Bruce Springsteen’s Wild Weekend
Bruce Springsteen had a wild weekend starting Saturday (Oct. 28) with the Bruce Springsteen Archives symposium at Monmouth University celebrating the 50th anniversary of The E Street Band’s The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle and capping it off inducting his wife and fellow E Street Band member, Patti Scialfa, into the New Jersey Hall of Fame. at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center Sunday night (Oct. 29).
Springsteen joked that the Saturday festivities “got him off the beach,” but he was in great spirits regaling the crowd with stories of the making of the record, writing the songs in Bradley Beach, and blowing off his graduation day at Freehold High School.
“I bailed on my graduation. The morning of my graduation, I woke up, I said ‘Nope.’ And around 6:30, I snuck out of the house, went down to the bus station, hopped on the first bus to New York, spent the day in the Village,” he said. “With everybody looking for me. All my relatives were at the house for the big party. And I’m not there. I don’t go to the graduation. … My parents finally found me at the Cafe Wha? and begged me to come home. They said everything was ok. It was not.”
During a panel hosted by 1071 The Boss host Tom Cunningham with fellow E Streeters Vini Lopez, David Sancious and Garry Tallent, Springsteen took out his phone and encouraged the audience to congratulate Scialfa on her induction in a filmed video message.
Springsteen–who postponed the remaining dates of his 2023 tour due to a peptic ulcer, surprised the audience at the NJ Hall of Fame festivities joining Scialfa, Steve Van Zandt (at the ceremony inducting Sopranos creator David Chase), inductee Tony Orlando (who was inducted by Dionne Warwick with a video message from Clive Davis), Billy Joel musical director and saxophonist Mark Rivera and more for a cover of The Beatles “With A Little Help From My Friends,” reported the Asbury Park Press. It was Springsteen’s first time on stage since his final show at MetLife Stadium. Other Jersey musicians at the event included band leader Glen Burtnik, The Smithereens featuring Marshall Crenshaw and Graham Maby, and Reagan Richards of Williams Honor.
“It’s so cool to be here tonight for my baby,” Springsteen said in his induction speech. “I met Patti at the Stone Pony — where else! She was sitting in with the house band, Cats on a Smooth Surface. I heard that voice of hers and I wondered, ‘Who is that girl?’ We went and got cheeseburgers at the Inkwell.”
He continued: “If she hadn’t been married to some suck-the-air-out-of-the-room attention whore, they would be much more widely known,” Springsteen said about Scialfa’s albums, including “Rumble Doll.”
Scialfa talked about the unifying power of music in her acceptance speech.
“I was fortunate to work and meet with so many brilliant musicians and artists and find a piece of that world, a little piece of that world, for myself,” she said. I’m so deeply grateful to the many people I have worked with who have reflected back to me the beauty and transformative power of music.”
Fellow E Streeter and Sopranos star Steve Van Zandt honored Chase with an induction speech that referenced the iconic HBO show.
“What does he want to do? He wants to make movies, the industry he single-handedly made irrelevant,” Van Zandt said “But that’s the kind of guy he is. Uncompromising, unrelenting, innovative, idealistic, romantic to a fault, and yes, a cynical, self-destructive contrarian. In other words, my kind of guy.”
Springsteen’s weekend started on a special note, with a day long celebration that included appearances by original Wild, Innocent and E Street Shuffle engineer Louis Lahav, who flew in from Israel to mark the occasion, original manager Mike Appel, and more. Suki Lahav, who toured with the band as a violinist and singer for about five months in 1974 and 1975, most notably playing violin in live performances of “Jungleland”, made a virtual appearance via a pre-taped interview.
“It’s a lovely wild card; it’s a very youthful record,” said Springsteen of the record. “And it’s me really getting a chance to really express who I was, which I felt I didn’t have the opportunity to do that on the first album (Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.). So this was finally … I felt, yep, all my talents came to fruition. My ability to write, my ability to write lyrics, my ability to write evocative music, and set cinematic scenes. Everything that I’ve basically done for the rest of my career really began on The Wild, the Innocent. … It was a wonderful record that holds up tremendously well.”
The day-long event was filmed by the Bruce Springsteen Archives, which announced a new $45 million building earlier this month which will house the archives and the story of American Music.