Bruce Springsteen Edinburgh Murrayfield: Fan remembers dancing with The Boss and giving him a kiss in 1981
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It was 42 years ago, and Angela McArthur can remember it like it was yesterday, but she has never been able to find a photo which captured her meeting with The Boss when he came to perform at the Playhouse Theatre in May 1981 - incredibly, that was the last time he brought his E Street Band to the capital.
Bruce Springsteen was booked to play one show at the Greenside venue, but added a second date after postponing his original plans to recover from exhaustion. Angela, who now stays in Hillend, Fife, was living in the city, and working at the unemployment benefit office in Tollcross at the time of the gig, and joined many Springsteen fans who queued round the theatre in a bid to get seats.
She said: “We had our sleeping bags, but at 3am police came and said there was no chance of getting a ticket and sent us home. We were really disappointed, and then he postponed the gig – but when it was rescheduled one night became two. Anyone who had a ticket for the Saturday show was fine, but he added a Sunday gig. You had to go to the Scotsman and Evening News office on North Bridge and put a cheque through the letterbox. We applied and got front row seats, right in the centre - they couldn’t have been better.”
In ‘81 Springsteen wasn’t a household name in the UK – he had only played once in the UK before in 1975 – but the tour to promote The River double album brought his music to a wider audience. “I wasn’t a huge fan then, but I’d seen him on the Old Grey Whistle Test and really liked The River,” said Angela. She took her seat in the front for a show which saw the band take a break at the halfway stage. Her moment in the spotlight came early in the second half.
She said: “I remember him sliding across the stage to where we were sitting, and I reached out and touched his knee – I thought security would throw me out! In the second half they played ‘Sherry Darling’ and he came over and asked ‘do you want to dance with me?’
“Bruce grabbed me and we went right across the stage and back again. I gave him a quick kiss, and and he pretended to collapse. Clarence Clemons his saxophone player grabbed a towel and starting waving it to revive him, and then he took me on to his knee and gave me a smacker of a kiss! I was over the moon!”
Sadly the moment was not captured on camera for posterity as all cameras were confiscated, and official photographers had already departed after the opening three songs. Angela has scoured websites in the hope of finding an image but without success, but the memories of the moment, and the gig, still burn bright. “I was blown away by the concert - I absolutely loved it,” she said. “Bruce’s stage presence and his showmanship, and the length of the concert were amazing.”