The River Tour: Sunrise and Atlanta

I lost the pit lottery at both shows. Dammit. At least at Sunrise I was on the front of the GA rail, and we missed by less than 50. But at Atlanta we were practically dead last. I have to admit that I take it personally. Is it really random, chance, luck? When I keep meeting people who seem to almost always make it into the pit?

I know that I shouldn’t complain, I’m lucky and blessed to even be able to see him at all, let alone get GA tickets, let alone FOUR shows. But, I can’t help it.

Well, anyway. Here are just a few pics from Atlanta.

My travels have been uneventful, mostly lonely and not so much fun. During the journey, on planes and in cars, I’ve realized that being a fan includes a certain amount of misery. It’s got a lot in common with unrequited love. You’re somewhat obsessed with someone who doesn’t even know you exist.

There’s this longing, which feels ridiculous, to just meet the guy. But that wouldn’t be enough either. I’d want to be invited to Christmas. Or at least have the chance to sit down and just talk with him for a couple hours.

Sigh.

But, hey. Whatcha gonna do? Just keep on going to shows and trying for the pit and sometimes making it to the front of the stage. Listening to his music, letting it touch you, staying in touch with your bruce buds and the Facebook fan group…and hoping that nothing happens to upset things for a long long time, so you get at least a bunch more shows in. Because the unthinkable just can’t…happen.

Grappling with all kinds of things these days. Mortality, mine and everyone’s, seems to be at the top of the list.

This post has no point. Just a ramble. I’m sitting in Louisville right now.

Aaaaaaand…some news: I decided to spend some money and donate to Steven Van Zandt’s Rock and Roll Forever Foundation and get a (really good) seat, and get to meet him. Tonight. So…more on that next post.

 

 

the Mystery

Religion. Spirituality. God.

We are religious, or we are not religious. We are spiritual, but not religious. We are atheists. We are agnostics. We pray to Jesus, our savior. We pray to God. We pray but not to anything. We go to church. We meditate. We do yoga. We travel to an ashram in India. We join a church. We move to a new church. We tell our children some version of what we were told. We try to say it like we mean it.

But…what IS it that drives us to these things, whatever they may be, that come under the category “religion.”

What IS religion? What IS God? What IS spirituality?

Having spent a lifetime concerned with this, focused on this, in one form or another: studying it at university, esoteric schools, hindu gurus, yoga, finding teachers and leaving teachers, meditation, now…I find it more and more to be, um, well, mysterious, frankly. Vague. Unclear.

I notice that we humans seem to have a tendency to corral ourselves into belief systems, (whether traditional or new age), into concepts of what God is or is not, what to believe or not to believe, what our life “means,”  and other such burning situations that come under the category of Spirituality and Religion.

Because aren’t they just a way to separate ourselves from each other? And what do we know, really?

It seems to me that mistrust grows bigger and bigger in me all the time. Mistrust of anything outside of my own heart and mistrust of any idea, institution or teacher.

And at the same time, paradoxically, TRUST grows bigger in me all the time. Trust of my own heart’s knowing and my own path unfolding and what my gut tells me is true. For me.

As Vanessa Stone says, “Your Life, exactly as it is, is the perfect prescription for the evolution of your soul.”

I’m on it. What about you?

 

The River Tour: Pittsburgh 1-16-16

Show #1 of The River Tour. The pics aren’t so great because I was kinda far back. But I needed to illustrate the post with SOMETHING! Hope these at least give a bit of the energy of the night.

It was…breathless, breathtaking, big, heart-rending, deep, crazy, sensational, love-full, loud, fun, funny, laughing, crying, whispering, dark, bright, open, streamlined, full-on, full of memories, a gift, light for the heart, soul-lifting, essential, best ever.

The heart of rock and roll is the heart of us is the heart of Bruce and we all wish we could be the one to sit in his dressing room after the show, after his shower, sip the whiskey, hear his thoughts. How it went. What he thinks. What he feels.

Because he’s so. Darn. Friendly. When you see him on stage, him and the band, you see his humanity. You see the little errors, the stumbles in their communications, the moment when he’s making sweet to Patti after singing “Crush on You.” You notice Stevie remind Bruce early on in the show to turn around and sing to the people in the limited view seating behind the stage. When  Bruce nods, turns, motions to rest of the band, and they walk back to play to that crowd behind them, and then the fans back there rise to their feet and the roar of their appreciation swells up so loud–when all that happens, it’s like your heart, which you thought was pretty big to begin with, is going to burst out of your chest.

Most of us couldn’t really exactly explain this magic that is Springsteen. You can watch the Springsteen and I movie to see people trying. And doing a fair job, really.

