01 December 2007 by Published in: General musings 6 comments

Having grown up in the Philadelphia area in the 1970’s, it was unavoidable that I would end up a lifelong, major fan of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. I have always found his blue-collar anthems and political rants incredibly compelling, I love the complex characters he creates, and I have found him to be the greatest voice of my generation.

I first saw The Boss (yes, I know he hates that name) in concert in 1978 in support of his fourth album, Darkness on the Edge of Town. He played a 4+ hour marathon concert at The Spectrum. His shows were known for their energy, their duration, and for being a celebration of all that is the overblown glory of rock & roll.

The second time was December 8, 1980, again at the Spectrum. After a racuous, great concert of more than four hours that highlighted my favorite Springsteen album, The River, we learned that John Lennon had been murdered in cold blood that night. I next saw him in August of 1984, this time at the Capital Center in Landover, Maryland. We had 12th row seats for the Born in the USA Tour. The problem was that the show was the night before my first day of law school, on a Sunday night. I spent all night driving back to Pittsburgh, got two hours’ sleep and then started law school. I never did get caught up on my rest until after taking the bar exam.

I saw him again in Pittsburgh about eight weeks later, this time on Bruce’s 35th birthday. Of all the shows I’ve seen, that one clearly was the highest energy. He was rockin’ that night, and the crowd genuinely touched him by interrupting him to sing happy birthday. It’s the only time I’ve ever seen him at a loss for words. I then saw him at the nasty old Richfield Coliseum outside Cleveland on the Tunnel of Love tour in 1988. Little did I know it would be more than ten years before I would see him perform with the E Streeters again.

Susan and I traveled to the Gund Arena in Cleveland to see them on the 2000 reunion tour, and it was another great night that chilly November. We caught the band here in Columbus during The Rising Tour in the fall of 2002. This time we were on the floor of OSU’s Schottenstein Center, standing room only. Susan was just coming off ACL reconstruction surgery, and it made for a difficult night for her being on her feet all night on the hard concrete, but it was another great show.

This morning, tickets went on sale for the E Streeters’ March 24, 2008 show at Nationwide Arena here in Columbus, and I got a pair (for face value, too cool). Since my birthday is two days later, I can’t think of a better birthday present to myself. I know that Bruce is now 58 years old and that Clarence is in his 60’s and not in the greatest of health. I know that Danny Federici had to leave the tour to receive treatment for cancer. I know that the days of the incredible four hour marathon shows are long over and that today’s shows last “only” 2.5 hours, but it will be worth it. It will be my eighth time seeing Bruce and the band in concert, and I can’t wait. It’s going to be another great night of the music of my life.

It is, however, the first time I had to buy my own birthday present……

Scridb filter


  1. Rob Wick
    Sat 01st Dec 2007 at 2:08 pm

    Congrats on scoring those tickets (especially at face value). Here in God’s country we don’t get too many big-name concerts, although I would dearly love to see Springsteen. I have a buddy who lives near Denver and saw him out there. He even got Springsteen to sign a copy of Born in the USA (album, not CD), which from I understand is rare for Springsteen to do. He also got his picture taken with him and used it for his Christmas card that year.
    Enjoy the show!


  2. Brad Snyder
    Sat 01st Dec 2007 at 3:20 pm


    I wholeheartedly share your thoughts about Bruce. I have also gotten tickets for the Nationwide Arena show. I have seen Bruce about 15 times over the years. I also consider his music from the Darkness/RIver era to be his best. The first time I saw Bruce was in 1976 at the Ohio Theatre in Columbus on the Born to Run tour. I next saw Bruce in 1978 at Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium in Columbus. I would say that my favorite Bruce show was a show on New Years’ Eve at Richfield Coliseum on 12/31/78, the next to last show on the Darkness tour. Unfortunately, my practice has prevented me from seeing a number of Bruce shows within driving distance but I have been able to also see him in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Without a doubt, I have never seen anyone in concert that even remotely approaches Bruce. Even though he and the band are now past their prime, they still put on a tremendous show.


  3. Sat 01st Dec 2007 at 6:31 pm


    I had tickets to the 11/24/80 show at the Capital Centre but didn’t go ’cause I couldn’t figure out how to get there from AU without a car . . .

    Kinda like when I left the 6/18/93 Grateful Dead show at Soldier Field after Sting played but before the Dead came on because it rained. I went to see Jurassic Park instead.

    I know, I suck.

    But, hey, at least I saw the Police.

  4. Steve Basic
    Sun 02nd Dec 2007 at 12:51 am


    Living in NJ as I do, where it is next to impossible to get tickets for one of his shows here, am glad you were able to score a couple for the show in 2008.

    The last time I saw him was on the Rising Tour at Giants Stadium, the day after J.D.’s wedding and reception in Western PA. As you know, we were up rather late, and that drive home was rocky at best, but I did make it with about 2 hours to spare.

    It’s a very special concert to me, as it was the last time my 2 sisters and I saw a concert together. Hell, he even played “Downbound Train”, which is one of my all time faves of his. ๐Ÿ™‚ Talk about a crazy weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hope all is well.


  5. Mike Peters
    Sun 02nd Dec 2007 at 5:04 pm


    Like Brad, I first saw the Boss in Columbus during the “Born to Run” tour. I mean he had just appeared on the covers of Time & Newsweek. I had to see this guy that they were calling “Rock’s Messiah” & the new Dylan. Also saw him during the “Darkness” & “River” tours. (Wrote a review for the Ohio State Lantern following the “Darkness” concert.) Each time I was lucky enough to have floor tickets. Bruce & the E Street boys never dissapoint! I have never seen so much energy & passion in a performance. I love the stories Bruce tells as lead-ins to his songs — talk of taking a matress out on the roof on a hot NJ night just before he belts out a song like “Jungleland:”

    “The rangers had a homecoming in Harlem late last night
    And the Magic Rat drove his sleek machine over the Jersey state line
    Barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge
    Drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain
    The Rat pulls into town rolls up his pants
    Together they take a stab at romance and disappear down Flamingo Lane.”

    It don’t get much better than that Hoss!


  6. Mon 03rd Dec 2007 at 10:12 am

    I remember that ‘Born In The USA’ came out when I was in Middle School and that it was the most popular album in the world. That was when MTV still showed videos and I recall how excited I was (as a 6th or 7th grade lad) to hear a song that had to do with baseball (Glory Days). Bruce came to Pittsburgh on that tour and played at Three Rivers Stadium for 3 hours. I wasn’t a big fan at the time, but my wife was and her Mom got her a concert t-shirt that I believe she still has today. Have a great time at the show. I know you’ll get your money’s worth.

Add comment


Copyright ยฉ Eric Wittenberg 2011, All Rights Reserved
Powered by WordPress

Warning: substr() expects parameter 3 to be long, string given in /home/netscrib/public_html/civilwarcavalry/wp-content/themes/wittenberg/footer.php on line 54