For years I’ve felt like a hold-out for not being a big fan of Bruce Springsteen. Sure I knew the big songs, the hits, but he just wasn’t doing it for me, even after Hannah gave me copied-out lyrics to Born to Run when it came out. After that I made an attempt to understand the whole Bruce phenom, but after enclosing myself in a pod-like chair in the Viking Music Lounge at WWU many years ago, headphones wrapped across my head, staring out over Bellingham Bay and listening to the The River, the tears started flowing in a big, big way, and as I hurled the headphones onto the chair and stormed outside I realized perhaps I wasn’t strong enough to handle Bruce. Especially when he was writing these incredibly personal songs about my life!
Joe, on the other hand, has always been a fan, so my now considerably more mature self gradually started to listen. A few CDs were purchased. Then a few months ago I watched a DVD I bought as a gift for Joe. Seeing him perform was like a revelation to me; I finally got it! The man does not know half-way! So, when we heard he was doing a Seattle show we bought tickets right away, and last night I saw my first-ever Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band concert. Here’s my take on the night:
Waiting for the Band
–General admission! What was I thinking?!? Oh yeah, I wanted to experience the energy of the crowd on the floor. I just forgot that I’m only FIVE FEET TALL! Good thing I wore my semi-combative concert-wear — bright red Doc Marten’s, black Levi’s and a leather jacket.
-What is with these people sitting on the floor? Don’t they realize as soon as they stand up we’re all going to surge forward? And they’re so smug about it, too. (Joe and I started hissing playfully, “ssssssitterrrssss!”)
-Just when I think I’ll be having a pretty good view of the stage this woman next to us starts waving at this guy she knows and he plows mercilessly through the crowd to join her. He’s at least six-and-a-half feet tall, (wearing a huge black-leather jacket making mine look like baby clothes) and he stops right in front of me. Others around us look down at me in pity, and glare at the intruder but his eyes are too far up to meet anyone elses. When the crowd starts clapping in earnest and the lights go down as the band comes on stage, I tug Joe’s hand so he’ll lower his ear to my mouth and I tell him I didn’t realize Bruce was so dark, and leathery-skinned…kind of like a black leather jacket.
During the Show
-Ironically, they open with “Trapped” and as the arena around me sings with him, pumping their fists in the air, all I can think, is how did they get their arms up? My arms are crossed across my chest like an upright vampire! They don’t know trapped!
-After some creative jostling (thank you Doc Marten) I am able to see Bruce’s arm! I surrender and relax and am happy to watch the majority of the show on the big screen with the occasional thrilling glimpse of Bruce and the band, but can’t help thinking now and then as all the men around me sing every word of almost every song how they all want to be Bruce, and I just want to see Bruce.
-Ohmigod! What a tush! More close-ups of that, please! This man is why Levi’s and black tee shirts were invented. It makes the music just that much better, you know?
-Nils Lofgren has more talent in his guitar-picked little finger than I could even if I had a sixth finger surgically attached to each hand! His solo on Because the Night (the only song I knew all the words to, by the way, thanks to Patti Smith) brought forth bone-chilling ululations from yours truly.
-I’m pretty sure I just saw Bruce say to the mightily-cool sax-god Clarence Clemons, “I’m going to die!” but with a smile on his face. He just goes all out, veins bulging, rivers of sweat on every inch of skin, 150% pure passion!
-During 10th Avenue Freeze Out: Is that a mic stand or a stripper pole? Lord have mercy!
-Sorry Obama, I know I’m an alternate delegate and everything, but I’m voting for Bruce, now.
-I bow down to Bruce and all his sweaty glory, beg forgiveness for all my years of neglect. I am a convert!
-The reality of standing two hours before the show, and for two-and-a-half hours during sets in, but no matter, I am filled with the Spirit of Bruce and stretch out like a happy starfish once we’ve cleared the crowd outside.
-If I set up the portable DVD player on the shelf above the coats, and cram myself into the closet with the earbuds in and crank the volume to that Bruce Springsteen DVD we have full blast I can experience the concert again whenever I want!
-I wonder if Joe would let me call him Bruce once in a while….