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Tramps Like Us, who Bruce Springsteen’s former producer and manager Mike Appel has called: “The GREATEST Bruce Springsteen Tribute Band In The LAND!” is set to re-create yet another legendary and historic Bruce Springsteen concert in their continuing series of classic Springsteen concert re-creations…

If you missed what is now considered a classic legendary Springsteen concert from years past and wondered what it would be like to have been there in person, well you are in luck…
Tramps Like Us, is the FIRST and ONLY band ever to re-create Springsteen concerts in their entirety, receiving high praise from fans and media outlets alike, as well as selling out venues across the tri-state area in the process. Currently with 7 historic concerts in their repertoire and more on the way, take a trip to the past with Tramps Like Us.

It was August 9, 1978, in Cleveland, Ohio…
The air was literally electric – muggy and rainy outside, with summer lightning crackling, and fans jamming the Agora entrance almost two hours before showtime. Because it was a general admission show, some had slept on the sidewalk the night before in hopes of landing a front row spot for the show.

They whistled, they clapped, and chanted in the background as Denny Sanders signed on the broadcast to welcome the radio listeners. Kid Leo did the on-stage introduction, “I have the duty and the pleasure of welcoming, ladies and gentlemen, the main event. Round for round, pound for pound, there ain’t no finer band around – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band!”

The show went on for twenty-one songs in two sets, and an encore ending in “Raise Your Hand.” “I’d like to thank Cleveland for supporting us,” Springsteen said. “When we came here, we got some respect.” The broadcast ended past midnight, after more than four hours. Leo read the credits but fully expected Springsteen would do one more encore. Springsteen, nearly spent, returned one more time for a surprise encore of “Twist and Shout” for the Agora crowd. It wasn’t carried live, though we broadcast it later.

The broadcast was flawless, which might explain why Columbia Records never released it as an album. The radio audience was estimated at three million, and the show was one of Springsteen’s most-recorded, most-bootlegged, and most downloaded.

E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg once called it the best show the E Street Band ever did.

Former WMMS program director John Gorman has a great remembrance of the show…”Though there were many WMMS Tenth Anniversary concerts and events, the one that will always be first and foremost is Bruce Springsteen’s live concert broadcast at the Agora on Wednesday, August 9, 1978. For many Springsteen aficionados that show stands as Bruce and the Band’s all-time best live performance. I concur.’
CLick here for tickets Now:Saturday December 22 Tramps Like Us at the Showcase Live in Boston

Looking For That Last Minute Christmas Gift for the Bruce Springsteen Fan on Your List?
Look no further!
Discover the limited edition Bruce Springsteen book, The Light in Darkness.
The Light In Darkness is a collector’s edition, we are almost sold out. Less than 200 copies remain.
A great companion piece to The Promise box set, it focuses on the 1978 Darkness on The Edge of Town album and tour.
Read about the iconic concerts from fans who were there – the Agora, Winterland, Roxy, MSG, Capitol Theatre, Boston Music Hall, The Spectrum and over seventy more!
A perfect gift for the holidays!
The Light In Darkness book can be purchased the night of the Showcase Live concert. Special signed copies by Lawrence Kirsch of this limited edition can be purchased on
December 22, 2012 during the Tramps Like Us concert at the Showcase Live in Boston.

Fans waiting to enter Bruce Springsteen's Agora concert, 1978
By Pete Chianca


Bruce Springsteen hasn’t released anything new since Wrecking Ball, so you may want to grab a copy of Long Distance Salvation, the Nebraska tribute album featuring acts like Joe Pug, Spirit Family Reunion, David Wax and Kingsley Flood. For 15 bucks you get the limited-edition colored vinyl, mp3 download and, since all proceeds benefit Project Bread, a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Five bucks will get you just the mp3, if vinyl isn’t your bag. And for another option, there’s also Nils Lofgren’s exquisite recent disc, Old School — which, given the title, would be appropriately purchased on vinyl.


No Springsteen fan worth his or her salt would be caught without Bruce, the much-heralded new bio from Peter Ames Carlin  — that’s a no-brainer this holiday season for the Bruce Tramp on your list, if they don’t have it already. But there are plenty of other Bruce book options, including Marc Dolan’s Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock ‘n’ Roll (review here), which features some hearty analysis of the various phases of Springsteen’s career; Springsteen FAQ by John D. Luerssen, a veritable Springsteen encyclopedia that covers his life and career in short, digestable chunks (much like your Thanksgiving dinner); Streets of Fire, featuring stunning photos by Eric Meola circa 1977-1979; and The Light in Darkness, Lawrence Kirsch’s collection of fan tributes to the Darkness era, which only has a few copies left available in its limited run. And we of course recommend our very own Glory Days: Springsteen’s Greatest Albums — granted it’s hard to wrap because it’s an eBook, but you can always get it as a $2.99 treat yourself.


Backstreets.com has an awesome collection of Springsteen concert T-shirts, but we’re especially fond of the travelogue T’s celebrating “Rosalita,” “Thunder Road,” “Racing” and “Spirit in the Night.” For something more upscale, get your favorite Bruce fan a Moncler jacket like the one Springsteen tends to don when the temperature drops — a mere $925 at Nordstrom.


