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I had the same experience, with a different tune, right after the Winterland shows hit. 

On 12/30/2019 at 3:34 PM, Jimmy James said:

Why did I get emotional listening to Independence Day 12/16 today? 

I've listened to this tune 100's if not 1000's of times! 

 

On 12/30/2019 at 4:51 PM, Jimmy James said:

Don't know what happened today, but I was driving from site to site and I looked like the guy on Springsteen and I. 

So say goodbye it's Independence Day
Papa now I know the things you wanted that you could not say
But won't you just say goodbye it's Independence Day
I swear I never meant to take those things away. 

 

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6 minutes ago, Promise61 said:

It's called Shut Out The Light, but the protaganist says DON'T shut out the light all the way through it.  Weird.

As we're getting pernickety … it's 'lightS'. :D

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I first heard it at the 11/2/84 show at the joint that jumps, the LA Sports Arena. I was completely unprepared for it. For context, I was a young Captain in the Reserves, and I'd spent a decade serving with those who had gone to Vietnam, and come home. I knew their experiences and their stories.

The next show, 11/4, he did it again. But the difference was that Ron Kovic, author of Born on the 4th of July, was at the show, and Bruce dedicated the song to him. 

 

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I was lucky enough to see an emotional version of "Shut Out the Light" at this gig, the second of two back-to-back shows in Indy.  

Bruce was on the side of the stage, noodling around on the acoustic getting the chords right and I recognized the notes; I had purchased the "Born in the U.S.A." 45 the previous month and loved this unreleased B-Side.

Still the greatest show I've ever seen, by anyone. 

And easily the best $100 (4th row!) I've ever spent in my life.:D

Indianapolis - Market Square Arena – January 8th, 1985

BORN IN THE U.S.A. / PROVE IT ALL NIGHT / DARLINGTON COUNTY / JOHNNY 99 / DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN / REASON TO BELIEVE / SHUT OUT THE LIGHT / JOHNNY BYE-BYE / OUT IN THE STREET / GLORY DAYS / THE PROMISED LAND / MY HOMETOWN / BADLANDS / THUNDER ROAD / COVER ME / DANCING IN THE DARK / HUNGRY HEART / CADILLAC RANCH / CAN'T HELP FALLING IN LOVE / I'M ON FIRE / GROWIN' UP / BOBBY JEAN / RACING IN THE STREET / BORN TO RUN / DETROIT MEDLEY / TWIST AND SHOUT - DO YOU LOVE ME / SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN
U.S. debut of "Can't Help Falling In Love", last played in London on June 5th, 1981

And it IS NOT "Lights".

 

bruce-springsteen-born-in-the-usa-1984-1

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One of his very best songs.
"... and undid an extra button her blouse... "
... there's a lifetime in that lyric. 

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"Talking about music is like talking about sex”, said Bruce once. “Can you describe it, are you supposed to?” Searching through the dusk, lookin' for a sign, I found this lovely description of "Shut Out the Light" by Mark Richardson:

 

A couple of songs, though, I would return to, usually the ones that had seemed like my secret thing all along. Foremost among these was "Shut Out the Light", that "Born in the U.S.A." B-side I mentioned. It's the song that best exemplifies what Springsteen meant to me for these years, as a personal thing that I didn't really talk about, something that pre-dated my desire to articulate thoughts about music. This song is one huge reason-- among many more-- why he matters so much. For years, from the time I bought the single 1984 until it was issued on the Tracks box in 1998, it existed only as a piece of vinyl. Of course, along the way, it found its way to many mixtapes. But its B-side nature, during a time when a B-side took more work to listen to, reinforced its status as something solitary and hard-earned.

For those who have time for Nebraska and not much else, I would rank "Shut Out the Light", with anything Springsteen wrote in the 80s. It's musically as well as literally the flip side of "Born in the U.S.A." (instead of booming, synth-led rock, it's just guitar, voice, and harmonica, Nebraska-style), though the theme, about a man returning home from war, is virtually identical. It is, however, more artful lyrically, not only next to "Born in the U.S.A.", but compared to just about any narrative-driven song I can think of.

In concert, Springsteen has said that Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic's book Born on the Fourth of July, later made into an Oliver Stone movie starring Tom Cruise, was the inspiration for "Shut Out the Light". But the song itself, masterful with its compression and suggestion, never mentions a war specifically. It talks around something big and important, mentioning everything in its orbit, without addressing the event directly. In this way it presumably mirrors the experience of some of those who undergo such trauma; people don't know what to say, and so much remains unexpressed.

