Looking back rarely did a day go by where I didn’t hear of or didn’t tell, a story. It’s left me wanting to phone everyone I ever knew to fill in the gaps. Just this week I received a note from Tash, my pal from back in my A and M days. We’d been to few gigs together, notably Springsteen and U2 and I think ironically enough, the last one we attended was when The Boss popped along to see U2 supporting Talking Heads at the Hammersmith Palais. Springsteen had just finished his River tour and delayed his return to the US….methinks that makes it 1981?
I made the trip down from Manchester especially and my photographer friend Kevin Cummins came along too. Even though U2 weren’t big then it certainly turned out to Kevin’s advantage, much the same as on Christmas day in either 76 or 77 when he went along to see the Sex Pistols in Huddersfield. Kevin had a knack of being at the right place at the right time and how wonderful, not only to have the photos but also to have built up a memorable archive….. and made some money at the same time.
The Talking Heads /U2 show was enough just being there but it turned in to a magical evening. Bruce was mingling in the crowd in his beret and T shirt (well he had trousers on too) and although he was recognized by the crowd, they said hi and left him alone. He was there for the same reason they were and they respected that. U2’s set was good but I do remember the sound suddenly dipping a little after they’d been playing for 30 minutes…it’s never good for the support act to go down too well so sound levels nudged down a little. Bono was parading around the stage and making the audience pay attention, something he’d perfected from day one.Brucie boy was nodding away and clearly having fun. He had got in to U2 quite early on.
After the show I stuck my head backstage with Tash but Bruce had beat us to it and was deep in conversation with Bono, so we left them to it. Adrian Boot was there on behalf of Island that night and got the shots of them with Bruce which appeared in the music press. There’s a particularly good one which made it in to the U2 tour book and I have some great shots of my own which Kevin gave me.
My wife Marie was a huge Springsteen fan and although I knew Springsteen was going to be at the gig, I made no promises…she’d have died to have been there. After the show had ended we ambled out in to the street and who was there on his own with his legs dangling out of the van but the man himself. We went over and said our hellos, what a lovely down to earth bloke Brucie boy was. I asked him to autograph the back of my ticket to Marie and he duly obliged…..and only last week when I recounted the event to Tash she said ‘do you remember you didn’t have a pen.’ ‘No’ I said. ‘Do you remember who lent you one?’ ‘Er, no’ I said once again…..’Pete Townsend’. oh my God, I had no recollection whatsoever, apparently she hadn’t kept her ticket stub and Bruce had signed her hand. She told me she didn’t wash it for a week.
Makes me think how normal huge stars compared to todays wannabees ….another idea to write about in this reality crazed world of ours