Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Reviewing The Boss

The Boss’ sweat gleamed and dripped from his elbow, which was girating with his guitar, onto my outstretched hands. His face contorted as he sung the last few lyrics of “Born to Run.” I couldn’t help but let my eyes mist up as suddenly he grabbed Josh’s hand, which was crazily fingering Springsteen’s guitar, and put in it the guitar pick he had been playing with for the first half of the show. I watched Josh’s face, amazed and speechless and as emotional as mine, and turned back to the show in time to see Springsteen reaching to hand me a second pick. On Monday, September 21st, Bruce Springsteen performed a concert at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, and my boyfriend and I were leaning right against center stage.
“We’re going to build a house out of music and love.” Bruce had announced at the beginning of the show. Just two days before turning 60, his ability to power through a multi-hour show with no breaks, at times leaning and pulling against his microphone stand in his legendary way, amazed me. Springsteen looks as delicious as he did in his early years, wrapped up in jeans and a black tshirt with a vest over it that he quickly drenched, and boots I would love to have a pair of for myself. There was no question that members of the E Street Band are aging, however The Boss moved along the stage just as he would have years ago, it seemed.

It has been interesting going to my last few concerts where I only know a few select songs, rather than knowing every word by heart. At times during the night I felt sad not to be as involved, boasting out every lyric like it was a favorite as the people all around me were doing, especially Josh. Though I could sing along to some of them, like “Born to Run,” “Thunder Road,” and “Dancin in the Dark,” there were many songs I was being newly introduced to. But what a way to be introduced. One song, called “Into the Fire”, which Springsteen wrote after September 11th, brought tears to my eyes as I watched this performance.
For those who love and appreciate The Boss, other songs he played include “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” as an opener, “Rosalita,” “Hungry Heart,” “Workin On a Dream,” “Bobby Jean,” and “The Rising.”
Something that I had never experienced before with other shows was the amount of audience involvement. With nearly every song, Bruce made sure to interact with the people he was performing for. He danced with an elderly woman on stage, had little girls help sing “Workin On a Dream,” handed out guitar picks, and took sign requests from the hands of fans. One sign read: ‘The Wanderer. Stumped?’ Rising up to this challenge, Bruce and the band (after minutes of playing around) worked the song out for a first time performance of “The Wanderer” in over a decade.
Many of the audience members around Josh and me told us that they had been going to concerts before we were born, and they had so many amazing stories to share about previous concerts. One man in particular we talked to quite a bit could point out other members in the first few rows of standing and tell us at what show he had last seen them and fun facts. Many people recognized each other, though no one appeared to know names. Everyone’s love of the music brought the group together in a more-than-cordial await for the band’s arrival on stage.
A few days ago, the bootleg for this concert showed up, and Josh burnt me the discs. It is incredible how, after even seconds of listening, those sounds give me so much pleasure and bring tears to my eyes. There is no doubt that the memory of that concert is one I will hold with me for a long time, and it is because of the people and beautiful art that brings those people together that made for such an amazing night.
So tell me… Are you a Springsteen fan? Have you ever had an experience with music or art that has drawn such powerful emotions such as mine? Leave your comments! You can check out these you tube videos of concert highlights.


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