Saturday, May 28, 2011

Beltane to Memorial Day Countdown: BRUCE

Even though I have found pieces through thrifting that I never imagined even existed, there are a few items that are so elusive, I have pretty much given up ever coming across them in a thrifting context. While the number one item I constantly search for but never find amidst all the copies of Jurassic Park and Jerry Maguire is a VHS copy of Purple Rain, another equally elusory item would fall under the category of "original concert t-shirts."

To be fair, I have, over years of disappointment, pretty much cut out rifling through the racks of men's and boys' t-shirts while thrifting. Though I found my most favorite t-shirt of all time at a thrift store back in Madison on such a rack, the benefits of doing so were greatly usurped by the amount of time I was wasting, when I could have been going through a section that would, without a doubt, afford me at least one treasure.

Imagine my surprise, then, when, doing my normal hunting through women's tops at a Salvation Army in St. Paul, I found this number:

Vintage Bruce Springsteen Tour Top
Vintage Bruce Springsteen Tour Top (detail)
Vintage Bruce Springsteen Tour Top (back)

An original* sleeveless "Born in the USA" Bruce Springsteen concert t-shirt.

When I found this piece, I had a major thrifting rush. I ran all over the store, showing off my find to my friends (who included Laurie, in town for the her then annual forced summer vacation courtesy of Gap corporation) and was so excited that I started getting paranoid—the tag might fall off, someone might see its gloriousness and grab it from my cart when I wasn't looking, I might misplace it amongst all my other treasures on that trip.

My excitement and paranoia was so fervent that Mary and Laurie thought it would be a "funny" joke to take it out of my bag when they were grabbing their things out of my trunk as I was dropping them off.

I won't get into the details about how this whole scenario ended up playing out, but let's just say I have never wanted to knife anyone like I did when I realized that my bag was missing my pride and joy. Everything worked out though, and I am pretty certain that Laurie and Mary will never play a practical joke involving thrifting pieces on me again.

*I have done a lot (like an hour's worth) of research on this top, trying to determine whether or not it is indeed authentic. With everyone from Urban Outfitters to Kmart reissuing concert t's, the last thing you want to do is sing the praises of a t-shirt just to find out someone actually bought it from Kohl's three years ago.**
** This also makes it difficult for people who actually obtain the real concert t-shirts, as then others start assuming they are just buying their t's reissued, which my friend Nick found out when he got into a fight with some biker dude about a real concert t-shirt he was wearing.***
***Concert t-shirts tend to illicit strong feelings in those purists who care about the authenticity of such tops.


  1. Wow. That is an awesome find. I never find any good concert tees, and I look! I love Bruce with ALL MY HEART and would probably cry and possibly retire from thrifting (for the day) if I came across it. Thanks for motivating me to get back to that Sal Val! I always forget about that one. :)

  2. Ohhhhh, my god. THAT IS THE MOST AMAZING FIND EVER. I'm sure the chances of this are extremely, ludicrously slim, but... if you ever undergo a complete personality change and want to get rid of this asap, please put me first in line. My dad would probably have a heart attack if he ever saw me wearing this (pride-induced, I mean). Oh wow. Excuse me while I go and search Etsy for Bruce tees.

  3. Thank you ladies! Your comments are affirming that I was totally justified in how crazy this shirt made me. Sometimes the thrifting freakout just makes sense.