Each year getting tickets to see Bruce becomes more of a challenge. They vanish in fewer than three minutes. This year my neighbor who’s been following Bruce since Asbury Park scored six tickets and I’m in. I saw him at the Verizon Center a few years back, and at the Nissan Pavilion before that.
Years ago Bruce Springsteen was coming to town for two nights. I had previously thought spending two nights in a row was excessive, and that time I bit. I had a couple of tickets for the first night. I had six tickets—the maximum—for the second night. Up with the gods, the seats were halfway to the next city. Bring binoculars.
The first night I was on a First Date with someone who had never been to a rock concert. We sat on the bleachers, with him to my right glancing from side to side, commenting unfavorably on the audience. I could scarcely keep myself still. I wanted to DANCE. I wanted to sing along with The Boss, screaming the words into the chill night air until I was hoarse.
My neighbor on the left was a burned-out ski bum with a blown-out knee, in Denver from Aspen for the concert. We jabbered about Bruce and rock and roll and exchanged ski stories from my time co-directing the emergency department in a ski resort. I had more in common with her than with Mr. First Date.
After the concert, he drove me to my house. As his car approached the curb I flew out the passenger door, mumbling something about thank-you-for-the-evening, setting a land speed record for the car-to-front-door dash.
The following night I invited my friends. Gretchen shared my love of music, if not my passion for rock and roll. Ben was a tax attorney with a rock and roll spirit. I invited Jane and her sons, Jamie and Jed, six and nine years old, for their Baptism by Bruce. Jane had attended several sixties folk concerts while at Connecticut College. The daughter and wife of a surgeon, she was a classic New Englander. Straightforward, she said what she felt. She was coming because her kids wanted to go. Right.
The previous night I noticed several press row seats were empty. Ignoring our mile high seats in the Mile High Stadium we moved to just above the floor as snow fell. We were prepared with coffee, numerous layers of clothes and Jane’s sailing slickers. My Vermont friend was also practical.
The music began. The crowd stood up and began dancing. Jamie could not see. I grabbed him, his back to my chest and my arms around his waist. We moved together, both of us bellowing our accompaniment to the amplified vocals. Jed stood on our seats, screaming along with the rest of us. I glanced at Jane to see Gretchen showing her how to dance.
“Just move your knees like this.”
The snowfall grew heavier. We peeled off our layers of down, our sweat’s steam rising in the cold air. Ben told me later I looked beatific.
Everything else forgotten. Forgotten in the moments of dancing to the music with thousands of choir members, each of us deafening, roaring the words we knew so well. The state of the art sound system and the video screens were clear.
Yes, I WAS hoarse the next day. And happy.
“Did you see Bruce?”
From six to eighty years old I asked my patients the same question. The music had taken me somewhere transcendent.
A Warsaw physician believes in the healing power of music and incorporates this into her medical practice. Norman Cousins wrote about the healing power of laughter. We now have data on the health benefits of positive thinking.
Go to a concert. Opera, folk, jazz, rock, classical—choose your favorite. Sing along with the music, if only in your imagination. Dance in the aisle, if only in fantasy. Let the notes take you into the music.
Bruce’s new CD, Wrecking Ball, will be released March 6. April 1 I’ll be singing and dancing in the aisles with Bruce again.