Father… forgive me for I have sinned… It has been… years since my last confessional…
Wait a second… Sorry… Wrong place…
Today is a day of confession… and it is something I find hard to reconcile. If I could go back in time, I would do it all over… but I can’t.
In high school, I was a wimp. I was popular, did well academically, was on the wrestling team (I sucked) and the debate team and all of the school plays and musicals, but I was kind of a music wimp… Until my junior or senior year I did NOT go to a lot of concerts and I don’t know why. I liked music, but it was not the vital part of my life that it is now. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Needless to say, this means that I did not go to see Bruce on what was supposed to be his greatest tour ever… The River. And I don’t know why. I was invited… a friend ha d a ticket and I did not go… AAAGGGHHH!!!! )&^%$#$%^&*()_+_)(*&^%$#@%^&*()__)(*&^%$!!!!!!!
So this and not ever having seen Bruce and Clarence do “Meeting Across the River” live will haunt me… HAUNT ME like a Halloween nightmare.
As I think about skipping these shows I am astounded… I liked Bruce then… It was not a love or a passion yet, but I liked the music. Why, Lord??? WHY???!!!
And… I’m back…
Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA
I did make it to this tour. Giants Stadium to be exact. And that was it. Seeing Bruce live made me a believer, a devout follower, someone who would hereby and forever more trust in the spiritual power of music… and I have not missed a tour since.
This is ranked six out of 18 for me and I think the reasons are because this was the first time I saw Bruce live and because of the smaller songs on the album. I do not have an issue with the anthemic title track. I liked it a lot back then… and I still like to hear it. I love the broken down versions Bruce will do in his solo shows or even with the band from time to time.
Yes, we can laugh at the Reagan campaign trying to use the song in the wrong way. Ooops. But this album and tour made Bruce an international star, for better or worse. He is amazingly one of the few performers to have massive fame and wealth and still seem to be genuinely in touch with the plight of the common man and a true fighter for causes. That is part of what makes him so great.
“I’m On Fire”, “No Surrender”, “Bobby Jean”, “I’m Goin’ Down”, “My Hometown” and of course my favorite track “Glory Days” are the heart of this album for me… That’s why I rank it up there, too… although at the end of this week, as I re-listen and re-visit some of these albums that could change. Many of the songs come to life even more live… Sometimes a Bruce show can transform an album for me. That happened with the Magic tour for sure.
This album definitely has some pop elements that would continue into other projects like Tunnel of Love and the ill-fated Human Touch and Lucky Town. I like Tunnel of Love a lot… the other two are more about tracks here and there… Sorry, Bruce… but there are GREAT tracks in both of those discs. And don’t get me wrong… Bruce is still rocking… but perhaps it is not quite as straight forward.
This was a much brighter answer to the amazing but bleak Nebraska. The characters here are able to rise above a little better… or at least put on a good fight.
The album would become the best-selling album of 1985 and had “a record-tying string of seven Top 10 singles (tied with Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814). Plus, you get a nice cover shot of Bruce’s ass in front of an American flag, that was photographed by Annie Leibovitz). This shot and Bruce would forever be iconic… and that is just a little better than being Harry Connick.
Thank you, good night. I WILL BE HERE all week!