The Fifth Element #23 Letters
A class act
Editor: I have just finished reading John Marks' "The Fifth Element" column in the May Stereophile. I am literally floored by his homage to Bruce Springsteen. What an incredible piece of writing. This is a classic piece and John is a class act. Thank you.—Joel Waterman, San Jose, CA
Heartfelt thanks for your kind words, Joel. When I wrote that column, I was apprehensive whether anyone, with the possible exception of John Atkinson (I think he is very much on my "wavelength;';'), would "get it." Letters like yours make me feel very relieved and very proud.
By the way: Bruce Springsteen, whom I have never met, barely finished high school, whereas I studied poetry translation under the poet in residence at an Ivy League school. But I envy Bruce's way with words. Yes, my column was an act of homage, from a hardworking and studious writer to an inspired and natural one.—John Marks
Editor: John Marks' piece on Bruce in the May Stereophile (p.49) was great. As a longtime fan, he ought to know about Brucebase, an invaluable gold mine of information at a site run by a great guy named John Leach. It confirms that Bruce did indeed play Alumnae Hall at Brown on April 26, 1974, citing a Providence Journal review of the show. That date would place Dave Sancious on piano and Danny Federici on keyboards. Roy and Max did not answer the legendary ad in the Village Voice until sometime in the summer of 1974, after my first show, Central Park on 8/3/74 (the Anne Murray meltdown).—Cliff Breining, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for the amazing info, Cliff. The database is remarkable, and they got the itty-bitty details right, such as the concert's having been on the Pembroke campus (Brown's sister school when Brown was males-only), so that the hall was Alumnae. Color me impressed. It appears I spent $2.50 for the ticket. I don't recall the concert being at midnight, but I do recall that it was after I got out of work at the liquor store, and back then I was probably more blasé about late hours than I am now.
I do wish I recall more about the concert. Be advised that that is not a drug or drinking reference---I think I had one beer that night. It's just that the music was mostly unfamiliar, and I was quite taken aback by Bruce's manic energy. Gordon Lightfoot he was not! It was all a blur, but a glorious blur.—John Marks