Bruce almighty

Look­ing back at the sto­ried mu­si­cal life of Bruce Spring­steen, in­clud­ing his Toronto glory days

Richmond Hill Post - - Classified­s -

A case could be made that Bruce Spring­steen is one of the best solo per­form­ers in mu­sic history. And there would be a lot of Toron­to­ni­ans who might agree, given his long history of elec­tric shows he’s put on in the city over the years.

It all started in the late ’60s when Spring­steen started play­ing clubs with the band Earth and was dubbed “the Boss” be­cause he han­dled dol­ing out the cash to his band­mates.

Al­though Spring­steen was re­leas­ing crit­i­cally ac­claimed albums and tour­ing, com­mer­cial suc­cess eluded him un­til 1975 when he re­leased the now-sem­i­nal al­bum Born To Run. The release was punc­tu­ated by a five-night, 10-con­cert gig at New York City’s Bot­tom Line club, and Rolling Stone mag­a­zine named the gig in their list of the 50 Mo­ments That Changed Rock and Roll.With suc­cess, came more tour­ing, in­clud­ing into Canada ac­com­pa­nied by the E Street Band. One of Spring­steen’s first Cana­dian shows was in Toronto at Seneca Col­lege on Dec. 21, 1975. Ticket price was $7.50.

Suc­cess didn’t ex­actly sit well with the Boss, who changed mu­si­cal di­rec­tion upon his re­turn to the stu­dio cul­mi­nat­ing in the 1978 release of Dark­ness on the Edge of Town. Al­though it didn’t have the com­mer­cial im­pact of Born To Run, the Dark­ness tour was so epic that peo­ple are still talk­ing about it. The shows were marked by an un­matched in­ten­sity and length. In Novem­ber 1978, Spring­steen played his first show at Maple Leaf Gar­dens.

Spring­steen’s next al­bum was The River, fol­lowed by the more solemn Ne­braska, then came the al­bum that took the Spring­steen myth to an en­tirely new level: Born in the U.S.A., the 1984 release that sold 15 mil­lion copies in the United States alone.

His 1985 show at the CNE grand­stand is the stuff of leg­end, with thou­sands of fans from across southern On­tario in­vad­ing Toronto to catch a glimpse of the Boss.

And he’s still go­ing! Spring­steen plays the Air Canada Cen­tre on Feb. 2 as part of his The River 2016 tour. He re­leased a new box set called The Ties That Bind: The River Col­lec­tion last month. Con­cert tick­ets avail­able on to the sold-out show, but let’s just say they are no longer $7.50.

In 1985, happy Bruce Spring­steen fans started lin­ing up dur­ing the day out­side the CNE Grand­stand for tick­ets to his con­certs at the Ex

L–R: Spring­steen in 1975 at his first Toronto con­cert, at Maple Leaf Gar­dens in 1981 and at his Born in the U.S.A. tour at the CNE in 1984

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