Well, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience at the “Broooce” concert. The experience carries along with it a story, so here is the telling.
Molly and I happened to run into an old friend on Saturday night before the concert who is part of the production team on the Springsteen tour. He asked if we had tickets, and we said yes. Back when we bought tickets in late June I had jumped on the Ticketmaster sale late enough the day of sale to end up in section 210 at the Sprint Center, which is located in the upper regions of the building. Molly’s friend had said that he could possibly get us on the floor, and also provided us with the tip that the E Street Band wouldn’t take the stage until after 8:15. Show time was 7:30 so we timed it well, grabbed a shake from ChefBurger, and headed in to the concert around 8:00 or so.
From there we decided to set up shop on the concourse and wait for a return text message from Molly’s friend, who let us know to touch base sometime shortly before 8:15. As we hung around waiting for a response, a Sprint Center employee approached us and asked us if there were two in our party. We said yes. She said that there were a couple of other patrons who wanted to trade seats. They happened to have GA tickets on the floor, and didn’t want to stand for the duration of the concert. We met this other couple and made the trade. Can you say upgrade?
Once we headed down to the floor we ran into Molly’s friend who hooked us up with a pit pass. We went from being in the upper deck to being about 25 feet from center stage in the midst of Springsteen diehards. As we waited for the concert to start we met a guy from San Fran named Hank, who had been to somewhere around 45 Springsteen shows. He had drank a few beers, had seen the show in St. Louis the night before, and was pumped for another performance. He was with us for the first couple of songs and disappeared after that. Before he left, it was a blast to watch him dance.
The show was incredible. Springsteen played some stuff off the new album, Magic, but treated the crowd to plenty of classics. The music was great, the band was energetic, the crowd was in to it and singing along–this is the reason I love live music performances. We got to see an E Street first in the process. Springsteen has been gathering signs from the crowd during this tour that have requests hand written on them. Someone passed up a sign that said “Let Max Sing.” They got the man a microphone. When the band saw the sign they got a pretty good chuckle, and acquiesced. I really like Max Weinberg, so this was a bonus for me.
As a bonus, Springsteen demonstrated his ability to not only offer the gift of his music, but to speak prophetically about our culture, our reality, he even invited his audience into the presence of God. Springsteen, before singing the Song “Livin’ in the Future” let us know that this was a song about our time. Before playing the song he repeated again and again, in revivalistic fashion and intonation, “It’s still early, but it’s getting late.” He called for change. He claimed that America in recent years had not been the type of country we were called to be. He denounced the Iraq war. If you know anything about Springsteen this shouldn’t be too surprising.
Springsteen also told the audience that the E Street Band “could only take us so far.” He said that “E Street would make the music, but you must make the noise,” and that the sound we make would be ringing “in the ears of God.” Springsteen also said that the band could not go certain places without us. The concert was a participatory gathering. Everyone mattered. He also used an enthusiastic, preachy delivery to say that he’d done down to the river of life, he was going to build him a house, and he was going to find him some life. He repeated the same sequence for faith, joy, happiness, and hope. All the while Clarence “Big Man” Clemons was saying into his microphone “yes Lord,” and “preach it.” At one point he took a wet sponge and shook it over the first few rows, calling it a “Jersey baptism.”
The Christian-oriented discourse that was woven in to the concert experience made it quite something to watch.
All in all, this was one of the most incredible concert experiences I have ever taken part in. “Born to Run,” live, is all that it is hyped up to be.
If Bruce passed back through KC, I’m there. It’s automatic.