You can’t go wrong with a Springsteen painting. Or maybe you can. But we prefer photographic imagery for our walls, and Wolfgang’s Vault is having a 25 percent off special this weekend only on fine art rock prints, including several Springsteen classics. If those prices are a bit steep for your pocketbook even with the discount, visit roccosphototavern.com, featuring some of the best Springsteen concert shots this side of the Mississippi.

As you know, Bruce Springsteen’s 2012 Wrecking Ball Tour is quickly coming to an end. Bruce has played more than 90 shows, in over 15 countries since the beginning of the tour on March 18, 2012. For those fans lucky enough to have witnessed one (or several) of his concerts this year, you know Bruce and the E Street Band are firing on all cylinders – it’s miraculous to consider the fact that this 63-year-old is probably at the height of his long concert career.

Read what journalist and blogger Peter Chianca had to say about Bruce and the tour:

The themes of this tour — loss, living with ghosts, bringing new faces into the fold, moving on while honoring the past, a refusal to go gentle into that good night — have made it one of the most moving and satisfying Springsteen tours ever. The depth and breadth of the material, the willingness to dive head first into uncharted waters and Springsteen’s amazing, seemingly indefatigable drive, energy and devotion to the audience never cease to amaze. By the end of the eight-song encore, with Springsteen feigning (?) exhaustion and his perennial sideman Steven Van Zandt prowling over him with a wet sponge to revive him for two more songs, band and crowd were one – a huge, sweaty, smiling mass of rock ’n’ roll redemption.

Peter Chianca Blogness on the Edge of Town

To help relive and capture the amazing memories of this year’s tour, we are offering a superb selection of six live concert photos from various cities on the tour schedule.

The images were taken by super-fan Dan Reiner and are beautiful, high-quality 8” x 10” colour photographs. Anyone who purchases a copy of the limited edition book The Light in Darkness will receive an original photograph* as a special bonus. We have only printed 5 of each image so they will probably not last very long.

Click here to order your copy of The Light in Darkness, and claim one of these collectible photos now.

Bruce Springsteen Holiday 2012 Bonus Photos

* photo selection chosen at random for each book order processed

Many thanks for this great book review. You can read the whole review here: Legends of Springsteen

Part coffee table book and part rock ‘n’ roll history saga, “The Light in Darkness” contains a collection of personal essays and photos from the Darkness on the Edge of Town tour. Meticulously compiled by Lawrence Kirsch, the words and images paint a picture of the profound effect Darkness on the Edge of Town had – both on Springsteen’s career and the fans that connected with it.

In the wake of the lawsuit between Bruce and former manager Mike Appel that kept Bruce out of the recording studio for several years, Springsteen and The E Street Band released Darkness on the Edge of Town in 1978. The album’s reputation is quickly becoming cemented as Bruce’s most challenging but richest album. In addition to its own merit, Darkness’ status has been aided by compelling textual and visual supplements that have bolstered its reputation. If you weren’t sold on Darkness before, reading the first-hand accounts lovingly compiled in “The Light in Darkness” will certainly have you revisiting the album.

Celebrate the Holiday Season with Bruce Springsteen.
Discover the Limited Edition Bruce Springsteen book, The Light in Darkness.
The Light In Darkness is a collector’s edition, we are almost sold out. Less than 225 copies remain.
A great companion piece to The Promise box set, it focuses on the 1978 Darkness on The Edge of Town album and tour.
Read about the iconic concerts from fans who were there- the Agora, Winterland, Roxy, MSG, Capitol Theatre, Boston Music Hall, The Spectrum and over seventy more!
A perfect gift for the holidays.
Click Here to Order Now: The Light in Darkness

Last 3 Days to Enter!
In support of the Marathon of Hope - The Terry Fox Run, September 16, Lawrence Kirsch, publisher of “For You, Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen’s Legendary Fans” and “The Light in Darkness,” is holding a raffle with a chance to win a brand new signed copy of “For You,” which has been sold out since December 2008.
September 11-23
Click Here to Enter: For You
Good Luck!
14 Sep : 2012 Lawrence Kirsch, Springsteen fan en uitgever van het boek 'For You, Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen’s Legendary Fans' biedt jou een kans om een gesigneerde versie van dit boek te winnen. Dat is bijzonder, want het boek is al sinds december 2008 uitverkocht.

Zondag 16 september vindt de Marathon of Hope – The Terry Fox Run plaats. Dit is een evenement om geld in te zamelen voor en bekendheid te geven aan The Terry Fox Foundation, een stichting die zich inzet tegen kanker. Terry Fox was een Canadese liefdadigheidswerker, atleet en activist voor kankerbestrijding. Hij werd beroemd door zijn Marathon of Hope, een loop door heel Canada, om geld in te zamelen voor het onderzoek naar kanker. Hij had maar één been en liep de marathon met een prothese. Bron: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Fox.

