This is NOT one of my pictures from the Bruce Springsteen concert.
This is a picture taken by someone much closer to the front than I was, photographer Kayla A. Walters, who posted it on Twitter. I was too far back to get good pictures, but that was OK, because I really wanted just to be immersed into the experience and not distanced by trying to get photos or videos. However, it would have been awesome to have been close enough to high-five The Boss. Springsteen does a lot of interacting with the people at the front (two girls were called up on stage to dance during “Dancing in the Dark,” but I felt most kinship with the middle-aged woman who he kissed while singing “Darlington County”!). Getting that close might have been worth the hours I would have had to spend standing in the hot sun in front of the stage while The Trews and Tom Cochrane played their opening sets. Instead Jason and I opted for folding chairs back on the grass for most of the afternoon, and went up to stand in about the middle of the crowd once Springsteen came on. While not close enough to be touched, I was certainly close enough to be moved by the experience of seeing my favourite singer in person and being surrounded by thousands of people who could sing along to all the songs.
For anyone who’s ever been to a Springsteen concert, it goes without saying that it was a great night and a great show. Of my five essential songs posted the other day, he only sang one (“The River”) but that’s to be expected from an artist with so many great songs to choose from. He sang many others that I loved and a few that were new to me over the course of a very high-energy three-hour performance, and I loved every minute of it. One of my favourite moments was the love song “If I Should Fall Behind,” a song I didn’t know well at all but which was absolutely magical with Springsteen just accompanying himself on the piano. The best part was that he made everyone laugh in introducing it — it was a “sign request” (on this tour people near the front have been holding up signs with the titles of songs they’d like to hear on them, and Springsteen collects some of them and plays a few requests) from a guy called Tom, and Springsteen read out the sign which said “Three years ago you played this song for me at a concert and dedicated it to me and my wife Ingrid. Since then she has left me and taken all my money … No, it doesn’t say that last part, I made that up!” Then he played the song for Tom and Ingrid, and it was beautiful.
That was a typical moment — Springsteen just has such warmth and engagement with the audience that a crowd of 30,000 feels much smaller and more intimate, even if you’re too far away to get good pictures!
Of course, being the analytical nutcase that I am, I couldn’t just go to the concert and enjoy it — I had a lot of Deep Thoughts inspired by the experience. But I’ve decided to leave this post as a simple concert review of a wonderful, unforgettable evening, and save the analysis for a couple of later posts. If you like Bruce Springsteen’s music at all, even if you’re not a huge fan like me, and you ever have the chance to attend a live show, I highly recommend it, because he puts on an amazing performance.