If I’m here tonight, and you’re here tonight, then they’re here with us…
Bruce Springsteen, April 12, The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan
My first concert as a teenager was Bruce, Born In the USA, freshman year of high school. He played for four hours and I went home on that school night elated, adrenaline-rushing, totally convinced that every concert should be that inspiring, fun, and long. (When I attended U2’s Joshua Tree concert 3 years later, and they played only 2 1/2 hours, I felt cheated!)
Thursday night, with my son and my husband, I felt like I was 14 again.
I love all Bruce stands for, all he puts into his shows, the integrity inherent in his music and the very fact that, when fans hoisted a crude poster calling for “Bruce Springsteen for President,” I half-believed he’d make a really good candidate.
His songs are better live than recorded – even though we’d spent the week prior dancing around the dinner table to every Boss song imaginable from Dan’s iPod. I’ve always felt music seep inside me, like a live current affecting my mood, energy and outlook. And I was eager to share that passion for art with my son, Asher, whose first rock concert was Thursday night.
I’m going to apologize now for getting melodramatic. The concert wasn’t just a concert; it was an opportunity for elevation, for introspection, for inspiration. When Bruce sang, “hard times come and hard times go and hard times come and hard times go…” I was in the Zen of what we all learn as adults – that times are good and times are bad and when we cease labeling anything good or bad is when we finally reach the pinnacle.
I’m blown away by the energy of a 62-year-old musician whose lyrics and notes and 16-person band/symphony/accompaniment shows that often, we get better as we age. And that the longer we live, the more bold we get – the more we make our mark, care about making a difference, and actually have the gumption to take a stand. I love his working class American ethic, which he’s never abandoned, despite the millions and the fame. I love his Johnny Cash-style love story and that he started the concert about mentioning his wife.
So let’s just say I loved the concert, even as I admit it was more than a concert. That I am fortunate enough to spend a Thursday night at a rocking bash with Bruce Springsteen is a gift in itself. That my work and family life allows for such a luxury. That the words touched me and moved me like the beat of every note played. That my son, despite falling asleep halfway through the mellow songs, jumped to his feet for the blazing encores and left exclaiming, “It was awesome!”
When Bruce played Detroit two years ago, exhausted at the end of his tour, he mistakenly called us Ohio. This time, he repeatedly said, “This is DETROIT!” In good humor and good form. He’s like my beloved city – dusty and hard-working, we keep on going, despite any foibles or faux pas.
Life isn’t about working until we’re blinded by a sense of obligation and responsibility. It’s not plugging away to get more stuff. It’s about the moments – I’ve been saying it for years – it’s about the color and texture and sound of everything around us – about the rain dripping from the gutters this Sunday morning, about the sugar-rush anticipation of whether the first soccer game of the season will be rained out, it’s about one single moment, looking straight into my child’s eyes and noticing all the flecks of color contained within them. It’s the happys and the sads and the in-betweens. That’s life. I’m afraid most of the time, we’ve got it so wrong.
But if you’re a writer or an artist or a musician who feels and notices every time you walk down the street, bravo. If not, we go to things like the concert Thursday night and feel it by extension. Maximize your moments. They’re all we’ve got.