In a horrific dream I was transported back to 1985 as a young man named Russell stood on the roof of a long boat on the Birmingham canal. He was bellowing the words to Born In The USA and throwing bad Springsteen shapes as the boat wallowed along the canal.
It was the year of Live Aid and the mega growth of Springsteen and the resurgence of Queen as a monster rock act. U2 managed to get some credibility and Jagger and Bowie gyrated, pouted and managed to unselfconsciously out embarrass the world as they danced in the streets.
All of this was brought on by my managing to find a copy of Bruce and the E-Streeters Live 1975-85 box-set of joy. I really dig Bruce, he is all machismo and sentimental sincerity. You get the idea he is probably a lot of fun to hang out with, worries about the little man and is a little embarrassed by his wealth as well as surprised at his popularity. It is a massive undertaking to listen to all five albums and I bet I have to stretch it out.
I did however find myself losing myself in the big sound of the E-Street Band and the Boss as they stroll though some of the best songs committed to record. Some of the mid song banter is a little cringeworthy, although my understanding it is this aspect of the Springsteen show that can really whip the crowd into a frenzy as he works them like a baptist preacher or snake oil salesman.
My biggest problem right now and then is getting the sight of that skinny white dude with the permed blonde hair in too tight, too short shorts dancing on that cheesy boat. At the time it was summer holidays and we thought it would be fun to putter up and down a canal. Russell managed to bring along hours of Live Aid he had copied from the TV. Everyone else forgot music and we had to put up with this onslaught. Until we pulled into a small town that had a WH Smith where I managed to find a copy of World Shut Your Mouth in the sale rack. Kolly Kibber’s Birthday never managed to drown out the memory or sound of Radio Ga Ga and Born In The USA though. It was however more successful than those slightly stretched live tapes at attracting the young ladies of the Midlands, it was also the first and last time anyone ever said to me you sound just like the Beatles in the UK.
As I hit side 4 of the box set I am wishing a bit I had found the Cope album as it is a classic but my guess is almost impossible to find in the wild in Oregon.