Up close with the Boss!
The pit lottery: I waited in line with 1100 other general admission hopefuls—everyone got a numbered wristband. Anxiety and hope danced above the crowd like bees over a garden... spreading pollen.
They told us a random number would be picked and they had room for 399 people in the pit. When they finally announced the starting point my stomach tightened, my throat clenched.
615! Someone shouted out of a sea of people. JUBILATION broke out in one area of the crowd—others groaned from a sick feeling of disappointment in their guts—and everyone right around me just starting doing the math (615+399=1014)
I was number 985... YAHOO! I just made the cut with 29 to spare! High-Fives all around in the group right around me (Which, after a few hours in line together... began to feel less like strangers and more like friends).
I was stage right... about third row... there was plenty of room to maneuver in the pit.
Started the show by introducing himself!
"Hailing from Asbury Park New Jersey... The only man in Rock n Roll to introduce himself... Bruce Springsteen!"
The crowd was charged up for We Take Care of Own and Wrecking Ball... but everyone went nuts when the first few notes of Badlands blared in the building. Maybe the greatest 'fist-pumping' song in Rock-n-Roll history.
I was on Nils' side... loved watching him work closeup... Now I know why Bruce calls him the most over-qualified second-guitarist in rock.
The band was awesome... full horn section... trumbone... two trumpets... two saxes... alto and tenor... Clarence's nephew Jake was really good... you really felt how much fun he was having. The chick who does the "Rocky Ground" vocals was goosebump-amazing... (Michelle Moore) Felt like a church choir.
The crowd surfing was like 30 or 40 yards into the crowd... talk about trust (especially considering that a lot of people were probably more interested in touching him...than carrying the load—if you know what I mean.)
Lots of young people at the show... bulk of the crowd was 30-60 yrs.
saw quite a few father-mother-daughter-son date situations... (indoctrination can be a good thing)
He brought up a young lad to sing the solo on Waiting on a Sunny Day... he nailed it! Kid had a sign in the crowd, declaring that he had been Practising, practising, practising! (Obviously not an Allen Iverson fan.)
Later, he brought up a 10 year old girl to dance in Dancing in the Dark.
Bad Ass version of Johnny 99... special for all of us who know where Mahwah is and what happened there.
Had a great view of Max - That man plays drums like he's powered by a jet engine... raw power!!!!
No Patti - Bruce said, "She's at home keeping the kids away from their drug stash."
I got to touch him twice! Although it was brief... because some woman body-slammed me out of the way.
By far the two big highlights of the show were:
Bruce asking the crowd if we were properly sexually stimulated... (cheer) and then he declared, "He didn't think we were!"—then they broke into the intro for 'Rosie'—crowd went nuts. He even did some of the same funky dance moves he did in the old Phoenix video from 1978. (After 20-something shows in almost 30 years.... a dream come true.)
Then, the finale: Tenth Ave Freeze-out...
When the change was made uptown and the big man joined the band...
The band stopped.... and for 90 seconds or more everyone stared at the big screens, that had pictures of Clarence and Bruce from 1970's til the last show of last tour... I watched Bruce watch the screen... he never blinked... just kept his eyes fixed on the screen soaking up the images of the big man and himself in various states of age and vitality....
As he said earlier about Danny and Clarence during the introduction of the band... (during my city in ruins...) "AS LONG AS WE'RE HERE... AND YOU'RE HERE... THEY'RE HERE!"
3 hours and nine minutes: No Breaks... not even the pretend break before the encore.... just straight through!
One of the best days of my life...