Leeds music nostalgia: Summer of 1985 - The Boss played Roundhay Park

ARCHIVES: Report of the historic 80,000 sell-out gig in July 1985.
ARCHIVES: Report of the historic 80,000 sell-out gig in July 1985.
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It was the hot summer day of July 7, 1985 when Bruce Springsteen last performed in Leeds, in front of a throbbing crowd of 80,000 people.

The open air stage at Roundhay Park was quickly becoming the favoured venue for international superstars including Madonna, Michael Jackson and the Rolling Stones, in 1982.

His three-and-a-half hour set ran into overtime and he had no support act. Two giant video screens put up for those at the back meant all eyes could see.

And what else could he kick-off with but Born in the USA?

Yorkshire Evening Post award-winning photographer Steve Riding recalls the day when he had to cover the concert: “It was a hot day and it was packed. I had to capture The Boss when he first came on stage and I just remember him singing those words: “Born in the USA” and the crowd just went wild. It was a great atmosphere,

“I had to hot foot it from the front of the stage, right to the back to really capture the size 
of the crowd. It was quite a run round to the back to ensure the whole audience was pictured. It is a great memory from the many concerts I have photographed.”

The YEP archives show that the sell-out concert for the rock superstar saw an alcohol ban and police at the time said the crowd was mainly well-behaved, apart from 20 arrests.

There were incidents of forged tickets and some people trying to get in without paying, as a group of people tore down a section of eight-foot high corrugated fencing, to gatecrash. Around 30 people were treated for hand injuries when the crowd broke through a gap in the fence next to the stage.

Many more suffered heat exhaustion in the crush at the front of the stage. A carnival style atmosphere was reported.

It was the last European leg of his worldwide tour and highlights for fans included Born to Run and Cadillac Ranch.

His last song on the set list was Rockin’ All Over the World, and the final encore of Twist and Shout was reported to have gripped the park at the event, run by Leeds City Council and promoter Harvey Goldsmith.

The only other act to sell-out at Roundhay Park was the Rolling Stones. Genesis sold 75,000 tickets and in 1987 Madonna sold 73,000.

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