King Koncert: Memoirs of an American Rocker
by Tim Van Schmidt
March 17- McNichols Arena. Red Riders, U-2.
Colorado had already been a warm spot for U2, thanks to the success of their 1983 “Under a Blood Red Sky” album and video- recorded and shot partially at Red Rocks. A friend from the record store had gone to the shooting and reported a surreal, intense experience. I first “saw” the band at the opening of a Fort Collins night club, one that boasted not just a great dj booth, but video monitors as well. To prove the point, one of the videos they played was U2’s “New Year’s Day.” By 1985, the band had released a new album, “The Unforgettable Fire” and had graduated to the big arenas like McNichols in Denver. McNichols, named after a former Denver mayor, was a utilitarian facility with plenty of room but very little style. I treated myself to a ticket, noting that the show was being held on St. Patrick’s Day itself.
The opening band, Red Riders, set the tone with an energetic set, making driving hard rock tempered with up surging melodies. But then U2 took the stage. Bono rightfully had earned the reputation as a world-class showman and he swaggered all over the stage, easily throwing up his arms at dramatic moments and projecting his voice and personality into every corner of the room. Bono dominated the room with his good bad boy charisma. He reminisced with the crowd about the band’s earlier visits to Denver- to Red Rocks and even to the Rainbow Music Hall- but also threw his body into his emotive vocal outbursts.
All the while, the Edge kept the room alive with electricity, his guitar work weaving easily in and out of the rolling rhythms set up by Larry Mullen on drums and Adam Clayton on bass. More than a concert, this date was a joyful encounter between a group who managed to balance its popularity with sincerity and a supercharged crowd, wanting to connect. If this was an Irish celebration then everyone in McNichols was Irish that night. I bought a t-shirt- a strange, blurred ghostly image.
Writer Frank DeCaro reviewed the McNichols show for the Fort Collins Coloradoan and called U2 an “Irish wonder band.” DeCaro described the opening moments, “Four kilt-clad musicians playing bagpipes” and reported that U2, in “a flood of emotion,” performed tunes such as “I Will Follow,” “Seconds,” “The Unforgettable Fire” and “Wire.” According to DeCaro, Bono introduced “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by saying “We’re proud of our country and you’re proud of your country. But I never want to be so proud of a country as to take another man’s life.”
The set list included “Bad,” “New Year’s Day,” “Pride (In the Name of Love” and “Gloria.” For a finale, the song “40” became a medley of portions of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and “We Are the World.” DeCaro concluded by declaring that the “spirit of those songs rocked McNichols Arena with hope.”
March 28- Radio City Music Hall. Roger Waters.
I happened on this concert entirely by accident. During another trip to New Jersey, I was spending the day in New York City, visiting art museums. I enjoyed the intense rush of the city and ended up walking to my destinations. At one point, I happened in front of the Radio City Music Hall box office. A sign informed me that Roger Waters was performing that night and that tickets were available. I stopped, did a double take and decided to stay for the concert.
Waters’ album “The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking” had been released in 1984. The album had been controversial not only for Waters’ solo music- and what it meant to Pink Floyd- but the cover was also the subject of protests- a nude woman hitchhiker pictured from behind. The American copy of the album was printed with a colored square across her buttocks, creating collectors’ items- covers with the patch and covers without.
At Radio City Music Hall, Waters showcased his new music as well as staked his claim over Pink Floyd standards such as “Money.” There was a huge television set/screen hanging above the stage that projected images during the two-part concert. The first part was the Pink Floyd stuff. The second part was the entirety of “The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking.”
Like not missing the ferry in Seattle, I had to leave at the tail end of the concert in order to catch the last train back to New Jersey- or I’d be stuck in New York for the night. I watched the last few moments from behind the back seats, the hitchhiker from the album cover full on the screen above the stage. The concert was easily as professional as Pink Floyd concerts with a smart, savvy backing band and exacting production. Waters himself proved to be cynically brilliant but ultimately hopeful- and madly independent. Radio City Music Hall was striking from the outside, thanks to the familiar marquee hanging down its side. Inside was the sense of a comfortable elegance. Obviously well-used, the place was well maintained, almost a relic in itself with its old-style charm.
