Bruce Springsteen St James Park Newcastle 4th June 1985

Bruce Springsteen St James Park Newcastle 4th June 1985
brucetixusaFour years on from his tremendous performance at the City Hall, Bruce Springsteen was back in Newcastle to headline two nights at St James Park, the home of Newcastle United Football Club, as part of the Born in the USA tour. The tour also called at Wembley Stadium for three nights, and included a show at Roundhay Park, Leeds. This was Springsteen’s biggest and most successful tour to date, and ran from June 1984 until October 1985. One major change in the E Street band was the departure of guitarist Steven Van Zandt who had decided to go solo. He was replaced by Nils Lofgren, whose onstage gymnastics added a new dimension to the show. The tour also gave fans an opportunity to see the new, super fit and muscly Bruce, he had been training heavily in preparation for the marathon performances he would deliver each and every night.
I went along with a group of mates to the first of the two concerts. Bruce and the band took to the stage early, around 6pm, and treated the sold out crowd to a lengthy, high energy performance which ran to over three and a half hours. Bruce ran on stage, and bang bang it was straight into “Born in the USA” and away we went. I enjoyed the gig, and the crowd certainly did, but I also felt that something had been lost in the transformation to stadium rock.bruceprogusaTo be honest “Born in the USA” isn’t my favourite Springsteen album. I much prefer his finely crafted stories of the American dream as told on “Born to Run”, to the rousing stadium rock anthems of “Born in the USA”. Having said that, the recent Bruce shows I have seen have been examples of how an artist can transcend the boundaries of stadium rock and relate directly to his audience in a much more intimate way. One things for sure, in 1985 Bruce was performing at the top of his game, and setting a standard for stadium rock that others would attempt to follow.
I foolishly lost touch with Bruce Springsteen after this concert, and it was some years before I went to see him again.
Setlist: Born in the U.S.A.; Badlands; Out in the Street; Johnny 99; Atlantic City; The River; Working on the Highway; Trapped; Prove It All Night; Glory Days; The Promised Land; My Hometown; Thunder Road; Cover Me; Dancing in the Dark; Hungry Heart; Cadillac Ranch; Downbound Train; I’m on Fire; Pink Cadillac; Racing in the Street; Rosalita (Come Out Tonight); Born to Run; Bobby Jean; Ramrod; Twist and Shout

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tony Poolan on September 30, 2014 at 9:24 am

    For me this was the beginning of the end of my love of Bruce – with the exception of Tunnel of Love.

    I had had the 1978 Winterland bootleg on tape – spectacular – and he was astonishing at the gig at the City Hall in 1981 – which was a privilege to attend. It was also the first time I had seen a lighting guy climb a rope ladder to a pod suspended 60ft from the stage!

    The new muscle bound Bruce had lost something for me. Yes he still gave it all and the band were terrific. – but although he was always a little over the top on the showbiz stuff suddenly – for me anyway – he was heading over the top.

    The songs were ostensibly less intense and I found that difficult.

    Just me I suppose.

    It was still a good show and he held the audience as he always has but I lost him shortly after as a hero.


  2. Posted by Andrea Joice on February 26, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    Got to see Bruce for free at St James’ Park 4th June 1985 after not being able to get tickets (went to listen outside the stadium and was given ticket stubs from a man who’d had too much to drink). Missed only 15 minutes of his amazing performance and have to say myself and my boyfriend (now husband of 27 years) were bowled over! The atmosphere was electric; Bruce’s performance outstanding and considering it was the early days of football stadium gigs, went without a hitch (that we were aware of). X


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