[photo source: popmatters]
Until last night, I had never seen Bruce Springsteen live. When the show went on sale back in September, my friend David and I tried in vain to buy tickets. Hope does spring eternal - through a series of fortuitous turns, we found ourselves grinning like fools walking onto the floor of the Datch Forum for last night’s show.
I have heard from friends and read reviews of Springsteen's legendary energy. Backed by a drummer, two keyboardists, a violin/fiddle/guitarist/vocalist, a bassist, two vocalists/guitarists, and one mean saxophone player, Bruce lived up to his reputation. Most of the songs were from their new album, Magic, which I have not yet heard. I could not sing along, but as with attending mass in Latin or other unknown languages, I could still participate in the rites and rituals, feel the reverence. The concert was 2 ½ hours of chanting and shaking and hand waving and singing. Without rest, even between songs – a quick drum change from cymbal and high hat to kick bass snare overdrive – in the few moments of transition while the band wrapped up the previous song, Bruce would douse himself with a carwash sponge soaking in a bucket by the drummer’s feet, shake his head snorting like a horse at the gate, and charge 1 2 3 4 into the next song’s beat over the decrescendo of force. Centrifugal and centripetal.
Some will scoff and say dismissive things of Bruce. Others will bristle at the comparison of a rock concert to a religious experience. What I know is this: never have I seen a band and crowd so earnestly, unselfconsciously in sync about the joy of music. I have drunk the Kool-Aid.