If you're impatient, the idea that "good things come to those who wait" seems like the stuff of assholes or dummies. However, after living some life, I've found that though it's uncomfortable to feel left behind, waiting often yields gratifying results. This is true for first kisses, getting your first car, loss of virginity, and seeing the Boss live for the first time.
In 2009, I was unemployed, so I flew up to D.C. for President Obama's first inauguration. The point of the journey was of course to see him get sworn in, but also -- and I'm being honest here -- to catch Bruce Springsteen play at the inaugural concert alongside a bunch of other people I don't even remember now.
But I missed the Boss' show. And was I very pissed. So now, I will publicly apologize to my cousin for all the verbal abuse she suffered for oversleeping on that freezing January morning, because waiting on this was worth it. Watching Bruce Springsteen perform for about three and a half hours last night at the BB&T Center was maybe the most satisfying experience I've had at a concert, ever.
There's something about Springsteen that inspires us to talk about our own experiences of him and less about him as a human. And he's a good guy. Everyone, it seems, cherishes their Springsteen stories over the man himself. He's not an idol in the way most rock stars are. He's like an earthly god that brings nothing but emotion, energy, talent, and goodwill to his worshipers. I actually feel more grounded and like a better person, oddly enough, after watching him, Tom Morello, and the whole E Street Band weave a timeless and playful performance.
The BB&T Center never looked smaller; the arena was brimming with people, mostly white folks from New Jersey and Palm Beach County (the line to get on 75 North after the show was insane). They played air guitar with great enthusiasm and held high their signs with names of songs they wanted to hear.
The night opened with a Clash cover, "Clampdown," and Springsteen asked if we were ready to be transformed. We most certainly were. So, he started in with the first of many "1,2, 3, 4"s counted off throughout the evening. After "Badlands" got the Boss loosened up and the crowd singing along, a bongo became center stage for Morello and Springsteen's jamming drum circle. Bruce was moving those hips and making the room all sweaty with lust. Morello played a little guitar with his chompers. Yes, he ate those strings. And on his instrument were written words that seemed to read "Farm the Homeless," though that is presumably incorrect.
Springsteen then went into the crowd to gather signs and accept the song requests suggested on them. He grabbed one that said "Is Your Son Available" and joked, "That's when you know you're getting old. They stop asking for you and start asking for your kids."
Another sign said, "I just proposed. Play 'I Wanna Marry You' to Amy Sue." And he did, pointing out first that he and the band are in the "love business" and secondly that "if you meet your partner at the E Street Band show, you don't have to love your partner, you just have to love me." He made funny sounds trying to figure out the chords for a bit, adding comedy to music, which ain't easy.