E Street’s Last Concert As Seen By Springsteen’s First Manager

Although no one in the Bruce Springsteen camp has called the Nov. 22 concert in Buffalo, New York, the last show ever for E Street, the gig did have some closure moments, like a complete start-to-finish performance of The Boss’ first album – “Greetings From Asbury Park N.J.” But there was another moment that brought it all back home before the show even began – the appearance of Springsteen’s first manager, Mike Appel.

Photo: Bob Mussell
HSBC Arena, Buffalo, N.Y.

Appel managed Springsteen from 1972 until 1976 when he was replaced by his client’s then-new best friend forever, Jon Landau. Appel and Springsteen eventually settled their business differences in court.

Years later Appel wrote a book – “Down Thunder Road” – detailing his experiences with Springsteen, including how he talked his way into John Hammond’s office at Columbia Records and convinced the exec into giving his new client an impromptu audition.

Appel, who co-produced Greetings…, gives his own account of the last show of the tour on his Web site, describing how he was sitting down to a Sunday dinner when he got a phone call.

From MikeAppel.net:

“Sunday (11/22/09) around 12:30pm Bruce Springsteen calls me while I’m sitting in a diner with my son James. He said that Sunday’s gig was the last night of their two year tour and that they would be playing Greetings From Asbury Park an album I co-produced. He asked my son and I to be his guest. I said great, but how am I getting to Buffalo, NY? He said don’t worry it’ll all be arranged. True to his word, an hour later a car shows up at my house and drives me to Newark Airport. It is there that I board a large private jet [with] all the E Street Band members, Bruce would be flying in from Boston.”

Photo: Bob Mussell
HSBC Arena, Buffalo, N.Y.

Appel describes his reunion with the band he helped form, and even gives readers an inside glimpse into Clarence Clemons’ private dressing room, nicknamed “The Temple of Soul.”

“[Clemons] has, as you might expect, a retinue of ladies that attend to his visceral needs. There is a massage bench and hypnotic music that plays as people enter to pay their respects to a musical legend and trooper.”

Then came the moment right before showtime when Springsteen put everything in perspective.

“Bruce, The E Street Band, Jon Landau and I get in a circle and hold hands backstage. Bruce then says, and I quote: ‘I wouldn’t want to be anywhere in the world than here with you guys at this moment.’ Bruce and The E Street Band turn and take the stage to the screams of their devoted fans and begin what was to be a most memorable concert from my prospective.”

Photo: Bob Mussell
HSBC Arena, Buffalo, N.Y.

Although Appel and Springsteen parted more as adversaries than friends back in the day, the former manager’s essay about the last night of the tour shows that some bonds are never completely broken. To read the complete article, just click here for Appel’s Web site.