Home State Wins Again!

I just wrote a post about Bruce’s show last night and then…oh, it’s too hard to explain, but basically I accidentally deleted it. So. Let me try again. I’m simultaneously jealous as hell and super happy about the show in Jersey last night. The man (and his band) is (are) super human. Seriously. At almost 67 years old he set and broke longest show records with each of the three shows in this Jersey run over the past week. Last night timed out at 4 hours 1 minute – second longest show of his career and longest USA show. And it’s not just quantity. The setlists of all three shows were pretty phenomenal — last night, however, blew the roof off. And there wasn’t even a roof to start with. He pulled out rarities and oldies and specials and…I mean. WTF. Rather than sink into jealousy and regret along with thousands of other fans, I’m consciously choosing to celebrate instead. And be grateful that I get to see him yet one more time this Saturday in Virginia Beach. It’s unlikely to be a show anywhere close to what he’s done in his home state these past three nights. But anything is always possible at a Bruce show. That’s part of the magic.

SETLIST
1. New York City Serenade (w/strings)
2. Blinded By The Light
3. Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street
4. It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City
5. Spirit In The Night (w/ Rickie Lee Jones)
6. Summertime Blues (Eddie Cochran cover, sign request)
7. 4th of July Asbury Park (Sandy) (sign request).
8. KITTY’S BACK (sign request)
9. Incident On 57th Street (sign request)
10. Rosalita
11. PRETTY FLAMINGO (Manfred Mann cover)
12. Atlantic City
13. I’m Goin’ Down
14. Darlington County
15. Working On The Highway
16. Downbound Train
17. I’m On Fire
18. Hungry Heart
19. Out In The Street
20. LIVING PROOF (first performance since 2009, dedicated to his son, Evan)
21. Candy’s Room
22. She’s The One
23. Because The Night
24. The Rising
25. Badlands
———————
26. SECRET GARDEN
27. Jungleland
28. Born To Run
29. Dancing In The Dark
30. 10th Ave. Freeze-Out
31. Twist & Shout (The Top Notes cover)
32. Glory Days
33. Shout (The Isley Brothers cover)
34. Jersey Girl (Tom Waits cover, with fireworks)

 

Meeting Bruce Springsteen

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.

IMG_7864

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?”

AAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!

OMG!!!!!!!!!

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

and

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)

Ican’tbelieveI’mmeetingyou

(Bruce: You are)

Thank you thank you thank you

(Bruce: You’re welcome)

Can I take a selfie?

(Bruce: Yep)

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).

FullSizeRender 8

And here’s the super cool amazing pic that Ben snapped of me and Bruce.

FullSizeRender 10

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.

 

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 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.

Catching My Breath

I’m back! I know the whole idea was to blog about my Bruce adventure while I was in it, but you probably noticed—that didn’t happen.

It turns out that seeing eight (yes, 8) Bruce shows means a hell of a lot of driving and not a lot of writing. Um, make that NO WRITING.

After my final show in Houston on May 6, I drove all the way to California. (So far, I’ve driven almost 7,000 miles since I left my house in Austin on April 14th.) Upon arrival in California, I started a mad schedule of work and socializing. I’m finally beginning to catch my breath – and am ready to blog again.

I still want to make posts about each of the shows in the order I saw them, including the adventures, the people, the energy…and what it has meant to me. But for now, I’m going to post some photos of my journey and of the band and leave the storytelling to the next post. I hope you enjoy and I am glad you stopped by to check things out here at my home on the world wide web.

Following Bruce. Why?

In 1975, Born to Run came into my life. It rocked my world. This post is an attempt to explain what Bruce has meant to me—and why I’m following his tour and blogging about it.

I was 12 years old. Just starting 7th grade. My older brother gave the album to my older sister for her birthday. She was 20, and distracted, so once I borrowed it, I never gave it back.

From the first time I put him on my record player, Bruce’s lyrics spoke to my heart and hit deep in my gut. They brought me into contact with something that lingered just beneath the surface of my awareness, a longing that I hadn’t yet fully recognized.

Late nights in my room, the rest of the house dark and quiet, I huddled close to the record player and lifted the needle back to the beginning of Thunder Road again and again. I sang along in a whisper. Desire pulsed in my veins. Oh…I wanted to be Mary. To roll down the window and let the wind blow back my hair. To leave this town full of losers behind. To pull out of here and win.

The songs on Born to Run and, later, Darkness on the Edge of Town, strongly influenced my developing worldview and brought into sharp focus the life I wanted to live. Bruce did not give me my belief systems or my dreams. But somehow, he nailed them in his records. The lyrics and the music worked together on a mysterious level to bring me to my knees and to the top of the mountain, simultaneously.

So…flash forward to 2014. I am 50 years old. Much of my life, until recently, fell short of the dreams and longings of those nights by the record player. Bruce receded into the background. Embers of the longing for a life worth living smoldered on beneath the surface of my daily life, but I hardly realized it.

Then one day a few years ago, I woke up one morning and said, “No more! I’m living my life from my heart from now on.” As you can imagine, this is a story of it’s own and I won’t go into details here and now. But it led me to this moment where all that matters is listening more and more clearly to the path that life calls me to, and following it. I realize that the stories on Bruce’s albums speak to me because they are metaphors of the struggle in every person’s heart.

The only other thing I’ll say here is that what is most potent is that I am an artist in my heart, a creator. We ALL are. And the biggest self-betrayal that I lived all these years was not creating. So, I’m following Bruce’s tour to be inspired. And I’m blogging about it in words, photos and (hopefully) video, in order to inspire others.

So, here we go. Bruce inspires me because…

  • he is a role model for me of how to be true to myself and my own artistic vision
  • he represents the artist inside of me
  • his music gives expression to my longing to live my dreams
  • his music articulates the dilemma of not living our dreams – of being stuck in a life we never wanted and longing to BUST OUT and find that place in the sun

 

%d bloggers like this: