1974-12-14 Student Center, New Brunswick, NJ

Scheduled: ??:?? Local Start Time ??:?? / End Time ??:??

Info & Setlist | Venue

Following his guest appearance with Billy Joel at the main Rutgers concert auditorium (see earlier listing) Springsteen walks across campus to the school's Student Center and jams with Sid Gottlieb's band Heavy Trucking. This took place after midnight, so technically speaking it was on December 15. Heavy Trucking had previously opened for Bruce at a concert at Rutgers on April 1, 1973. Peter Wyman, who worked for Rutgers University Major Events Programs at the time, has commented to Brucebase: "After the (Billy Joel) encore Bruce was by a back door and asked me what the quickest way to the Student Center was. I walked him there and he told me he wanted to play with Heavy Trucking, they did five or six songs together." Brucebase reader Ron Gompertz takes up the story: "I walked over to the Student Center from my dorm room that evening, and ended up downstairs where the bowling alleys were looking to get a soda. I saw my friend Dirck Van Lieu, drummer with the Heavy Trucking band. I'd come over to see Heavy Trucking do soundcheck, and Dirck and two or three band mates were watching a guy knocking a pinball machine hard and racking up a lot of points. At close range and standing next to him, I noticed his oddly protruding lower jaw. Slowly I realized who it was. Bruce. I leaned over to Dirck and said, is that who I think it is. Dirck nodded. I'd seen Springsteen in concert three or four times by then, but never so close up. After a couple of games, Dirck, HT guitarist Sid Gottlieb, Bruce and I walked upstairs to the Multi-Purpose Room, a large room with folding chairs lined up against the walls. The center of the floor was wide open for dancing… and Heavy Trucking was nothing if not a dance band. I sat down at the back wall, and Bruce sat next to me as Heavy Trucking did sound check. Bruce wasn't very talkative… he seemed distant as I tried to engage him in conversation every few minutes or so. I asked about his next album and how it were going. He said it was taking a long time and there were hassles. I told him my girlfriend, Lori, had a big crush on him and his poster hanging in her dorm room and he seemed embarrassed. After a while Bruce said, "I gotta go across the street to the Billy Joel show. My manager wants me to play. We're on the same label." When he left, I called girlfriend Lori on a pay phone and told her to "get over here right away" if she wanted to meet Bruce. Lori arrived, and shortly after, Bruce settling back into the same folding chair next to me. Lori was sitting on my lap, and I introduced them. I said something sarcastic about Billy Joel being from Long Island and Bruce nodded a bit. Heavy Trucking played their set ("Shake Your Money Maker", Chuck Berry cover songs) while the room full of people danced. Nobody seemed to notice Bruce. Then Sid announced a special guest, and Bruce got up and walked to the stage. Picking up a guitar, they played a set of covers. Lori and I, along with the hundred or so other lucky people in the room danced with big grins on our faces. I don't recall the songs. Wish I did. After the show, Lori and I hung around with the band as they broke down equipment. Bruce hung around too, messing around on a baby grand piano, playing something that sounded vaguely familiar. Lori now remembers Bruce telling her to sing along with him, but she was too shy. Bruce played some instrumental piano music, and it may have been "Thunder Road". I'm really not sure. It was late by the time we all left."


Heavy Trucking



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