Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Bruce August 21, 1978

Yesterday, I linked to Don McLean, "American Pie." It's opening lyrics reflected my mood related to seeing live music in 1978, when I was 24.

A long, long time ago...
I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And, maybe, they’d be happy for a while.

But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn’t take one more step.

I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride,
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.

Early that summer, I went to a Bad Company concert, and

sat through it like a work meeting. Bored. I was leading up to that, because the last few live shows I went to made me feel the same way. Empty. I thought I'd lost my musical inspiration.


(Bruce pix by Jeffrey Havas)

That August, my girlfriend, Yvette & I went to see Bruce Springsteen for the first time at Madison Square Garden. We got there two hours early and split an eight pack of Miller nips, watching people traffic and scoring the winners.

Inside, the energy was electric but I didn't know why yet. Then the band took the stage and ripped into "Badlands." I found religion in that four minute song. It felt like 1964, I was ten years old again, watching all the girl groups on the Clay Cole Show, watching Roy Orbison singing "Crying," and "Pretty Woman." It didn't matter it was a crappy little TV, those artists week after week tore my heart open, moved in, bought furniture and never left. Springsteen woke everybody up in there, and they haven't left me since 1978.

Laurene, Yvette, Tommy
The next night, I went back to MSG alone, and bought a $6 ticket for $15 from a scalper. Starting from my blue heaven seat I ended up in the third row in the orchestra by the third song and stayed there crouched on the floor between two girls for the entire show including the three encores.

Tons of great shows followed: Garland Jeffreys, John Hiatt, J Geils Band, Elvis Costello, Shawn Colvin, Lucinda Willams, Mary Lee's Corvette, Losers Lounge, and on... When I die, tickets for my next live show will be in my dresser. Somebody pick them up, don't waste them!