Glory Days

As I walked into the bathroom stall at North Market in Columbus, OH, my friend was talking with someone sharing the same t-shirt, laughing and connecting.  By the time I walked out of the stall, the mood had changed.

My friend looked at me.  “It’s been cancelled.  The concert has been cancelled.” I watched the smiled fade away.  Assuming surely we were looking at another sinister social media prank we scrolled through respectable sites to find the same thing again and again.  Concert postponed.  More information to follow. We were only a few hours away from showtime, and now….

 Lost and brokenhearted, feeling like I’d been hit by a wrecking ball, I had to step away. Springsteen is not only the maker of my favorite music, but he’s the soundtrack of my life.  No other artist takes me back to my starry-eyed 18-year-old self  hearing him live for the first time at Riverfront Stadium.  He was quoted once as saying, “We’re growing up together, me and the audience,” and it has truly always felt that way.

We regrouped.  A Facebook fan page, Spring-Nuts, had organized a quick meet up before the concert.  With no other plan coming to us (we’d traveled by plane, paid for an air BNB, going home was not an option) we decided we might as well head there.  Maybe a few others would still show up as well.

We arrived at Whistle and Keg early to only a smattering of people, everyone sullen and in their own spaces.  It felt almost like a wake.

Slowly, slowly, people came in.  Slowly the music got turned up.  Slowly people sharing their concerns for possible postponement reasons shifted to conversations about where they were from, how far they’d traveled. Slowly connections were being made. 

It started, really, when we did a group photo outside of the bar.  Someone cranked the music, and the dancing began on the front patio, out in the street. We could feel it rising, the energy catching on like a raging fire, and within minutes the whole place was united in song. 

And oh, did we sing!  We sang from our souls.  We sang from our 20-year-old selves hearing Bruce live for the first time.  We sang from our older selves, now with the age and life experience to truly, deeply understand the magic of his poetic lyrics and his gritty street wisdom.

Bruce fans are like no others.  He can take an arena of 30,000 individuals and create one massive organism, for four hours rocking and breathing and singing as one.  He allows us to co-create the experience with him and honors his audience as much as we honor him. 

 So, we took what we’ve learned from the best, and co-created our own night.

The Boss sings to the everyman, and that is who was there.  Blue collar, CEO-types, retired, young.  Whole families.  The guy that couldn’t stay off the chair, leading us all with fist pumps, just like Bruce.  The gorgeous young blond girl who put us to shame by knowing EVERY last lyric, no matter how obscure the song.  The young. The old.

With memories of the “good old days” when we would camp out in line for tickets, camaraderie came fast, the  immediate kinship that only occurs through a shared passion.  We shared favorite concerts attended, first time live, Top 10 lists which are impossible to configure and change dynamically (kind of like this tour’s pricing). 

We shared tall tales of close encounters and bowed to the privileged few who had real ones.

We sang, we danced, we toasted, we laughed, we did Big Man sax imitations.  We knew when to fist pump.  Our choral timing was perfection. Most were brought to tears at least once in the night. We talked about our dreams and tried to make them real.

And it was nothing short of Magic.

Forgotten were the plane tickets from radio nowhere, the hotel expenses that only a few hours ago seemed wasted.

For longer than the marathon concert would have gone on, we sang and drank and shared stories of our Springsteen and E-Street glory days.  We came to town for one kind of concert, but we left having experienced another.  It was organic joy, springing from nothing but common love for a band and it’s music, which made us instant family. 

It was everything that is good and pure and right with the world.

The next time someone asks me to rank-order my favorite Springsteen concerts, this one will make the list.

I’ll gladly let my broken heart stand if that’s the price I had to pay for this night. 

5 thoughts on “Glory Days

  1. Amen!
    May your strength give us strength
    May your faith give us faith
    May your hope give us hope
    May your love bring us love
    – Bruuuuuuuce


  2. Amen!
    May your strength give us strength
    May your faith give us faith
    May your hope give us hope
    May your love bring us love
    – Bruuuuuuuuce


  3. Said it the night of and will again here… 100% only could have happened the way it did with a Sprinsteen audience. The community Bruce has forged over 50 years is like no other in music. The impromptu party that erupted in the wake of the postponement was as true a testament to the Gospel of Bruce as any actual show could ever offer.


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