Jack and Bruce

I saw Bruce Springsteen last night along with 60,000 other people at the Emirates Stadium here in London. Months ago my Refol Nadene offered to get me tickets and I said no, I don’t like big stadium concerts. But when my neighbour Martin said he had a ticket spare, I just couldn’t resist.

It was wonderful and dreadful. It was great to see The Boss again. It seemed that the passing of years has missed him and he was as energetic as he was a score of years ago. Emotions swirled around me like a leafy breeze but most of them were because of nostalgia. Bruce was the soundtrack to my high school and college years. I remember dropping a needle on, Night, before I went out on Friday evenings. I remembered playing, She’s the One, on my cassette player in the car on the way to a big date. I remembered my father buying a copy of, The River. I was shocked he got me something so appropriate and hip. He told me he read a review in Time Magazine and wondered if I had ever heard of him. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I had bought the album a week before.

But mostly I remembered the late great Jack McEntee. Jack was a year older than me and a wheeler-dealer even at the age of 17. He was the president of the Coffee House Committee at my high school. The CHC would periodically put on little shows where we would serve herbal tea and students would play bad covers of folk songs and even worse renditions of music they wrote themselves. On an evening in 1975 Jack showed up at my house to “take me to the library” and immediately took me to a tiny 300 seat music coffee house in the Philadelphia suburb of Bryn Mawr called The Main Point. He had been the night before and said I just had to see this guy.

The concert last night was bad mostly because the sound was dreadful and I was miles away but even if I was in the front row and the sound was picture perfect, it could never compete with the night that me, Jack and 298 others spent with The E Street Band.

Jack nipped back stage and when he reemerged he said he had gotten Springsteen’s manager to agree to do a concert at our high school. Now all Jack had to do was convince our principle to let us put on a pay-ticket concert in our school auditorium. And Jack did it.

We printed the tickets and we put them on sale but the concert never happened. Why you ask? Did the principle change his mind? Did Springsteen pull out at the last minute? No. The concert was canceled due to lack of interest!

I hadn’t thought about Jack in a long time. It made last night’s concert worth while.

I found this recording that was made that very week at the same venue by a local radio station. Enjoy.

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3 Responses to “Jack and Bruce”

  1. Bob McEntee Says:

    Thanks for bringing up some of the good memories of my brother Jack. I hadn’t thought of those years for a long time. My trips to the “library” was usually to a bar that served us both underage. He only took me because i always had some money!

  2. Tim Lenahan Says:

    John when you tell stories about the Main Point they think you are lying – We were all the Forest Gump’s of the golden age of folk and rock back then.

    Do remember Jack sitting in front of me at the Tower during a Bowie concert and he shared with all of us. He was a true rocket who deserves to be spoken of often.

  3. PeterW Says:

    I was one of those fanatics who followed Springsteen to as many shows as I could back in the mid 1970s. I saw him perform “I Want You” somewhere…The State Theater in New Brunswick? McCarter at Princeton?

    They were magical times. Thanks for the link and a trip down memory lane.

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