Kirsch is een bewonderaar van deze in 1981 overleden Canadees. En daarom biedt hij een gesigneerde versie van het boek aan. Als je $10,- doneert (ca. € 7,60) heb je een kans om het boek te winnen. Doneer je $15,- (€ 11,40) dan heb je drie kansen om het boek te winnen. Je kunt nog meedoen tot 23 september 2012. Dat kan via thelightindarkness.com en foryoubruce.com. De winnaar wordt op 26 september 2012 bekend gemaakt. Lees meer informatie.

“Even if I don’t finish, we need others to continue. It’s got to keep going” - Terry Fox, July 10, 1980

In support of the Marathon of Hope - The Terry Fox Run, September 16, Lawrence Kirsch, publisher of “For You, Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen’s Legendary Fans” and “The Light in Darkness,” is holding a raffle with a chance to win a brand new signed copy of “For You,” which has been sold out since December 2008.

To maintain the vision and principles of Terry Fox while raising money for cancer research through the annual Terry Fox Run, National School Run Day, as well as via memoriam donations and planned gifts. In accordance with Terry’s wishes, all monies raised in his name are to be used strictly for cancer research.

Terry was not interested in fame and glory when he embarked on his Marathon of Hope in 1980. His sole purpose was to raise money to find a cure for cancer.

To help raise funds we are raffling off a brand new signed copy (by the publisher) of For You: Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen's Legendary Fans.

If you missed your chance to purchase a copy of this limited-edition book, or even if you just want a second copy to keep as a collector’s item, now is your opportunity. First edition copies of “For You” often sell for hundreds of dollars on eBay, and there are currently no plans for a second edition.

Each $10 ticket you purchase gives you one chance to win and a $15 ticket gives you three chances to win the book. The contest is open to everyone and tickets can be bought from September 7 to September 23, 2012. Tickets can be purchased at thelightindarkness.com and foryoubruce.com, where the winner will be announced September 26, 2012.

Participants can enter the contest as many times as they wish and all proceeds go to the Terry Fox Foundation. The book, autographed by the publisher, will be shipped to the winner free of charge anywhere in the world, so everyone is encouraged to enter.

The Terry Fox Run is an all-inclusive and family-oriented event. While Terry himself was an athlete, he wanted his Run to be open to walkers, bikers and families. We acknowledge all participants as victors if they have given or raised funds for cancer research in Terry’s name.

You can help the fund raising efforts for the 2012 Marathon of Hope by participating in the raffle for a copy of For You autographed by the publisher. All monies collected will be donated to the Terry Fox Foundation. Read about the Marathon of Hope and Terry Fox here: www.terryfox.org

"In reading For You, at first it's hard to believe that one performer could possibly have touched this many people this deeply - lifted them from depression, kept them from suicide, helped them through divorce or the death of a parent, or worse, a child. But story after story reveals just how much Springsteen's music and his almost superhuman presence on the concert stage have penetrated people's lives and, in as much as it is possible for music to do so, made them whole.

In fact, there's a running theme of these reminiscences, one that is sure to warm any Bruce fan's heart: that you are not crazy. Not crazy for seeing dozens or even hundreds of concerts; not crazy for feeling that Springsteen's songs and lyrics have actually helped carry you through some of life's toughest moments; not crazy to think that this man whom you've never met has and continues to fill some kind of void in your life."

Peter Chianca
Excerpt from Blogness on the Edge of Town

Through the years, I've read almost every book written about Springsteen. Some are great and many are not. Over time, I've even become cynical when I hear about new books. In the last few years, there have been a plethora of coffee table book releases in the Springsteen world. Each one in itself is a gorgeous work of art that will glisten on your polished coffee table. However, chances are you are still missing the ultimate Bruce Springsteen keepsake: For You. When I heard about this book a year ago, I dismissed it thinking I didn't really need yet another glorified coffee table book. I was wrong, dead wrong. For You takes the reader on a magical, mystical and poignant journey through forty years of Bruce Springsteen's life. It's a time machine to the past where tickets were once $7, the E Street Band was a boy's only club, Steve Van Zandt looked like a member of Jimmy Buffet's band and most of the members of the E Street Band could have begun their own television show - 'Stashin.' I wasn't impressed with the book, I was bowled over.

Anthony Kuzminski

Terry Fox was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and raised in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, a community near Vancouver on Canada's west coast. An active teenager involved in many sports, Terry was only 18 years old when he was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer) and forced to have his right leg amputated 15 centimetres (six inches) above the knee in 1977.

While in hospital, Terry was so overcome by the suffering of other cancer patients, many of them young children, that he decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research.

He would call his journey the Marathon of Hope. It was a journey that Canadians never forgot.

After 18 months and running over 5,000 kilometres (3,107 miles) to prepare, Terry started his run in St. John’s, Newfoundland on April 12, 1980 with little fanfare. Although it was difficult to garner attention in the beginning, enthusiasm soon grew, and the money collected along his route began to mount. He ran close to 42 kilometres (26 miles) a day through Canada's Atlantic provinces, Quebec and Ontario. However, on September 1st, after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 miles), Terry was forced to stop running outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario because cancer had appeared in his lungs. An entire nation was stunned and saddened. Terry passed away on June 28, 1981 at the age 22.

