I think I’ve seen this picture for the first time in the nineties, maybe around the time Access all areas from Lynn Goldsmith was published. It’s from Stefanko, and it’s one of those pictures, like the ones miss Goldsmith’s took, I look at it and I think this, THIS was what they were, this is the myth itself, Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band.
This is THE Band, seven men on a rock’n’roll mission, and no-one ever after that, that’s the reason why it took me so long to even accept Nils, go figure, for years and years he was the “new” guitarist, and don’t let me start with the last line up, choirs, bells, castanets, tambourines, piffaros and jake clemons. I respect the new years and the new artists on stage, even love them, I understand that changes were inevitables, but I learned to love them on other rock’n’roll standards, and if you grew up with a Cain raised from an Adam, and with the Clarence’ side onstage opposite to Stevie’ side, you can’t forget. Life is abut going forward, not back, and that’s it: but we don’t forget.
The picture that will always be Bruce and the E Street is this one, or one of those around the 1978 era, years in which they went out playing onstage so charged they felt they could kill the public to the sound of drums and guitars, and not just one night, every night, all night. That was when the legend took form, concerts played to conquer the world with guitar blows, with no party time, no politics, no girls onstage, no entertainment debate, no useless global discussion on the set list.
I had a friend once, he was 29 when he attended his first Bruce’s show, it was on the Reunion tour, I bought him the ticket to make him understand, and as it is said, he saw him onstage and he understood, and became a fan. Still, he did not grew up with Bruce, he never spent nights attached to his headphones with some bootleg on, alone in the dark listening to a rockn’n’roll singer because you needed that singer to explain something to you about your existence, to make a sense to all the pain, the rage, the boredom, the dispair in your life. You needed Bruce to help you make a little sense in that complete mess your life had suddenly become, and if you did not grow up year after year with this, if you never hanged on to Bruce and his music like it was your last chance of passion and happiness on Earth, than you cannot understand, I’m afraid. I tried to explain this picture to my friend, that thing Clarence said about going out onstage completely charged on rage and passion, ready to burst into flames at the first notes, and he asked me :”Why? why did they have to do that?”
Because that’s what the people wanted, not just the band onstage: maximum rock’n’roll power shooted directly into your veins, every night you wanted, all night long. That’s why this picture is Bruce and the E Street Band, and will always be, and no-one other, ever.