This is one performance I am very excited to say that I saw first-hand. I remember observing the audience’s enthusiasm for this song and feeling like I was witnessing a resurgence in appreciation for the Born in the U.S.A. album. At a Springsteen concert, you’ll frequently see the audience become jubilant when a less frequently heard track from Born to Run or Darkness on the Edge of Town is dealt out. For a while, it felt much more rare for a Born in the U.S.A. b-side to make it into the rotation.
What makes this performance for me is the parade of girls in pink hats that take the stage around the four-minute mark. The girls coming on stage always feels like the natural materialization of the song narrator’s horn dog agenda. I’m always amazed that when fans get pulled on stage, and they some how have a general sense of how to behave and how to dance.
“We drove down from New York City
Where the girls are pretty but they just want to know your name”
I’ve previously compared this song to a Raymond Carver short story (http://www.legendsofspringsteen.com/2013/04/lyrics-spotlight-darlington-county.html), and that’s what I love so much about the song - the lascivious undercurrent and the sinister sting at the end (Wayne being handcuffed while the narrator drives away).
I consider “Darlington County” the hidden gem on Born in the U.S.A. There is so much of this song to enjoy, and so many layers to the story it tells.