But I’ve been wondering about it lately.

I was watching people at the show. In the GA line outside before doors opened (pretty cold), on the floor before the show (jostling for position), during the show (faces in rapture), after the show (high-fiving their friends, reliving moments in words).

I was trying to guess what Bruce means to them. Why do they love him. What can they say? How do we say it?

I am trying to say it.

I’m failing.

Words can’t do it.

Nothing can do it.

It’s the language of the heart.

Intangible. Unexplicable.

 

Mystery.

 

 

 

Bruuuuuuce is baaaaack. And so am I.

Hello everyone!

Long time, no write. But Bruce is back now and it’s time to pick up the pen. Or the keyboard, as it were. (BTW, try clicking the photo above to see all of Bruce.)

I sit at this very moment in The Coffee Tree Roasters coffee shop in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA. I am staying in an Airbnb nearby. And we are T-minus 6.75 hours til official showtime for the tour opener. By the time I post this, obviously, it will be less! (And if you reading in the future…well, it’s T-plus, I guess.) I will be there – if all goes according to my evil plan, I will be elbows on the stage, but even if not, I’ll be pretty damn close.

So. What have I been up to for the past forever time since I last posted? And even before that (because Goddess knows I have still not made this blog what I wanted it to be)? My original vision for blog was a place for me to write about following Bruce, yes. But also to write about anything in the entire universe that matters to me: what I think and what I feel and what might somehow reach out and touch someone else. YOU.

Well, I tell myself: no worries. As many wise ones have said, the past is dead, the future unwritten, and all we have is the present. Here and now, in the present, my heart still beats and my mind still thinks and my hands still type and this old macbook still works, SO, here I go.

Quick recap. My recent life in a bullet list:

  • I am a healer, writer, photographer and good friend. At least, I want to be those, and occasionally I manage to actually do the actions that would make them manifest. That was the impetus behind creating this blog/website.
  • I’m also a plant ecologist by training with an absurd amount of experience in the world of environmental consulting, and I have tended to go back to that work because it is 1) interesting and 2) financially rewarding.
  • When I started this blog, I was working P/T for a consulting firm in the SF Bay Area, and living in Austin, TX.
  • Bruce Springsteen inspires the bejeezus out of me. It is hard to completely explain this. So in early 2014, I decide to follow him and blog about it. That experience was so inspiring and amazing and incredible and awesome and uplifting and FUN. But the blogging didn’t quite go as well as planned. Turns out that seeing 8 shows means spending a LOT of time driving, sleeping, eating and standing in line. And ROCKING OUT. Not very much time for  blogging. (excuses, excuses) I still have all my notes from talking to people at the shows and all the photos, but very few blog posts came out of it.
  • After tour, I found out that a dear friend of mine in California who had brain cancer was close to the end, and he and his wife decided to move to Kauai for his passing and for her to start her life there. Something she had always wanted to do. So I, for reasons that are complex and beyond the scope of this post, went with them: I sublet my place in Austin to someone who could take care of my cat (who, by the way, deserves an entire blog post of her own and will get one someday), drove to the Bay Area, shipped my car to Kauai, and flew over.
  • He died. That was very very very very sad.
  • I realized I didn’t want to live in Kauai, so in November (2014) I shipped the car BACK to the Bay Area, and accepted a big promotion at my company. I got the cat, gave up the apartment in Austin and settled into a little cottage.
  • By July 2015, I was totally burned out on the new job (because I’m really a healer/writer/photographer and not a full time high stress business manager). I was also synchronously on a vacation to New York and New Jersey when the word went out that Bruce was in APNJ and likely to show up at the Wonder Bar to jam with his old friends, Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers. I changed my plans in a heartbeat and drove to Asbury Park, got like the last hotel room in town, showed up at the bar, scored a ticket…he showed up. Game changer. Another post on that entire experience may come someday.
  • Thus inspired, I went back to California and quit the job, took the money and ran. All the way to Asheville, NC.
  • Within a week of arriving there, I was under contract on a sweet sweet SWEET country cabin, with a separate apartment that I could make into an Airbnb, located about 25 minutes southeast of Asheville.
  • On October 29 I closed. On November 11 I moved in. On November 22 the first Airbnb guest stayed. On November 26 I started driving for Uber. And coming up, I’m going to get my realtor license and maybe start a little vacation rental property management biz. Plans to write, photograph and heal are also in the works.
  • In December, Bruce released The River Box Set, announced The River Tour, and me and my Bruce Bud, Britt, bought General Admission tickets to January 29th DC show and 3 February southeast shows.
  • The holidays were a rough time, and I was slogging through the usual January deep blues (yes, depression). Then on this past Monday, I realized that the best thing I could do for myself was see Bruce. I made an Airbnb reservation and signed up for the so-cool ticket drop notification service (i.e. ticket drones) and decided to go to Pittsburgh. With some kind of amazing ticket karma, I scored a GA ticket during a Ticketmaster ticket drop the next day.
  • And, here we are. Well, here I am. I don’t know where YOU are.

