1981-06-15, Old Waldorf, San Francisco, CA

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Bruce joins Gary US Bonds.

Eyewitness accounts

Were you there? Write about it!
ed ruby wrote: i was at this show and did not know what to expect. had no idea bruce was there until i said to my wife it's getting late and no one has picked up that white fender. 2 songs later bruce comes on stage. gary was great that night and bruce didn't steal the show was the consumate sideman and enhanced it greatly. the most memorable show i ever saw at the old waldorf except for jimmy cliff the night bob marley died.

Steven Marcus wrote: I was standing near the soundboard at the back of the room and noticed this guy with a baseball cap on his head. I thought he looked familiar, but the place was pretty dark. When I realized who it was I just sat there and smiled.

Billy Innes wrote: When Gary "U.S." Bonds' album DEDICATION was released, I was instantly taken with it. It was an instant gem, one that got daily play on the cheap little Hi-Fi set that I had as a teen. When I heard the news that he'd be playing at the small and intimate club, The Old Waldorf, I didn't hesitate to buy tickets. Even though I was working a minimum wage job at the time, I even went so far as to spring for "Dinner Seats"?seats that placed an audience member right in front of the stage (and by paying considerably more for these dinner seats, a person also got some pretty terrible pasta dinner as a bonus).
But it was worth every dime?.this realization hit me when it dawned on me that I was using the lip of the stage as a place on which to rest my arm.

I barely remember the opening act. I think it the group's name may have had the word "Thunder Cats" or "Night Cats" in it, but I'm not sure. Style-wise they were something of a cross between the Mink DeVille Band and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.

But, it was Gary US Bonds who was pure dynamite from the moment he hit the stage.
While F. Scott Fitzgerald is often alluded to when it comes to the sentiment that there are no second acts in an American lifetime, Gary US Bonds seemed to grin from ear to ear at the sound of adoration coming from the audience, the joy he seemed to derive from performing straight from the heart?all too pleased to prove Fitzgerald wrong. Indeed, there was a second acts to this man's life?and Bonds seemed to be savoring every moment of it.

Before the show's start there were rumblings in the crowd about whether or not "he" would appear that night. It was a longshot?.but one that seemed to circulate more and more as then night transpired.

I have to say, two minutes into Bonds' show, and it really didn't matter to me whether or not "he" would be there or not. Bonds was holding his own just fine. One moment that will stick with me for a lifetime was reaching up my hand towards the stage while Gary was singing "Dedication"?.and Bonds gave me a hearty handshake.

That said, I couldn't help but notice that there was a lone Fender Telecaster that had been sitting untouched on the stage throughout all of Gary's show?.

Just as Gary was about to launch into "a little Jole Blon," he noted that he could use a little help. Like a flash from the back of the small club came a blur that leapt onto the stage. Sure enough, the man much responsible for Gary Bonds' renewed career was, indeed, in the house??and now he was on the stage. A count of four and they were off?.and an audience that was already electrified was now on fire. As much as I've loved this song over the years?..both on various Cajun records and when seeing various Cajun bands?I think this night's version of "Jole Blon" is the one that I'll take to the grave with me.

More songs followed ~ "This Little Girl Is Mine" ~ "Dear Lady Twist" ~ "Quarter to Three" come immediately to mind. Seeing Bonds and Springsteen sharing the same stage was unbelievable.

I have to confess that (mind you, I was just a lad of seventeen) I got caught up in the excitement. The first thing I noticed was that Springsteen wasn't the tallest fellow in the world. Next, that his sideburns looked like that of a Civil War general's and, next, being on stage seemed like the place to be, so I hopped up onto the stage for a few seconds (this while "Jole Blon" was playing). In a few seconds I was properly thrust down from the stage into the arms of my mortified date. The photographer from the San Francisco CHRONICLE (a midget-sized fellow?..I'm afraid I can't recall his name) chastised me for doing that and told me I was lucky that they didn't throw me out of the club. Being bounced by the bouncers didn't phase me one bit, nor detract from the thrill of what was happening (hey, at the very least, I can now say that I once shared the stage with Bruce Springsteen and Gary US Bonds). The rest of the night was magic. Pure magic.

Thank the stars that school was out ~ I don't think I fell asleep until well after dawn's first light the following morning. That's how much of an adrenaline rush I got from being in that little club (RIP) in San Francisco that night?..

Karen Young wrote: What a memorable night. I went, hoping for a certain ‘surprise guest’, and hit Lucky Town! Bonds was fantastic, and a great live performer. I remember, when his set ended, I started to wade through the crowd towards the low stage. When Bruce came onstage, the crowd went wild! Up against the stage, I was dancing and singing, and he was on fire! For me, it was a thrill of my young life. After the show, I remember that Bruce and some guys in Gay’s band hung outside a bit, near the bus, signing autographs. I didn’t go forward, but instead, gawked for about 20 minutes, watching him at ease, friendly and gracious.


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