the nest

the nest

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My date with "The Boss"

I had no idea how many Bruce Springsteen songs I knew.  I suppose when he's been playing as long as I've been alive they might provide somewhat of a soundtrack to my life, but when I was younger, aside from hearing him at dances, he blended in with the others.

That was until I had a date scheduled.
I did my research pre-concert and decided that not only did I still really like his old stuff, his new album "Wrecking Ball" was fabulous!  His music told great stories, was meaningful and I LOVED it.  I was ready for the concert.  Until we got there...

In 43 years I have never been to a "real" concert.  I know, it's shocking.  I've been to the symphony, choral concerts, Broadway, numerous professional and amateur theatrical and musical presentations of all sorts.  Tanglewood is one of my favorite venues - again, the BSO, James Taylor, Prairie Home Companion.  I saw James Taylor and John Denver in LaCrosse, WI when I was in college and a number of bands who came to my small college campus.  Oh!  My first concert at 16?  Amy Grant.

Nothing like being a "Concert, Bruce and Madison Square Garden" virgin all at once.  Talk about overwhelming!

So here's the story...  In my Saturday morning classes, there is this lovely family.  Over the almost 2 years that I've known them, we've become friends and I discovered that G does security for the Boss.  How cool is that?  I have colleagues who live in interesting places who have had "famous" people in class, but I live in the country in northern CT.
A few months ago we are chatting about the upcoming tour and G says "Hey, you and your husband should be my guests at a concert."  I start to laugh.  I completely didn't take him seriously - then he says "no, really! You just tell me which one you can make it to and I'll get it all set."
I still don't really get it, but I go home to tell Jeff - who looks like he won the lottery - and check the calendar.  Oooh, April 6th is Good Friday; don't know if that will work.  My Pastor says, "Bruce Springsteen concerts are a spiritual experience.  Madison Square Garden is a spiritual experience. Of course you should go!  I wish I could come with."
April 6th rolls around and all I can think about is "What do I wear?????"  Black and comfy shoes is what I came up with, but  it worked.
We trek to Queens to leave our daughters with my cousin A for a girls night, have some Thai food and head to the subway to Madison Square Garden.  Totally exciting, but still kind of surreal.  We don't do these kinds of things.
Next thing you know we are there, we have our tickets and our "E-Street Lounge" pass and we are hanging out in the "E-Street Lounge" looking around to see if we recognize anyone.  So annoying to discover once the concert starts, that we were hanging out near several members of the band, but had no idea!  Oh right!  They really are just normal people.  So easy to forget when they are up on stage.
G comes to see us, makes sure we have our wristbands for the pit - the front pit - right in front of the stage - and we head in.
Holy Crap!  walking out onto the floor at Madison Square Garden looking around is so surreal.  It is enormous and we were RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE STAGE!  Everywhere we looked there was a sea of people all looking crazy happy and ready for a good time.  Matt Lauer, the guy from the Soprano's, the guy from Law and Order, Brian Williams (Jeff bumped into him, but was to bashful to introduce himself)... who knows who else was there.  We were on the lookout for Matt Damon and Sting, but once the concert started, all people gawking was over.
Over 3 hours of non-stop fabulousness.  I swear that throughout the concert, there were maybe one or two moments when there was no music and those moments lasted less than a minute.  They just didn't stop.  Song after song after song ~ a beautiful tribute for Clarence Clemons, 15 foot knee slide across the stage, body surfing through the pit - Jeff touched the Boss's hand and since I was touching him, I TOUCHED THE BOSS.
OK, now I have to breathe...  This is starting to sound kind of religious.  Actually, it kind of was.  We were surrounded by people who are so moved and inspired by this man.  This good man who loves his work, loves his family and sings about normal, hard life.  He advocates for us all through his art.  A kid in his late teens, early twenties maybe, was so excited that he was introducing himself to anyone he bumped into.   He had tears in his eyes through much of the concert.  We kept meeting people who had been coming to these concerts for decades. Several a year. 
It was a family reunion of sorts.  Not only for the thousands of people gathered there to see and hear an icon, but for Bruce himself.  He introduced his family including his 80 something year old mom.  He beamed out at us he was so proud to share them all.  At the end, he brought his niece and his mom up on stage and they danced out one of the last songs, after which he gently lifted each one in his arms and after a squeeze and a smile, passed them down to the security guy waiting to safely return them to their seats.  We felt loved and included.
Everyone on that stage was having SO MUCH FUN!  Being so close, we saw interactions between performers that we would never have had the chance to see from the nosebleeds.  This is why we call it "playing" music and not "working" music.  They were playing and having such a great time, and we got to play with them.

I had a date with the "Boss".  Now I get it.  I never really understood the passion, but now I do.  I think I'm in love.

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