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Springsteen meets Orbison, Oh What a Night!


Roy “Boy” Orbison the legendary singer would have been 76 years old on Monday (4/23). I am a big fan of his music and hearing that it was his birthday reminded me of a night of music I’ll never forget.

It was June 30th 1984 at The Carlton House outside of Minneapolis. The night before, we were all at The St. Paul Civic Center for the opening of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in The USA” Tour and back then it was one night on one night off for Bruce and the band.

Cheryl, who was doing promotions and helping out during the Born in the USA Tour called me and asked if I had any connections to The Carlton House, Bruce and some of the band wanted to see Roy Orbison on their off night. I told Cheryl not to worry I’ll get a table.

I had absolutely no connections to anyone at The Carlton House, none! But Cheryl called me because I had attended the The University of Minnesota and I was also with my fellow classmate Kevin McHale from the Boston Celtics who was in Minneapolis to play the USA Olympic Team that weekend. I figured if I can’t get a table for Bruce and Kevin, shame on me. I got the table. I got to sit there and enjoy Roy Orbison’s wonderful command of his voice which few other artists attempt to cover because of his magnificent range.

We were having a blast, great music and then Bruce hops up on stage after an invitation and sings with Roy. It was like Bruce transformed into Roy’s head! Bruce knew the music and looked genuinely humbled to share the stage. It was a blast for me to witness and to hear.

Some people say that night sparked the eventual tribute to Roy Orbison that Bruce would participate in. I don’t know about that but I do know June 30th, 1984 was a great night of fun and great music with two music legends, a tall basketball hall-of-famer and one large radio guy.


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