I was nev­er that huge a Spring­steen fan, right through Born to Run; I think I was just too much of a head-banger at the time. But when Dark­ness on the Edge of Town came out I snapped it right up and went and saw the tour in Toron­to. A lot of his songs over the years just go right by me. But Dark­ness is a hell of a col­lec­tion of songs, and that tour… OMG.

Darkness on the Edge of Town

There’s a lot of back-story here; Spring­steen had been locked out of record­ing for three years by a le­gal fight with his ex-manager, and came out with a re­al chip on his shoul­der. Quote: “More than rich, more than fa­mous, more than hap­py – I want­ed to be great.” At least for a while there in 1978, he got what he want­ed.

Words can just not ex­press how great a Spring­steen show was, back in the day. They opened with a dark stage, then Spring­steen hollered “Gimme some light!” A cou­ple songs in, peo­ple were danc­ing in the eyes and he said “You guys got­ta take it easy, you’re nev­er gonna make it to the end.” Some­time in the mid­dle of some song, he came down to the front of the stage and slow­ly, care­ful­ly, ar­ranged him­self in­to a guitar-hero pose, get­ting all the body parts in the right po­si­tion just as the cho­rus came around, and ripped in­to a huge, arch­ing gui­tar so­lo  —  he’s nev­er got­ten enough cred­it for his play­ing. Any­how, the con­cert went on like for­ev­er and nev­er let up for an in­stan­t. I won­der if any­one will ev­er play shows like that again?

Bad­lands, there’s noth­ing sub­tle about it, just a work­ing man full of sor­row and hope, huge back­beat, big gui­tar line, un­earth­ly singing.

If you’re a Spring­steen fan you might en­joy his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy Born to Run; it’s doesn’t burn as bright as Keef’s but it’s sure ed­u­ca­tion­al, al­though it bogs down af­ter Bruce gets rich.

This is part of the Song of the Day se­ries (back­ground).

Links · Spo­ti­fy playlist. This tune on iTunes, Ama­zon, Spo­ti­fy. Video: An in­cen­di­ary per­for­mance from 1978.

author · Dad · software · colophon · rights

June 05, 2018
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