Wrestling With The Angel, Chapter 4

It was the fourth stop of the tour.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band were performing in support of their fourth album, Darkness On The Edge Of Town. They’d hit the road on May 23, 1978 in Buffalo, NY. On this night, the venue was The Music Hall (now called “The Wang Theatre”) in downtown Boston, MA. For each of three sold-out nights, May 29, 30 & 31, the place belonged to Bruce, the E Street Band and about 3600 fans.

The night we were there – May 31, a Wednesday – Andrea and I had great seats, located in a what is now called the “orchestra box right.”

About 45 minutes into the show, as the applause started to die down after a loud, majestic, full-band rocker, the stage and the room went black. Out of the darkness came the haunting but declarative sound of a grand piano: arpeggiated chords strode steady and sure beneath a shimmering, insistent melodic phrase. (The pianist was Roy Bittan.) After a minute or so, one white spotlight came on, front and center, from directly above the stage. Shining down, it illuminated Bruce, standing at the microphone, at first seemingly entranced by the piano music, but then beginning to sing.


If you’re a new (since May 2010) visitor to this blog, the purpose of my Wrestling With The Angel series (or category) is to highlight and share individual songs that are on a list of mine entitled: Devastatingly Great Songs. The title phrase, “Wrestling With The Angel,” is my paraphrase of a line from a poem by Herman Melville called Art. You can read the complete poem in my archived post of November 4, 2011: The Source.

P.S.: Happy 63rd Birthday, Bruce Springsteen.

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