Bruce shows are like rock n’ roll snowflakes… While there may be similar threads and shapes and stories… no two are exactly the same.
In the 40 plus times I have seen him, I have yet to see him perform “Meeting Across The River”, one of my most favorite songs. I still have hope, though with each passing tour, it seems to be fading. And I’ll be darned if I can ever get close enough to hold up a sign begging for that number. Someday… someday…
That is one reason I keep coming back… why the fans keep coming back. There is familiarity and surprise. Comfort in knowing there are things you will always get… and excitement at the unknown… anticipation for what may come. A guest… a legendary oldie… or the classic Bruce audible, where he shouts out a new number like a scrambling QB.
We are all waiting to see Bruce pull out that one special tune… something he has not played in years… or perhaps ever. Which is why each and every concert is an event… and dare I say, a religious experience.
True fans look at you, shake your hand or pat you on the back and say, “Have a good show.” That is a real community, my friend. Something we need more of in the “real world.”
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you are well aware of my love for The Boss. There is simply nothing like a live Bruce show. He and the E Street Band have something I have not quite found anywhere else. It is part revival tent, part carnival, part Gospel, part religion, part sin, part healing and 100% pure Rock n Roll.
Where Leonard Cohen healed me gently, slowly, Bruce rocked me into a frenzy… healing me just the same, but in a different way.
Feeling a bit better and in less pain than I was at Leonard Cohen’s show at the Nokia Theatre, I still limped into the Honda Center in Anaheim… still recovering and trying to physically heal from two herniated discs in my back. The early part of the day involved spinal decompression… a modern, technological advancement of the rack… and injections into the muscles in my back to get them to cool out and relax. Hey, my whole life needs to be about cooling out and relaxing.
But I wrote that night… actually the next morning, since I got home at 2 am… “For three and a half hours last night… through pain and numbness… I prayed at the altar of Rock n’ Roll. The music healed me… released me… moved me… washed over me like a musical baptism… Damn powerful stuff! And to the dude with the sign outside telling me I was a sinner… I looked at him, smiled… and said YES I AM!”
The show the other night in Anaheim was nothing short of a miracle. It moved through history and time, through emotion and song cycle…
I literally laughed… and cried… the pain of the Big Man’s loss still raw and deep. I will never forget where I was when I found out (dinner with my family and parents)… and the immediate shock and tearful breakdown. My parents could not understand, but losing Clarence was like ripping off a piece of my body… my soul. I love Jake Clemons. He is an amazing player and a world-class gentleman… but I still had to close my eyes during some of the horn solos… overcome with grief, yet so happy to hear those magical notes again… those tones floating through the air.
Rather than going through each moment… let me just throw out some of the most powerful and vivid words that popped into my head throughout the evening… Euphoric… Heartbreaking… Blissful… Joyous… Spiritual… Uplifting… and Healing.
That is what Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band is.
The beginning of the evening was equally thrilling… Getting into Little Steven’s Underground Garage Lounge and meeting some pretty amazing people. A photo with Little Steven was rushed… but will be with me forever… I mean I could have talked to him for hours… I had thirty seconds…
And then I got to meet the great Michael Des Barres, whom I met at Sundance in 1999 when he was there with the wonderful film Sugar Town… and who seemed to genuinely remember me. A sincere hug as I was leaving meant the world…
He was with James Intveld, another great guy… so cool and down-to-earth… a killer musician, actor and filmmaker, and the frickin’ guitarist with The Blasters. Come on, really???!!! Don’t even get me started on that band!!! I love The Blasters!
Then there was the fantastic Jersey born and raised cowboy, John Easdale from Dramarama… What made this meeting even funnier and more coincidental, is that it happened right after Rich Russo handed me his card, which has his radio show info. on it… called Anything Anything! Ladies and gentleman, this is one of my favorite rock songs of all time, and one of the best known songs ever… and John wrote it! And there he is…
For those of you who do not know Rich Russo, stream his shows… His knowledge on music is astounding!!! No wonder he and Little Steven hang… they are like a super brain vault of musical history! Gotta love the reverence and irreverence of Rock!
So life can often be a bitch… a slap in the face, a rug pulled out… a daily grind… but on any given night, in any darkened theatre or club… especially on a Tuesday night in Anaheim, CA… the powers of Rock n’ Roll can heal you… the force of live music can take you away… and for three or four hours, you are gone…
Afterwards, you are back in the thick of it… a car stuck in traffic… a search for a job, whatever it is you HAVE to do.
But for those few hours… every once in a while… man!
Let’s figure out how to keep that going… every day… all day… Living on Rock n’ Roll!
Thanks to Cameron Crowe and Almost Famous for that stellar title quote! And thanks to all of my Rockin’ friends… new and old… and those I have yet to meet!