Tuesday, August 07, 2012
At Large Fake News Tuesday: Springsteen's E Street Band Suffering From 'Exhaustion'
"It was harrowing ... they just started dropping like flies," said Lasse Hamalainen, one of the few audience members to make it through the entirety of the mammoth performance.
Most accounts have keyboardist Roy Bittan, 63, being the first to show signs of fatigue, missing some notes in the piano solo on "Backstreets" around hour five, and then falling unconscious with his head on his keyboard.
"It made sort of a plinky sound," noted Hamalainen.
Others soon followed, including guitarist Nils Lofgren, 61, who collapsed behind the horn section Fender guitar in hand, and bassist Garry W. Tallent, 62, who curled up into a fetal position on one of the stage risers.
Witnesses say that shortly thereafter Max Weinberg's arms froze in an upraised position during "Candy's Room" and the 61-year-old drummer fell over backwards, "sort of like an uprooted Greek statue," said Hamalainen.
All through the carnage Springsteen, 63, continued to rally the crowd, waving his arms, sliding across the stage on his knees and hanging upside down off his microphone stand.
"He never slowed down, except when he tried to crowd surf over the 'pit' in front of the stage and as it turned out most of the crowd had passed out by around hour eight," said Hamalainen.
Luckily for Springsteen, two large men who had managed to stay conscious - identified only as "Aleksi" and "Joonas" - were able to hold him aloft until he could get back to the stage.
Witnesses report that by the 12th encore the entire band was strewn out around the stage in various states of consciousness, from staggeringly dazed (saxophonist Jake Clemons) to full-fledged coma (Steven Van Zandt, looking not unlike his character Silvio Dante in the last episode of The Sopranos).
"When he realized there was no one backing him up anymore, he ran offstage and grabbed his acoustic guitar" - Springsteen's guitar tech had apparently also passed out - "and started doing a solo show," said Hamalainen, who had taken to keep himself awake by pinching himself and burning his arm hairs off with a cigarette lighter.
[Read the rest at CAP News.]