April 23- Rainbow Music Hall. Miles Davis.
Without access to friendly venues in northern Colorado, jazz events were few and far between. That’s why I joined a rather large group of music fans, connected through a friend’s audio store, to go to Denver to see Miles Davis. The concert was being held at the Rainbow Music Hall, a small, rectangular room marred by sets of posts that meant not every seat was a good one. As we entered the hall, my acquaintances all filed into a row, which had enough seats for all of them except me. Odd man out, I went to sit alone and thoroughly enjoyed the rolling funk Davis and his band was kicking out.
At the time, Davis’ band included Darryl “The Munch” Jones on bass and John Scofield on guitar. The quintet, also including a sax player and Davis himself, was well tuned and solid on the grooves. This allowed Davis the luxury of wandering around on stage, pointing to whomever he wanted to play, fiddling with keyboards, turning his back to the audience and playing his horn. Each piece seemed to wind up in the same place- a kinetic blast of fusion funk, Davis punctuating the rhythms with bursts of melody. The players kept it cool, like this was everyday business and Davis may have nodded to the audience once or twice- maybe.
May 12- Lincoln Center Mini Theatre. Kate Wolf
After fine evenings with the Roches and Claudia Schmidt, just about any concert would do at the Lincoln Center Mini Theatre. Kate Wolf’s concert at the Mini Theatre was my present to Jonie for Mother’s Day in 1985- our daughter was now one and a half. After all, the concert poster said “A gift for all mothers and fathers.” The stage of the Mini Theatre was set for a theatre production, so rather than covering the scene with a curtain, Wolf took the stage with the quaint room setting in full view. In fact, Wolf and multi-instrumentalist Nina Gerber came through separate doors on the set, like characters entering a play.
What was missing at Sam’s in 1980 was the ability to just sit and listen without the distractions of a barroom. Wolf’s songs were meant for just that- relaxed, but fully attentive listening. The bonus was that since Wolf did not have to compete with pool games or waitresses, she relaxed and became warm and friendly with the audience in between tunes at the Mini Theatre. The sincerity of her talk and the wistful beauty of her melodies created a meaningful personal experience.
After the show, I got a poster signed by both Wolf and Gerber. I was shy to introduce myself, though I had recently sent Wolf a letter suggesting that I interview her for a booklet that I would write. I had heard enough of her music to know there was plenty of substance and I very much admired her success as an independent artist. I had done two interviews before- Potliquor at the Whiskey A Go Go in 1972 and Steeleye Span at the Moore Theater in Seattle in 1974. At this time, I was looking for subjects to write short booklets about and publish them myself. I thought Kate Wolf would be an excellent subject. I wasn’t approaching her as a newspaper or magazine journalist, but as a writer wanting to write a book about her. I didn’t speak to her about it at the Lincoln Center, but I heard back from her soon after.
Steamboat Springs Ski Area. Leo Kottke, Jesse Colin Young.
Jonie and I were still running our own independent craft business. Part of that included traveling to various towns in the region and working arts and crafts shows. The one in Steamboat Springs was typical- a quaint, green park cordoned off into booths selling anything you could draw, paint or glue together and sell to a happily circulating crowd. In Colorado, there was always a chance of bad weather coming through, but on this occasion we worked under beautiful, clear skies.
A bonus for buying a booth in the show was tickets to a concert by Jessie Colin Young and Leo Kottke at the ski area, sponsored by the Steamboat Arts Council. We packed up our gear quickly and were able to catch a good part of Leo Kottke’s set. Kottke was now comfortable with his easygoing role- playing rolling guitar melodies with a syrupy, sensuous tone, adding his low sonorous vocals. No big deal. It was like catching up with an old friend. Indeed, Kottke was warm and friendly when I met him at the side of the stage, babe in arms, asking for an autograph. He signed my poster “Thanks for listening.”
