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.

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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).

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

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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.

 

Meeting Steven Van Zandt

Little Steven, Miami Steve, guitar player in the E Street Band, star of Lillehammer and The Sopranos, incredible musician, and founder of the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation.

Steven Van Zandt is the man. And I MET HIM at Louisville.

It wasn’t any big amazing synchronicity. I donated a relatively large sum of money to his foundation and in exchange I got a seat ticket, and admission to a meet and greet. Also was able to bring my friend, Britt. That’s me on the left.

It was a total thrill to be there. We were all gathered in a private room with a complimentary bar (I don’t drink, so I had a cranberry juice fizz) and a view over the river. We all hung out for about 15 minutes after we got into the venue and then Stevie showed up. Early, apparently. He just sauntered in, and Michael-Ann, the awesome woman who runs the meet and greet at each show was like, “Steven! What are you doing here?!”

He just smiled at her and went to sit at the bar, waved his hand and said, “go ahead, organize, I’ll be here having a drink.” It was hysterical!

So she organized us into a line and he came, and we all shuffled through, had a brief exhange (“Hi how are you? You’re awesome, thank you.”), a quick picture snapped by their photographer, and then it was over. He said, “have a great time” to each of us after our picture. We all stood around watching other people get their turn.

After we all got through, he took time to talk to a teenage girl who was there with her father and wants to be a rock and roll music writer. It was really great to see him there talking to her. He was very encouraging and it seemed like by the end they were talking with Michael-Ann about getting the young woman in touch with the executive director of the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, which was really exciting.

He is just as normal and down to earth and cool as you would expect him to be. It was worth every penny to meet him and it really helped shake me out of the blah I was feeling in the last post.

Getting in to the pit was a sort of surprise bonus and it worked out GREAT for me and Britt. We ended up close to the front in front of Stevie and Patti. The show was awesome. Another post coming real soon with some details on that and a BUNCH of photos.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Some Pics from Houston

It is hard to believe it’s been so long since the shows. I miss the touring life. Much is changing, much too fast. More on that soon.

I finally made my way through the Houston pics and selected some to edit. This is a few of the first I’ve played around with. I shot over 700 pics that night. Being front and center really made a big difference.

Charlotte Fans and Photos

The Charlotte show is a story best told in pictures.

I did interview lots of fans, but I gotta say – mostly it was kind of the same old story.  I don’t think I’m a very creative interviewer.

Taking photos is much more fun.

First I was in Fitzgerald’s, a bar down the street from the arena. There was a pre-show gathering there, the bar was blasting Bruce’s music and fans took over the joint.

So, we will start with John. I met him at the bar and he sold me my ticket to Raleigh. He’s from Queens and he’s been following Bruce part-time since 1979 and full-time since 2000. Charlotte was his 80th show.

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These three are friends of John’s from shows. Jennifer, Don and Joe. Shit. I’m not sure I got them in the right order. It might be Jennifer, Joe and Don. (Sorry, you guys!) They’ve seen Bruce a lot. Jennifer over 80 shows, Joe and Don around 120 shows each.

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They’re from Jersey. Can you tell?

Why do they like him? “He tells the truth.”

I went to the bar to order a burger (sustenance for the show) and started talking to these two.

2014-04-19 16.07.45_Theresa-Tom

Are they the cutest couple, or what? Tom and Theresa Welty from Mound View, MN. All the way to Charlotte for a show.

Hey, Tom and Theresa – did you guys make it in the pit??

Then there was this tennis team:

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These guys were really cool and I enjoyed meeting them, although I didn’t know what to ask them. The whole interview things is challenging.

Anyway, they are, from the right: Rik (Netherlands), Matt (England), Henric (Sweden), Stanley (England), and Jack (Australia). They are so cute. Oh my gosh!

It’s their first time seeing Bruce. “Do you know his music?” Not really. But they were excited, and Rik’s PARENTS were sending him to the show for his birthday.

So, guys, how was it?

*************

Then it was time to go stand in the rain in the wristband line. Yeah. Really. Pouring rain. Falling off umbrellas onto the people around the umbrella. A personal waterfall for everyone.

