Springsteen hits Thunder Road
proval, and Springsteen was back for
the customary encores, singing "Born
to Run," a blistering version of
"Because the Night," the tune he wrote
with Patti Smith, who turned it into a
hit single, and "Quarter to Three," a 12
minute funhouse that kept ending and
then starting up again.
At the very end, Springsteen collap-
sed on the floor, only to be picked up by
two orderlies who ran from backstage.
But Clemons aand Miami Steve Van
Zandt, who plays guitar and provides
stinging solos when Springsteen doesn't
care to, wouldn't let them haul our hero
away, so they tugged and tugged and
won him back. Springsteen got up and
finished the song.
THIS SMALL incident illustrates
what seems to be a new facet in
Springsteen's performing personality.
Bruce Springsteen has become an ac-
tor. Each move appeared quite
carefully choreographed and planned.
When Springsteen darted to the side,
gazing at the crowd with a hand over
his face to cut the glare, he looked like
he might as well be on a Hollywood
movie set. But though the show lacked
some of the spontaneity of
Springsteen's earlier concerts, his
skills as an actor gave the concert a
visual quality I'd not seen before.
As in previous years, the lighting was
exquisite. Not only did each song have
different lighting, but the colors and
patterns were always symbolic of
themes contained in the lyrics.
The sound quality, as always, reflec-
ted Springsteen's dedication to perfec-
tion. Each member of the band, in-
cluding Danny Federici on organ and
Roy Bittan on piano, could be clearly
heard, and Springsteen's frequent
guitar solos always rang true.
As is his custom, Springsteen used
songs from his four albums as
springboards for new, more elaborate
creations. Then he enriched an alreay
delicious repertoire with whatever
oldies suited his fancy.
Just as Springsteen's guitar
dominated Darkness, his incandescent
solos were everywhere, charging the
air with electricity. whenever he step-
ped out front or to the side to take a
solo, he seemed possessed of visions.
DETROIT WAS so ready for
Springsteen that some sections were
giving him standing ovations even
before the house lights had gone down.
But when it did get dark, Bruce strolled
out to sing "Good Rockin' Toinight." A
great song, a great singer, a great band
- the place went wild. From that point
on, the crowd at Masonic Temple was
on its feet with every sone. As one fan
said with a touch of civic pride, "This is
For the first time, I managed to get
right up to Springsteen during his dip
into the crowd in "Spirit in the Night."
Folks were grabbing him right and left,
so of course I dod too. I was startled by
how old he looked up close, and how
tired he seemed. Most surprising were
his eyes - the craziest looking set of
eyeballs I've ever seen. He looked
dazed, yet I knew he had- to be in com-
Boosted by the exuberance of the
crowd, Springsteen walked on alone af-
ter the intermission to say he wanted to
do a special show. The place shook with
applause, and he sat down at the piano
to sing "Lost in the Flood," treating us
to a number he hadn't performed in
LATER, HE said he wanted to do a
song he had picked only the night
before. The only problem, he confided,
was he wasn't sure of the lyrics. Would
it be okay for him to read them from a
notebook? "Yes," said the thundering
A roadie brought out a "high school"
music stand, Bruce set his book just
right, and the band began to crank it
out. We were charmed by a lively,
flowing version of Dylan's "Chimes of
Two nights later, Springsteen was in
Saginaw. Though the large civic center
auditorium was only half-filled, and
though Springsteen's voice had begun
to show signs of wear and tear, it was
nevertheless a fine concert.
He resurrected "It's My Life," his
stirring version of the old Animals tune
and a highlight of his last tour, in the
first set, and added "Fire," the tune he
wrote for Robert Gordon's Fresh Fish
Special, to the second set.
When he became frustrated after
trying to tune his guitar, he sent it
backstage and led the boys through an
impromptu, yet thoroughly rousing "(I
Don't Want to) Hang Up My Rock and
When the crowd began hollering like
a pack of werewolves in response to thE
beginning of the customary "Growin
Up" story, Springsteen said "differen,
story tonight," and spun a tale abou
going to God for career counseling.
This is one of the delights aboul
seeing Springsteen several times in
short period of time. You get to kno
the basic repertoire, yet you kno
there'll always be plenty of surprises.
Three years ago, Springsteen warned
us in "Thunder Road" not to "waste
your summer praying in vain for a
savior to rise from these streets." This
summer, for many fans and fanatics,
Bruce Springsteen became that
LATER, HE evoked Elvis' spirit with
an urgent "Heartbreak Hotel." He ad-
ded a lengthy guitar and piano im-
provisation to "Prove It All Night" that
made me wish he had done the tune that
way on Darkness.
After an hour and fifteen minutes
worth, Springsteen grabbed hands with
'the band, and promised to be back after
a short break. When he did return, it
was with "Paradise by the Sea," the
jaunty instrumental Springsteen often
opens the second set with. He told of
becoming a teenage werewolf who
sprouted a golden guitar on one side in
the kind of teasing, crazy story
Springsteen does best, and then jumped
into "Growin' Up." But the story
wasn't over yet. Halfway through the
number, the band stopped playing and
Bruce continued the saga. As soon as
the werewolf escaped his foes, in a
black sedan with a saxophone on the
front seat, "Growin' Up" concluded.
The set ended with a hot, but loose
"Rosalita." The crowd roared its ap-