Last night I was out for drinks and some live music with my friend Sunny, who also happens to love Bruce Springsteen. Naturally, at some point in the evening, the topic turned to Bruce and each of our favourite gigs that we had seen in person.
For any of you who've seen Bruce more than a handful of times, that becomes a very tough question to answer because his shows are so consistently outstanding. When asked this question, I often lean to the Devils and Dust tour show I saw in Toronto, which I cited last night. I love Bruce as a solo artist and that show was pretty magical.
As I thought about it some more, I drifted back to the Darkness and River tours, and settled on the River tour show I saw in Montreal at the historic Forum on January 23, 1981. I had front row seats and was thoroughly entertained, and by the end of the night, completely drained.
I remember going out after the show with my friends who attended the show with me. We wandered over to a favourite bar on Crescent Street, quietly had one beer, and all went home. We were spent.
I told Sunny that I recalled Bruce being very energetic that night and dancing up a storm. He discovered Bruce a little later than me and hadn't seen all that much dancing out of Bruce. So, I thought I'd see if I could dig up some proof. Luckily, there just happens to be video evidence of that night, just a few days more than 31 years ago. Concert footage like this should be required viewing for any aspiring rock musician. This is how it's done.
Also, please take note of this particularly ferocious rendition of 'Badlands'. I very clearly recall the intense roar of the crowd after the song ended, and the wall of energy that seemed to push Bruce back from the microphone as he attempted to start the next song. This video clip cuts part of that roar short and the audio doesn't do it justice. I was lucky enough to have seen a number of exciting and emotional hockey games at the Forum from the mid-60s through the 70s, but I don't remember hearing a roar quite like that one for Bruce.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present, that dancing fool, Bruce Springsteen!