Uncle G’s FUN Ticket Stub Stories: Bruce Springsteen – E Street Band (1980)

Date First Published05 June 2012Classic Rock Radio (UK) Facebook Page

Uncle G’s FUN Ticket Stub Stories
Event: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
Concert Date: 27 November 1980
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.A.

By Gary “Uncle G” Brown
Parler or Twitter @GBrown0816

A few days from Thanksgiving Day of 1980, Bruce Springsteen hurt himself rehearsing. This is according to my now ex-first wife. How the woman knew was because she was a switchboard operator for an answering service in Asbury Park, New Jersey, that had ‘The Boss’ as one of their accounts. Throughout her shift, she would interact with Springsteen; wake up calls, messages, etc…

The story goes Springsteen or someone close to him called the answering service, looking for a Doctor. Like I said, Bruce was jumping up and down during a rehearsal and injured himself. My ex (Adele) did a great job, and pretty much immediately found him one. Because of this, Bruce was so happy with the outcome, that he gave her two tickets to a show that he and the band were doing in New York City. Now, this was just a few days away. And this wasn’t going to be just any show. This was the opening night show for Bruce’s debut of; The River. This was a BIG deal. Without receiving the right Doctors care, the show might have been canceled/rescheduled. Hence the appreciation. Big wig record company people and music critics from several news agencies were going to be there.

We were sent to a ladies’ apartment to pick up the tickets. My then-wife baked Bruce a loaf of banana bread. We were handed the tickets and left the loaf of the good-smelling fresh bread wrapped in tin foil. Was later told Bruce liked it, which made my ex happy.

Always taking the train from where I was in Long Branch (New Jersey) to NYC, I this time decided on taking a bus. Bad idea! Last time doing that. Lots of stops. Seemed to take forever. Not very satisfied doing that, we decided to take the night owl train back home that night.

Bruce and the band were perfect. A well-oiled machine. Thanksgiving Night and the band (not Bruce) are dressed in three-piece suits and ties for the occasion. The concert starts with the hit, Born To Run. Played precisely as you hear it on the album. I remember looking ahead and seeing Bruce center stage playing one of my favorite songs. Such a natural high. The band’s answer to hearing the song title constantly shouted out when it was played towards the end of the setlist. The Eagles sooner or later did that with their smash hit; Hotel California.

Our seats were good. Right in the middle of the record company folks. They tend to set off a different vibe. Not the most exciting crowd. Seemed somewhat jaded. Not really letting go and having a good time. A very judgemental group just sitting there staring unemotionally towards the famous stage. A tiny group of people when compared to the rest of the packed venue. I noticed them talking amongst one another. I could not help but wonder about their verdict. Several left their seats and never returned, pretty much after the show started. Yet all printed reviews were good. The album ended up being one of Bruce’s best.

Promoting The River, that’s what Bruce and the band played. Plus the fan favorites, so the crowd was just not hearing new material.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were not yet a household name throughout the country. They were in New Jersey and its surrounding areas by this time. I was about 14 years old when I started getting into Springsteen. Around the time the album, Born To Run, was new. The follow-up, Darkness On The Edge Of Town (1978), was brilliant. In the early 1980s, superstardom was within their grasp. Like those gold rings on the carousel in Asbury Park, that Mr. Springsteen would mention in his songs.


The E Street Band

Set List

Born to Run
Prove It All Night
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Darkness On The Edge Of Town
Independence Day
Jackson Cage
You Can Rock (But You Better Not Touch)
The Promised Land
Out In The Street
The Price You Pay
The River
Thunder Road
Cadillac Ranch
Hungry Heart
Sherry Darling
Because The Night
Here She Comes – I Wanna Marry You
Growin’ Up
Stolen Car
Wreck On The Highway
Point Blank
The Ties That Bind
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
I’m A Rocker
Detroit Medley – I Hear A Train

Oh…what a night it was!

Useful Website

Official Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Bandwww.brucespringsteen.net/band

Bonus: Years later, I got Max Weinberg’s autograph…

From the Gary “Uncle G” Brown Autograph Collection: Max Weinberg

End of Story

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