I had seen Jesse Colin Young a few times before- opening for Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young at Tempe Stadium in 1974, and then again in 1975 at the Celebrity Theater. Gone now was the band and Young was performing as a solo act. What hadn’t changed was his sweet, supple tenor vocal, able to croon, dip and soar. Also present was a sense of purpose to the music, fitting for the mountain setting. What was missing, of course, was the dynamic musical diversity his band had displayed, here filled only by guitar strumming. Still, this gave Young the opportunity to work his voice, still in great shape. Kottke and Young performed on a bare staging area on the Gondola Plaza, comfortably surrounded by sections of chairs and a fully accepting, appreciative but mellow, middle-aged crowd.
July 13- Live Aid
Live Aid is the name given to a pair of concerts staged in Philadelphia and in London for the charitable purpose of raising money for food and supplies for drought victims in Africa. With close links to the charitable movement begun by the English collaborative recording effort “Do They Know It’s Christmas” and continued by the American “We Are the World” recording, Live Aid was organized by musician Bob Geldoff, of the Boomtown Rats, to provide more aid for Africa. The event was broadcast live on television with Dick Clark anchoring the coverage, mixing pleas for donations from such actors as Sally Fields and Burt Reynolds, with coverage of the concert events themselves. A huge roster of contemporary popular musicians joined forces to produce one of the most-watched concert events in modern music.
Artists playing at the Live Aid concerts included Madonna, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant with Phil Collins (who played at both the Philadelphia and London concerts,) Teddy Pendergrast with Ashford and Simpson, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Duran, Duran, David Bowie, Patti Labelle, the Who, Elton John, Hall and Oates with David Ruffin and Eddie Kendrick, Mick Jagger, Tina Turner and Bob Dylan.
Perhaps the most touching moments of the event were the finales in both cities. English stars such as Paul McCartney, Sting, Bono, Roger Daltrey, Alison Moyet, Pete Townshend and Elton John joining together to perform “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” in London, and the American finale of “We Are the World” with Harry Belefonte, Lionel Richie, Chrissie Hynde, Joan Baez, Dionne Warwick, Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, Peter, Paul and Mary, Kenny Loggins, Patti Labelle, Hall and Oates and Graham Nash.
My attitude at the time was that this was not a real concert because it was on TV. So I went to a movie- “The Road Warrior”. After the movie, we did catch Bob Dylan’s performance on the TV in a bar/restaurant. Fortunately, a friend videotaped the entirety of the event so I was able to see just what an amazing event it was. Live Aid became a new standard for pop music- one which tried to translate the success of popular music at the time into cash for a good cause. This was not a new idea but Live Aid was the biggest expression of social concern from the music industry. The production was slick and efficient and the talent was stellar every step of the way.
August 1- Cotati Cabaret. Kate Wolf.
Kate Wolf personally answered my letter and was very encouraging about doing an interview. She may have been a little flattered so even though she was unsure of exactly who I was, she seemed willing to give it a chance. Some of my friends from my record store days had moved to Sonoma, California, just north of the Bay Area. It just so happened that Wolf had several dates in that area during the summer and I could come to interview her at her practice studio in Mill Valley. I don’t know why I didn’t think of just talking to her on the phone, but it became an excellent excuse to travel, see my friends and do an interview with this successful independent artist.
The Cotati Cabaret was a music hall set back off of a broad intersection in the little town of Cotati. It was a happening music hub in the region- scattered towns separated by rolling fields and trees- and a favorite place for hearing a diversity of touring bands. My first experience at the Cabaret, however, was for one of Wolf’s area gigs- performing on the high, broad stage with Nina Gerber and bassist Ford James.
