Columnist CJ LaCava
(Born in NJ and now in the UK)

Atlanta, 41 Shots, and The Philly Special
Posted on June 10, 2000 @ 6:00PM GMT

This is it. The Springsteen tour 2000 finale at MSG starts in only a few days. The excitement of fans who have tickets has reached a fever pitch. People are coming to New York City from all over the USA and Europe to see the last shows of the amazing reunion tour. I, as well as thousands of others, can not wait to see the Bruce and the band one more time.

I will be in NYC on June 27, 29, and July 1. I want to meet as many fans as I can before the shows. There are several pre-show get-togethers planned - I promise once I know where I will be each day I will post it here in the next week or so.

The Atlanta Shows

I lived in Atlanta from 1990 to 1998. I went to GA Tech, turned 21 (a big milestone in the USA), met my wife, graduated from college, got a job, got married, and saw the 1996 games there. I was really glad to see Atlanta finally added to the tour schedule. The second show there will go down in history, IMO.

Though most fans say the second night in Hartford is the best of 2000, Atlanta's second night seems to be comparable. The setlist was very good, the band was in rare form, and the fans got to hear two world premiers: Further On Up The Road and America Skin. There are reports that Bruce has said it was the best show of the tour (however, these reports are unconfirmed). Both Loose Ends and Hungry Heart were not on the setlist and were played because of fans waving signs near the front of the arena.

Bootlegs from this night do not seem to be available. The tapers are keeping the show to themselves, it seems. I have yet to hear either of the new tunes myself and very few people have publicly admitted to having tapes/MP3s of these tunes on RMAS as of now. Some people have postedthe lyrics to American Skin on the Internet - but they have said they got them from poor recordings from the show. I really hope some good records become available soon - the fans are really crying out for them.

[This Just In: Well, today (6/10/00) the two new tracks from Atlanta hit the net in a big way. Both American Skin and Further On Up The Road were available on Napster this morning and within hours the entire world had a copy of them. Will the tunes end up on the news or at a radio station next?]

American Skin

I wonder if Bruce considered that American Skin might land him on the evening news right across the country. Police in New York City are condemning the song and Springsteen - even going as far as calling him a 'fucking dirtbag' and 'floating fagot'. The head of the Police Benevolent Association is calling for a boycott of the MSG shows by all members. "I consider it an outrage that [Springsteen] would be trying to fatten his wallet by reopening the wounds of this tragic case at a time when police officers and community members are in a healing period."

Fattening his wallet? How's that? The song is not in general release and the MSG shows have been sold out for months! Get a clue, please.

He, and many others, know that the song is written about the February 1999 death of Guinea native Amadou Diallo, who was shot 41 times by New York police officers as he stood unarmed in the doorway of his Bronx apartment building. The officers, who were acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges, mistook Diallo's wallet for a gun.

I've read the lyrics to American Skin, and I do not consider the song anti-cop. Yes, Bruce talks a lot about the victim (41 shots . . . Is it a gun . . . Is it a knife . . . Is it a wallet . . .), but I see American Skin as a commentary on city life and how it effects all who live and work there - especially the police. If anything - the song is anti-gun. Bruce never calls the police murderers. Never.

It is amazing to me that yet another Springsteen tune is now being added to the list of his songs misunderstood by the general American public. I use to laugh so hard when political candidates would use Born in the USA as their campaign theme song (especially when they come to NJ). READ THE LYRICS - and then really think about them. Please!

The Philadelphia Special

Finally, I want to comment on the newest bootleg from Doberman. It's from the September 21, 1999, show with bonus tracks for the other Philly shows in 1999. I have been very disappointed in the boots coming out of Philly - the venues must be difficult to record in. Most people would agree that the single show at Spectrum (September 24, just after Bruce turned 50) is one of the most important shows from the tour. Too bad the boots from that night are so sub-par.

Bruce loves playing in Philly - this can be heard on just about all the bootlegs from those nights in 1999. The Philly Special is no exception. Bruce starts the show with Little Queenie and is obviously loving life and the crowd during the entire show - you can really hear it on this recording.

I really like this show and recording - it has character and the sound is the best I have heard out of Philly in 1999. Bruce and the band belt out Take Em As They Come, Be True, Janey Don't You Lose Heart, She's The One, and then a wonderful Cadillac Ranch in the encore. You also get decent recordings (but no stellar) of the rare tracks from the Big 5-0 show.

This boot is well worth grabbing and one of the best we've seen from the tour out of Doberman. I enjoy it and rank it just under LA Night as my favorites from the US 1999 tour (I don't like the Oakland and Minneapolis ALDs much. You gotta have the crowd in there - they are very important).

Have a safe trip to NYC and I will see you there!

E-mail CJ LaCava
Check Out CJ's Column Archive