Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band had been on the road for well over a year when the Born In The USA tour wrapped up with a four-night stand at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in late September 1985. Springsteen was at the absolute pinnacle of his success after seeing six straight singles from the album hit the Top Ten (with a seventh on the way) and sold out stadiums and arenas anywhere he played. A professional crew was on hand to record every night of the run for the Live 1975-85 box set, but they wound up only using recordings from night three.
The tape of opening night on September 27th, 1985 has sat in the vault for the past 34 years, but today Springsteen released it as part of his ongoing live download series. You can hear “Janey Don’t You Lose Heart” from the show right here. The song was the B side to “I’m Goin’ Down” and he’d never played it live before. (And he wouldn’t touch it again for another eight years.) The show was also the first time he played a cover of Edwin Starr’s “War.”
“I’d like to dedicate this next song to all young guys out there or young girls,” he told the crowd before playing it, “and remind you that blind faith in anything, your leaders, in 1985, will get you killed. It don’t matter whether it’s in Central America or if you’re a young Iranian or you’re in Iraq or a young Russian in Afghanistan.” (A live version recorded three days later would be released as the first single from Live 1975-85 the following year.)
The Born In The USA tour wrapped up at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 2nd, 1985 after playing 156 concerts all over the globe. Springsteen would be largely off the grid for the next two years and when he re-emerged for Tunnel of Love in 1987 he was no longer trying to land singalong anthems like “Glory Days” onto the radio. And despite the massive success he’s had over the past three decades, he’d never have quite a grip on the culture like he had during the Born In The USA period of 1984/85.