Clarence Clemons back on stage

Palm Beach Post, 2002-11-08, by: Thom Smith
He's still a big man, even though he dropped 60 pounds to shape up for this latest tour with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, but it was a little thing that had bummed Singer Island resident Clarence Clemons. With a triumphal two-week European leg behind them as they arrived in Dallas during the weekend, Clarence realized something was wrong. "I can't see out of one eye," he told a friend. Doctors were called, and the diagnosis was stunning: a partly detached retina. According to some sources, it's a condition not uncommon for horn players, caused by excessive air pressure in the head.

The good news for Clarence: It could be fixed and it was, after Monday's show in Houston. The bad news for Clarence: He couldn't do Wednesday's gig in Austin -- the first show that he would have missed since the band formed in 1972. But knowing how important Clarence is on the stage, the band postponed the show. Springsteen's official Web site confirms it will be made up March 2.

Clarence's camp is cautiously quiet about the incident and denies rumors he had experienced eye problems on the European leg. A spokesperson did say: "The laser surgery was successful, and Clarence is expected to recover completely. He will play Saturday's show in Columbus, Ohio."