Sometimes a few hours of live music provide a more rewarding experience than the opportunity to listen or even dance to a few melodious, sing-a-long tunes from a favorite artist or band.
Thanks to my dad and step-mom, I had the opportunity to see one of Bruce Springsteen’s famous live concerts last week at the Q in Cleveland. I didn’t get home until 1:30 a.m., but my late night was totally worth it.
When I turn 62 years old, I hope I have even half the amount of energy that The Boss now has at that age. He spent three straight hours not only jamming out to songs of his past and present but also charging across the stage, running off the stage into the mass of screaming fans below – and crowd surfing.
At one point my dad leaned over to me and said, “The guitarist (Nils Lofgren) used to do back flips across the stage. But that was 20 years ago.”
Springsteen’s energy is contagious; his band mates and fans caught on. A young fan joined him on stage to assist with singing the lyrics to “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day.” She must have been no older than seven years old.
Fans shared their draft beers with Bruce as he stood on the platform in the middle of the crowd. With no hesitation, he chugged about a beer and a half during one of the tracks.
I noticed one super Springsteen fan in our section who stood the entire time. I don’t think he stopped swaying to the music, singing along to undoubtedly every word of every song during the entire performance.
Each track ended with tremendous applause and overwhelmingly loud shouting that resembled “boooo.” But we all know the fans were really screaming “BRUceeee.”
After attending my first live Springsteen concert, I now realize and appreciate his fans’ dedication and the support they continue to provide throughout his four-decade musical career. But since I grew up listening to Springsteen’s records at home and in long car rides during family vacations, I’ll never forget my dad’s personal appreciation of Springsteen’s music – and his character.
Last Tuesday night, I found out that my dad and his high school buddy, Jess, once had a 30-minute conversation with Springsteen’s drummer, Max Weinberg, after a 1978 show in Columbus. Little did they know that Weinberg would then invite them backstage to meet The Boss himself.
Although I’m sure the meeting was brief, I can imagine that experience has left a lasting impression on my dad and his passion for Springsteen’s songwriting.
It’s not difficult to notice how much my dad enjoys Springsteen’s music. I saw him slightly dancing along to Springsteen’s upbeat tunes at the concert. And it turns out he was singing, too.
“I like this because I can sing along and no one will hear me,” he said to me during the third song in. What he really meant to add was that I won’t be able to make fun of him for singing. (I’ve never done that, have I?!)
This concert meant more to me than hearing Springsteen’s excellent
songwriting and watching his amazing stage presence. I enjoyed spending time with my parents and standing alongside one of Springsteen’s super fans during the entirety of the concert, my dad. He shared some interesting facts about the E. Street Band, and I loved hearing him tell stories about several past experiences at Springsteen concerts, some of which represent only the beginning of Springsteen’s success.
As we were standing outside the arena, saying our goodbyes, Jane looked at me and said, “Your dad will never forget this.”
And neither will I.