You see, I love rock music, and there is a particular sound of rock that can’t help but make me feel really, really good. I’ve talked before about how I like “layers” of sound, and the “wall of sound” effect that was so hard for Bruce Springsteen to achieve on the Born to Run album is the pinnacle of the type of sound I love. And I got to hear it live last night. For me, it’s a spiritual experience to listen to the E Street Band perform certain songs (and, well, all the other ones are pretty good, too!).
Yeah, Lee and I were really lucky to get the chance to see Springsteen last night. I hadn’t seen him since the 80s—once I had the kids I either wasn’t comfortable leaving them alone that long or couldn’t afford modern concert ticket prices. Plus, it’s so hard to get tickets! The ones we had, which were scored by our hostess, were very high up, and sort of to the side, but tickets had only been on sale 20 minutes and those were the best available! Wow! I guess the “in crowd” has other methods (as I have seen on some fan sites), but us regular people have to fight and scratch. Still, after what I saw last night, I think I’d spend the bucks again for a select few artists.
But this wasn’t “one of my favorite bands.” This was one of two bands that I love above all others (Bruce is tied with the Who—I wore my Who shoes to the concert). Two of our party had never seen Springsteen before, and I am pretty sure they both liked it (perhaps too noisy for Lee), but Dan and I were quite obviously rapturous. There are some songs where the sound just fills you up and you have no idea where you are, what you are doing, or who you are with. You become part of the experience. I realized after “She’s the One” that I’d cried through the whole song. I also cried the first time Steven van Zandt appeared on the big screen with Bruce. It was just so nice to see them.
I loved the “theme” of the concert. It was hope, and the set list did focus on hopeful songs for the most part (thankfully not ALL of them, or we’d not have had “Outlaw Pete” or “The Wrestler”). He gave a talk about turning pain to joy, hurt to healing, etc., and how music can do that. I swear Obama gave him an agenda!
I’m not going to review the whole thing, since that’s easy enough to find online. But, here’s a song or two to enjoy, and under that are some highlights and lowlights for me.
Here's "Sherry Darling," which someone filmed while they shouldn't have been.
And this is a snippet of the beginning of Born to Run, just to show you the sound I'm talking about.
- I loved it when Bruce took a request on two gum wrappers from someone and showed it to the camera. It was "Sherry Darling," and as you might be able to tell from the clip, not all of the band remembered it completely.
- Another wonderful highlight was when he brought a little girl, like 9 years old, on stage to sing along with him on “Waiting on a Sunny Day.” She did admirably, and was seen onscreen jumping up and down with glee afterward. He even gave her a harmonica. He also had a little boy sing with him—and that kid did great--sang right into the microphone. It’s so obvious Bruce likes kids (his are around the ages of mine, by the way).
- Miami Steve’s guitar solos were a bit on the screechy side—rather overly loud and on some way distorted setting. Nils did all sorts of cool stuff, though, and I enjoyed his work.
- At one point there were TWO accordions on stage. And Steve on mandolin. Quite the folk scene. One song had FIVE people playing tambourine, too. I do like the jangly parts of his songs, though.
- Clarence needs a chair, but he can still blow, as long as he remembers what the song is. He also did a neat whistle part on the folky ending song…"Land of Hope and Dreams.”
- [added later] I forgot this part until just now--Bruce had an acoustic guitar, in black, with a tarot symbol on it, the 3 of Swords. The one that means a broken heart. Of course, this further endeared him to me. So, I Googled his name and "tarot," and lo and behold, I found this video on Bea Nettles, the person who designed the image on the guitar. And I realized that Springsteen uses tarot a lot--he has the Devil on the cover of his Devils & Dust album, and the 3 of Swords is on Magic. I guess I'd forgotten this.
We had a great time, and enjoyed talking with our fine hosts on the way down and back. (So if you live near me, consider buying your next musical instrument, strings, accessories or lessons from the fine folks at Danny Ray’s Music. They make Suna happy. End of unsolicited testimonial.) The traffic wasn’t even too awful getting in and out of the Erwin Center. I have no complaints, and I dreamed of the beautiful music all night. I will hear it for months and months now. Any hearing damage I experienced from refusing to wear my earplugs is worth it.
*Lee said that in his Facebook status today. And Bruce Springsteen is the best BS there is!