the 'Darkness' tour and you think you have an idea of what one of his live shows is like, sit back: you're about to discover the exciting truth. If you were there in '78, you are about to be transported back to a brief moment in time.The 'Darkness on the Edge of Town' Tour: "History is Made at Night"… That was then. This is now. Sound engineer Bruce Jackson during sound check.

SOUNDCHECK – Do you hear what I hear?

Much has been made on recent tours about the varying quality of sound at Springsteen concerts from venue to venue, and sometimes within the same venue in different locations. The ‘Darkness’ tour was distinguished for the now-legendary two-plus hour sound checks, where Springsteen himself would tour the arena while the E Street Band played in order to judge the sound. Much of this practice was no doubt a vestige of his initial reluctance to play hockey arena-sized venues in light of his audience intimacy and sound concerns, but in truth, the sound on that tour was great – it had to be, as the spoken song intros and stories played a major role in that tour’s message. You had to be able to understand what was being said.

OPENING ACT – Getting in the Door.

We all know the progression of ticket acquisition. Some of us remember Ticketron, sleeping out on the sidewalk the night before an on sale date, box office lines, then the advent of jammed phone lines, onsite venue scalper transactions, and, ultimately, internet sales. In 1978, you found out about a Springsteen appearance through your local FM radio station. You had no idea where the tour was the week before, or the week after your show. Tickets for the August 1978 shows at Madison Square Garden were made available via lottery by clipping a coupon in an ad that appeared in the New York Times Arts and Leisure section in late June. The coupon was mailed and you crossed your fingers that you would win the jackpot. Three weeks later two tickets arrived in the 8th row, Clarence’s side of the stage, for night two of the three show stand. Yes, things were different back then.


Bruce Springsteen, Madison Square Garden, New York 1978

THE FANS - Same cast, different demographic.A stateside Springsteen show these days probably has a median age of about 38, with half the audience above, and half below that age. In 1978, the median age was about half that. Looking around a Springsteen concert in 1978, you saw an audience of people ranging from about 16, to about 28 years of age. There were the "veterans", and by "veterans", you're talking about people who went back as far as the Upstage Club, and instant converts, in many cases people who had been dragged to the show by someone who had already seen the light. The conversation in that era used to go something like this: "Do you like Bruce Springsteen?" "No, not really." "Have you ever seen him live?" Nowadays you'll hear someone at a show wax poetic about the 'River' tour, and it's a true oracle moment for a younger fan. I'll never forget a conversation I heard during intermission at the Garden in '78. It was between two guys who were comparing notes from the Upstage Club and the Student Prince in Asbury Park, back when Springsteen was essentially a guitar slinger sitting in with jam bands. To put it in perspective, ten summers ago we were all at the Meadowlands for the reunion tour shows. "Ten summers ago" in 1978 put you on the Jersey shore in 1968 in the era of the Bruce Springsteen Band, Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom, and Steel Mill.

THE FIRST SET – Just waitin’ to get blown away.

The best way to describe what you felt when the band walked out onto the boards and ripped into the opening number (whether it was ‘Good Rockin’ Tonight’, ‘Summertime Blues’, ‘High School Confidential’, or ‘Badlands’) is to harken back to the old Maxell tape ads, where the guy puts a Maxell tape into his stereo and the sound that comes out of the speakers blows his hair and his scarf back, and sends his drink skidding across the table through the sheer force and power of its volume and energy. Much has been written and said over the years about the sense of desperation and emotion driving Springsteen on that tour – it’s all true, and then some. Trying to explain it can sometimes seem as daunting a prospect as the challenge put forth by John Sebastian in the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Do You Believe in Magic?” in that “It’s like trying to tell a stranger about rock and roll.” Bruce and the E Street Band, compared to now, played fast. And they played loud. Not “The Who loud”, but loud enough to trash your ears for a day after the show, regardless of your rock show-going experience. The opening set was heavy on ‘Darkness’ album material, and the songs were augmented, enhanced, and accessorized in a way that doesn’t happen these days. The organ/piano intro to the title track, the extended harmonica/piano intro to ‘Promised Land’, the now-legendary piano/guitar intro to ‘Prove It All Night’, the extended piano coda to ‘Racing in the Street’, the ‘Not Fade Away’/’Mona’/’Gloria’ lead-in to ‘She’s the One’, along with the instrumental break in the middle of it – these flourishes made the songs even more special, and these types of reworkings are not seen much anymore. By the time ‘Jungleland’ closed the first set, some first-timers in the crowd thought the show was over, such was the quality and quantity of what was delivered in the opening set.