My friend accompanied me as a photographer and he moved as stealthily as possible around to take some black and white shots from different angles. I didn’t know what I would use the pictures for, but it seemed like a good idea. But this was a sit-down show and the audience was listening with rapt attention. So much so that my friend reported feeling conspicuous with just the sound of his clicking shutter. Indeed, when we connected to one side of the hall after his picture-taking, patrons visibly became annoyed when I asked him how it went. Wolf’s audience not only adored her, but were protective of their time with her.
The concert at the Cabaret was a full showcase of Wolf’s music and the addition of James on bass and backing vocals filled out her live sound significantly. I had seen Wolf twice before with Gerber’s sensitive, supple accompaniment, but with James, the lower register of the music came alive and his vocals added a new element to the performance- a gentle, supportive male voice. James had played a significant role in Wolf’s 1983 live album, “Give Yourself to Love,” and at the Cabaret he displayed a warm familiarity with the material. After the show, I introduced myself to Wolf and she gathered Gerber and James together for some photos. Wolf was friendly and gracious even though there were plenty of other people wanting to get her attention. Still, I had made contact and there was more ahead.
A few days later, I borrowed a car and drove to Wolf’s studio in Mill Valley. Her studio was a little house perched on a hillside down a pleasant tree-lined road. Despite the freeway rush only a few miles away, this area was quiet, slow and peaceful. Wolf explained that she maintained the house as her way to maintain artistic space while still being fully involved with her family. She showed me around- the kitchen, the back room that served as an office and we settled in a middle room at a table. Wolf noticed that I was having trouble with my tape recorder, so she brought out a deck that she said she had once used to interview super guitarist Mike Bloomfield. Ready to go, we then spent the next hour or so talking over her life.
This wasn’t the kind of interview I would get used to conducting years later- spending precious few minutes talking about an artist’s latest album release and maybe a little theory. This was a full encounter, dipping back to Wolf’s childhood and her early years as a busy young mother, then tracing her development from a singer-songwriter living in her car to the fairly well-set independent artist that I was talking to. The talk was easy, I took a few photos out in the sunshine on the deck and she warmly bid me goodbye. To celebrate, I proceeded west on the highway I had taken to Wolf’s studio and spent several hours hiking along the cliffs on Point Reyes. The windy, salty air reminded me of living in Santa Barbara and the connection with nature fit comfortably with my conversation with Wolf.
A few nights later, my friend and I trekked down to San Francisco to see another Wolf concert at the Great American Music Hall. We got there early and visited some musician friends who had relocated to San Francisco from Phoenix. Then after a tasty Thai meal, we went to the show. The Great American Music Hall was a big wide room. Several levels with seating ringed the perimeter, but the center was open to the ceiling. My friend took a few photos during a show that not only featured Wolf, Gerber and James, but also an Australian singer-songwriter that Wolf invited as a special guest during the performance.
By the time I went back home, I had experienced plenty. I got to work on transcribing the tape of my interview with Wolf, but having never done work like that on such an extensive interview, the task became daunting. As I worked on it, I realized that there was too much material for me to make one of my little independently published booklets. I got bogged down and kept putting the project on hold. In December, 1985, Wolf released a new album titled “Poet’s Heart” and she sent an inscribed copy to me.
August 2- Cotati Cabaret. Mojo, The Looters.
The night after the Kate Wolf concert in Cotati, the scene in the Cabaret was much different. The Bay Area was a hotbed for a burgeoning “worldbeat” movement and we went to see the regional leaders- the Looters. The show flyer had five figures carrying away TV sets with the Looters’ name emblazoned on the screens. The flyer also identified the music as “South African world beat” as well as the most definitive word of all- “dance.”
