Barry Schneier could barely believe what he was hearing. He’d walked into Charlie’s Place in Cambridge for a pop and some guy named Bruce Springsteen was singing. It was 1974.
“I was blown away by the performance,” says Schneier, who was 24 at the time. “It was the music and his personality. He seemed larger than life and he had this way of connecting with the audience.”
Afterward, Schneier told a local promoter what he’d witnessed and a few months later Springtseen, who’d released two albums by then but was not well known, was booked to open for singer Bonnie Raitt at the Harvard Square Theatre. Journalist Jon Landau was in the audience that night and the rest, as they say, is history. (In his review, Landau famously wrote “I saw rock and roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen.)
Schneier, who’s 66 and lives in Holliston now, took a few photos at the Harvard Square Theatre show, one of which — Springsteen at the piano — has been reproduced many times in the decades that followed. The black-and-white shot of Bruce playing “For You” has been archived at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is part of the traveling exhibit, “The Grammy Museum Presents: Bruce Springsteen: A Photographic Journey.”
We thought of Schneier because Springsteen is playing at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday — the final show of a yearlong tour celebrating the 35th anniversary of Bruce’s album, “The River.” Yes, Schneier will be there, just as he was at Springsteen’s previous shows on this tour in New York, Hartford, and at TD Garden.
Schneier has made his living taking pictures and he’ll have his camera with him Wednesday. (He’s shooting for Backstreets Magazine, a website devoted to all things Bruce.) But it’s unlikely he’ll capture anything as iconic as his 1974 photo of a young, bearded Springsteen in jeans and a tight T-shirt playing the piano.
“It’s just gratfying to go and see him. The people in his organization are honest and good folks,” says Schneier. “And Bruce just keeps getting better.”