Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thunder Road

Today is Springsteen's 60th birthday? Damn! I'm sitting here listening to a 1976 performance of Thunder Road from You Tube - don't know where it was, but it was around that time that I got to see Bruce live at Auburn University. It was just after Born to Run was released and I'm not sure anyone in the South had heard of this New Jersey guy. But I'm a rocker, so I was going to be there.

It almost didn't happen - the fire marshal, obviously not a rock and roll fan, insisted that not only could there not be festival seating, but there was NO FLOOR SEATING at all! So we're all in the risers, and remember this is the days when everything was hard-wired, and as Bruce is singing the first song he sprinted from the stage, LEAPT into the risers and sang the entire concert from there. It was amazing. He even sat in a girl's lap to sing one song (regrettably not mine).

Fast forward to 1984, I'm working for a congressional campaign in Birmingham, driving around in the campaign van putting up signs. On the radio someone announces that Springsteen is coming and tickets go on sale the next day. This, thank god, was before Ticketmaster took all the fun out of ticket buying. I immediately told my co-campaigner-it was Robert Houston- to take me DIRECTLY down to the BJCC, I am going to camp out. This is also pre-cell phones, remember. So I get down there around 2 p.m. on a Friday and I'm like 20th in line. Robert goes back to HQ and calls my sweetie-pie Phil and gets him to bring me down some clothes and a blanket. I stayed down there the rest of the night. Even got my picture in the paper!

Got great seats on the 13th row, aisle and man I held on to those things like they were precious gems. The concert was great - it was shortly before Christmas and the encore was "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Close to three hours of guitar and sax and that voice and those songs. I think we stood up the whole time and hardly felt it.

I know I'm a writer but I just can't find the words for the experience of Springsteen, whether I'm blasting "Thunder Road" on the car radio or tearing up when I hear "The River" and think of what might have been. They just give me the oomph to get up and do what needs to be done.