Tuesday, May 13, 2014


In the spring of 1984, I was at just the right age to be swept up into the Born in the USA album madness. Yes, album. It was vinyl and I loved it. I listened to it again and again. I liked it enough to dig through the new-to-me albums that Springsteen had already released. I loved them too.

Then, in the late fall of 1984 something incredible happened. We got concert tickets. I went with both of my brothers and Brian from across the street to see Springsteen play the Hartford Civic Center. The seats were on the floor and the show was fantastic. This was 30 years ago, and I still have vivid memories of the night. He opened with Born in the USA, Badlands and Out in the Street. Before playing Glory Days, he told a great high school story about staying out all night Friday playing in a band only to be woken out of a deep sleep early in the morning because the baseball team needed another player (he fell asleep on his feet in the outfield and missed a fly ball). One memory of the show outshines the others.

Springsteen concerts back then were about 4 hours long with an intermission. About halfway through the intermission, some guy about 3 rows in front of us got it in his head that the people not sitting on the floor should do “The Wave.” So he’s yelling at people that stayed in their seats during the break, and pointing here and there and he finally gets a few people to do it and a smattering of people in one row do The Wave for not quite the length of 1 section of seats. Reinvigorated by this small success, he starts it up again and this time a thin slice of people do The Wave through about two and a half sections. He keeps at it, more people on the floor are trying to get the attention of the people in the seats going and a few rows of people are do The Wave around half of the Civic Center. And then magically, these 3 or four rows participating in this guy’s madness make it all the way around the Civic Center. They’re cheering, everyone on the floor is cheering and then EVERYONE in the seats is doing The Wave. It is thunderously loud and I’m standing in the middle of thousands of people doing The Wave. After 3 or 4 full Waves around the Civic Center, all the lights went out our, the stage lights came up and Springsteen was center stage playing the opening of Cadillac Ranch. I still smile thinking about it.

Tonight will be the 5th time I go to a Springsteen concert. I’m not sure I’ll be thinking tonight’s show 30 years from now, but I’m really looking forward to going...sitter comes in less than 2 hours.

Post Show Update: The show was a lot of fun. Have you ever seen the documentary Springsteen and I? The film documents how Springsteen's shows and music have impacted fan's lives. My favorite story in the movie is Philly Elvis (the story really starts around:2:30 in this clip). Anyhow, this guy dressed up as Elvis gets onto the stage with Springsteen and basically lives a dream.

I haven't been to a show since 1999. At some point in the past 15 years, people started bringing signs with requests. So the lights come on and Springsteen starts looking over the requests. He gets passed  a Mother's Day request for a selfie with someone's mom, there was a whole letter asking if she could dance with him if the picture wasn't an option. So Springsteen starts singing "Save The Last Dance For Me" and brings the mother up and dances with her. We got to watch this lady's Philly Elvis moment. The show has been over for a little over an hour. I'm sure everyone this lady knows has heard about it already. Also three little 11 year olds had a sign requesting Seaside Bar Song. Seeing as they knew the song (released 30 years before they were born), he couldn't turn them down and they came onstage to dance too. Although their dance was more of a jump, so Springsteen started jumping too.

The only thing that way to have made the show better would have been if I got to pick the playlist. Although he played Badlands and Thunder Road which were both on my wishlist.

I'd go again.

1 comment: