It was May 24, 1978 when Bruce Springsteen set off on an epic 115 date Darkness Tour — Big Joe remembers it well
Bruce Springsteen took a little time off after his Born to Run Tour. He was itching to get out and hit the road with the release of his new album Darkness on the Edge of Town. The reviews for this album would be subdued compared to the adulation Born to Run received here in the States and all over the world.
As a result of what he thought would be a lukewarm response, Bruce put a 118 date tour together with all the dates playing just here in the U.S., due to sickness and weather the tour would perform a total of 115 dates.
It was this tour that Bruce would slowly slip into a 25 – 26 song set list lasting well over two hours and the shows were filled with such intensity, showmanship and well, great music that Bruce historians claim this tour may have been Bruce’s best.
The tour kicked off in Buffalo at Shea’s Performing Arts Center on May 24th 1978. I got to see the show on November 29th 1978 in St. Paul, Minnesota at the St. Paul Civic Center which was demolished in the late 1990’s.
I was wrapping up my stellar career attending the University of Minnesota. I got tickets right away when it was announced and scored a couple of back stage passes thanks to my Jersey connections.
The show was unbelievable! I had seen Bruce a few times before that but I couldn’t believe the energy, the tightness of the band and the passion and commitment that Bruce delivered on every song. It was an amazing show. We went nuts to Rosalita and I thought the building would collapse when the band did Born to Run.
After a killer show like that I figured there was going to be some big party after the show, I couldn’t wait to get back stage. Well, imagine my surprise when backstage there was no booze, no frills, no music, just a working crew packing up and family and friends who were subdued and exhausted from experiencing the Prisoner of Rock and Roll.
After thinking about it, it made sense. Bruce was focused on one thing and that was this show that night. That’s always been his mantra, leaving it all on the stage, rest up, recharge and do it all again the following night.
I’m a lucky guy to have witnessed such a great show; it’s one I’ll never forget.