David Bowie sees Biff Rose and Bruce Springsteen live

David Bowie saw performances by Biff Rose and Bruce Springsteen at New York’s Max’s Kansas City on 5 February 1973.

Rose and Springsteen were on the last night of a 12-show, six-night residency at Max’s. Rose was the more established artist – Bowie had covered his ‘Fill Your Heart’ and ‘Buzz The Fuzz’ – but Springsteen’s star was rapidly rising, and many in the audience were there to hear him.

Herb Gart got me the gig. Herb managed Don McLean and sold ‘Bye Bye Miss American Pie’ to the world. The NY papers all said I was headlining and in small print below – “also appearing: Bruce Springsteen”. Bowie was a ‘tourist’ who just happened to be in town and came to see me, but fell in love with Bruce. Nevertheless, Bowie came up to me after the show with this shit-eating grin on his face staring down. He’s taller. I said: “Thank you for doing ‘Fill Your Heart’, but did you have to sop the whole arrangement?” He seemed not to hear me or grasp what I was saying, but kept smiling.
Biff Rose
The Tusk, August 2014

Bowie was unimpressed with Springsteen until, towards the end of the set, he picked up an electric guitar, brought on his band, and began to rock out.

I used to go and see him. I hated him as a solo artist, when he came on and did this Bob Dylan thing. It was awful, so cringe-making. He’d sit there with his guitar and be folky, have these slow philosophical raps in between the songs. As soon as the band came on, it was like a different performer and he was just marvelous.
David Bowie
Musician, August 1987
Last updated: 5 May 2023
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