Sunday, May 29, 2011
Life is hard when your god has a hungry heart
Bruce Springsteen played the Thomas and Mack in Vegas a few years ago and considering he hadn't toured in several years prior to that, I figured I should wait in line for tickets lest there be a surge of Las Vegan's wanting to hear "Dancing in The Dark". So I did. Along with several dozens of other individuals, all wanting to experience the full custom gospel of the E-Street. Funny thing is, I like Bruce like I like so many other things which is with a subtle interest steeped in a cup of nonchalance but I figured I should at least see Springsteen once, so I got in line 12 hours before tickets when on sale.
Springsteen fans work in a type of fanaticism that occasionally defies the laws of nature, reason, hope, assorted State laws (depending on where the infraction occurred) and would lead some to believe that the man that wrote "Hungry Heart" could potentially possess the answer to the growing concern over the scarcity of Southern Nevada's water supply.
While standing in line, I struck up a conversation with several men, all Springsteen veterans. One man, whose problematic body hair forced him to shave a neck line in lieu of the hairy turtleneck that would have snaked out of his vintage "Born In The U.S.A." tour shirt, fired the first shot of insanity that led me to believe I was clearly not as emotionally vested in the Boss as the people I was standing in line with. This was the exchange between the man and I:
Me: So, you've seen Bruce a lot? (Stupid question, yes I know, but I knew this guy was loaded with nuttiness and I wanted to hear every last nuance of it.
The Man: (Clearly annoyed by the inanity of my question, but too much a Boss zealot to not acknowledge it) Uhm, yeah, like over 50 times.
Me: What's the best part about seeing Bruce?
The Man: (Honest to goodness, he said this to me) You know, it's not what's great about seeing him. It's what's not great. You know what that is? The day after seeing Bruce you wake up and you realize "I'm not gonna see Bruce today". And you make it through that day, somehow. And the next day is just slightly less difficult. This can continue for awhile. I get up. No Bruce today. And you eventually have to tell yourself you might not see Bruce for awhile. It's hard.
After this exchange, I realized this man was under-medicated and might have a criminal background peppered with violent acts I'd have no ability with which to stop him from committing. So I found someone else to talk to. The next guy was a normal New Jersey native who had also seen Bruce dozens of times. As with the other Bruce fans, I immediately wanted to hear anything the guy had to say about Bruce. So I asked him about all those legendary 80's shows where Bruce would play for just shy of 4 hours and the guy said this:
Boss Fan #2: One time I saw Bruce at the Meadowlands in Jersey. Man it, was raining cats and dogs, just buckets coming down. The crowd was soaking wet, but we didn't care. We just kept shouting "Bruuuuuuce, Bruuuuuuce". So all the sudden, Bruce steps out on the stage and he starts getting wet, right. Well, all the sudden, the E-Street Band starts playing "Who'll Stop The Rain", and God be my witness, the freaking rain stopped. I mean, just flat out stopped. Now I'm not crazy or anything, but before Bruce, we were getting dumped on. After Bruce, no rain. It makes you wonder man.
Was I there in Jersey in 84 when Bruce stopped the rain? No. I'd like to think it happened. I'd love to envision Springsteen as both a rainmaker and rain hinderer. If that were the case, then Nevada State officials could fly Bruce out to the ever-receding shore of Lake Mead and tell him to just go hog wild, and play whatever he wants, just don't stop till the water level reaches a mid 90's, water flowing over the dam, "holy crap, Vegas is gonna have water forever, who likes water sports?" level.
Springsteen manages to cultivate a shaman from Asbury Park aura by being two things: fantastical (that's a word HE made up, which I guess you can do when you're Bruce) and by being aesthetically average, but stealthily phenomenal. Bruce looks like a plumber, or your Uncle. That's why all those guys love him so much. Cause he looks like one of his fans. Bon Jovi, Poison, Ratt. All well coiffed, highly androgynous and responsible for music that boarded on hate crimes. They spent more time choosing what color high heels to pair with their scarves then on what their music was saying. Bruce simply went to K-Mart, found a flannel and recorded Born To Run.
What am I saying? I'm not sure. My birthday is in a few weeks and I'm feeling a little older, a little more "get the hell off my lawn, no wait, don't get off my lawn. I'm sorry that wasn't nice." Age has a funny way of softening you up, of pushing out a newer version of yourself you never knew existed. Like lets say the real rat bastard version of yourself was You.0, then you get older and it's you 2.0. I feel like I'm between a 2.0 and a 3.0. I'm turning into a big softy, I get a little choked up when people compliment me. I get choked up when I hear a pretty song. Sweater vests and Dockers can't be far away.
Love your aging like a boxed wine friend, LMF