The heroic Canadian was gone, but his legacy was just beginning.

To date, over $600 million has been raised worldwide for cancer research in Terry's name through the annual Terry Fox Run, held across Canada and around the world.

This years For You book raffle is dedicated to the memory of Danny Federici and Clarence Clemons.

Good Luck!



Please help spread the news of the book raffle on your Facebook page and Twitter.
BackstreetsBTX | Greasylake | Blogness on the Edge of Town | Land of Hope and Dreams(fr)

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Aaron Gillie

The more realistic, less optimistic side of Born to Run, this album is raw, painful and grim. It’s stark honesty and brutality is what makes it so powerful. Between ’75 and ’78 Springsteen had disappeared and music fans began to ask what had happened. In the space of those years he had grown up and his views were more mature and certainly more bleak than before. The album:

Album Rating: 4/5.

Track 1. BADLANDS.

The title was taken from the Martin Sheen movie of the same name which was inspired by the Charles Starkweather homicide (also an influence on his ’82 song Nebraska). This song, however, is not about Starweather or murder or death. Despite it’s somewhat bleak title this is perhaps one of the most hopeful songs on the album. Essentially, Springsteen says this is the world we’re in. This is it in all its ugliness. What will we do about it? It’s such an ominous song and begins just so. “Lights out tonight, trouble in the heartland.” Like Thunder Road, it opens like directions in a movie script and sets the song up beautifully. There is no real story and no real character. The singer is describing things to us and in an excellently defiant way. He is confused and battered by his world, claiming to be “caught in a crossfire I don’t understand.” In spite of this, he remains defiant and adds with a wail heard best in his ’78 live shows: “But there’s one thing I know for sure, girl, I don’t give a damn”. The first verse introduces the setting of the song (a desolate world) and builds up brilliantly to the chorus. The way he sings with such calm tension and the way the drums build and build until the final release of the chorus is fantastic. This is the very first Springsteen song I ever heard and as soon as I heard him scream “Badlands” I was instantly transformed. It’s the best chorus he has written I believe and easily one of his best songs overall. In the second verse he begins to impart some knowledge and wisdom about the slavery that the averge working man goes through and how he understands it. “Working in the fields, that’ll get your back burned, working ‘neath the wheel, that’ll get your facts learned, baby I got my facts learned real good right now.” The hope in the song comes through in his rebellious cries in lines such as “I believe in the love that you gave me, I believe in the faith that could save me, I believe in the hope”, “I wanna find one face that ain’t looking through me, I wanna find one place, I wanna spit in the face of these badlands”. He even takes a stab at the richer classes with a line taken and altered from his unreleased song Rockaway the Days (Tracks): “Poor men wanna be rich, rich men wanna be kings and a king ain’t satisfied ’til he rules everything.” As the song ends, Springsteen reminds us that “It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive” and it fades out with the breathless repetition of “badlands”. Rating: 5/5. Best Lyric: ”Don’t waste your time waiting.”


Springsteen gets biblical here, opening the song with his (or his characters’) baptism. His vocals have the same raw and gruff strain that they had in Backstreets but this time he explores the sins of the father and parental relationships. Unlike his previous album which used the theme of escape as it’s moodboard, this song is all about how love can trap you, especially unconditional and unbreakable love. The cruel poetry in the first verse declares that he and his father were “prisoners of love, a love in chains”, showing that their bond was inescapable. They would be forever connected through their blood, thorugh their feelings and through their obligations to one another, even though they may not see eye-to-eye. They have “the same hot blood burning in [their] veins”. The chorus bellows out “Adam raised a cain” repeatedly to emphasize properly the fact that the worlds first murderer came from the worlds first sinner. As he explains in the last verse “you’re born into this life paying for the sins of somebody else’s past.” The song is about how evil runs in your blood and in your family and explores, on a subtle level, how the thing you may hate and disagree with (his father) is the same thing you grow up to become. This is put forward in the line “You inherit the sins, you inherit the flames”. The musical arrangement is on top form here. The electric guitar really is fantastic and sounds so dangerous and so tense that the song’s message is with you even before the lyrics start. Springsteen sounds like a man posessed on this track and his closest song to the metal genre, although with more sophistication. The song is summed up in the title: Adam raised a Cain. The sinner gave birth to sin. Haunting. Rating: 4/5. Best Lyric: “Well Daddy worked his whole life for nothing but the pain,/ Now he walks these empty rooms looking for someone to blame.”


