NJ Governor Chris Christie appeared on Jimmy Fallon’s show recently and talked about his long love of Bruce Springsteen. He had just seen his 130th show. He mentioned that his first show was the 12/11/75 one at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ.

That show would be when Chris was in one of the 8th grade English classes I taught in Livingston, NJ. That was a Thursday. A school night.

If you look at the set list for that show (or if you get a bootleg CD of the show – something the Governor would never do because it’s illegal), you see that it was the Born To Run tour.

I love that tickets were $6.50.

Jimmy and Chris do a very credible excerpt from “Thunder Road” (see video below).

I saw Bruce before Chris, but my total number of shows can be totaled on two hands, and I haven’t seen him in a bunch of years.

I saw him in December of my freshman year at Rutgers (1971) – though I didn’t realize it was him until a few years later when someone told me that’s who we had seen. It was at “The Ledge” – a commuter lounge perched on the ledge over the Raritan River. (There’s a poor quality tape below from that show.)  Bruce played there a few times and “headlined” along with some Rutgers regulars like Heavy Trucking (one of the band members was an adjunct in the English department).

I saw him again when a bunch of us drove over to Trenton State College in 1973.

I have a clearer memory of an October ’73 show down the road at Princeton University.

The last time I saw him in my undergrad years was a May show in 1974 at Montclair State College.   set list

So, I have been a fan – though not a fanatic. But as a lifelong Jersey boy, it’s not like I have much of a choice in it. It’s in the water that crashes on the Jersey shore and I have been in that more times than Christie has seen Springsteen, so…