Opening the show was Mojo, another world fusion band playing a revved up rock. The Looters came on, mixing African rhythms with hard rock, coming up with a powerful, purposeful and ultimately positive music. Politics was a strong part of the message, but the scene on the dance floor really told the story- it was packed from the beginning of the Looters’ set until the end. At the center of it all was leader/guitarist Mat Callahan, certainly an intense and charismatic musician. I would seek out the band’s 1986 self-titled EP on the Alternative Tentacles Records label, a four song set including the uplifting “The Streets Are Callin’” and the dynamic “Rise Up.”
August 28- Red Rocks. Sting.
Finally I would experience the perfect night at Red Rocks. I had been a fan of the Police and often used their records when I was a DJ at parties. But Sting had gone solo in style. It had only been a year since the Police hit “King of Pain” had been on the charts but already Sting ‘s new album had established a vigorous new identity for this distinctive bassist, songwriter and vocalist. He was now leading a band that included saxophonist Branford Marsalis, pianist Kenny Kirkland, bassist Darryl Jones (who I had seen play with Miles Davis at the Rainbow in Denver earlier in the year) and drummer Omar Hakim. Their 1985 album release, “The Dream of the Blue Turtles” would spawn Sting solo hits including “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” and “Fortress Around Your Heart.” The new music took shiny, melody-savvy pop and infused it with classy jazz instrumentation. All the while, Sting expanded his musical themes beyond rock and reggae, even touching on eastern European classical themes. Political content was strong, particularly on the track “We Work the Black Seam,” which mused over the plight of English miners, and “Russians,” a philosophical plea for peace.
At Red Rocks, there was a full moon, Sting’s band was synched in, the weather cooperated beautifully and the crowd was enraptured. At points it seemed that both Sting and Marsalis purposely were trying to turn the entirety of the Red Rocks amphitheater into an instrument in itself. Sting sang an a cappella version of “Roxanne” that rippled up the rocks and echoed off into the distance. Marsalis’ clear tone and smooth, sinuous phrases also bounced around the venue, playfully at times, soothingly atmospheric at other times. I wondered if either of them consciously knew what they were doing. The lighting for the evening was also superb.
On the drive back I found myself thinking that “rock will be safe without me” and that I should retire from pursuing rock and roll. After all, I had just seen a great concert in a great venue and it didn’t seem you could ever get much higher musically. Instead, it occurred to me that I should spend the time writing memoirs of what I had experienced already. This was the very beginning of the long process of thinking that has finally become my book, “King Koncert.” I sat down to write a foreword that started exactly there- in my car, driving back from the Sting concert. I introduced the idea that chronicling rock and roll was a valuable pursuit because the music had helped transform contemporary culture in so many ways. Music had never before been such a popular pursuit and the last fifteen years- the years I had been active- had been pretty exciting. I would work on writing these memoirs over the years, but only in scattered bits and from dead-end angles. But I would not “retire” from rock and roll.
September 23- Mile High Stadium. Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band.
It’s a good thing that I did not “retire” from rock and roll, because the biggest spectacle in contemporary music was on its way. That is, the world tour of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Thanks to his multi-platinum selling album, “Born in the USA,” Springsteen had eclipsed all other popular artists- including Michael Jackson- to become the king of rock. I had seen Springsteen several times before- in 1975 in Tempe, Arizona, in 1976 in Santa Barbara and in 1978 in Phoenix- but the buzz was so strong and so many people were excited about Springsteen’s visit that I could not ignore the upcoming event. The general announcement had appeared on the front page of The Denver Post on July 26 and when tickets went on sale for two dates at Mile High Stadium- seating approximately 65,000 people for each show for a total of 130,000, a good percentage of the population of Denver- it was nearly a state holiday. The Post called Springsteen “the world’s hottest rock star” and that this was Springsteen’s first stadium tour in America. He had last played two sold-out shows Denver in 1984 at McNichols Arena.
The day tickets were sold, I didn’t bother waiting in line, but stopped by a ticket outlet later in the afternoon. What I scored were two seats, literally in the top row of the stadium for the second show, scheduled for September 23. Jonie was from the New Jersey shore area where Springsteen had spent some of his formative years. In fact, Springsteen had played one of her school dances. So it seemed to make sense to go catch up with an artist who had built up a kind of worldwide mania from such familiar beginnings.
