A Wired Springsteen Juices Up Unplugged

USA Today, 1992-09, by: Edna Gundersen
The invitation promised a mellow evening with Bruce Springsteen and an acoustic guitar. Instead, the Boss and his band electrified 400 fans and industry observers with a full-throttle rock assault at Wednesday's _Unplugged_ taping in Warner Hollywood Studios. He kicked off the show with an acoustic RHW. "That was the unplugged part," he said before calling his band onstage. "I know, we lied, we lied."

Springsteen had agreed to do MTV's _Unplugged_, an acoustic showcase that has featured such music icons as Eric Clapton, Elton John and Paul McCartney. After rehearsing acoustic versions of new songs, Springsteen decided the format didn't feel right.

Was he following creative instincts or chickening out? That debate raged backstage after the 2 1/2-hour show, but even cynical critics admitted Springsteen was in peak form. Among the highlights: a blistering version of Light of Day, clumsy attempts at stage-diving, a poignant Atlantic City, an acoustic Thunder Road and a set-closing march through the audience during Glory Days. Springsteen's first TV concert will air on MTV at 10 p.m. ET/PT Nov. 11. After considering such titles as _Bruce With Juice_ and _Unplugged -- Not!_, the channel has decided to name the special _Plugged,_ with the "Un" X-ed out.

Hollywood supercouples Jason Patric and Julia Roberts and Sean Penn and Robin Wright attended, along with _Singles_ director Cameron Crowe, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora and R.E.M. (after the show, R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe waited in line with radio contest winners for a Springsteen autograph.)