Bruce Springsteen’s Cleveland stops captured in new book
Legendary photographer Janet Macoska has compiled them all in a book she co-wrote.
CLEVELAND – The click of a camera freezes a moment in time. And iconic rock ‘n’ roll photographer Janet Macoska knows it as well as anyone. She made it her life’s work.
Macoska has a new book titled “Bruce Springsteen: Live in the Heartland”, which chronicles, through his many photographs, the rock legend’s many shows in Northeast Ohio.
For many, Springsteen has been the poster boy for rock ‘n’ roll for the past 50 years. He’s famous for New Jersey, but if Hollywood had written his story, he could easily have come from Cleveland.
“We’re as much of him. And he’s as much of us,” Springsteen’s Macoska said.
Macoska has toured thousands of rock concerts. She captured over a million images. But his first show was Springsteen’s first trip to Cleveland, in February 1974 at the Allen Theater in Playhouse Square. The capacity was 3,000 people – it was not a full house. Springsteen wasn’t even the headliner, but he stole the show.
“I’m here and this skinny little guy is coming,” Macoska said of that night. “Looks, kinda like a beatnik. I mean, he’s a very young Bruce, but he has Clarence with him. [his longtime saxophonist].
“He gets this audience that has no idea who he is, grabs them. And at that point he’s got Cleveland in the palms of his hands. After 45 minutes he gets a standing ovation and it’s like Okay, I really liked that. And Cleveland, who was here for a British band, sees this guy. And they love him, “Macoska said.
Two careers were born on that cold night of 1974. Macoska would go on to become one of the most remarkable rock ‘n’ roll photographers of the past 50 years. And Springsteen was about to become The Boss.
Springsteen has performed 36 shows in Northeast Ohio. Macoska captured a dozen of them on film and shares her favorite images in the new book. From the Richfield Coliseum to the Municipal Stadium and Quicken Loans Arena, Macoska’s lens was heavily focused on Springsteen, forever frozen in that youthful exuberance, passion and energy, while documenting the unique love story between a rock’n’roll star and a city rock’n’roll star.
“Rock and roll is like the sport for the blue collar city that we were. And that’s what the kids wanted at the end of the day, they wanted rock and roll. have let go, you know, beer and rock and roll, ”Macoska said.
“He sang songs with themes that spoke to them. He was like them.”
In 1985, Springsteen was at the height of its popularity. He performed in front of 71,000 fans at the Municipal Stadium, our former baseball stadium, where those fans were crammed into the black and white background. Springsteen was seen in full color in the foreground, larger than life.
“Yes, he was my subject, but they were more my subject,” Macoska said. “They were the story. They were the ones sending, you know, that earthquake of energy towards him. And he was there to receive it and send it back.”