I must have been to eight or nine Bruce Springsteen concerts over the past 25 years. While his solo records and performances resonate deeply with me and continue to be inspirational to me as a songwriter, I also appreciate the stadium gigs for the monumental rock’n roll manifestations and energy surges that they are.
I recently had the chance to see Springsteen live with the E Street Band – including the E Street Horns – on July the 11th 2023, in Copenhagen, Denmark. This night, was, as always, pure magic, and the musicianship of the whole band unparalleled. But the emergent nature of the collaboratively created music also transcended the moment and became something else. An event, an encounter with something that was outside of us and inside of us at the same time.
There were moments when 40.000+ people reverberated as one body and was indeed one with the band, with its singers, its lead singer. I had experienced these moments in previous concerts, but something felt different this time around, especially when Springsteen played dialed down versions of “Last Man Standing,“ and “I’ll See You In My Dreams”.
At 73 years of age, this was a huge celebration of life. And, if not laughing death in the face, then it was certainly letting the grim reaper know that this band is only going to come kicking and screaming when that final hour inevitably draws nigh.
On a personal note, I experienced my teenage daughter submit fully to the music and the moment, hands nearly constantly in the air for three hours, singing along. I wondered how/when she had learned all those lyrics, but mostly just enjoyed seeing her disappear into the moment, forget herself and become one with the intention of the art, become one with what Springsteen continues to gift to those who hang on long enough. Snapshots from the heart and soul of a man deeply in love with life, with the world and the people in it.
Coming down from the concert on the walk home, my daughter exclaimed to my wife, my friend Jan, and I: “people need to understand, that Bruce Spingsteen is therapy!” I thought it a fitting analysis.
Perhaps because of the experience of seeing my daughter react so positively to the moment, I felt like giving something back and wrote a little thank you note in the form of the song in the link above. Although it is very unlikely that Springsteen would ever hear this song, I still felt it was the right thing to do.
My grandmother always said: “We must remember to give thanks.” I agree, and the act of thanking is important, whether those we thank can hear us or not.