And that about brings us up to date.

I will see you tomorrow, with photos from the front of the stage, if lady luck is with me.

Rock on.

The Far East San Francisco Bay

It turns out that the corridor from Concord to Sunol is absolutely gorgeous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confessions of a Sober Alcoholic

I have a confession to make. This is especially being posted for any of my friends of all ages who are still struggling with addiction and alcoholism.

When I was 17 years old, my boyfriend bought us tickets to see my idol, Bruce Springsteen. It was amazing. I couldn’t believe we were going. It was absolutely the most exciting thing that had ever happened in my life, even more exciting than my first horseback riding lesson, or my first blue ribbon, or anything. It would only be my second rock and roll concert and it was going to be the amazing, incredible, inspiring Bruce at Madison Square Garden.

The day finally came. We boarded the train in Katonah, NY in the afternoon. Being the partier that I was, we had to have something to drink. So David (who was over 18) got us a box of wine at the liquor store by the train station. A BOX. We started drinking as soon as we sat down on the train. The ride was about an hour long. We would have landed in the city right near the Garden. Should have been easy peasy. But…I don’t know what happened. I have no idea. Because we both drank so much wine on the train that we blacked out.

I have a vague memory of stumbling down a street in NYC, with our arms around each other. The next thing that I knew, we were walking down the train tracks somewhere north of White Plains. We still had our Bruce tickets. We had never gotten to the show. Somehow we got back on the train headed north, but we had missed the last train that continued all the way to Katonah. I don’t remember how we got home. It was the worst thing in my life, when I realized that I had missed Bruce. It went from the best thing in my life, to the worst thing in my life. In a moment. Miserable, wasted, still drunk, coming out of a blackout, throwing up on the train tracks, yelling at David – I wanted to die.

It took me another 15 years or so to fully admit that I was powerless over alcohol. That’s the sign of a true alcoholic.

But the saddest part of the entire story, for me, is what I just realized today as I told all of this to my Bruce bud, Britt Nelson. It took 27 years for me to finally go to see Bruce (Oakland Coliseum, 2007). And another 6 years after that before I really let myself reconnect completely to how important he was to me.

In recent years (as most of you know), I have returned full force to my love for Bruce. But it has been a bittersweet journey for me because I’ve realized how much I missed.  Bruce has been totally amazing all these years, but I just wrote him off when Born in the USA came out. It’s only this year, during tour, that I really came to see that BITUSA is actually an incredible album. Now, four of my favorite Springsteen songs are on that album (My Hometown, No Surrender, Downbound Train, Darlington County). And as I’ve toured around, meeting people who had been following him for decades, I’ve mourned all that I missed. I’ve asked myself why I turned away from him.

Today I realized that the day I missed Bruce when I was 17 years old because I drank too much was more than a bad drunkalog story. It was a pivotal moment in my life. If I had made it to that concert, the experience of seeing him live would almost certainly have been a life changer. I would have kept seeing him. I would have given Born in the USA all the extra time it needed for me to come to see it’s wonderfulness. I would have kept listening to and buying each of his albums, instead of catching up in 2014. I would have seen him live on each tour. I would not have missed the Seeger Sessions, or Devils and Dust. I would have heard him sing This Land is Your Land live. I would have heard Tracks and Human Touch and Lucky Town when they came out. I would have followed his life and his work and his gifts. I would not have missed more than half his career.

I am grateful beyond measure that something brought me back to Bruce in time to see all these shows, in time to catch up while he (and I) are still in concert condition. But I regret so much all the time and adventures that my drinking stole from me.

If you are drinking or drugging or otherwise letting an addiction keep you from what you love, please…stop. Get the help you need. Reach out. Don’t wait. Admit you have a problem and let yourself find the solution. It’s out there. I promise.

Kauai – First Two Months

In mid-August, I (temporarily) moved to Kauai. I’m not sure I’ll be here very long, but I have not blogged in a while so I thought I’d check in. I moved here because a friend of mine was dying and I came here with him and his family. To be part of that. The invitation was there, and I responded. It was intense. The whole experience from start to finish was intense beyond my ability to describe. Perhaps some day I will try but somehow it seems right to let it remain unwritten.

I am lucky that I work remotely. So I can literally live anywhere. As long as I have internet. So, why not live on a beautiful island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?

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