The first weekend of June 1985 was a scorcher. I was 19, just finished school and had my first real band. We had written a few songs and wanted a cheap and easy way to make a demo. This is how I found myself spending that weekend couped up in the gym of my old primary school. Park Lodge was nestled in the middle of Cave Hill. Although I had left in 1977, somehow we convinced the school to let us use it for rehearsals. It's strange going back to your primary school as an adult. Things seemed much bigger as a child. The drummer in the band had also been in my class and we visited a few of our old classrooms and tried to remember where we sat.
We couldn't afford a recording studio so rented a Tascam Porta Two multitrack recorder from Session Music in Belfast. We picked it up on Saturday morning. After getting clear and concise instructions on how to work the machine we set about recording our masterpiece. Only one problem. No one could remember how to work the damn thing.
Meanwhile, that same Saturday at 5 pm Bruce Springsteen took the stage in Slane for his first-ever Irish gig. With a sold-out crowd of 95,000 screaming fans, Springsteen and his E Street Band put on a performance that will forever be etched in the minds of those in attendance.
One of those people was my sister Geraldine. She had queued up all night to get tickets and offered to get me one.
If you are unfamiliar with Slane Castle, it's a historic venue located just outside of Dublin that has played host to some of the biggest names in music over the years. From U2 and David Bowie to Madonna and Oasis, Slane Castle has seen its fair share of legendary performances. But according to Springsteen, his show on 1st June 1985 was something special.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Springsteen reflected on the Slane Castle show, calling it "one of the great nights of my life." He went on to describe the energy of the crowd, saying "The Irish, they know how to party. It was just a great, great night. The band was on fire and the crowd was just ecstatic."
Springsteen and his E Street Band were no strangers to performing in front of large crowds, but the energy at Slane Castle was something they had never experienced before. "It was one of those nights where everything just clicked," Springsteen said. "The band was tight, the sound was great, and the crowd was just electric. It was a true rock and roll moment."
To those lucky enough to go, the Slane Castle show will always be remembered as a highlight of their concert-going experiences. And for Springsteen, it's a performance he will never forget. "I can't even put into words how special that night was," he said. "It's a memory that will stay with me forever."
Meanwhile back in a very hot gym, we were frantically trying to salvage something from the weekend. Over the 2 days, we managed to cobble together 3 songs. But quite frankly they were awful and the whole thing was a disaster. To add salt to the wound, Geraldine's tales of an amazing concert didn't help. They say you learn more from your failures than your success, well, if you get a chance to use a Tascam Porta Two multitrack recorder, remember to ask for the manual. Oh, and if you get a chance to see Bruce Springsteen grab it with both hands!!
PS. I did get a chance to record and release a Bruce Springsteen cover at a live show.