1978-10-01 Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA
John Hocking

The first of my 54 or 55 shows was the previous night. I had attended the Fox radio show (Saturday), alone, and would return with my partner of less than six months, and four other friends for this show.

I went in to my office late Sunday morning and found my good friend, Michael McGuire, in his office. Michael would later write a widely distributed essay, "Darkness on the Edge of Town: Bruce Springsteen's Rhetoric of Optimism and Despair".

Michael asked, "how was it?"

I felt like a cat who had just eaten a giant canary. What can you say? No superlatives can come close to describing what I had seen the previous night. I said simply, "it was OK," probably one of the biggest understatements ever made.

The Fox is an historic, elegant theater and had stickly controlled seating. On Saturday, during "Spirit in the Night," which was indeed the third song both nights, Bruce had jumped into the right eisle (facing the stage), ran out about six rows and sang part of the song while standing on a seat.

On Sunday we were sitting in Row J (10) just to the right of that eisle. About a minute into Spirit in the Night I urged my wife to follow me out. She is shy and was reluctant, but I insisted and both of us found ourselves standing in the eisle trying to unobtrusively drift towards the stage. An usher quickly arrived and aggressively ordered us back in our seats. We slowly headed back up the eisle, but about the time we arrived back at row 10, Bruce jumped into the audience, exactly as he had on the previous night.

My wife's shyness disappeared in the wink of a young girl's eye. She was the first to get to him. He made no effort to resist her looong kiss on the cheek. We both helped support him as he sang a verse of Spirit in the Night.

Fast forward 18 years - I was at a Ghost of Tom Joad show in Columbia, South Carolina. I had read that he had been coming out and meeting fans after some Ghost shows. There were 30 or 40 of us waiting at the stage - a really good sign was that they hadn't run us out - about 20 minutes after the show when he came out.

He couldn't have been nicer or more gratious. He signed whatever people had to sign, posed for pictures with a few kids whose parents lifted them onto the stage, and briefly chatted with each person. I was near the far side of the stage, and one of the last people he would get to. I was thinking, over and over, "what can I say that he hasn't heard a million times."

Finally, he arrives. I shook his hand and said, "I'm John Hocking." He said, "Bruce Springsteen, John," which I thought in itself was a very cool thing for him to say.

I said, "I'm sure you don't remember this, but my wife gave you a looong kiss on the cheek when you came into the auience during Spirit in the Night at the Fox Theater in Atlanta in 1978. Every once in a while someone will brag about something they've accomplished and when I've had enough, I'll say, 'that's nothing, I've had sex with a woman who kissed Bruce Springsteen."

He laughed and said, "I'll have to tell that one to Patti."

He shook my hand again and said, "thanks for coming to the show."

I said, "thank *you*, and I mean the for album and the tour."

And he was gone.

Greg Thompson Sorry but I don't remember the entire 2nd set but I know it included the early version of Point Blank & ended with Kitty's Back, Incident on 57th Street & Rosalita with the album piano coda linking Incident & Rosalita. For the 2nd encore he played Raise Your Hand & an extremely high energy Quarter To Three that ended with him standing on Roy's piano & ripping his shirt off before leaping off & dancing off stage as Miami Steve diected the band to the finish.
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