In lieu of a project some of my friends and I are creating for this summer's Minneapolis Fringe Fest, I dug up this email I had written to my mentor/favorite professor at Olaf/second father. I had just returned from New York City where I had seen Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band play their final two concerts of the Rising Tour at Shea Stadium in Queens. This was the second and third time I had seen Bruce in concert (I am currently at thirteen.) My sentiments remain the same. It reminds me why I am still that Bruce girl who listens to a lot of music and struggles to find her place as an artist. It makes me so happy to read this as I am thrown back into that baseball stadium on that rainy fall evening. It reminds me of why I am, generally, so happy.
Here is the email, verbatim, sent on October 8, 2003.
Since I won't be there to throw a congratulatory shoe at your window...HAVE A GREAT OPENING PAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I talked to Anna yesterday for a long time and she has nothing but great things to say. I am so glad you two get along so well. I hear it has been an incredible process. And I do hope it goes well...please email me once life dies down for you a bit...
And in my life...I SAW BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN TWICE AT SHEA STADIUM A COLD RAINY OUTDOOR STADIUM IN QUEENS THIS PAST WEEKEND AND IT WAS WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I saw him on Friday night a bit further back but we had a great view and you could see over the back of the stage and see part of the city so...needless to say...when bruce sang the song NYC Serenade, which I had just recently begun to get really into...which is about 3 different New Yorkers...it's slow and very beautiful...and the power of hearing the song and seeing the city in the background...i burst into tears....ah life...then he said that there were a lot of people there (about 50,000) but a couple seats were missing because a firefighter, who had recieved these tickets as a 41st Bday present, had died in a fire the week before and his wife had written bruce about it, and then bruce sang "Into the Fire" written about the Sept11 fire fighters...and that too was very emotional...but NOTHING came close to the next night, which was the final night of this year and a half tour and maybe the last with the E Street Band...when we were much closer...surrounded by people...which was hard to get used to...because some of the people were really rude and it was making me so angry that we were that close and they were being so disrespectful of something that meant so much to me...but in a weird sort of way...i was able to funnel my anger a bit into the concert and sang along to Because the Night/Badlands/Prove It All Night/ like there was no tomorrow...I was screaming those words like they belonged to me...because they did...and the intensity of being able to control my anger and flip it around and make it powerful...and I started to cry for AGAIN...THEN...I hear the opening chords to Back In Your Arms...which is one of my absolute favorites and it was the only time he sang it on this tour and I have a huge emotional attachment to and I did my Found Text project at NTI based around this song and my relationships with people and with my mom and having her standing right next to me...I JUST STARTING SOBBING. It was incredible. This couple behind us handed me a napkin. Later on, when Bruce sang Bobby Jean, I looked back and this 35ish year old man, who was going crazy for most of the concert, was standing still, took of his hat, and just started wiping away tears. It is something else watching a grown man cry over this music. There are many out there like me when it comes to Bruce. So THEN...the first part of the concert was over and Bruce comes out for his first encore...AND THIS IS THE PART THAT YOU ARE GOING TO FUCKING LOVE...he was talking and said this man is an inspiration and the reason i got into music...i'd like to present Bob Dylan...and THEN BOB DYLAN WALKED OUT ON THE STAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The audience froze and just started screaming and screaming. They sang Highway 61 Revisited and you could just tell that Bruce was loving it, playing up there with someone whom he respected so much and was the reason he got into music. Two legends up there on that stage was extremely powerful. Towards the end of his second encore, he brought some producer people on stage and they sang a bunch of uplifting rock songs like Rosalita/Dancing in the Dark/Twist and Shout and people were just dancing in the aisles, including me and my mom. Which was such a release and so much fun. Then, Bruce ended the whole show by singing Blood Brothers with only the E Street Band and he got choked up in the middle of it and they sang the last verse just up at the front of the stage, holding hands and the camera scanned the bandmembers and tears were just running down the sax players, Clarence Clemons, the oldest band member's, face, and as they walked off, the pianist and other guitar player and his wife were wiping away tears. It was the most human I had ever witnessed him to be. He was so vulnerable on that stage. The concert was over and I was numb from the feeling of the emotional ride that I had been on and the knowledge that I had just witnessed something huge. The man who was crying during Bobby Jean and dancing all over the aisles grabbed me and my mom, hugged us, and kissed us, and said You both had a really good concert. And I did. We did. I was emotionally drained. And so tired. But so alive. And the tour is over. No more constant reading about what city he is in and what he played. No more maybe I'll be able to see him in NY in the back of my mind. No more making sure this NY trip could happen. It did happen. It seems like a dream. I was so depressed leaving NY, leaving that city, and coming to work on Monday. I sat in front of the computer all day just staring at what people had to say about the concerts with tears brimming in my eyes. I am not a constant cryer or anything but somehow this music and these concerts just grab me by the gut and put me in a place where I am more raw and vulnerable and excited than most, if not all, other aspects of my life. It's like any emotion or anxiety or fear or lonliness or complete happiness I have builds up and explodes through these songs. I wish that he was still touring and that money was not an issue for me. I wish that I was living on the East Coast so I could see a bunch of concerts and talk with fellow fans who understand this, who get this, as much as I do. I wish that somehow, I could find way to discover this within the reality that I live. I wish I could discover a way to make my days come to life like that, not just rely on random concerts to make me feel alive. My days are boring and that is not who I am. I have found freedom and escape in this music. I know this world he writes and sings about. I walk by these people every day. It is real life. Maybe that's wrong. Maybe it's producing a false world for me to esacape into, fall farther away from the realities of day to day life. But somehow I don't think it is. And I would be damned before I turned something that has been my strong hold and foundation for the past three years into something that was wrong for me. This has created a sort of independence for me, a hunger for life that I have constantly found within friends and theatre and, mostly, myself. As much as those concerts rip my emotions open, they inspire me to live the way I want to live and be the person I want to be. And that's who I am. And I wait for the next tour, listen to my hundreds and hundreds of bruce songs and strive to find a way to find this in my life. And I relish in the fact that this experience happened, that 2 1/2 years ago I saw him sing on HBO just by randomly flipping stations, saw him in St. Louis, saw him twice in NYC, that I was at the point in my life where I could really get this and that this music will always be here for me.
Wow...so that's that. I thought since I can't be there to tell you I would write you. I do hope you enjoy the rambles. That's me. That experience was me. And I do love telling you and sharing my life with you. So...I do hope you are in good spirits and that the show is all that you had hoped for and worked so hard for. Have fun. And, email me when you get a chance, and on two last notes, I would like to end this email with two moments of Zen:
1) Bruce Live In Barcelona is coming to DVD in a couple of months. It is the complete concert in Barcelona which was several months ago on DVD. Find it. Watch it. Enjoy it. You always asked me when it would come out on DVD and it is. And think of me sobbing in the audience like the day I was born
2) Check out the attached picture. After he ran across the stage, slid on his knees, jumped up on the piano, he did this. I saw this. Twice. I've never wanted to be a mic stand so much in my life. He is one fit 54 year old man. He will be around for a long long time.
Until next time Pappy,
A treasured picture of my mom and me in Shea Stadium right after the October 4th show
PS If anyone has a copy of that picture I refer to in number 2, please let me know (he's flipped upside down on a mic stand...like a stripper on a pole...a manly manly stripper....if you've seen it, you'll know the one I refer to.) I can't find it and need some good "material."