Friday, October 26, 2012

For You...

For years, I have read and saved various articles about Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, but I have never written my own thoughts about a show and shared them publicly. Tonight, it's time to write.

Last night's show at Hartford's XL Center was my eighth show, and I was blessed to have my family and two close friends surrounding me for this one. During any E Street Band show, there will be moments where you will feel compelled to close your eyes, to sway, to grab the person next to you, to reflect on a time long gone, or a time in only the very recent past. Springsteen concerts are designed for this. There will be no judgement in these venues. We all "get it." Take it in. Make it yours. That's what Bruce wants. He never wrote these songs for himself. It's always been for us.

There are standouts at every show... those little moments that humble you, that floor you, that chill you. Last month, at Friday night's MetLife show, it was a powerful and gritty "Lost in the Flood." The next night, at Bruce's birthday show, it was a transcendent "Jungleland " into a nostalgic "Thunder Road."

Last night, there were more than a few standouts. "Point Blank" gave me goosebumps. "Because The Night" reminded me what absolute madness sounds like. "Pink Cadillac" took an entire crowd back to a time that was less complicated and more rockin'. And then there was "For You." Words fall short on how this moment sounded and felt, so here it is:

I shot this video. Our seats were up high. There are better videos of this song at this show on YouTube, but this is and will remain my favorite version, because every word is audible, and because while Bruce was singing, my dad's best friend, Mike (who just lost his beautiful wife to brain cancer last month after a long and heroic battle) was sitting next to me at this same vantage point, having his own private moment. In that arena, as tears fell softly down Mike's cheeks, Bruce was singing only to him. For a few minutes, the rest of the crowd faded away, and it was only the music and the memories. As "For You" ended and "The Rising" began, my family and I embraced Mike... a support system, fueled by a life-long friendship and Bruce's evocative words set to music. 

Although Mike is a music buff and knows more about music than most people I know, this was his first Springsteen show, so I was waiting in anticipation of his final verdict. At the end of the concert, when the lights came up, I looked to Mike and he was just standing and staring straight ahead, shaking his head. For a moment, I actually wondered if he was disappointed. I was quickly reassured when he turned to me and quietly said, "If music is meant to move you... then that moved me." 

This is why we keep buying the tickets. This is why we keep pumping our fists in the air. This is why we keep dragging people that aren't fans to the shows. This is why those people then start dragging other people. This is why we do believe we take care of our own... because we do. During these shows, the outside world fades away. For three to four hours, we are enraptured. This is why we keep coming back, Bruce. Because as much as you do it for us, we do it FOR YOU.

Thank you, once again, for the memories. Thank you for the moments of healing, the moments of strength, the moments of love, the moments of madness. And thank you, as always, for giving us a reason to believe. 


Donna said...

I was with my daughter Jen at this concert last night in Hartford ! Magic,faith,hope,love,rage,tenderness,compassion,joy,and many other emotions filled the arena . Jen wrote this post and I love how she captured the entire concert in her post. Great job Jen,you have always been the best writer I know,and still are. Keep writing and never stop! I love you and I echo your Thankyou to Bruce Springsteen for giving all of us a REASON TO BELIEVE. God bless You BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN! Hope to see u soon,!

Jorge Azevedo said...

Nice description of a Bruce concert... I can't say more than... He is BRUCE!

Anonymous said...

Wow, beautifully written Jennifer! My husband and I have always had to be at as many shows as we could get tickets too and just took 2 of our kids to the Gillette show in August. They always thought we were just crazy obsessed with Bruce until then. NOW they too appreciate Bruce and the band the way we do. It was so sweet to see them enjoying that show like I knew they would. But FOR YOU the other night was especially sweet. Bruce's voice and piano skills just blew me away! We've never seen him sing that before, that was just soooo special. I feel for Mike and can imagine the emotions this must have stirred in him. I thank God for Jesus, my family and the gift that is Bruce. With all the bad people and things in the world today, Bruce is a rare bright shining star. He literally touches our hearts....Nancy

Jennifer said...

Thank you! I felt compelled to write after that show.
Incidentally, I held his hand last month at the Friday night MetLife show. Indescribable.

Brad said...

What a wonderful review Jennifer. I couldn't have said it better, the emotions are all there...and shared by most Bruce tramps like us. Couldn't imagine another artist that brings out so much in so many. Let's make sure we enjoy him now, before he hangs up his rock 'n' roll shoes.

Jennifer said...

I hope he NEVER hangs up those shoes! :)

John Funaro said...

That is a fantastic summary of Bruce, the show, and the effect his music has on all of us. I love hearing about first-timers at a Bruce concert. Always, they leave with a "how come I've missed this for so long?" feeling. It was a fantastic show. They all are, but when certain songs or certain company are included, it makes it more than memorable. Great capture of that.

Jennifer said...

Thanks, John! Well said! :) I always tell people that if all they know of Bruce is "Born in the USA"... then they don't know Bruce. Once you're bitten, you're hooked!

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