New book chronicles Bruce Springsteen’s relationship with Ohio through 40 years of iconic photos
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Janet Macoska was just a 19-year-old college student when she first pointed her camera at Bruce Springsteen. The boss himself was only 24, a year before the release of “Born to Run” and the opening act for British rock band Wishbone Ash at the Allen Theater in Cleveland.
“I went to the gig with a film roll and walked away with 12 photos,” Macoska said of the February 1, 1974 show. “This skinny guy by the name of Bruce Springsteen came in as the opener. . Bruce ended up getting seven of the pictures and Wishbone Ash ended up getting five because Bruce was more interesting.
Over the next 40 plus years, Macoska would photograph Springsteen during his various stops in Ohio, recounting every facet of his career, from the scruffy guy behind “Born to Run” to the beefed up 1980s superstar to the man. elder state of rock and roll.
For a long time, 90% of his photos of these concerts have remained invisible, until now. Macoska’s new book, “Bruce Springsteen: Live in the Heartland,” featuring lyrics by Cleveland music historian Peter Chakerian, hits retailers on July 8th.
“There are just certain artists who keep pushing you back,” Macoska says. “Bruce was one of them. I don’t know of any other artist who has put so much energy and charisma on stage. Bruce was just a wild man. He and his group combined were the most fun to shoot. That’s what it’s about. It was great fun doing photography at a Bruce Springsteen exhibition.
The origins of “Bruce Springsteen: Live in the Heartland” began with another book centered on legendary rock star Macoska shot throughout his career: David Bowie. Macoska is one of the photographers featured in “David Bowie: Icon”, a collection of amazing photographs from Bowie’s entire career as well as personal memories of the people who photographed them.
After the release of “David Bowie: Icon”, the publishing house contacted Macoska to make a book focused solely on his photography of a single artist. The obvious choice was Springsteen.
“I have seen its growth and development over the years,” recalls Macoska. “And while the scruffy Bruce was very cool to photograph, I really liked it when he came back in 1984 on the ‘Born in the USA’ tour. He was all bloated. It was a whole new dimension for Bruce.
“I absolutely loved that 1984 show at the Richfield Coliseum. Then he comes back months later and he’s at [Cleveland Stadium]. You are in the pit watching over 80,000 people on the ground and throughout the stands. He had no problem hitting the person in the last row.
Springsteen has performed in Ohio over 80 times during his rich career. The area became The Boss’ second home thanks to the support of legendary Cleveland radio station WMMS and Springsteen’s relationship with a group of fans from various parts of Northeast Ohio known as the Cleveland Boys. .
“It was a bit of a perfect storm,” says Chakerian. Springsteen speaks to the Clevelanders in a way they liked. Everyone here could relate to what he sang on his albums and still does. That sort of blue collar working class ethic. This fight.
“Bruce Springsteen: Live in the Heartland” focuses on 10 concerts Macoska has photographed, including performances at the Richfield Coliseum, Toledo Sports Arena, Cleveland Municipal Stadium and the Gund Arena (now Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse).
Macoska’s photos are truly breathtaking. The collection takes you through Springsteen’s career, from being barely recognizable in sunglasses at Allen Theater to the sharper look of “The Darkness Tour”, his muscular physique while promoting “Born in the USA “, her attire on the” Tunnel of Love Express Tour “and a reunion with the E Street Band in 1999.
There is, however, one show that Macoska still wishes he had shot but didn’t. “Oh, this is the Agora,” says Mascoska, referring to Springsteen’s concert at the Cleveland Agora in 1978, perhaps the most famous show in Springsteen’s career that produced one of the bootlegs of most popular concert of all time.
However, Chakerian says that the Agora show’s omission from “Live in the Heartland” allows the book to highlight other shows that haven’t been revisited time and again like this 1978 concert.
“Inadvertently this ended up being one of the best parts of the book,” Chakerian said. “This is one of the most legendary concerts ever recorded, one of the greatest concerts in Cleveland. If it was in [the book], it would be this huge shadow cast over everything else.
Macoska and Chakerian will both be participating in a free “Cleveland Stories Dinner Parties” event at the Music Box Supper Club on July 29th. There they will be talking about “Bruce Springsteen: Live in the Heartland,” which ends with a preview of The Boss’s “The River Tour 2016” Concert at Quicken Loans Area. This is the last Springsteen gig Macoska has photographed … so far.
“I made a point of shooting him on this show to come full circle with him,” admits Macoska. ” Claire [Clemons] had passed away before that and Clarence’s nephew was playing with the band. I just wanted to see how it all felt.
“They all looked older, but they still have it. How he does it at his age is amazing. The guy is an athlete and makes sure he is in good shape. It is a religion for him.