This is very, very similar to Adam Raised a Cain, in themes at least. It’s about being brought into the world with nothing and starting at the bottom, having to work to move up a level. Many of Springsteen’s songs deal with the sociological theory of status frustration and this is one of them. Like so many songs he’s written, the protagonist is using his car as a means of escape, this time from his head, not his town. “I’m riding down Kingsley, figuring I’ll get a drink, turn the radio up loud so I don’t have to think.” Even though the music is very strong on this track (in particular, Max Weinberg’s restrained drumming) it is Springsteen’s own ghostly wails at the start that gives this song its etheral and frightening feeling. It’s a warning, even before any words are sung. The second verse is comprised of his most defeatest mind-set and almost sounds like he’s sulking. “You’re born with nothing and better off that way, soon as you got something they send someone to try to take it away.” This is most likely a reference to the ruling class or the government and could be an allusion to taxes or the economy. It depends on your viewpoint. The bridge to this is lyrically very similar to lines on the song Darkness on the Edge of Town in the way it talks about shame and not being able to run from your past. “Nothing is forgotten or forgiven” he warns, and then to confirm he is talking from personal experience adds, “I got stuff running ’round my head that I just can’t live down.” Enter more hauntingly eerie wailing. A slow song that’s half way between Adam Raised a Cain and Darkness on the Edge of Town. Rating: 3.5/5. Best Lyric: “When we found the things we loved they were crushed and dying in the dirt/ We tried to pick up the pieces and get away without getting hurt.”

Track 4. CANDY’S ROOM.

Who is Candy? A lover? A prostitute? A girlfriend? A cheater? It’s never made explicitly clear. She’s definitely beautiful though and definitely knows it. Springsteen admits that “Strangers from the city call my baby’s number and they bring her toys” and we are led to believe that he is her boyfriend and she loves him despite her other offers. It’s more likely, however, that the protagonist is merely another admirer who refuses to believe he means nothing more to her than any of the others. He could be deluded when he whispers to the listener “When I come knocking she smiles pretty, she knows I wanna be Candy’s boy.” She could have the same mythic power that the woman from She’s the One posessed as she certainly has control over him and her other “boys”. He does know her though, and observes “There’s a sadness hidden in that pretty face, a sadness all her own” which indicates she does not open up to him or anyone else. This, to me, is evidence that they are not in a serious relationship, perhaps only a sexual one. The lyrics go on to describe how when they kiss “Blood rushes through my veins, fire rushes towards the sky”. He continues to say how he gets lost in her eyes and how he understands everything when he’s with her, using the hyperbole “When I hold Candy close she makes those hidden worlds mine”. Although he is fully aware of his large male competition he seems delieriously confident that she loves him completely and has this to offer: “She has fancy clothes and diamond rings, she has men who’ll give her anything she wants but they don’t see what she wants is me.” He adds he’ll “never let her go”. Once again, it’s Max Weinberg’s drums that stand out on this track, beginning incredibly controlled and quiet and building up into an explosion of sound that is matched only be Sprignsteen’s vocals which are perfetly tuned in to rock and roll here. Rating: 5/5. Best Lyric: “She says ‘Baby, if you wanna be wild, you got a lot to learn/ Close your eyes let them melt, let them fire, let them burn’.”


Along with the title track and Something in the Night, this is one of the slower songs as well as one of the bleakest. It contains all of Springsteen’s famous themes: cars, girls, friendship, rejection and escape (or the failure to do so). The first verse is driven only by Springsteen’s vocals and Roy Bittan’s expertly precise piano. It is also the most typically masculine verse all about how he and his partner Sonny built a car “straight outta scratch”. The opening lines are also semi-autobiographical. “I got a ’69 Chevy with 396/Fuelie heads and a Hurst on the floor”. In real life, his first car was a ’57 Chevy with dual, four-barrel carbs, a Hurst on the floor and orange flames. The piano is then invaded by other instruments that keep the song’s steady pace while adding to its volume and excitement. Though not my favourite of his songs, probably the worst on the album in my opinion, it does boast an excellent use of imagery, particularly when describing his girlfriend (who he ‘won’ in a race) sitting on the front porch “with the eyes of one who hates for just being born”. Such imagery gives this song strength but ultimately, to me, it is bland and most suitable for background listening. Most of the time, Springsteen elevates his female love interests to unreachable heights, portraying them as beaming angels of happiness who exude control and power and beauty. The nameless girl in this song however is desperate and miserable and “cries herself to sleep at night”. It’s no wonder she’s miserable, after being taken away by the protagonist she loses her youthful optimism and realizes that “All her pretty dreams are torn”.  His writing boarders on sexist and he has been accused of writing 2D female characters but, of course, he has never claimed to be able to write for them. On the whole, the song is very good and I haven’t particularly gone into much detail about it because it’s not a specialty of mine, not like others on the album. Also, the fact that the title is taken from the song Dancing in the Street bothers me somewhat, not because of theft, but because I just don’t know why. There is never reference made to it by any critics or pundits or experts. Anyway, the tune is mellow but the themes are dark and crushing. Perhaps more suited to the Nebraska album. Rating: 3/5. Best Lyric: “Tonight my baby and me we’re gonna ride to the sea/And wash these sins off our hands.”


