fenway.jpg” width=”332″ height=”263″ align=”right”>Am I jealous? Do I wish I were there. No, for in obnoxious older-brother
one-upmanship I have the ultimate Bruce Springsteen memory to fall back
on during family reunions. It was the summer of 1973, and I was hanging
out in Cambridge, drinking wine and moving weed and dating Janie. It was
Janie who turned me on to "some new guy from Jersey" playing at a little
hole in the wall called, if memory serves, "The Hole in the Wall" on the
bridge over the turnpike right behind Kenmore Square, within a Manny Ramirez
homer from Fenway Park, where coincidentally the Boss has returned tonight.
Springsteen’s first album, Greetings from Asbury Park, had been released
the previous January, but as the Boss joked during the first set, "If you
were one of the 15 people who bought our first album you might recognize
this song." The breakthrough album, Wild, Innocent and E Street Shuffle
was in the can and would be released in September, and formed most of the
play list for the 3-night gig.
The bar only held about 30 patrons, and it was half full. I can’t remember
if there was a Sox game that night, but we stayed to closing (obviously)
and the place never filled up. There was no psychic firewall at all between
the band and the audience and we drank and joked with Bruce and Clarence
between sets. We were viscerally aware that we were witnessing the future
of Rock and Roll.
When David Sancious, who was on keyboards back then, stretch his long,
elegant 17-year-old fingers over the ivories to open the last set with
the indelible piano intro to New York City Serenade, which of course none
of us had heard before at that point, I was transported somewhere from
which I never really returned
Springsteen did return, in October after the second album had been released,
to play a slightly larger bar in Harvard Square called "Father’s Four"
which closed shortly thereafter due to reputed mob connections. By then,
was a line around the corner past the Hong Kong restaurant, but the show
was worth the wait. The next time he came back he played a packed Music
Hall, and that was the last time I went to see the Boss.
Those were the days! That same summer Aerosmith was the house band at Jack’s
on Massachusetts Ave., our middle watering hole between the Plow and Stars
and the bar at the old Orsen Wells Theater. I clearly remember walking
by on many an afternoon and, noting the chalkboard in the window, groaning.
"Shit, Aerosmith AGAIN?"
Oh my God! I am starting to sound like one of those ancient, washed up,
brain damaged hippies wasting away on recycled memories of exaggerated
escapades. But what do I care what I sound like? I know I was there, and
that the Boss was never better than that night 20 years ago in The Hole
in the Wall. So take that, little brother, and put it in the pipe you confiscate
from that 15-year-old punk, and smoke it.