Springsteen Wraps Up Tour With Energetic Shows and Rowdy Celebrations

"This has been the best year of my life," says Springsteen

Clarence Clemons and Bruce Springsteen
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
October 29, 1981

After 139 shows, eleven and a half months on the road and enough fried chicken to feed Latvia for a week, Bruce Springsteen finally wrapped up his 1980-1981 tour with the second of two shows at Cincinnati's Riverfront Coliseum on September 14th. "This has been the best year of my life," said Springsteen, who played to more than a million people during his American and European excursions, at an average venue capacity exceeding ninety-nine percent.

High spirits and high jinks key-noted the final gig. Springsteen seasoned his typical three-hour set with Tommy James and the Shondells' "Mony Mony," which he dropped into his Mitch Ryder medley. (It seems Springsteen first performed the song at a Chicago gig, after band members and associates frantically called coast-to-coast during intermission to find the lyrics.) During one of the encores, two E Street Band crew members disguised as cops began hanging out at both ends of the stage, threatening to terminate the show, which was running overtime. Eventually, the two impostors sprang forward and carried Springsteen to the back of the stage, where he broke away and continued to sing without missing a beat.

After the show, the band repaired to its hotel suite for an intimate but rowdy end-of-the-tour celebration, highlighted by saxophonist Clarence Clemons' lethal Kahuna punch and Springsteen's own party tapes ("heavy on the Dave Clark Five and Jr. Walker," said one attendee). The bash, dubbed "The Concluding Rites of Bossmania 1981," roared on until sunrise, when Springsteen dashed to the windows to shut out the dawn's early light.

Further plans for the band remain sketchy. Springsteen may contribute a cut to Lucy Simon's In Harmony 2, a benefit LP for the Children's Television Workshop. His own recording plans are indefinite.

This story is from the October 29th, 1981 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

More Song Stories entries »