November 30, 1984

For thousands of fans who piled into The Summit in Houston to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on Nov. 30, 1984 it was just another concert. However, for me, it was a night that changed my life. As soon as The Boss yelled “One, two, three, four” and went into a blistering version of “Born in the USA” I knew I wanted to be a singer in a rock and roll band.

The show was phenomenal. His energy was incredible. We heard everything that night; “Jungleland,” “Racing in the Street,” “Thunder Road,” “Johnny Bye Bye, “Cadillac Ranch,” you name any of his best songs and we saw them that night. I thought the roof was going to come off the building when they went into the “Detroit Medley.”  It was the best the concert I had ever seen.

The next day my brother and I were in the garage with a couple of other guys putting a band together. I was playing drums at the time, but one day I decided to try my hand at singing. The first song I sang in front of people was “Dancing in the Dark.” While it wasn’t even close to  great, it felt great. Since that time I have been in three different bands, and have been the lead singer for two. While I haven’t experienced 1/1,000,000th of the success of Mr. Springsteen, the experience of writing, recording, performing and singing has enriched my life in more ways than I can count. I thank Bruce for that night and for giving me the inspiration to do what I always knew I wanted to do, but never had the courage to try.

“Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

“Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

One Response to “November 30, 1984”

  1. My first Springsteen concert was a few years earlier, in 1976, and like you, one show was all it took for me to be hooked completely.

    I attended a number of Bruce’s concerts around the time of the 1984 Houston show. I probably saw the next show after Houston, on December 2, 1984 in Baton Rouge. I was so moved by the show that I took time off work and hit the road with my bride-to-be, and saw Bruce perform in Memphis on December 14 and Atlanta on December 16. They were amazing shows, and had a profound influence on me as well.

    At each of those shows, Bruce talked about giving back to your community, and he made a plug for the local f0ood bank. Many of us had never heard of food banks — the first one in the U.S. had been founded only two years earlier — but when I got home to New Orleans I pulled out the phone book, and called the food bank and volunteered. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, as I spent 16 years as a volunteer, ranging from general helper to President of the Board, and was a part of a team that helped the local food bank grow to a multi-million dollar operation that helps feed the hungry statewide.

    Everyone at the food bank knew my story, so when Bruce came to New Orleans on the Ghost of Tom Joad tour, and offered front row seat (plus all profits) to the food bank, two of the tickets were mine. When we arrived for the show, we were told that Bruce wanted to meet us after the show, and I spent 20 mninutes face-to-face with him. He had as much energy during our visit as in concert, and he was as engaging as anyone I have spoken with.

    What goes around comes around, as Dr. John has said. Those shows in 1984 sowed the seeds of a rewarding volunteer experience for me, and in turn brought me to a personal visit with Springsteen several years later.

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