Live 24 Aug 1981 version
[Spoken intro:] Come on, Roy!
Well I stood stone-like at midnight suspended in my masquerade
And I combed my hair till it looked just right and commanded the night brigade, whoa!
I was open to pain and crossed by the rain, I walked on a crooked crutch
I strode all alone into a fallout zone, and came out with my soul untouched
I hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, when they said "sit down" I stood up
Ooh, ooh, growin' up
Now that flag of piracy, it flew from my mast, my sails were set wing to wing
I had a jukebox graduate for a first mate, she couldn't sail but she sure could sing
Well I pushed B-52, bombed 'em with the blues, my gear set stubborn on standing
I broke all the rules, strafed my old high school, never once gave thought to landing
Hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, when they said "come down" I threw up
Ooh, ooh, growin' up
Ain't it the truth, baby!
[Spoken:] There we were. It was Christmas Eve, and me, and Clarence, and Steve, we were, we were driving home in Clarence's old car, we didn't have no instruments, couldn't get no jobs anymore, we were down on our luck. We decided we wasn't even gonna give each other presents this year. Somebody'd stolen all our guitars. We were 'bout to just give up show business. And then, we got a flat tire. I hate flat tires. We were on this dark road, was no moon out or nothing, was as dark as you could get, we were surrounded by woods and all we heard was this howling sound coming out of the trees. So, we were trying to decide who was gonna get out and hitchhike to the gas-station. Now, I knew that I didn't have to get out, because I'm the Boss, baby! Yeah! (chuckles) Now, now we knew, we knew Clarence, he certainly didn't have to go -- he's bigger than Steve! So just as we were pushing Steve through that little side vent window, all of a sudden, just like in that movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, we seen a big flashing light come over our car. Shh. I stuck my head out and looked up, I seen this cherry red flying saucer with Hooker headers, on the side it said, "Mooney's Hamburgers -- One giant step for mankind, two cheeseburgers to go!" This little guy stuck his head out, said, "Man, I'm late for delivery, can you tell me how to get to the New Jersey Turnpike?" Now, you know, we ain't as dumb as we look, we ain't, uh, we just don't tell anybody how to get to the New Jersey Turnpike. So we made a deal. We said if we each, give us one wish, and we give him directions how to get back on track. He said, "Okay." Told him how to get to the Turnpike, and then right as we stood there, and on Christmas Eve, this dirty rat, this nasty cat, took off in a trail of light, disappeared off into the edge of the sky without so much as a goodbye. We felt kinda bad, we felt kinda disillusioned, we almost didn't believe in Santa Claus no more. But just as that guy was disappearing away, we seen something slip out of the back of his spaceship and land about a hundred yards down the road. And as we looked, it looked like something that we'd be wishing. And it was at that moment that we decided to continue in our careers in rock and roll.
I took month-long vacations in the stratosphere, you know it's really hard to hold your breath
I swear I lost everything I ever loved or feared, I was the cosmic kid
My feet they finally took root in the earth, well I got me a nice little place in the stars
I swear I found the key to the universe in the engine of an old parked car
I hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, when they said "sit down" I said, "shut up!"
Ooh, ooh, growin' up
Yeah, yeah, yeah
[Spoken outro:] Bye-bye, New Jersey! We was airborne!
And that's how we're here tonight.
The above lyrics are for the live 24 Aug 1981 performance of GROWIN' UP at Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, during The River Tour. The song was played in a full-band, album-style arrangement, and featured a story in the break.
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band performed a series of six concerts in August 1981 at Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. At first four concerts were announced (20, 21, 23, and 24 Aug 1981) and two more were later added (27 and 28 Aug 1981). The first of the six shows was a benefit concert in support of the Vietnam Veterans Of America, an organization founded by former U.S. Marine lieutenant and disabled Vietnam veteran Bobby Muller.
Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for the lyrics help.
List of available versions of GROWIN' UP on this website:GROWIN' UP [Album version]