Over Three Decades of Springsteen

As a young teen, one of my earliest musical influences (by a non-musician) was by the classic “Sister’s college boyfriend.” Darryl Walter, delivered to me by fate via Kent State University, is the one who first turned me on to Bruce Springsteen with his vinyl bootlegs of legendary E Street Band shows from the Agora in Cleveland and Winterland in San Francisco. As those same fates, and perhaps Springsteen himself, would have it, we are still friends. So who better to serve as a guest contributor, reviewing the recent Bruce Springsteen concert in DC. 

By DARRYL WALTER

We’re guessing our correspondent paid more than $10.50 per ticket to see Bruce Springsteen this year.

Back on October 6, 1980, when many readers of this blog weren’t even alive yet, I saw my first Bruce Springsteen concert at the Coliseum, built in the lovely cornfields between Cleveland and Akron. As a 16-year-old rock and roller growing up with the greatest radio station ever, WMMS, I had a great appreciation and knowledge of music and, outside of the 1-95 corridor, Cleveland was the first city to embrace Springsteen.

Fast forward to September 14, 2012 and I am attending yet another Springsteen concert. Between that first show in 1980 and the show I witnessed last night, I have lost count of the number of times I have seen Springsteen. I would guess it is around 25-30 range. For some that is a low number, for others that is bordering on fanatic.

So, who would have guessed that 32 years ago, when I arrived at the concert in a rusted Datsun B210 I would now be driving my wife’s Mercedes Benz R-350 (wow does that make me sound like a total dick) with my wife and three kids. The cool thing (at least for me) is that my daughter Hannah was wearing my Springsteen baseball style concert shirt from the 1980 River Tour and that my other daughter was wearing a black Springsteen T-shirt from the same tour when he returned in June 1981. My son Kyle had a bootleg T-shirt that I bought outside of Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium following a concert in the summer of 1985 Born in the USA Tour. My wife Jane had on a long sleeve jersey she got from The Rising Tour, and I was wearing a Vote for Change Tour Shirt from 2004. Jane and I went to the Vote for Change shows in Cleveland and Washington, great shows but awful election results.

At the 1980 concert, Bruce opened with “Prove It All Night” and last night, he again opened it with the “Prove It,” but with the ’78 intro. I still remember the 1980 concert with Clarence hollowing on that first solo and last night his nephew Jake didn’t let him down.

Following “My Love Will Not Let You Down,” Bruce played two songs from The River, “The Ties That Bind” and “Hungry Heart.” I am sure the folks coming down from Baltimore were happy to hear the shout-out for Charm City.

Next came a trifecta from Wrecking Ball: “We Take Care of Our Own,” “Wrecking Ball,” and “Death to My Hometown.” Bruce then went old school with with “Spirit in the Night” and “Blinded By the Light.” With “Spirit,” as he was sitting on the edge of the stage with Jake, he had a momentarily lapse and had to remember what verse he was on.

The horn section really shined on “Johnny 99.” Using the same horn arrangement that they played during Jazz Fest back in April, the E Street Horns transferred Nationals Park back to the Fairgrounds in New Orleans.

At this point, the concert was kicking into high gear. “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day,” one of my favorites from The Rising followed “Shackled and Drawn.” Following “Waitin’” was the inspirational “The Promised Land.”

Mister I ain’t a boy, no I’m a man
And I believe in a promised land

On a side note, that line from my Rabbi Bruce Springsteen was used when I gave a speech to my son at his Bar Mitzvah.

Next was “Racing in the Street.” Bruce gave a shout-out to wounded warriors from Walter Reed Hospital that he was hosting. As I told my son, it seemed a lot more sincere than when the Nationals do it during a baseball game.

This is what it looked like during the show.

“The Rising,” “Badlands,” and “Land of Hope and Dreams” concluded the set. Following a brief moment, the E Street Band returned for their encore with “We Are Alive” and “Thunder Road.” The lights slowly came on during “Born to Run” and then came one of my favorites, “Detroit Medley.” While I would have preferred the longer ’78 version circa Winterland, this version rocked the house. “Dancing in the Dark,” probably my least liked Springsteen song ever recorded was next. I realize it was a pop hit, I guess that is my problem with the song, it is such a pop hit.

During “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” when it came to the part where “the Big Man joined the band,” the crowd cheered for a few minutes as a photo montage of Clarence was displayed. The night concluded with “American Land” and donning a sailors cap, Bruce did an Isley Brothers-style “Twist and Shout.”

Leaving the 3-1/2 hour concert, I told my twin 14-year-old daughters that I have ruined their concert-going experience. Nothing they ever see will top what they just witnessed.