But it was fun. I met Lisa and her family. They were behind me. I love them. I mean it. After 20 minutes, me and Lisa are like BEST FRIENDS! (Right, Lisa? You have to comment here so everyone knows I’m not making this shit up).

2014-04-19 17.01.21 Lisa and Fam 2

Gorgeous family. I gotta say. (Apparently Tom Morello thought so also. But I won’t go into that story.)

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Are you still with me?

Lisa met David in Spain. Lisa saw Bruce in Spain. They all love Bruce. We all got in the pit. We were screaming and yelling – yahoo!!!! And then more standing in the rain, waiting to be let inside so we could go into the pit.

So, I talked to this guy. I’m sorry, guy, I didn’t write down your name, and I have CRS. (Do you know what that is? CRS. You know. Can’t Remember Shit) If you find this blog and see yourself here, will you please comment and tell me your name and I’ll edit this post.

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We had fun (well, I had fun —I am not sure he was enjoying my company as much as I enjoyed his, but he endured me). We talked about shows. Shows Shows Shows. Dead Shows, Jerry Shows, Bruce Shows. blah blah blah. Then the line moved and we went inside and I never saw him again.

Okay, people. Are you still reading and looking at pictures of people you don’t know? YAY.

It’s fun for me, anyway.

So, this is Ryan. He’s Bruce’s #1 Fan.

2014-04-19 18.52.27 Ryan

I really liked Ryan. He was open and sweet. He is 24 years old. His parents turned him onto Bruce when he was like 8 or 9 and he’s “far surpassed them” in his Bruce Fan-ness. He’s an accountant. Go, Ryan!!

Right before the show started, I took Mitch’s picture. Mitch sounds and looks like someone I would have gone to college with at Stony Brook University on Long Island. He’s not, but shit, he should have been.

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And then there was the show. Bruce serenaded us —

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pole danced —

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And then we went home.

On the way, I took some pictures of my new friends from Spain and San Francisco.

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We wandered out in a group and they stopped to look at the Bruce paraphernalia table, because Marta and Magela were going home the next day.

While I was standing there, this sweet family asked me to take their photo with their phone. After I did that, I asked if I could take their photo with MY phone, and put them on my blog? They were rather startled and a bit more impressed than perhaps the situation merited. I love that they said yes, and one of the women held up my “followingbruce” card that I gave them.

2014-04-19 23.41.06 Martin FamilyCome ON! How can you not love these people. The Martin Family!

Thank you all, fans and friends, for getting excited when I told you about my blog, for willingly letting me take your picture and for the fun of talking Bruce.

Please let me know you stopped by – like this post, leave a comment, email me through the contact form. If you like what you read, please tweet about it, share it on FB, generally send people this way. The more it grows, the more it will grow.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to post a gallery of my somewhat fuzzy but still pretty cool shots of the shows, including some video clips.

Thanks for stopping by. See you in line!

 

This Couple in Nashville

I realized after I wrote the Nashville Fans post that I forgot my very first interview couple – these two were so charming and sweet and real and I was so pleased with my first “fan on the street” interview that I can’t believe I left them off.

I think it’s because they deserve a post all their own.

Meet David and Sherry Rafferty!

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After I got my ticket and wristband, before I met my new Spanish girlfriends for lunch, I took a walk through Nashville. As I was crossing the street to walk back, these two asked me something about directions. I didn’t know, of course, but I collared them based on David’s Bruce–E Street t-shirt.

“I’m following Bruce’s tour and blogging about it!” I handed them my card.

Before they knew what hit them, I was snapping their photo and asking them questions and they were showing me pictures of their daughters.

Married for 23 years, Sherry has seen 7 Bruce shows and David has seen about 10. It was David who turned Sherry onto The Boss when they met.

Why do they love Bruce shows?

“He give it his all – he always gives a great show…energetic! He never grows old. He stays true to his roots. He cares about everyone.”

“But really, I just love the music.”

That about sums it up for me, too!

I really want to say, I’m grateful that I met these two when I did. Their enthusiastic interest in what I was doing and their willingness to talk to me gave me confidence to approach others as the night went on. Thank you, David and Sherry. I surely hope you find this post and know how much I appreciate you.

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