When I went to see Springsteen perform in Hyde Park a few months ago (14th July, 2012) this song was a real highlight. He played it towards the end of the first half of his set and brought on John Fogerty to join him. They took a verse each and the sheer power and magnitude of the song was brought out by the two American icons and global idols. Even Springsteen and McCartney’s rendition of Twist and Shout wasn’t as good as The Boss and Fogerty. This is the most defiant, optimistic and poignant songs on the album. Just as Badlands does, this opens up with a bleak view of a “Rattlesnake speedway in the Utah desert” although this is more obviously bleak than Springsteen’s previous song. In classic Springsteen tradition it uses the idea of automotive transport as escaping a glum town. He works in a garage all day and then at night goes off “chasing some mirage”. When the night hits he becomes a confident and powerful man stating “Pretty soon, little girl, I’m gonna take charge”. Like Thunder Road this song seems romantically linked with a woman but isn’t. The little girl he refers to, although possibly a lover like Thunder Road’s Mary, is an incidental part of the story, not it’s focus. It is primarily about leaving, achieving something, doing important things and being relevant. The chorus is Springsteen’s most hopeful when he roars out “Mister, I ain’t a boy, no I’m a man” at the top of his lungs. To witness it in concert is certainly a mind-blowing thing. The second verse describes how he did his “best to live the right way”, how he got “up every morning and [went] to work each day”. But he notes how the monotony of a working life in a small town can make your “eyes go blind and your blood run cold” and sometimes he “feels so weak” he wants to explode. The explosion is not suicidal but ambition born out of frustration. He wants his explosion to spread across the world; to spread him across the world. He wants to do things, see things, experience things but he can only do it once he accepts that he’s not a boy but a man. Which he does. This is so hopeful because we know he is on his way to do something great. Three lines which really relay the song’s defiant and jubilant message are: “Blow away the dreams that tear you apart/ Blow away the dreams that break your heart/ Blow away the lies that leave you nothing but lost and broken-hearted”.  The real heroes of this track are Springsteen’s vocals, Clarence Clemons’ sax and Gary Tallant’s base with an always steady and impressive performance by max Weinberg’s drums. Rating: 5/5. Best Lyric: “Explode and tear this whole town apart/ Take a knife and cut this pain from my heart/ Find somebody itching for something to start.”

Track 7. FACTORY.

There’s not a great deal to say about this song apart from the fact that it’s very, very good. The song is what it is. From one listen alone one can determine it’s themes, it’s back story and it’s purpose. But I’m not somebody who’s listened to it once. I’ve listened to it god knows how many times, almost everyday for the past year and I still enjoy it every time. It’s simply a song strongly based on his father’s job (one job of many) as a factory worker. The song details the monotony of factory life, how it demoralizes people and how it can break a man. The tune alone is very slow and keeps a purposely dull beat to it while the chorus repeats the word “working” three times in one line, all to hammer home the tiresome routine of factory life. He even gives the man in the song no name so as to allow all worker’s to identify with him but also to represent that he is just one anonymous face among thousands in Jersey alone. The second verse has one of the most bitter-sweet lines of any Springsteen song and easily one of the most moving. “Factory takes his hearing, factory gives him life”. The man’s work place is mentally destroying him but also very physically. Despite the fact that the factory may one day kill him, the man knows that he relies on it everyday to keep himself and his family alive and well. In a poignant, bleak and upsetting final verse Springsteen explains how at the “end of the day, factory whistle blows” and the workers “walk through these gates with death in their eyes” as they all have the same problems. Then, with an eerie sense of foreboding, he ends the verse and almost the song with the line “You just better believe, boy, somebody’s gonna get hurt tonight”. It paints a depressing picture but also a realistic and moving one and is a great song for the album. Rating: 4/5. Best Lyric: “Through the mansions of fear, through the mansions of pain/ See my daddy walking through them factory gates in the rain.”


Now, the album as a whole is bleak. Some of the songs are bleak. Most of the songs contain bleak undertones. But this… this bleak beyond belief. It’s a great rock song and is vocally very similar to Adam Raised A Cain in that it is powerful and strained. The song begins with an eerie and suspense-filled organ that carries on through the entire first verse, never letting up. The tempo of both the tune and the words begins slow to build up the dreary and dark story and then it literally explodes into the chorus. Springsteen immediately takes us to presumably late night/ early morning, a time when, as Tom Waits points out in his song I Hope That Don’t Fall In Love With You, men grow anxious, angry and brooding. Or, as he puts it, The night does funny things inside a man/ These old tom-cat feelings you can’t understand”. Springsteen brings us into this twilight by opening the song with “When the night’s quiet and you don’t care anymore/ And your eyes are tired and there’s someone at your door”. He talks about how his character is clearly depressed and given up on life, especially as he want’s “to let go”. He hates his environment, stating that the “Cold walls you embrace eat at your insides”. All he can see around him are streets of fire which he is trapped in, he even says he’s stranded in them. He can’t leave the house because of these “streets of fire” ergo he can’t go anywhere in life. The guitar and the drums burst in for the chorus and continue through the remaining verses, though a little more subdued. By verse two he is wondering “a loser down the tracks” and says how he “can’t go back”. By this point I think he’s done something bad, perhaps illegal and he is ridden with guilt, as suggested by the line “‘Cause in the darkness I hear somebody call my name”, as if shouting after him, trying to catch him. It continues in an excellently dark fashion, the saddest part coming in the end when he declares “I live now, only with strangers/ I talk to only strangers”. He has no friends in the world. he is sick of life and totally alone, imprisoned by his streets of fire. Rating: 4/5. Best Lyric: “I walk with angel’s that have no place/ And don’t look at my face.”


