Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The way we were...The Boss plays the Orange Bowl

29 years ago this week, Bruce Springsteen played two sold-out concerts on Sept. 9th and 10th at the Orange Bowl.

Bruce Springsteen performs at the Orange Bowl on September 9, 1985.
(Photo by Kathy Willens/AP)

On Tuesday, Sept. 10, the Miami Herald's Carl Hiaasen offered up a list of do's and don'ts for those planning to attend Springsteen's second concert.


by Carl Hiaasen
Miami Herald, Sept. 10, 1985

Tonight is the final installment of Bruce Springsteen at the Orange Bowl, and another sell-out crowd is expected to hear the tough guitarist from Jersey play his workingman rock 'n' roll.

For many fans, this will be their first experience at a mega-concert in a sports stadium. Over the years a distinct rock-show etiquette has evolved, and for the uninitiated here is a guide.

1. Scalping. This is the amiably usurious act of finding desperate, drooling souls to buy your $17.50 tickets for $200. The pain of this transaction is lessened if you address the buyer as "brother" or "dude" and make a few penetrating remarks about Bruce's music.

2. Dress Code. For Springsteen, blue jeans mandatory -- and they have to be old, OK? Domestic, too -- none of this Paris designer dreck.

Afew of you might choose to partially disrobe late in the show, as is customary. Use good judgment in this endeavor. Some fans -- and you know who you are -- should never remove their clothes in public. Please don't spoil the concert for others.

3. Booing the Opening Act. This popular pastime can range from simple jeering to small-arms fire directed at the stage. Fortunately, Springsteen usually doesn't use an opening act, so try to control yourselves tonight and save the booing for the next Billy Idol concert.

4. Rushing the Stage. This happens regularly at stadium concerts because in the whole place only about 13 persons (all relatives of the city commissioners) are actually seated close enough to see the band. Everyone else might as well be watching an ant farm.

The traditional rushing of the stage by sweaty throngs takes place about two-thirds into the show. If you must participate, be polite and don't trample. This isn't a soccer match.

5. Stupidly Shouting Song Requests. Don't do this unless you really want to broadcast your idiocy. It's inevitable -- 80,000 screaming fans in the Orange Bowl and one guy in the upper deck is hollering, "Yo! Bruce! Do Pink Cadillac!" Like he can almost hear you.

6. Fist-Shaking. When Springsteen breaks into Born to Run, everyone around you will cheer wildly and raise their fists to the sky, punching in rhythm with the song. Fist-shaking is a seminal rock custom and it's important to try to keep time so you don't look like a complete putz. And, for God's sake, don't accidentally slug the guy in front of you. This is Miami, remember, Land of the Casual Uzi.

7. Fighting. While head-bashing and eye-gouging might be routine at concerts by Ratt or Motley Crue, it is extremely bad form at a Springsteen show. His music is both hearty and intelligible, and his fans are expected to behave accordingly.

With one exception: If anyone standing near you should unleash one of those loud pneumatic boat horns, feel free to pummel them into dog meat.

8. Substance Abuse. Some concert fans will ingest industrial-strength drugs and show no effect, while others will giggle and dance in circles and perform ungainly butterfly imitations. Steer clear of these people because the next phase, after butterflies, is throwing up.

9. Bouncers. The men who guard the stage at rock concerts are best described as a cross between a cement mixer and a wolverine. If you insist on trying to climb on stage to go dancing in the dark with Bruce, be prepared to go home in a grocery bag.

10. Encores. Any rock musician worth his salt always gives two encores, and any experienced rock fan knows exactly what to do.

When Springsteen trots offstage, the lights will go off and everyone in the audience will chant for more and light a match. This is a vivid ritual, but it has drawbacks. Years ago I was at an Elton John concert, waiting for such an encore, when a young woman's hair actually caught fire.

If this happens, by all means forget the music and put out the flames.

Bruce, and his insurance company, would want it that way.

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