The weather, however, did not cooperate very well with Springsteen’s arrival. The first show was postponed because of snow. When we arrived for what was supposed to be the second show, we took our place at the top of Mile High in our down coats, gloves and hats. Though perhaps one of the worst places to be for the concert itself, it was a great place to see the grand opening of the show. An enormous American flag unfurled and Springsteen started the night with a new kind of national anthem, “Born in the USA.” It was impressive and the stadium was gripped in a wave of emotional release that had been building since the news of the tour had first been published. This was a defining moment for tens of thousands of people, but enough was enough. The cold drove us to a lower level where we sneaked past an usher and watched the rest of the show from below. This would be the biggest concert that I had yet attended- some 10,000 more people than seeing the Who at Anaheim Stadium in 1976.
As riveting as the concert was itself, it was even more intense because the local media created a huge wave of coverage about the event. From September 20-25 the major publications in the region were filled with Springsteen news- from articles about the shows to personal recollections from people who had met him. Everybody jumped on the bandwagon for the single biggest outpouring of ink I had ever seen for a concert, or ever would see again. Day by day, for nearly a week, Colorado was enthralled with the Springsteen event.
Chaos broke out when Springsteen postponed the September 22 concert until September 24. In the Rocky Mountain News, Joseph B. Verrengia and Bob Diddlebock reported that “Springsteen’s decision to postpone the concert came about 2:15 pm after a Canadian cold front swooped into Colorado. Freezing rain pelted Mile High and gusty 25-mph winds rattled an elaborate network of spotlight.” Despite a guarantee printed on the ticket that promised a show “rain, snow or shine,” promoter Barry Fey countered with a sensible comment: “It didn’t say ‘ridiculous.’”
Still, Boss fans were incensed. The Denver Post also put concert news on the front page. The headline screamed “Icy cold front kicks out summer.” Writers Ted Delaney and Ann Schrader put it this way: “Bruce Springsteen may be The Boss but he deferred Sunday to a higher authority…making the much-acclaimed rock star less than godlike in the eyes of many disgruntled fans.”
The Tuesday night show- Springsteen’s birthday- would go on as planned. Jonie and I wore our down coats at the top of the stadium, the American flag unfurling behind the stage. Despite the cold, Denver fans were finally allowed to let loose in a huge outpouring of pent-up loyalty and devotion. The Boss had finally come to rule.
To celebrate the arrival of the Boss, the Fort Collins Coloradoan splashed full color pictures of Springsteen rocking at Mile High on both the front page and on page one of the Style section. Springsteen was wearing jeans and a couple of layers of shirts and the photo on the front page caught him digging into his guitar, the caption claiming attendance at the concert 68,000. In the Style section, photos portrayed Springsteen pumping his fist in the air in front of the huge American flag, wheeling around the stage with the members of the E Street band and spreading his legs while dominating the microphone. Supplemental black and white photos showed fans dancing in their down coats, braving “temperatures in the mid-30s,” and others bundled together underneath a blanket.
Writer Kathleen Halloran contributed two articles to the Coloradoan. The first declared that even though “a few disgruntled ticket-holders were calling Springsteen a ‘wimp’…he laid those sentiments to rest Monday night with four hours of riveting rock ‘n’ roll.” According to Halloran, Springsteen’s 29-song set that night included the opener, “Born in the USA,” as well as “Working on the Highway,” “Glory Days,” “Cadillac Ranch,” “The River” and “I’m on Fire.” He thanked the audience for his 36th “birthday party” and also called for support of the Colorado Food Clearinghouse, “a surplus food bank.” In her other article, Halloran detailed more of Springsteen’s birthday celebration: “dozens flew hand-made banners with birthday wishes…one passed a birthday cake up to him on stage.”