Springsteen brings a much needed sense of happiness and fun with the penultimate track. Having said that, this is not a totally light song. It’s played out like classic rock with powerful instruments, which heavily include drums and guitars, and is a somewhat fast-paced powerhouse. It opens with a declaration that the singer is “working real hard to get [his] hands clean” and that he’ll drive his girl as far as he needs to to get her “a gold ring and a pretty dress of blue”. He then adds that “for just one kiss” he’ll get these things for her. When the chorus hits he repeats that he’ll “prove it all night” for her and her love. By the second verse he wistfully states that “if dreams came true, oh, wouldn’t that be nice” but then grounds the song back into reality (and the album) by adding “But this ain’t no dream we’re living through tonight”. The song is a mixture of hope and despair, of love and hate but ultimately is about determination, hence the chorus. Despite his surroundings and his difficult life, the protagonist promises to prove his love to his girl, no matter what. He clearly gives the listener the image of a hard life when he accuses “them” of not knowing “What it means to steal, to cheat, to lie” or “What it’s like to live and die to prove it all night”. It’s not the best song on the album and sounds pleasantly bland, but upon further listening it becomes much more significant and another important part of the album. There is no alternative interpretation, no deeper message. Like Factory this song is what it is. Rating: 3.5/5. Best Lyric: “Everybody’s got a hunger, a hunger they can’t resist/ There’s so much that you want, you deserve much more than this.”


The title really sums up the song. Darkness represents all things bad; hopelessness, loneliness, being lost, being isolated, being feared, feeling fear. The edge of town represents unfamiliar territory, somewhere elusive and hostile, a baron land where nothing moves but the wind. It tells the carefully and skillfully crafted story of a man who’s wife left him and took everything with her. “I lost my money when I lost my wife” he says very matter-of-factly. It is suggested that he has no home when he says with unreasonable but admirable pride “If she wants to see me you can tell her I’m easily found/ Tell her there’s a spot out neath Abram’s bridge”. Darkness on the Edge of Town is a song about what happens when everything goes wrong. His finances, his love, his home, his self-worth. Everything vanishes when his woman leaves him. At the start of the second verse he declares that “Everybody’s got a secret/ Something that they just can’t face” which suggests that perhaps he’s done something he’s deeply ashamed of which could have been the reason his wife left. Did he hit her? Did he cheat on her? We don’t know. But he follows this line up with “Some folks spend their whole lives trying to keep it/ They carry it with them every step that they take” so maybe he’s been dragging this mysterious secret with him? “Till someday they just cut it loose” he says, “Cut it loose or let it drag ‘em down”. Clearly, his secret, whatever it may be, has dragged him down. As far down as he can go. Now he’s a ghost, haunting the darkness on the edge of town, a place “Where no one asks any questions or looks too long in your face”. There’s a small glimmer of hope or at least defiance when he boldly cries “Tonight I’ll be on that hill, ’cause I can’t stop/ I’ll be on that hill ’cause I just can’t stop”. We also get the message that his descent is partly his fault when he faces up to the fact he’ll have “to pay the cost/ For wanting things that can only be found in the darkness on the edge of town”. His vocal performance is outstanding on this track and nearing perfection. From the low and eerily calm verses to the strained and powerful chorus’, Springsteen displays a level of previously unseen maturity and reflects a grim but truthful view of adulthood. 

Rating: 5/5 Best Lyric: “Lives on the line where dreams are found and lost.”

Springsteen Summer Tour 2012 Book Sale: Last Week!
Discover the Limited Edition Bruce Springsteen book, The Light in Darkness.
The Light In Darkness is a collector’s edition, we are almost sold out. Less than 225 copies remain. A great companion piece to The Promise box set, it focuses on the 1978 Darkness on The Edge of Town album and tour.
Read about the iconic concerts from fans who were there- the Agora, Winterland, Roxy, MSG, Capitol Theatre, Boston Music Hall, The Spectrum and over seventy more!

Jym Wilson


I’ve been listening to Bruce Springsteen’s music since the fall of 1975 when I joined a group of friends huddled around an AV department record player in the waiting room outside the high school guidance dept. offices to listen to Born to Run. To this day I can remember how his songs spoke to me and told me that there was a world outside of South Burlington, Vermont that I needed to get to ASAP.

Fast-forward to 1978. I had been listening to Springsteen closely for three years. A friend from New Jersey had introduced me to the first two records. Then Darkness came out and finally, he was coming to town.

