09-Aug-1978 Cleveland,OH The Agora, USA

It was... It was... I remember, I was twelve years old, and I was going to this Catholic school and I got sent home for pissing in my desk.

<Audience cheers>

Obviously a popular pastime, right? <chuckles> And the sisters told my mother that I needed psychiatric attention. Right? So, my mother... The only people that were more scared of the nuns than the kids was the parents, you know? Like, I remember my old man and my old lady, they were terrified of them sisters. So, downtown they take me to this doc. And, umm... I'm sitting down there on the couch, and he says, "Son, how'd you get this way?"

And I though about it, and I said, "Doc, I'm glad you asked! Because, up 'til now, I've kept it a secret. But the fact was I was a teenaged werewolf. I said, "Doc, I was standing out on the street. I remember it was midnight. I looked up, it was a full moon. I felt this hair growing all over my face. Felt my fingers get longer and my nails pop out, and a guitar pop out of my left side. My pants got tighter, my hair got longer, and a man with a cigar come up and stung me on the ass.

And... And... All a sudden, in one moment, I looked up and there was this light, and for just one second...

GROWIN'UP (first part)

And I remember, it was years later, I grew up, I came home from high school one day, the old man's sitting at the kitchen table with the old lady, and they're looking pretty serious. They say, <mock mature voice> "Son, sit down please"

So, I know I was in trouble, because they called me 'son.' The other stuff they used to call me I can't say over the radio. But... So... Anyway, so I sit down. And my mother, she does the talking. She's the Italian, right? She says, "It's time we decided, me and your father decided it's time you got to stop fooling around with yourself..." How'd they know what I was doing in my room at night?

They said, you gotta get serious. It's like... They said it's time you put that guitar down -- that thing's okay for a hobby, but you're never going to get anyplace with that.

My father said, you should be a lawyer because lawyers, they own the world. My mother said 'you should be an author. You should write books.

So, they... But we decided that this is too big a decision. What you gotta do is, you gotta go over to the rectory, you gotta talk to Father Ray about your vocation. We set up an appointment, you gotta go over there in an hour. 'Cause that was the thing I used to have to do in those days.

So, I go over to the rectory... Oop, before I go over there, my father says, "And when you go talk to the priest, you tell him you want to be a lawyer, and you tell him you want to be an author, but don't you tell him *nothing* about that god-damn guitar."

Said, okay, okay. I go over to the priest's house, I ring on the bell, I say, "Father Ray, this is Mr. Springsteen's son, I come to talk to you about my vocation. So, he comes out, and we start walking around the church. And the priests in those days, they all had illusions of the Bells of Saint Mary -- they seen that movie too many times or something. They're all doing Patrick O'Brien, is that his name? Pat O'Brien imitations. And like, we talked for a while, and he says "Listen, I've decided that this decision is too big for me to make. What you gotta do, you gotta go direct to God, you gotta talk to God about this. Now you tell him you wanna be a lawyer, you tell him you wanna be an author, but don't tell him nothing about being a -- a what? an interior decorator? That's you? But don't you tell him nothing about that god-damn guitar.

Said, okay, okay. So, I figure I gotta go see God. Now, all I had to go see him in was my mom's old Rambler. It was all beat up, all smashed up, the paint scraped off the side. So, I drive over to Clarence's house. Said, "Clarence, I got the word -- I gotta go see God tonight." He said, "Well, you can't go in that car." I said, "Whaddya mean, I can't go in it? This is the only car I got." He said, "Naw, look at that thing, thing's ugly as hell. It's like.. You think he's going to see you in that car? There's going to be guys up there in Monte Carlos, Lincolns, Continentals... You think he's going to notice you?

So, I said, "Okay, okay..." So, I went down to Earl Shieb. At the time, it was $39.95. I went by the other day, I seen that Earl's since upped it ten bucks. But anyway, he does the car, midnight blue, I leave the windows down, he does the interior for free. If I had my brother in the back seat, he would've done him free of charge too.

Anyway, me and Clarence, we drive out to see God. Clarence says he knows where he is. So, we get out there and I don't see nothing but this dark hill next to this cemetery. I say, "Clarence, uhhh... Are you sure he's up there? You sure it ain't... You sure it ain't the other guy? This is the right place? And while I'm up there, what? Ask him about... The tape player that someone stole out of your room... All right... So, I had these two big questions I'm going to ask, about Clarence's tape player and what I'm going to do with my life. So, up the hill I go. And it's dark, and it's scary, all these noises coming out of the woods. And when I get to the top, I realized that the place was packed. There was people all over the place. I'm walking around, I bump into Kid Leo. I go, "Kid, what are you doing?" "Praying for more watts! I gotta blast this baby all the way to New Jersey. Crazy man up there.

So, I find me a quiet place, I kneel down. I say, "God, my father wants me to be a lawyer, my mother wants me to be an author, but I got this guitar, you see?" And all a sudden, I hear this thunder, Seen this lightning coming out of the sky, it was real quiet for a while... Then I heard just three words...

GROWIN'UP (last verse)