WASHINGTON – Legendary rocker Bruce Springsteen’s live concerts are the stuff of legend — bombastic celebrations of culture and song that give many fans something akin to a religious experience.
Springsteen began his music career more than 40 years ago, and continues to perform lengthy concerts for fans of all ages.
Springsteen and the E Street Band will perform Friday at Nationals Park.
Springsteen’s music speaks to multiple generations, so it’s no surprise that the WTOP newsroom has its share of Boss fans.
In anticipation of the concert, WTOP staff members weigh in on Springsteen’s performances, albums, and longevity.
Jim Battagliese, WTOP director of traffic and sports
“The first time I saw him was in 1980 for ‘The River’ tour,” Battagliese says.
Watch Springsteen perform “Born to Run” during the 1980 tour.
Battagliese has been to several Springsteen concerts over the years, including a recent concert at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
“He was just jamming the entire time. Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine and Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam were up there with him for most of the concert … At one point Bruce went down on his back on the floor, rolling around while he was playing the guitar. It was great,” he says.
Watch Springsteen and Eddie Vedder sing “My Hometown” at Wrigley Field.
Mike Moss, WTOP morning anchor:
Mike Moss might be the biggest Springsteen fan in the Glass Enclosed Nerve Center.
Moss first saw Springsteen perform in the late 1970s, and has been to dozens of E Street Band concerts since.
Moss reflects on Springsteen’s mass appeal:
“You go to a Springsteen concert, and it’s not just people who have been following him for 30 years. You’ll also find young people there who reach out to him … There’s an honesty about what he does. That’s why so many long-term fans are committed to his work.”
Moss describes the Springsteen concert experience as an event “that will envelop you, enliven you, spiritually enrich you, and take you to another level. It’s just a great experience.”
Paula Wolfson, WTOP reporter:
Paula Wolfson has only been to one Springsteen concert, but it made a big impression.
“The first and only time I saw the Boss was at FedEx Stadium. It was right after Johnny Cash died.”
Wolfson describes the opening of the concert:
“The lights dimmed … the stage got dark, and there was Springsteen out in the middle of the stage, dressed in black, singing ‘I Walk the Line.’ I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything quite so beautiful,” she says.
Watch Springsteen’s September 2003 performance of “I Walk the Line” at FedEx Field:
Randi Martin, WTOP reporter:
Randi Martin is a New Jersey native, and has had the chance to see Springsteen perform in small clubs and large arenas.
While working at a Miami radio station in the 1970s, Martin had the pleasure of introducing the E Street Band at an arena concert.
“Bruce thanked me and grabbed my hand, and Clarence smacked me on the butt. I was a very happy girl,” she says.
Martin’s favorite albums are “Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.” and “Born to Run.”
Colleen Kelleher, WTOP.com web editor:
Colleen Kelleher is another WTOP employee who has been to multiple Springsteen concerts.
Kelleher’s favorite Springsteen concert was on July 4, 1985 at Wembley Stadium in London.
“It was standing room only … watching him perform ‘Independence Day’ and ‘Born In the U.S.A.’ was just fabulous,” Kelleher says.
Kelleher feels that many of Springsteen’s songs are timeless.
“No matter what generation it is, you can listen to his songs and find something that speaks to your heart. I think Springsteen is one of the artists who can transcend a generation,” she says.
Listen to the opening songs from Springsteen’s July 4, 1985 concert at Wembley Stadium: