Live 19 Feb 2003 version

[Spoken intro:] [Just finished talking about GROWIN' UP]... That was a song I wrote when I was about 22 years old, now I am going right to a song covering the same territory that I wrote when I was about 50 (chuckles). And uh... this is the same, the same territory that, that song covered with about 30 years extra, you know. Let's see what I have, see how I did, alright, let's see, alright. I was going back to my, my Catholic school when they were... they needed help, they're building uh... uh... they had a building project that was going on and I, I felt I'd held a grudge long enough, you know what I mean [chuckles - cheers] Now I was gonna, I was gonna let it go. So uh... so I said "alright," and I went back and I played in the school gym and uh... and all the nuns and the, and the priests where there, and there was even a couple of them that came back from wherever they go when they're done to that night, you know, and everything was pretty merry, but uh... I wrote this song for dedication, for, to cover the things that were wrong. Here we go.

I was born right here on Randolph Street in Freehold
Right behind that big red maple in Freehold
I went to school right here
Got laid and had my first beer
Here in Freehold

My folks all lived and worked right here in Freehold
I remember running up the street past the convent to the church in Freehold
I chased my daddy down in these bars
First fell in love with this guitar
Here in Freehold

Had my first kiss at the YMCA canteen on a Friday night
Maria Espinosa, baby where are you tonight
You were only thirteen way ahead in your time
I walked home with a limp but I felt just fine
That night in Freehold

Well the girls at Freehold Regional, yeah, they looked pretty fine
I had my heart broken at least half a dozen times
I wonder do they miss me, do they still get the itch
Would they have dumped me if they knew I'd strike it rich
Straight out of Freehold

A lot of good people gave us a hand in Freehold
When we started up a Rock And Roll band in Freehold
Yeah we learned pretty quick how to rock it
I'll never forget the feeling of that first five bucks in my pocket
That I earned in Freehold

I got outta here hard and fast in Freehold
Everybody just wanted to kick my ass back then in Freehold
Well if you were different, black or brown
It was a pretty redneck town
Back in Freehold

Something broke my daddy's back in Freehold
He left it, for thirty years he'd never come back
Once he drove from California 3000 miles in three days
Called my mother's relatives some dirty names
And pulled straight out of Freehold

Now he's there by the highway buried in the dirt
His ghost just flippin' the bird
To everybody in Freehold

Well my sister got pregnant at seventeen in Freehold
Back then people they could be pretty mean
Ah honey you had a rough road to go, now you ain't made of nothin' but soul
I love you more than you'll ever know
We both survived Freehold

Well my buddy Mike, he's the mayor now in Freehold
I remember when we had a lot more hair in Freehold
I left and swore I'd never walk back
[spoken:] Oh shit!
I left and swore I'd never walk those streets again Jack
All I can say is "holy shit, I went back"
Back to Freehold

I read something in the papers a few weeks ago that was pretty funny
It seems the town council was debating whether to put up a statue of me in my hometown, but it cost too much money
I'd like to thank the Town Council my friends
For saving me from humiliation and displaying the good hard common sense
We learned in Freehold

Well this summer everything was green
Rode my kids on fire engine through the streets of Freehold
I showed 'em where dad was born and raised
And first felt the sun on his face
In Freehold

Well I still got a lot of real good friends back there
I can usually find a free beer somewhere
And with free dinners I am blessed
Should I go crazy, blow all my money, hit the tabloids, become fodder for moronic talk shows, and turn my life into a complete fucking mess
But I'll never go hungry I guess in Freehold

I got a good Catholic education in Freehold
Led to an awful lot of masturbation in Freehold
Father it was just something I did for a smile
Hell I still get a good one off once in a while
And dedicate it to Freehold

Don't get me wrong, I ain't puttin' anybody down
In the end it all just goes and comes around
It's a hell of a town
My hometown

[Spoken outro:] I'd ask the priest, I don't know. But uh... that was about first rest thirty years difference. It's a lot, it's a big difference, man. (chuckles) Alright...


The above lyrics are for the live 19 Feb 2003 performance of FREEHOLD at Somerville Theatre in Somerville, MA, during the first of the two DoubleTake magazine benefit shows. This 2003 version is similar to the versions performed in 1999; Springsteen still sang, "I read something in the papers a few weeks ago...". See the live 11 Aug 1999 version for more details.

Ticket stub for the 19 Feb 2003 show at Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA
Ticket stub for the 19 Feb 2003 show at Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA

DoubleTake Magazine Benefit

Founded by Harvard psychiatrist Robert Coles, DoubleTake magazine has been in business since 1995, but started facing financial problems a few years later. Springsteen's relationship with the publication goes back to late 1997 when he was interviewed by Will Percy (nephew of the late Walker Percy, a writer/novelist Springsteen admired) at Springsteen's farmhouse in Rumson, NJ. Part of the audio-recorded interview was printed in the March 1998 issue of the magazine. The interview is probably one of the most philosophical of Springsteen's career -- it dealt with the effect books and movies have on Springsteen's writing and the culture of celebrity, among other things. Springsteen also became friend with magazine founder Robert Coles when the two met in 1998. He praised his book A Secular Mind, and even attended one of his classes in Harvard. In November 2004 Coles published in his book Bruce Springsteen's America - The People Listening, A Poet Singing.

Robert Coles -- Bruce Springsteen's America - The People Listening, A Poet Singing (book cover)
Robert Coles -- Bruce Springsteen's America - The People Listening, A Poet Singing (book cover)

Tickets for the two fundraisers were priced at $500 and billed as "An Intimate Evenings Of Music And Conversation With Bruce Springsteen". These were solo acoustic shows, played on acoustic guitar (or piano on a few songs), held at the small Somerville Theatre (900 seats capacity). Springsteen chatted between songs, and closed out each night with a Q&A session, taking questions from the audience. The unprecedented "conversation" element of the shows made them unique to Springsteen fans.

Promotional poster for the 19-20 Feb 2003 shows at Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA
Promotional poster for the 19-20 Feb 2003 shows at Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA

The almost one million dollars raised from the ticket sales went to the non-profit DoubleTake Community Service Organization Corporation, publishers of DoubleTake magazine, which owed $600,000 to vendors and contributors. "The concert was a success beyond our wildest dreams," managing editor Kirk Kicklighter commented, "[But] we never really had a plan for what we were going to do after the concert." By the fall of 2004, the magazine was no longer publishing, officially put on "hiatus".


Thanks Chris at for the lyrics and spoken intro help.

Available Versions

List of available versions of FREEHOLD on this website:

FREEHOLD [Live 08 Nov 1996 version]
FREEHOLD [Live 12 Feb 1997 version]
FREEHOLD [Live 10 May 1997 version]
FREEHOLD [Live 11 Aug 1999 version]
FREEHOLD [Live 19 Feb 2003 version]

Page last updated: 25 Jul 2010