In my entire life, only once have I lined up overnight in order to buy tickets for anything. It was 1978, and my university buddies and I took turns holding our spots in line, eventually scoring two sets of six seats on the floor at the historic Montreal Forum for Bruce's November 8, 1978 concert. That was a long time ago, and I have to confess I don't remember much about the show, nor do I think it changed my life, but I have no doubt that it was the most exhilarating performance I ever saw. I also know that it was everything rock and roll should be and I walked out of the Forum knowing I would be a Bruce fan for life.
After all the hype and the well deserved breakthrough success of 1975's 'Born to Run', and the subsequent frustration and near career death experience of his legal battles with Mike Appel in 1976 and 1977, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were finally free to resume their assault on the rock and roll world. They returned to the recording studio, and in 1978, Bruce delivered his latest masterpiece 'Darkness On The Edge Of Town' to Columbia Records. On May 23rd, 1978, Bruce and the boys set out on a ferocious seven month tour of North America in support of the album.
Lawrence Kirsh's great new book 'The Light In Darkness' documents this tour through a collection of photographs and essays submitted by fans who, each in their own way, have strong emotional connections to and recollections of this tour. I'm about half-way through the book, and I'm struck by all the passion and detailed memories people have regarding the Darkness album and tour. Reading this book has inspired this week's Friday Bruce Fix. It would also make a great companion piece to the much anticipated commemorative Darkness box set, with a remastered audio disc, full length concert DVD and any other goodies that might be hiding somewhere in a vault. (Come on Brucie...... please???)
One of Bruce's greatest talents is his ability to write, record and perform in a way that enables forming powerful connections with his fans, who in turn connect with important people in their lives and build families and communities. For a lot of people, Darkness and its tour came along at a time in their lives when they were figuring out who they were, where they were going, what they valued, where they drew the lines, and what they believed was possible.
It is no coincidence that Bruce and his band were at the same point in their evolution. It is something that naturally happens as we transition fully into adulthood. Continuing to this day, I believe that people who were too young in 1978 to notice, or perhaps had not even been born, are able to go back to the Darkness album and tour and make those connections if they are at such similar points in their lives. The themes Bruce dealt with on that album are easy for us to identify with and relate to in our own lives. Those songs become our songs and our stories.
Reading Lawrence Kirsh's book reminds me that this band was on a mission, taking no prisoners, running from town to town simultaneously discovering and proving their greatness, and redefining what a rock concert could be. There were many legendary moments and concerts on this tour, and in this week's fix, I'll highlight three great concerts.
The first clip (audio plus slideshow) features the opening two songs, 'Summertime Blues' and 'Badlands', from the August 9th show at the Agora in Cleveland.
The second clip comes from the August 15th stop at the Capital Center in Largo, MD, featuring a joyous performance of 'Promised Land'. I especially love the four consecutive solos from Danny, Steve, Clarence and Bruce.
Finally, from September 19th at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ, comes a scorching performance of 'Prove It All Night', with Bruce in full guitar hero mode, proving it with everything he had, as he did in every song on every stop on this tour.
To learn more about 'The Light In Darkness', go to www.thelightinDarkness.com