Monday night, during Bruce Springsteen’s fantastic rendition of “Rosalita,” toward the end of a three-hour concert, I looked around Madison Square Garden for a minute.
I saw people of all races and ethnicities. I saw people who were under 20, and people over 60. I saw women and men, boys and girls, people dressed in suits and people dressed in ripped T-shirts.
The only thing they had in common: Joy.
Every single person I saw Monday night was having a great time, as good a time as I was up in Section 225 (that was the view from our seats, above).
I had never seen a crowd, at any live event I’ve been to, having this good of a time. Some were drinking, some were smoking pot, some were just swaying to the music that has been the soundtrack of their lives.
All of us were reveling in the moment, but none of us could match the joy radiating from the 62-year-old dude we’d all come to see.
Bruce Springsteen did on Monday what I’m told he always does in concert: He ran around the stage and through the crowd. He drank a few beers with the fans. He did the famous knee-slide and bantered with Little Stevie and brought chills to the crowd with a tribute to the late great Clarence “Big Man” Clemons.
Everything I thought and hoped a Bruce show would be, all these years when I hadn’t seen one, came true Monday. But I hadn’t counted on the sheer joy I would see. And for 40 years, that’s what Springsteen has brought. He is doing exactly the thing he was put on this Earth to do, and he’s having a great time doing it.
And for three hours every time he takes the stage, a Bruce Springsteen concert is truly the happiest place on Earth. And we are so fortunate he still is able to do it.
Some other quick-hit thoughts from my first live Boss show:
— Having studied the previous setlists on the tour, I wasn’t too surprised by much he and the band played. Loved that “Because the Night” was played, that was my favorite song of the show. Of course “Rosalita” made people go crazy, but I also thought “My City in Ruins,” “Backstreets,” and “Badlands” were fantastic as well.
— Really cool moment when Bruce pulled up a kid on stage and had him sing the chorus of “Waitin’ For A Sunny Day.” Kid had great poise and stage presence.
— Clemons’ nephew Jake can really play the sax. He’s a worthy successor to Big Man.
–Got a ton of entertainment from the woman sitting a few feet away from me. She was in her 50s, I estimate, wearing an orange University of Texas T-shirt, and swaying and singing every word to every song the entire night, non-stop. She was a whirlwind of energy and enthusiasm. She was also drinking heavily.
— So glad I went. I can cross something off the Bucket List. Having seen Bruce and Barry Manilow live in the last few years, my next “music act to see before I die” is Bon Jovi.
**Tuesday brought some sad news for those of you who hate contraception, any non-white people, and fair chances for all. Rick Santorum, a man who riled up millions of angry Caucasians and right-wing lunatics, has decided to suspend his campaign for the presidency.
Ahh, Rick. So disappointing we won’t get a President Santorum, who would ban condoms, bomb every country he could, and require all Americans to prove they are citizens. Well, at least we’ll always have the above video to remember him by. Still cracks me up every time I watch it…