1992: CJSR DJ Brought Bruce Springsteen to Edmonton

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1992: CJSR DJ Brought Bruce Springsteen to Edmonton

Postby jon » Sat Oct 18, 2014 2:06 pm

Oct. 18, 1992: The Boss finally accepts Pete the Rocker’s invitation
By Chris Zdeb
Edmonton Journal
October 18, 2014

For 11 years, Edmonton fan “Pete the Rocker” lobbied rock superstar Bruce Springsteen to come play in his beloved city.

The college student wrote letters, kept contacting the singer’s management team, even collected a petition of 48,000 signatures in 1981 “urging New Jersey’s favourite son to visit our humble burg,” wrote Journal music critic Alan Kellogg.

He approached people on the street, on buses, and at concerts.

Pete, who won’t publicly divulge his real name because he says Pete the Rocker is “every fan,” sent a black-and-white photo of himself with the petition to Springsteen, who returned it signed with the message “Hey Pete, thanks for the invitation!!”

Four years passed. Pete then wangled a backstage pass to the Vancouver show of Springsteen’s Born in The U.S.A. tour and personally handed the petition, an Oilers Jersey, and an adoring scrapbook, to the singer as he walked to the stage.

When a second tour was announced still without an Edmonton stop, Pete, “admittedly bitter, resolved to channel most of his energies into his day job of placing the disabled into challenging employment, (although) the grail remains paramount,” Kellogg noted.

“I’m haunted, I admit it,” Pete told him. “But I demand that he faces me man-to-man, that he recognizes Edmonton and treats me as a human being. I’ll never give up — ever. If he’s such a nice guy, where has he been in my life?”

It would be seven more years before Springsteen played his first concert in Edmonton on Oct. 18, 1992 at the Northlands Coliseum (now Rexall Place).

Pete was invited backstage to spend about five minutes with Springsteen before the show. The then 43-year-old rocker also gave him a shout out from the stage during the concert.

Alas, Journal music critic Helen Metella wrote that because of The Boss’ focus on playing songs from his dual new albums Lucky Town and Human Touch, the three-hour show fell shy of the glory days for his 14,000 fans.

Springsteen, with the E Street Band, found his way back to Edmonton to play the Skyreach Centre (now Rexall Place) without Pete the Rocker’s help in April 2003. Pete didn’t go.

Now 57, Pete the Rocker, who has hosted the Shoebox Radio program on CJSR 88.5 FM for 14 years with his son Brian, 30 — “who also rocks” — explains he targeted Springsteen “because everyone (all the big music acts at the time) were bypassing Edmonton.

“It wasn’t about me. I did it because I love this city. I was trying to figure out a way to get people to realize how amazing this city is.”

Meeting the singer before his Edmonton concert “was really something,” he remembers. “The thing that made me feel good is that he was a decent guy. I expected a down-to-earth guy and he was that guy.

“He came here and that was my goal.”
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