Another guest story by a fellow Tramp, Brian Frederick. Brian picked the story of his first show and is planning to do a series of them on the forums. His cherry busters happens to be captured on a stellar sound board recording. Without a doubt one of the finest bootlegs of the Rising tour. One of those tapes that trumps the official live in Barcelona release, even though the audience is a bit too distant for my taste. The set however is a killer!
So much has and will be said of my adoration of the Rock and Roll legend that is Bruce Springsteen. In fact, that is what I am going to be doing here today. I am beginning a writing series….NAY, a writing odyssey chronically my brief glimpses of rock perfection. I am going to tell the amazing, zany, sometimes outrageous stories behind each time I have seen the Boss in concert. As I sit here today I have had the honor of doing just that Eleven (11) times in the last five (5) years. I realized today that each single concert has some epic adventure leading to, happening during, or taking place after. The year 2002 was an interesting year in my life. By the time half the year was gone I was once again facing a major crossroads in my life. I was living in Minnesota at the time and I had been there about 4 years. Soon after I moved there is when I discovered my admiration for Bruce and he really made a big impact on my life. It was my new "thing" that I loved to get immersed in. You see I was never a Bruce fan growing up in New Jersey. Sounds odd I know but it wasn't until I "busted out" of there that I grew to appreciate my home state and Bruce kind of represented that for me. Anyway things had gotten pretty rough in MN and one of my escapes was the fact that Bruce had a new cd coming out, 'The Rising.' It was his first new album in almost ten years and obviously his first new disc since I had become a fan. When the first single was released I would leave the radio and use a cassette to try and catch it and record it. The first time I did hear it I drove around aimlessly through the back roads of MN waiting for it to come on the car radio. The DJ kept saying it was coming right up but didn't play it for almost an hour. When he finally did I pulled over to take it in. I was not only like a kid at Christmas; I was like a kid at Christmas who had been blind his whole life then woke up Christmas morning to not only his presents but his sight as well. Ok, that might be a bit much, but I was excited. With a new record out Bruce and the E St band were due to go on tour. I was hell bent to catch him live. Only trouble was, life had blown up in my face and I knew I needed to make big changes. It was time to evacuate MN. But where to go? Back to NJ with my grandmother? Down to Tampa to live with my folks? Where would I see the Boss (yes, obviously priorities were firmly in order)? I chose to move to Florida but planned on hitting Jersey along my route to meet said grandmother. When I left the Midwest I missed Bruce there by only a week. When I made it to Jersey I missed him by only day. Feeling beaten I thought maybe life and got the joke over on me and I wouldn't add a Bruce show to my life's story. Then the fall dates came out. Bruce would play the Ice Palace in Tampa in November, mere months after I arrived. My plan started to take shape.
Flash forward to August and I was a resident in Tampa Bay. I kept eyeing the November date when my idol would arrive. I thought I would kill two birds with one stone. Not only would I see the show, screw it, I would get a job in the arena as well! And I did just that, working the next month as security. I figured I would get to see the show for free, get paid, and hell maybe meet the man as well. Well that idea went to heck quickly. I worked security for the arena but had a steady string of luck getting stuck outside telling folks where and where not to smoke. I missed quite a few good shows and feared the worst once the Jersey Boy came to my new home. Needless to say my stint working at the Ice Palace ended shortly thereafter. I obviously was not going to let a silly thing like work keep my dreams from coming true.
The days started to fade away and my first dance was about to take place. Somewhere on the net I came across a nice pair of women from the great state of California who were coming to town for the show. They just happened to have an extra ticket and I found my in. I met them at some swanky Tampa hotel and was so nervous I wouldn't find them or something would go wrong. This was before I was introduced to the world of cell phones. Well things worked perfectly and I got my ticket and headed off to the arena to prepare. I was there way before show time which allowed me ample time to purchase my first Springsteen shirt. It was kind of pricey and I think it exhausted all of my funds, which left me without toll money for my return. I didn't really seem to care. They let us in and I wasted no time finding my seat. I sat and just looked in awe at the stage. This was really gonna happen. I had been waiting almost 4 years for this night. I wanted to change into my new shirt but was not about to leave my seat, god forbid I miss a single thing! I ended up just putting it on over my existing ensemble which was fine because they didn't call the place the "Ice Palace" for no reason.
"Good evening Tampa!" was all he said and off we went, 15,000 of my closest new friends and I with one of the greatest stage performers of all time. I don't have a problem telling you that when he took the stage I had tears in my eyes. I had such a blast cheering, dancing (!) and singing along. I laugh now because I had just purchased 'Born to Run' that day and wasn't familiar with all of it yet. So when he broke into 'Night' and 'She's The One' it was like hearing new songs, where today they are staples of a Bruce show and I know them like my birth date.
The show was marvelous and went by like a speeding train. When it goes by you look in the windows and make out bits and pieces of things. But once it’s gone you fondly look back as if you caught every color, every detail. The highlights were definitely towards the end of the set most notable Bruce playing 'Incident on 57th St' alone on piano. It was haunting and beautiful. At the time I knew it was amazing but it turns out it is kind of a rarity so I was very, very lucky. To this day it is my favorite performance of any of his songs that I have seen. The women I sat with went bat shit crazy when he did it. Now I do too when I listen to it on my Ipod. As the show was wrapping up it didn't seem like Bruce wanted to leave us anymore than we wanted him to. After the encores he took the stage to cover 'Twist and Shout' just to make sure he sent us all home in a frenzy. And like that it was over. The very first step in a long, beautiful journey I have taken with my musical idol. I suppose I couldn't even imagine the places I would end up and what I would experience. But I do now and I am gonna share it! My second go round would still be very amazing, but pretty much NOTHING like the experience I had the first time. My crazy Boss adventures were just getting started.
Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street
Download the full show in mp3 here
A small request, use mp3s for personal use only. Keep them in your iPod or on your computer but never use a mp3 based CD in a trade. The quality of mp3s deteriorate rapidly every time a CD is ripped. Using high quality music files such as FLACs is essential in keeping the trading pool healthy.
Recording: 5- out of 5
Show: 5- out of 5
Artwork: Various available through the link section.