The Rocky Mountain News also put Springsteen on the cover, pumping his fist against a background of stars. Writer Joseph B. Verrengia reported that the huge birthday card that had been displayed at the Tabor Center for citizens to sign had been delivered to Springsteen’s dressing room. He also noted Springsteen’s support for the Colorado Food Clearing House, quoting the singer as he pleaded with the crowd: “There are people who have gone through the (government) safety net and have dropped to the bottom. It’s a real lonely country and by giving to the food bank, you’ll make Colorado a better place to live.”
More photos accompanied writer Justin Mitchell’s review in the News, including a shot of a couple wrapped up in a blanket. Mitchell added more details of the set list, including the songs “Badlands,” “Out in the Street,” “Johnny 99,” “Seeds,” “Promised Land,” “My Home Town,” “Thunder Road” and “Cover Me.” Mitchell quoted the Boss as he roared to the crowd about his birthday: “I feel young tonight. I’m at my sexual peak.” According to Mitchell, Springsteen counted out the years during the song “Glory Days.”
In the Rocky Mountain News Entertainment section, Mitchell also contributed an article following drummer Max Weinberg as he climbs up into the sound booth during sound check and confers with soundman Butch Jackson. Mitchell reported that Jackson had also run sound for other artists including Elvis Presley, Stevie Nicks, Carly Simon and Olivia Newton John.
The Denver Post also covered the concert with numerous stories. The review by G. Brown offered more details of the show itself. At the introduction of “Born in the USA,” Brown reported that “the audience of 68,000 erupted into a frenzy of dancing, arm-waving and singing that got even wilder in the second set and reached a crescendo in a series of encores.” Brown then declared that “Springsteen managed to preserve and attain that intimacy” thanks to the technology involved in the production. The video screens “allowed everyone to see a confident and heroic picture of Springsteen.”
Another night of Springsteen at Mile High- the Tuesday make-up concert for the Sunday date- brought another day of Springsteen press. But the thrill was waning. The Denver Post splashed a color tease across the top of the front page for their “Reflections on the Boss, Denver’s Springsteen scrapbook.” Pictures of a brawny, bare-armed Springsteen framed the headline.
The coverage included two full pages with huge black and white photos from the Monday night show. These included the dramatic cover shot of Springsteen raising his arm, with a field of stars in the background, a crowd shot of a Bruce Springsteen look-alike, decked out in a bandana headband, two teenage girls huddling underneath a blanket and a shot of front row fans dancing, clapping and singing along. Other images included Springsteen and Clemons, split-legged at the front of the stage and Springsteen dancing with Denver resident Jane Howard, Springsteen in a leather jacket and headband, Howard whirling in a winter coat and mittens. There was also a choreographed shot of Springsteen’s rear, ala “Born in the USA” album cover, Springsteen sitting on the edge of the stage, with the E Street Band members filling in behind him and the lineup of band members at the front of the stage, taking a bow at the end of the show, hands clasped.
The photo on the cover of the Rocky Mountain News on September 25 told the story of the weather for the Tuesday night concert- Springsteen was wailing away in a thick leather coat with Nils Lofgren playing guitar right next to him, Lofgren’s head protected by a hood and a hat askew on top. Writer Joseph B. Verrengia reported that “the weather would have made a polar bear grumpy.”
The parting media shot for this exhausting week of Boss-mania, came from the Entertainer, a CSU publication. The cover had a grainy action shot of Springsteen, in his leather jacket, wailing away at the microphone. The photo had obviously been taken from quite a distance and was simply labeled “The Boss.” There was no review, no news article, just a picture like a fuzzy memory with this rock ‘n’ roll hero frozen in mid-scream- just like the pictures stuffed in the heads of more than 130,000 people. The Boss had come and had moved on. What was left were the memories surging through the minds and hearts of the fans, many of whom were already looking forward to their next encounter with Bruce Springsteen.