Nov. 4, 1978 changed the way I knew music could be performed live. I was a 20-year-old part-time lab tech for The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press who liked to take photos, especially of rock concerts. I had been to a few shows at the University of Vermont’s Patrick Gymnasium but this one had the biggest anticipatory buzz that I’d ever encountered. I went to the side door the press was supposed to enter through, entirely certain that the prerequisite phone calls I had made and my press pass would get me in. But no. Someone at the door told us “No photos tonight. We can give you handout, (photos).” But our tickets would still be good. So one lens went down one boot, another in the other boot and the camera goes around the back and under the jacket. Through the door and to my seat. While waiting for the show to begin, a friend from high school appeared at my side. “I’m sitting with you,” she announced, dropping into my lap. Did I mention that mine was a fourth row seat?

Bruce_Springsteen_vermont7Bruce_Springsteen_Vermont5Bruce_Springsteen_vermont1Bruce_Springsteen_VermontIn most ways the show was a blur. I’d shot rock ‘n’ roll before but never anything like this. Bruce seemed to never stop moving. This was more like shooting a basketball game. This was way before auto-focus cameras, let alone digital cards with the capacity of hundreds of photos. At the same time, especially from such a close vantage point, it was as intimate as a small club. The guy was playing right at us. And then he jumped into the crowd and was carried hand-over-hand past me. Total mayhem. I’ve looked at the negatives. Nothing is sharp.

The band played on. Bruce took us down Thunder Road. Told stories about Growing Up. Sent us out into the Night. Danced until Quarter ‘till Three.

Four nights later I would have an entirely different Bruce experience at the Montreal Forum. This time I was going with four friends packed into a Mazda GLC. No credentials but still carrying a camera and this time color slide film. This one was for me. Bull shit my way past security about not having a press pass. Up, up, up to the seats known as the oxygen section. Lights down. Show starts. Work the color aspect of the show. One friend, actually a pretty crazy casual acquaintance, nudges me, chin tilts towards the stage and says,”let’s go.” And we’re off. Like Bruce jumping the gates at Graceland we will not be denied. Jumping barricades, pushing past security guards, making our way to the front. And then, there we are. Front row. Standing on chairs with dozens of screaming fans. This won’t last. I start shooting fast. Bruce is sitting on top of Roy’s piano. Bang. Danny, Steve and Clarence share a mike. Bang.  Bruce is climbing on top of the speakers and Clarence is tilting his horn up at him. Bang. Security is trying to clear out people who don’t belong, (me,) so it’s finish the roll and scoot so I don’t have to worry about getting tossed from the venue.

15_BRUCE-SPRINGSTEEN-Montreal-4Back to my seat. Enjoy the show.  Make a few more frames, taking advantage of the distance from the stage and the light.

Bruce_springsteen_montreal_78Since the ’78 tour I’ve photographed Bruce in concert one time, in 1999 in DC where I live now. The reunion tour. Great show, good photos. I’ve seen him without my cameras on quite a few other occasions and have a ticket to see him this September, 2012. He always sets a high bar. It’s always fun. Sometimes great. Sometimes transporting. But those ’78 shows changed the way I think about a lot of things. There’s a reason it’s called work. Success takes a lot of it. But if you love what you do sometimes you get to call it playing.


Jym Wilson is the senior photo editor for the Life section at USA TODAY. He lives in Washington DC and is very glad that one of Bruce’s 1978 concerts is available on DVD.

Discover the Limited Edition Bruce Springsteen book, The Light in Darkness.

The Light In Darkness is a collector’s edition, we are almost sold out. Less than 250 copies remain. A great companion piece to The Promise box set, it focuses on the 1978 Darkness on The Edge of Town album and tour.
Read about the iconic concerts from fans who were there- the Agora, Winterland, Roxy, MSG, Capitol Theatre, Boston Music Hall, The Spectrum and over seventy more!

For the second time, Lawrence Kirsch has enabled Bruce Springsteen fans to connect in a very special way. As he did with his previous Springsteen book For You, Kirsch solicited stories and pictures pertaining to the golden era of Darkness On The Edge Of Town and is two-for-two with the production of The Light In Darkness.
~ Tom Cunningham The Bruce Brunch .1057thehawk.com
The Light in Darkness takes a special fan-focused look at Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town – the album and the tour. Incredible pictures, incredible stories. It’s going to take hours to go through everything in this book. You’ve listened to the bootlegs… now relive those magical nights with incredible photos and stories.
~ Stan Goldstein nj.com/springsteen
You might not know where to begin to get the perfect gift for the Springsteen fan in your life. You cannot do better than The Light In Darkness.
~ David Lifton Popdose.com
The reason that I haven’t written you before now is that I just completed the book. I’ve been savoring it. It’s just terrific-wonderful photos and compelling stories.
~ Lauren Onkey Vice President Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland
The band was on fire and, although the dramatic and sometimes angry songs of the “Darkness” album were on the set list, the sense of celebration and exhilaration that had always fueled Springsteen’s concerts was at full power in epic, three-plus hour shows
~ Marianne Meyer, Digital Music Examiner Examiner.com

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