"Shut Out the Light" sounds to me like it was influenced by the Ernest Hemingway short story "Big Two-Hearted River", another narrative about a solider returning from war and trying to heal that purposefully omits the cause of his suffering. The detail in the songwriting-- long one of Springsteen's greatest strengths-- is something to behold. "The runway rushed up at him, as he felt the wheels touch down," it begins, and we already have an idea about this man's anxiety: things are happening to him, and he is easily overwhelmed. After taking in the scene on the tarmac, our man takes a taxi into town and sits in a dark corner of a bar.

Meanwhile, someone is preparing to meet him: "She called up her mama, to make sure the kids were out of the house/ She checked herself out in the dining room mirror, and undid an extra button on her blouse." We know so much about this woman, how she lives and her current state of mind, from these two lines. Then there's trouble, just one line later: "He felt her lying next to him, and the clock said 4 a.m./ He was staring at the ceiling, he couldn't move his hands."

"Shut Out the Light" is essentially a masterful 5,000-word short story condensed into a few verses without losing a thing, and it's got a great melody and a hypnotic gospel-derived chorus to boot. Whenever I would hear it during that time away from any sort of regular connection to Springsteen's records, it would take me to when his music was pretty much music, period, for me. Back then I didn't need anything else. In the song's last verse, the story's main character, after one awkward, empty interaction after another, decides to get away. He goes into the woods (which, in my mind, was in Northern Michigan, where I'd spent time as a kid, and which was also the setting of "Big Two-Hearted River"), to "a river without a name."

We realize then that he might be close to doing something horrible: "In the cold, black water, Johnson Lineir stands/ He stares across the lights of the city, and dreams of where he's been." He's standing in the water. Does he go under? What happens next? Springsteen never tells us, meaning that the story never really ends. And so, if you're like me, you wind up carrying it around with you forever.

Dreams of Where He's Been, by Mark Richardson, Pitchfork

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This is a magical song, and thanks to @JimCT for the wonderful recording...I was there on that night, although I was much younger, and had yet to expiereince anything like whats in that song. Over the years, certain events have reminded me what that could be like. But honestly, that war is impossible to fathom. But if you are inclined, Ken Burns doc on vietnam relays alot...but for me now, I get it. Coming home to a world that isnt what it was must be something. I often wonder, and I read about those times. My wife was in nursing school and she worked in a veterans hospital. She met a vietnam vet named Reily. He spent a good deal of time in Cambodia and had been exposed to such a large amount of agent orange and he had so much cancer, the veterans admin wanted his body after he was gonna die. He often regaled my wife with stories about comng home to Boulder and all the stuff he dealt with from the war. He stuck his middle finger to the doctors who wanted to examine him after his death. He was kick ass guy, and my son's middle name is Reily in his memory.

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1 hour ago, Buddhabone said:

This is a magical song, and thanks to @JimCT for the wonderful recording...I was there on that night, although I was much younger, and had yet to expiereince anything like whats in that song. Over the years, certain events have reminded me what that could be like. But honestly, that war is impossible to fathom. But if you are inclined, Ken Burns doc on vietnam relays alot...but for me now, I get it. Coming home to a world that isnt what it was must be something. I often wonder, and I read about those times. My wife was in nursing school and she worked in a veterans hospital. She met a vietnam vet named Reily. He spent a good deal of time in Cambodia and had been exposed to such a large amount of agent orange and he had so much cancer, the veterans admin wanted his body after he was gonna die. He often regaled my wife with stories about comng home to Boulder and all the stuff he dealt with from the war. He stuck his middle finger to the doctors who wanted to examine him after his death. He was kick ass guy, and my son's middle name is Reily in his memory.

With stories like this, humanity prevails. 

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2 hours ago, Buddhabone said:

This is a magical song, and thanks to @JimCT for the wonderful recording...I was there on that night, although I was much younger, and had yet to expiereince anything like whats in that song. Over the years, certain events have reminded me what that could be like. But honestly, that war is impossible to fathom. But if you are inclined, Ken Burns doc on vietnam relays alot...but for me now, I get it. Coming home to a world that isnt what it was must be something. I often wonder, and I read about those times. My wife was in nursing school and she worked in a veterans hospital. She met a vietnam vet named Reily. He spent a good deal of time in Cambodia and had been exposed to such a large amount of agent orange and he had so much cancer, the veterans admin wanted his body after he was gonna die. He often regaled my wife with stories about comng home to Boulder and all the stuff he dealt with from the war. He stuck his middle finger to the doctors who wanted to examine him after his death. He was kick ass guy, and my son's middle name is Reily in his memory.

That whole show is available from my audience masters. Flynn graciously worked from my master tapes to make a 25th anniversary release that he chose to name "Washing Sins Off Our Hands in LA". The No Surrender from that night still brings tears to my eyes, and the Racin' is magical. LMK if you can't find it/download it.

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