The impossible happened. I met Bruce.
The entire circumstance of how it happened seems incredibly random and completely perfect. Here’s the story.
I live in Asheville, NC, which is about 9 hours from St. Louis. I had been thinking about adding the Sunday, March 6 show to my itinerary, but I fluctuated a lot. Finally, I woke up Saturday morning and thought, what the hell?! Of course I’m going! So, in a whirlwind, I found a GA ticket on the BTX ticket exchange site, arranged for friends to come stay with my cat, and hit the road.
I lucked out and got in the pit through the wristband lottery. I was not one of the first ones in, but because I was on my own, I managed to get up pretty close. In the line before we got in, I met some great fans, including Scott Williams, the guy who danced with Bruce in Cleveland.
As usual, it was a great show. You might have heard some about it, like the guy, Tom England, who got to go up and play and sing Working on the Highway with Bruce and the E Street Band. Which was REALLY AWESOME! I met some cool folks around me and had a fine time. I’ll have a post with just pics pretty soon, but let’s get on with the important part now.
After the show, I took my time leaving. I had been thinking about maybe trying to hang out where Bruce would be leaving from and catch a glimpse of him as he left. I bought some (yet more) merch (they have these cool fabric patches now) and was literally one of the last people to wander out of the building.
There was a driveway right next to the venue, which I had seen before the show and which seemed likely to be the way in and out for artists. I wandered over and one lone guy was standing there. Who? None other than the infamous and aforementioned Scott Williams. I joined him and he told me he had been down below and that Bruce’s security guy told him to wait at the top of the driveway and that Bruce would be coming out soon. GREAT, I thought. Maybe I will see him!
As we waited and chatted, a family joined us also. Mom, Dad and two daughters. One black SUV came up and as they waited to turn out of the driveway, we saw it was Max in the front passenger seat and Garry in the back. It was confirmed because there was a piece of paper taped to the side of the vehicle that said “MAX and GARRY.” I stepped forward and grabbed it.
A few minutes went by, and we saw another SUV leave and in that one we caught a glimpse of Bruce’s guitar tech, Kevin.
Another minute or two. And then…the magic started. The security guy directing traffic in front of the driveway into the main street called over to us, “HE’S COMING!” Which alone was pretty cool, right?!
We looked down and saw two more black SUV’s coming up the driveway. The first one passed us by and made a quick turn into the street. We couldn’t see who it was, and they were turned away from the window. But who cared, because the second SUV was pulling up next to us, the passenger window rolled down and Bruce just sitting there with his arm resting on the door, waving to us. The backseat passenger window was also down, and Bruce’s security guy was there.
And now, things get pretty fuzzy for me. What happened next was SOMETHING like this…
He says, “Hi guys. How you doing?”
We surge forward, but I hang back behind Scott because he’d been there first, and besides I have always felt (as I’ve written before on this blog) that I’m invisible to Bruce and that even when I’ve been at the front of the stage, I’m not one of the ones he ever notices. So even as this amazing thing is happening and Bruce Springsteen is RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, I’m thinking I’m not going to get to talk to him, he’s going to talk to the other people and then drive off and I’ll be invisible as usual.
So the family talks to him and Bruce sees Scott, and says, “Hey, it’s the dancing man!”
The family does the selfies. Then Scott gives Bruce some gifts he had brought for him (nice job, Scott!) and they do the selfies.
And then I’m holding my breath, is this my moment? I’m restraining myself from lunging at him, wondering what to do, sort of realizing that I’ve got no idea what the hell to say anyways, and
Bruce Springsteen looks right at me, reaches out his hand toward me and motions me forward. Are you kidding me? HE SEES ME!
So any kind of self-restraint is over. I ungracefully spring forward, grab his hand and his arm and lean part way into the window and the babbling commences:
Ohmygod Bruce Ihavelovedyou FOREVER
(Bruce: Well thank you)
(Bruce: You are)
Thank you thank you thank you
(Bruce: You’re welcome)
Can I take a selfie?
Fumble fumble with phone, drop my poster tube, Scott picks it up, I’m still babbling:
Bruce, you sound horse, I’m worried about you
(Bruce: Well I really appreciate that)
Bruce, take care of yourself
(Bruce: OK, thank you, I will)
I’m slightly aware that people are smiling at my complete goofiness, possibly even laughing, but it’s absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to regain any composure or presence whatsoever and I’m laughing at myself also.
I get the phone in place and we look at the camera, I’m pretty much out of my body by this time, but I’ve got some awareness that his arm is against my arm, I’m freaking TOUCHING BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN. I snap the picture.
And then I say, “Can I kiss you on the cheek?”
Bruce leans the side of his head slightly towards me, motions at his cheek and says, “Yep, there it is, go ahead.”
Seriously. I’m not making this shit up. That is what happened. He said that. I started cracking up, it was SO FUNNY! And SO AWESOME!
So I kissed him on the cheek.
And then he waved to us all, said goodbye, and off they drove.
I started twirling around the grass on the side of the driveway and screaming and shouting OH MY GOD I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT JUST HAPPENED! and the sweet family and Scott and I just were laughing and talking to each other and it was so amazing.
Turns out the family are the O’Connors from Chicago: Ben, Julie and daughters Brennan and Delany. Here’s all of us (Scott, too).
And here’s the super cool amazing pic that Ben snapped of me and Bruce.
Holy Shit. It happened. I’ve got the photo evidence.
How do I feel? Still amazed and blessed and super grateful. Also, I feel only more determined to manage to meet him again and this time I’m going to be more prepared. Let me tell you, if you want to meet someone who seems unreachable, whether it’s Bruce or someone else, get ready. Think about what you want to say or ask, what you’d like to have with you to give to them, what you want to be sure to not miss. Because I was so absolutely positive I could never meet him that I never put any time into preparing and although I have no regrets, I do sort of have that one regret. That I wasn’t more ready.
For one thing, I’d love to tell him about this blog. I’d love to give him a bit of my writing about what he’s meant to me. I’d love to be better practiced with the camera phone. All that shit. I don’t even know what-all. But, my friend, I’ll tell you this for sure—I’m gonna be putting some serious energy into preparing for the next time the impossible happens, and I get to meet Bruce Springsteen.