The Soundtrack of our lives

In 1980 I attended my first Bruce Springsteen concert. I was forever changed. When I think of WHY I have felt connected to Bruce Springsteen’s music since then, the answer is simple. At that age and stage in my life, I wanted to break out! I want to take off. Bruce gave me permission with Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town. In trying to describe the effect his music has on me, three words echo in my head, Urgency, Excellence and Gratitude. Someone once said “Music is the soundtrack of our lives.” If that is true, Springsteen’s been writing my soundtrack for 34 years.

A CD is a product. We pay $14.95 for lyrics, melodies, production values and how it affects our senses. When we attend a concert on the other hand, we are buying something completely different. We are buying a service. We are paying for an experience and a relationship. Ever been to a really bad concert? The singer clearly didn’t want to be there. It was a 45 minute show, and the artist was mechanical and indifferent. Technically, it’s the same as the CD. But the feeling we have is worse. Our expectations go unmet. The promise is implied, yet goes unmet.

Products are made; Services are delivered.
Products are used; Services are experienced.

The Boss with his live concerts accomplished something unique in popular music; he under-promised and over-delivered. His live concert changed my relationship with him and virtually everyone else in attendance. Mind you I was already a fan of his products and had not just all his albums but five or six bootleg tapes of live concerts. My wife thought I was insane. In 1980, I stayed up all night sitting on the ground in alley with 50 other fans waiting for the ticket office to open. The Friday night before I heard “Darkness on the Edge of Town” coming from an alley. Once I determined why they were there, I convinced my friend to loan me $100 bucks and I stayed.

The tour launched his “The River” album. The concert lasted four hours. It was a spiritual experience, a revival. Unless you have heard him with the E-Street Band, it’s tough to communicate what happens and how you feel at one of his concerts. How about: exhilarated, hopeful, excited, jazzed, and ready to take on the world. That’s a good start. He played two sets, two hours each. The Boss demonstrated excellence in showmanship, lyrics, passion, musicianship, storytelling, in short, VALUE. It was twice as long as any concert I had ever been to. No one wanted him to stop after 4-hours!

You could tell Bruce and his pals were having a ball and so glad to be up there. It was for the love of the music and moment. He was grateful then, he is grateful now.

February 5, 2009 cover story in Rolling Stone Magazine by David Fricke features “The Boss” in an intimate interview at his new house and studio in Colt’s Neck, NJ. It concludes with his wife of 20 years, Patti saying “You’re in a manic state, running like crazy from…death itself?” Smiling and paraphrasing his wife, Bruce concludes, “It’s a funny thing to say. I’ve got a deadline. That fire I feel in myself and the band—it’s a very enjoyable thing. It carries (with it) an element of desperateness. It also carries with it an element of thankfulness. We are perched at a place where we want to continue with excellence,” he says with pride. “That’s our goal. The rest of the stuff we’re gonna figure it out.”

At age 60, he still carries with him an attitude of urgency, excellence and gratitude. That’s the connection. Thanks Bruce. You are the Boss….


Actor Mickey Rourke wrote Bruce a letter asking him to write the song for the ending of his career comeback film “The Wrestler” The film ends with this haunting ballad of reality and honesty. It won a Grammy. The film is gut wrenching, and will stay with you for days. Bruce has it as a bonus track on his new CD “Working on a Dream.” It’s the best album he has done since “Born to Run.” Hopefully this time, I won’t have to wait in an alley all night for tickets…I still would.

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