In 1984 [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Bruce Springsteen[/lastfm] released Born in the USA, and little did he or anyone know at the time that this would become one of the true mega-releases of the entire decade. The accompanying world tour, which lasted nearly two straight years, would be just as gigantic.
It all began in July 1984 with “Dancing in the Dark,” which made it all the way up to #2 on the American singles charts. That would be the closest Bruce would get to the top as he still waits for that #1 single. Bruce’s run of singles from Born in the USA would finally end in December 1985 With “My Hometown.”
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Bruce set out on his massive tour, which continued to be extended as the album showed no signs of slowing down and hit single after hit single powered across American radio.
It began in hockey arenas, and by the time it was finished Bruce regularly filled football stadiums to the brim.
I saw the Boss in 1980 at the Providence Civic Center for the “River” tour with the E Street Band. His live show got me excited in a way that his albums, although brilliant, never had. Seeing Bruce made a believer, and the 10+ minute version of “Rosalita” was just about the best thing I’d ever seen onstage.
You know how musicians will stand up on stage during a song and exhort one half of the bleachers or loges to shout? Then try the other side? Then the people way in the back? Then the floor? Sure you do, you’ve been there competing with the other sections at many a show.
Well, while other artists make a big production of it, yelling, “C’mon, you guys on the left, shout when I say ‘three!’”
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Bruce did it merely with his eyes.
As Clarence Clemons and the rest of the E-Street Band thundered along, they all suddenly froze solid, and everything went dead silent for a good two-three minutes.
The crowd shouted and then quieted down as no one onstage moved a muscle (not even the roadies).
Then Bruce’s eyes, frozen forward, did a simple flick to the left. Immediately, that side of the entire building shouted like maniacs! Then his eyes flicked to the right and the audience over there went berserk.
Back and forth, louder and louder the crowd became. He looked down front, we yelled, he looked up, the balconies roared. No instructions, no yelling, no grand gestures. Such was the power of Bruce in an arena in 1980.
In 1984, the original Bruce audience was joined by the new converts who tuned into the hits, and as the audiences doubled, then quadrupled, the amazing stage show and the discipline of a top-notch musical outfit paid off and everyone went home satisfied. Well, maybe not, because lots of people would go out and buy tickets to the next show. (NEXT: Meeting Bruce…)