Bruce Springsteen, Madison Square Garden, New York 1978

THE SECOND SET - Are you ready for round two?About ten songs long, the second set usually included "story time" in the midst of 'Growin' Up', where we would learn that Springsteen was once a teenage werewolf, had contact with aliens, and as the product of a Catholic school upbringing, got to meet God himself in choosing a vocation, where he was told to "Let it Rock!" by the Big Skipper on a Clarence-organized trip to heaven. Second sets often opened with the unreleased instrumental gem 'Paradise by the C', and, later in the tour, with another as-yet unreleased song, 'The Ties that Bind'. This, in and of itself, is illustrative, that Springsteen would play songs with which the audience was unfamiliar, including Springsteen-penned songs like 'Fire' and 'Because the Night', which became show staples and highlights even though they were associated with other artists. By the time 'Rosalita' closed the second set, and you'd screamed yourself hoarse during the band intros, you were wondering if you had anything left for the encores.

THE ENCORES – Don’t make me have to hurt you!

The encores are really the third set, and by the time the show proper ended with ‘Rosalita’, it was hard to imagine that the energy could be taken to another level. It was, of course…the usual midsummer encore was ‘Born to Run’ (with a heartfelt “thank you to the fans for sticking with the band during the tough times”), ‘Because the Night’, and ‘Quarter to Three’ (those were the three encore songs for the three night stand at Madison Square Garden). The ‘Detroit Medley’ would work its way into the rotation for the fall, along with an occasional ‘Raise Your Hand’ or ‘Twist and Shout’. The feeling as you left the building was one of utter exhaustion. You had nothing left as a fan, and it almost seemed as if Springsteen was on a mission to outlast you, to prove that he had more energy than the collective reservoir of the assembled mass. If the first set was your apps and the second set was your main course, the encores were dessert. The arc of the show was no accident, and by its end it had peaked, leaving people high-fiving each other on the way out, “Broocing” themselves in the street, and literally sharing in a communal celebration of what they had just witnessed.



Bruce Springsteen, Madison Square Garden, New York 1978

THE RIDE HOME – Can you believe that leap he made from the speakers?

The ‘Darkness’ era had no online chat rooms, instantaneous set list dissemination, or Internet vehicles upon which to discuss Springsteen’s music or career. Your ride home was your debrief, and in that ride home, one of the major topics of discussion was the physicality of a Springsteen show. He was on top of the piano during the ‘Thunder Road’ outro before stage-sliding into Clarence. He was ten rows deep into the audience during ‘Spirit in the Night’. He was on top of the speakers, on top of the drum kit, and careening across the stage during the encore ‘Quarter to Three’ or ‘Detroit Medley’. His leaps at the end of songs could be measured by their verticality. In short, he was a force of nature, with energy emanating from his very being as if he were supercharged by lightning. Springsteen had been away for three years, and in that primitive media era, he may as well have been on the dark side of the moon. The sense of desperation, release, exhilaration, and resurrection engendered by the album’s release and its subsequent tour were once-in-a-lifetime occurrences for the man and his fans, and comprised a 7-plus month moment in time never to be repeated.

Anthony Fischetti, New York

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 30 copies left, now is the time to order this collectible book.
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