“I’ve got two extra tickets to see Bruce Springsteen tomorrow. Do you want them?”
Although i’m getting older, there are times when my reflexes still respond quickly – and i snatched those tickets up in a nanosecond.
Mr. Springsteen provided the soundtrack for my high school years, as well as the words that rattled around in my head through my transition from ‘lost girl’ to ‘over-achieving engineering student’ and on into my reincarnation as ‘wife/mother’. If it hadn’t been for one line in “Thunder Road”, i might never have found the glimmer of hope that allowed me to begin that transition.
“ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY! When can i pick them up?”
Managed to snag the tickets on my lunch hour, and make the quick turn around after work to cover the 60 miles between here and there. i drove
like a maniac efficiently, we found a decent parking spot, and had enough time to pregame with a flask of whiskey in the car before heading into the arena. Just us, and 15,000 fans, navigating wickets and stairways to get to our seats in the rafters. Even though we were in the nose bleed seats, we had a great view of the stage.
No opening act. The show started at 7:45pm, and Mr. Springsteen and the E Street Band played for three and a half hours without a break. He worked through the set – seeming to gain energy and intensity with each song.
Four decades worth of material at his disposal, it wasn’t a surprise that he dug back in the archives for a few. “Badlands”…
“You’ve got to live it every day….. Let the broken hearts stand as the price you’ve gotta pay…”
Words written as a young man. Belted with the same intensity he had as a skinny street punk. Now in his 60’s, that line is just as powerful. Maybe more so…
It was a surprise when i heard the band start up the intro to “The River”. Not one of his pop hits, but the title track to the album that ushered me into the first significant transition in my life. i looked at Studley. “Holy shit! The last time i saw him live was on tour for ‘The River’. That album. THIS song! Jesus… that was in 1980.”
The man sitting next to Studley leaned forward “I know! It was over 30 years ago! I remember it like it just happened! It was only yesterday…”
Mr. Springsteen began to sing…
“I come from down in the valley, where mister, when you’re young… They bring you up to do like your daddy done…”
“Maybe not yesterday,” i said to the distinguished-looking gentlemen to our left. “But just a few weeks ago…”
The man and i were both tripping back in time. Transported by an audio memory…. Feeling the song as we had at 18 years old.
“You look like you could have just left school… like you’re still there.”
As he said that, i caught a brief glimpse of a boy with feathered hair, black concert t-shirt hanging from the skinny shoulders that would fit him better at 50… Made me wonder if he was seeing the dumpy lost-girl with stringy hair, acne and plastic framed glasses as big as her forehead….
“Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true? Or is it something worse?”
* The first photo was taken by my friend during the concert. He had much better seats – which is why he offered up the extra tickets…