NFL Tweetview: Previewing Each Team in 140 Characters

All the NFL previews have already been written and attention spans are short. But I’m so excited that football is BACK I just had to write something. So since everything has to be “tweeted” and newscasters have to glance down at the iPads they’re holding while talking to us, I figured I might as well just make my 2012 NFL preview an “NFL tweetview” and limit myself to 140 characters or less per team. OK gang, heeeere we go:


NFC EAST

IF Mike Vick stays healthy, the #Eagles will be dangerous. They should be motivated to live up the hype. IF Vick stays health.

Washington’s D was good last year and may improve. Robert Griffin III will have ups/downs, but #Redskins could be dangerous sleeper team.

#Cowboys always have dangerous talent & mental lapses to be dangers to themselves. If O-line surprises, Dallas will be tough.

Every year I nay-say the NY #Giants and somehow they have 2 rings. But no one repeats, certainly not this lucky bullshit team.

NFC WEST

#Seahawks will be interesting with a rookie QB, great home field, and solid D with surprise 1st-rd draft pick Bruce Irvin.

#49ers should win this crappy #NFCwest, but I’m not on their Super Bowl bandwagon. I’d love to see Randy Moss return to form.

The #Rams still play in St. Louis and are now coached by Jeff Fisher. We’ll update you on them again come draft day 2013.

The Arizona #Cardinals will be so fucking terrible I don’t feel like wasting 140 characters on them. Poor Larry Fitzgerald.

NFC SOUTH

#Falcons have crazy 1-2 punch at WR, which is great for QB Matt Ryan’s fantasy stats. But can they win in the playoffs?

#Saints likely to take a small step back, but bounty suspensions wont cripple them. Drew Brees can still get them to 10 wins.

#Buccaneers could be a surprise team if QB Josh Freeman bounces back and gets help from rookie RB Doug Martin.

#Panthers will continue to be The Cam Show w/ a losing record. If Carolina builds a defense they will be a tough out someday.

 NFC NORTH

#Packers among NFL’s best, but still questions w/ RB’s & defense. Offense still could be good enough to carry them to title.

#Lions explosive offense and recent improvements are great, but I’m not ready to call them Super Bowl contenders just yet.

Da #Bears are another team I never believe in and they’re usually better than expected. Should be solid this year.

Some nice young pieces on #Vikings offense, but Minnesota defense might be too old by the time QB Christian Ponder develops.

AFC WEST

#Chargers are a bit under the radar. I see bounce-back year for QB Rivers as San Diego wins #AFCWest & a playoff game or 2.

The #Raiders just seem irrelevant. Classic silver and black uni’s and a few nice players, but they stink. Smells like 6-10.

#Chiefs have interesting RBs, good O-line. 1st/last time “interesting” & “Chiefs” were in same sentence. Romeo + Cassel = 7-9.

Peyton Manning is better than Tim Tebow, but #Broncos will miss Tebow’s magic. Chill that Super Bowl talk, Denver’s going 8-8.

AFC EAST

#Patriots have easy schedule, added WR B.Lloyd & nice draftpicks for defense. Brady ringless since ’04-05. Smells like 14-2.

#Bills QB Fitzpatrick is healthy, Defense was upgraded, and schedule is favorable. Might be a Wild Card berth for Buffalo.

#Dolphins reached for Tannehill & gave away their only good WR. Even if Tannehill is long-term answer, they’ll suck this year.

Tired of hype on the #Jets and watching their crappy games. Just make Tim Tebow a TE/H-back, a fullback “Slash” type already.

AFC NORTH

Despite nice D & young talented QB Dalton and WR Green, #Bengals will take a step back as they always do after a decent year.

#Browns rookie RB Trent Richardson might be special someday, but he & QB Weeden wont do enough to save Walrus Holmgren’s job.

#Ravens QB will prove he can be The Man. Offense will be better than aging Defense, but missing Suggs will be their downfall.

#Steelers are sleeper contenders. Injuries slowed the O-line rebuild, but Ben, Troy & gang are one of few AFC threats to Pats.

AFC SOUTH

Bounce-back year from Chris Johnson and young playmaker Jake Locker at QB will keep #Titans hanging around wildcard outskirts.

#Texans will level off. Schaub back, but Mario Williams and 2 OL-men gone. Should win division but lose first playoff game.

#Jaguars could improve, as QB Gabbert looks a bit better. But even with MJD back, this team is going nowhere (but LA).

The #Colts will still stink, but rookie QB Andrew Luck will look great racking up garbage-time stats on the way to 4-12.

 
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