Memories from when The Boss rocked The Lane

Bramall - Bruce Springsteen in Sheffield.
Bramall - Bruce Springsteen in Sheffield.

With Bruce Springsteen lines up next month for the debut of the Leeds Arena, local fans of The Boss might like to cast their minds back 25 years.

Over two nights, the American became the first and only musician to give a major rock show at Bramall Lane.

Each time he played to sell-out crowds of 44,000 as he brought his E-Street Band on the Tunnel of Love tour.

Three years earlier, US evangelist Billy Graham had filled the stadium over eight days, but there are no reports of complaints about the noise.

The Sheffield police log from July 1988 includes a call from a Manor resident protesting that somebody was playing their radio too loud.

When told the source was Bruce Springsteen a few miles away, the complainant asked, in blunt and colourful fashion, who he was.

Further away, somebody in Treeton, Rotherham, rang up to ask for the volume of the juke box in a local pub to be turned down.

United’s then commercial manager, Andy Daykin, recalls approaching the event with “fear and trepidation. It had never been done before.

“We had 44,000 two nights running. You would never get that capacity now at Bramall Lane. We weren’t geared up for it, but did the best we could.”

One consequence was the tarpaulin on the pitch failing to protect the grass from the urine of fans who were not prepared to give up their prime viewing spot. Part of the pitch had to be reseeded.

Andy, now commercial manager at Hillsborough, who has a blurred photo of himself with The Boss, praises then council licensing officer John Derricott for his invaluable help in ensuring two largely trouble free days.

“It was an experience and a fantastic event, seeing all the people, and such noise! I had never heard anything like that! I was so proud we got it off the ground.”

The concerts, on July 9 and 10, were widely declared a resounding success by the fans, who were given the full Springsteen treatment in sets lasting almost four hours.

Favourites such as Born To Run, Glory Days and Dancing In The Dark were performed, and the show ended, as they often do 25 years later, with Twist And Shout.

Dave Bassett, who had arrived recently as manager at Bramall Lane, was in the crowd, but there was only one Boss on these two nights.