Flashback: Bruce Springsteen Resurrects ‘Blinded by the Light’ in 1999
Earlier this month, Bruce Springsteen dug into his vault and released a killer E Street Band show recorded at Philadelphia’s First Union Center on September 25th, 1999. It was the culmination of a six-night stand in the city where he celebrated his 50th birthday and resurrected songs he hadn’t played in decades. Many die-hard Springsteen fanatics that followed the band all over the world felt that these shows were the best they did all year.
Five of the six shows took place at the First Union Center but, in the middle of the run, they moved the show 758 feet, 9-and-a-half inches to the First Union Spectrum, a run-down arena they first played in 1976. It clearly put Bruce in a nostalgic mood, since he opened the show with “Growin’ Up” (from his first album) and also broke out “Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?” and “The Fever” for the first time of the tour.
He saved the biggest surprise for the end when brought out “Blinded by the Light,” a song he hadn’t done with the E Street Band since April 1976. That was the year that Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’s cover became the only Springsteen-penned tune to hit Number One. (“Dancing in the Dark” stalled out at Number Two thanks to Prince’s “When Doves Cry.”) Springsteen never quite understood why Mann changed the line “revved up like a deuce” to “revved up like a douche.” “I have a feeling that that is why this song skyrocketed into Number One,” Springsteen joked in 2005. “The ‘deuce’ was like a little deuce coupe, as in two-seat hot rod. ‘Douche’ is, of course, a feminine hygienic procedure. They’re different!”
At the Spectrum, he had the chance to turn “douche” back into “deuce.” This is before the camera cellphone era, but a fan behind the stage snuck in a video camera and did his best to capture the euphoria of the moment.
The song remains a relative rarity at Springsteen show, but he sprinkles it in every time he tours with the E Street Band. The last occurrence was February 11th, 2017 in Mt. Macedon, Australia. That’s his most recent tour with the E Street Band, but when the pandemic ends, he’s basically promised fans that he’ll celebrate with a big tour.
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