Revisit Bruce Springsteen as an opening act, performing ‘Growin Up’ at Max’s Kansas City
We’re going back to a time before Bruce Springsteen was The Boss and he took the iconic stage of Max’s Kansas City as an opening act in 1972. Equipped with a set form the American songbook, he showed he was a star in waiting.
The clip comes from a time before Bruce was at the top of the charts and puts Springsteen in the bubbling underbelly of New York. Just as the city was about to explode into creativity. Below he delivers a scintillating performance of ‘Growin Up’.
Springsteen was on the bill opening for none other than Dave Van Ronk. The folk singer had gained fame across the Greenwich Village scene and was the toast of the smoky coffeehouses that cultivated the movement. While he never achieved the fame and notoriety of stars like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, Van Ronk was a leading light in music.
It would have been a fantastic opportunity for the young Springsteen. With his debut record, Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ a year away, the singer seized his opportunity to take the stage at Max’s. It’s a venue synonymous with the underground music scene in the Big Apple and has provided some surreal moments in its time. But one of the most impressive is this early clip of Springsteen.
One of the finest moments of the evening came with Springsteen’s performance of ‘Growin Up’. The track would eventually appear on the aforementioned debut record as a pounding song typical of Springsteen’s forthcoming stadium-sized foot stompers but here he changes pace. Instead, the Boss strips the song to its raw bone.
The decision to do so, and to arrive with no band, shows the confidence the young opening act had in his pen. The track was another notch on the lyrical bedpost for Springsteen as he once again proved to be one of the most gifted writers America has to offer music.
Springsteen would show the notorious crowd at Max’s that he was destined for great things. He may have been the opening act of the night but he was The Boss as he left the stage.