G reetings from New York City!
Well, sort of. This column is in a time warp. I’m writing it in Boulder on Wednesday, but if you’re reading it now, that means it’s at least Friday and I’m back home for a vacation. Someone call Inspector Spacetime to sort this out.
One of the reasons I’m home is to see Bruce Springsteen play at MetLife Stadium. I have to confess, that other than seeing him speak at South By Southwest, I have never seen The Boss perform live.
If you were to ask my diehard-fan parents — or nearly anyone else on the Beast Coast –they would tell you this is straight up unacceptable. I tend to agree. Portions of my childhood were spent resisting his music (indirectly resisting parental bonding), but it was futile.
Springsteen songs pepper the soundtrack of my life — most notably when “Born to Run” happened to come on the radio in my U-Haul as I was flying down a Jersey highway at 3 a.m., starting my move from N.Y. to Boulder.
Everyone tells me that one of the best things about seeing The Boss in concert is how personable he is, how much he interacts with the audience. My friend Tim, who is a bigger fan than anyone I know, insists that Bruce pointed directly at him during a show.
I want that. Because Bruce Springsteen is more than a musician, he’s a cultural icon.
Maybe he doesn’t mean much to you. I hear he’s not as much of “a thing” out here. But I think everyone has that feeling about at least one musician or band (I know I have several). It’s what moves music beyond entertainment and into your life.
I did a quick poll of the Colorado Daily staff to see who’s connecting with what and why. At first, they answered with characteristic snark (Justin Bieber. “I make my own soundtrack, man. I mean, I can’t really be categorized or defined by a genre or an album.”), but I eventually got some real answers.
There were very specific reasons: Tori Amos, because “She was the soundtrack to my high school/college years and a big anti-rape advocate. Tori isn’t my fave anymore, but she definitely got me through rough times.”
More indefinable connections: Norah Jones, because “She’s timeless. She gets me.”
And attachments formed by long-term relationships: Miles Davis, because “Kind of Blue is the album I’ve probably been listening to longer than any other.”
I could run through a list of my own, but for Springsteen, it’s the outlook on life. He’s looking at the world with a critical eye, seeing how terrible a lot of things are and calling them out, but also saying, “Buck up. We got this.”
On that note, I’m gonna throw on my denim vest and crack a beer.