Springsteen, Courtney Cox, Orbison and Big Joe
I’ve been lucky to have always had interesting jobs and because of that I get to do a lot of fun things. One weekend 36 years ago was probably the most fun I ever had.
It was late June of 1984 and I was working for a major television network and had business in Minneapolis. I knew Minneapolis well because I attended the University of Minnesota.
My fellow school pals Kevin McHale who played basketball for The Boston Celtics and went on to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and Chris Engler who at the time was playing for the Golden State Warriors were also both in town and playing for the NBA All-Star team.
They were scheduled to play the USA Olympic basketball team Sunday, July 1 at the Humphrey Dome in Minneapolis. It was an early game that was going to be televised nationally. The USA Olympic team had Michael Jordan on it so this was getting a lot of press.
So Friday night, June 29, 1984 was opening night of Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA tour. The concert was at the St. Paul Civic Center right across the river.
Kevin McHale says ”listen, you have to get tickets, we’ve got to go to that show.” I’m thinking hey you’re the NBA super star you get the tickets, but he’s heard that a lot and I figured I would try my connections. The concert had sold out in about 13 seconds, several months before, but through a connection or two I ended up getting us tickets and back stage passes to opening night.
Well the concert was unbelievable but it was also the concert where they filmed the Dancing in the Dark video when Bruce plucks Courtney Cox out of the crowd and up onto the stage. They filmed it a couple of times. We’re walking back stage after the show and I see Courtney Cox and I say, “boy aren’t you lucky to be up there dancing with Bruce.” She then said, “no, I’m an actress from L.A.” Ah, Bruce is all showbiz.
One of Bruce’s tour people asked if I had any connections to The Carlton Celebrity House which was sort of a dinner theatre out in the Minneapolis suburbs. The great Roy Orbison was going to be playing there Saturday night, when Bruce and the band were off.
We were pumped so of course I lied and said I did have a way of getting tickets. Sure enough, I was able to get us a big table where Bruce, Kevin, Chris and I along with others went to the show. That night Bruce hops on stage with Roy Orbison, it was a great night filled with amazing music.
If that wasn't enough of an amazing weekend, there was a small group from the band that wanted to go to the NBA vs. Olympic team game that Sunday, the next day. So I told Kevin and he took care of that request and after drinking the deadly Metaxas with Clarence Clemons on Saturday night I was a little fuzzy for the game on Sunday, which started at noon.
I couldn’t tell you much about the game, even though I was there courtside. After the game, back to the hotel for a nap and then back to the St. Paul Civic Center to see Bruce and The E Street Band for round two.
It was an epic weekend that I won’t forget and if I had tried to plan all the details and shows in advance that weekend they never would have happened. I’m very grateful for my job, my friends and the outstanding music from that one epic weekend.