Very very early on the morning of October 3, 1980, I got into my friend Kim’s little red Datsun in a driveway in Brick, New Jersey. I think there were actually five of us packed into that tiny car. We proceeded to drive from the Jersey shore straight through to Ann Arbor, Michigan, parking the car just in time to see Bruce Springsteen’s tour bus roll in to the parking lot of Crisler Arena. We jumped out of the car (which, after hours of travel, seemed to have gotten smaller) and lined up with other fans to shake hands with Bruce as he went into the venue. It was the opening night of The River Tour. The album itself would not be released for another week.
That night was the first time I ever bought a scalped ticket, and I blindly grabbed the first one that was offered to me at $50. This was a huge expense since the base price was I think $11. It was my third Springsteen concert, the previous two being in 1978 during the traveling medicine show that was the Darkness Tour.
I traveled to Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Chicago that week in Kim’s car seeing shows, for the most part either sleeping in the car, or renting one hotel room for the five of us and sneaking the others in to save money. We were young.
There were many other shows on that tour, many trips out of town, and at the end - a year later - I actually quit my boring soulless job typing art auction catalogs to go to the entire last week of shows. The tour ended almost a year to the day it began: September 14, 1981 in Cincinnati.
There have been many concerts since, and many Springsteen concerts, through the past 17 years. I know it’s a cliché but Bruce Springsteen changed my life in too many ways to count.
All of which is to say that I am thrilled beyond belief that Sunday night November 8 at Madison Square Garden for the first time since the long ago River Tour, and never before in album sequence order, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will play the entire River album onstage.
And that’s my Way Cool Item of the Day.