New Jersey, Geelong, Melbourne, 1978-1985

It’s grainy.

It’s black and white.

It’s incomplete.

It’s just what the doctor ordered as Stage 4 hits you in the solar plexus.

It’s 1978.

You’re 15. You live in a second rate city, not quite on the edge of town but definitely on the edge of darkness.

Bruce is about to turn 29.

The sweaty band tear up the New Jersey night, Clarence in all white and a sleeveless vest. Bruce in a singlet, lean and muscled, and alive. He leaps from speaker stacks back on to the stage. Stevie, beret in place, has hair.

The piano tinkles in the quiet spaces between the saxophone.

Beneath the city two hearts beat
Soul engines running through a night so tender
In a bedroom locked in whispers
Of soft refusal and then surrender

Outside the street’s on fire in a real death waltz
Between what’s flesh and what’s fantasy
And the poets down here
Don’t write nothing at all
They just stand back and let it all be

You sneak into a pub to see a band. (Your straitlaced older brother unwilling to be a co-conspirator.)

It’s not Bruce in New Jersey, but you’ll make do with Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons in Geelong, as good a band going around then. And since.

It lights a fire within. In the next seven years you see a lot of bands, good and bad, memorable and forgettable. Until the magic days in 1985 … when Bruce comes to town. And plays Jungleland.

Stereo Story #536


The Springsteen collection of Stereo Stories 

Louise Maskell has been surrounded by other people's words for some 30 years. Occasionally she strings together a few of her own. Otherwise it's all about the music and tall skinny dogs. She misses The Continental.