I have probably written about this enough, given the number of times it comes up in casual conversation, let alone the way it rings as a note for me to follow in my daily life. It was thirty-five years ago when I first sat in front of Bruce Springsteen and let myself be carried away with the night. He played his own sound check, before the sun went down, and kept his promise to come back and rock us all night long. He was the guy who played long and loud enough to make me reconsider hollering out for more. By the time he and the E Street Band lit into "Twist and Shout," I was too hoarse to do much more than surrender. He was the Boss.
In my mind, he still is. I have lost track of the number of times that I have seen Bruce and his band play. I can still harp about the times that I have missed a show or two in my area, much in the same way that I complain bitterly about the years that have passed without a trip to Disneyland. I understand that it is patently ridiculous that I don't see this experience as completely value added. In a world where so much is taken for granted and people in all walks of life are merely phoning it in, a Bruce Springsteen show is still a marathon. It is a rock and roll show without smoke and lasers and a lost of special guests. It is the real deal.
All those years ago, before I had a drawer full of tour shirts and I knew every word by heart, I went to that first show as kind of a dare. I had heard of the Cult of Springsteen, and I wasn't the kind to fall blindly into an association with glassy-eyed devotees. It was not my style. I was a DEVO fan. My tastes ran pretty solidly into the realm of New Wave, and even back in 1981 there was a whiff of dinosaur coming from the E Streeters. But with each passing year, that tired old Tyrannosaurus shakes off the dust and proves once again what a wonderful world it would be if dinosaurs still ruled the earth.
And yes, I can see the cracks. This isn't a new album. It's a celebration of "The River," a double disc set that came out back when Reagan was running for President. Of course, the more things change, the more they stay the same, and with Donald Trumpus on the campaign trail, it could be that the time is right to start thinking about stolen cars and going down to that river once again. Sixty-six years old, with a pair of his original bandmates now jamming in heaven, Bruce Springsteen has my everlasting admiration for showing up an performing like it was his job, like if he didn't play hard enough he might lose the title of dino-weight champion of the world.
In a blog that is so full of goodbyes these days, it's nice to say hello again to the "heart-stopping, pants-dropping, hard-rocking,
booty-shaking, love-making, earth-quaking, Viagra-taking, justifying,
death-defying, legendary E Street Band." I won't be able to talk about it tomorrow. I'll be too hoarse.