Born in the U.S.A., Paperback/Geoffrey Himes
When Bruce Springsteen went back on the road in 1984, he opened every show by shouting out, ``one, two, one, two, three, four,`` followed by the droning synth chords of ``Born in the U.S.A.`` Max Weinberg hit his drums with a two-fisted physicality that cut through the swelling chords. With a rolled-up red kerchief around his head and heavy black boots under his faded jeans, Springsteen looked like the character of the song, and from the very first line (``Born down in a dead man's town``) he sang with the throat-scraping desperation of a man with his back against the wall. When he reached the crucial lines, though, the guitars and bass dropped out and Weinberg switched to just the hi-hat. Springsteen's voice grew a bit more private and reluctant as he sang, ``Nowhere to run. Nowhere to go.`` It was as if he weren't sure if this were an admission of defeat or the drawing of a line in the sand. But when the band came crashing back at full strength--building a crescendo that fell apart in the cacophony of Springsteen's and Weinberg's wild soloing, paused and then came together again in the determined, marching riff--it was clear that the singer was ready to make a stand.