Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Eternal Spring in Springsteen

My arms are having trouble lifting the cereal spoon to my mouth this morning. I have to lower my mouth to meet the utensil coming up because I'm noticing a subtle quiver that could ultimately dump a mess into my lap. It comes from dancing straight through a three-hour Springsteen concert last night.

I'm loath to admit that I am one of those aging, hippy rocksters that knows every word to every Springsteen ballad, and knows just when to pound the air with my fist when the music blasts between choruses.

I, among thousands of gray-haired paunchy pals, stand transfixed by a Clarence Clemons saxophone solo and beg Bruce to give Nils just a few moments for his guitar riff/dance.

I've lost count of all the concerts that I've been to, but I can remember the first time I ever heard "Born to Run." I was 15 years old and driving with some high school kids to a church teen breakfast and feeling cooler than anyone else because it was the first time ever I was in a car that my dad wasn't driving. I can't even remember who those boys were. In my mind's eye, they are just hulking gray figures, but oozing sexy testosterone.

Yesterday, in anticipation of the night, I spent a few moments picking through the poetry of Bruce's songs. Behind the mighty guitar riffs and sound surges and fist pumping and high energy, are the most poignant of stories and tales that feel just like we lived them.

I am Mary, my dress waves; Wendy, strap your legs round these engines; and Rosie, come out tonight. Every song is a story and whether it's our experience or not, we are transported to the rough streets of Jersey with Jack, his pocket stuffed with his friend to face down the Rat. (If only I could have, I'd stop them. The two thousand dollars on the bed won't ever be worth it.) I'm up on the tilt o'whirl--didn't think I'd ever get off--my shirt stuck in the gear. I'm hanging with Spanish Johnny and taking my vacations in the stratosphere (and you know it's really hard to hold your breath).

And when the lights come on in the arena and the pretty girl down by the stage is dancing and pleading with the Boss to bring her up on the stage, I'm there in her skin, pretty as ever, Dancing in the Dark. He takes us there, he's the troubadour of our times. Our eternal Springsteen. (Photograph courtesy of Sandy Mayer via Facebook) The Putterer

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