This morning on the long walk to work, I decided to listen to Bruce Springsteen's recent performance at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey. This is now a historic show in the Springsteen canon, as not only did Bruce and the E Street Band perform before a mere 1500 people, but they performed Darkness on the Edge of Town and Born To Run in their entirety. Ticket prices were steep, but every penny went to restoring the Count Basie Theatre.
Instead of skipping right to the music, I listened to the 12-minute opener. Patti Scialfa spoke about the importance of the theatre and how for tens of years, the Count Basie had been a staple in her life. Then Brian Williams of NBC News took the stage and told some unreal stories about growing up in Jersey. The chills began to set in. Then came the mention of Danny Federici. I felt the emotion growing. The moment had arrived. Then Williams said, "I'm told this is the boss' mike. This is the first and last time that this will ever happen. Ladies and gentleman, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band". The crowd absolutely erupted. My throat tightened, my eyes welled up and I literally had no idea where I was standing. I could've walked two miles past my office and I would've had no idea. My entire body and spirit was in a place not my own. I felt connected to the world, yet completely outside of myself.
Then came the music. And the stories. And then the memories. Not Bruce's memories, but my own. All of the years that I've spent listening to his records. All of the years that his music let me dream. Let me be someone else. Let me truly, and I mean TRULY, feel life. When Bruce and the band moved from Darkness into Born To Run, I realized how much Springsteen's music has not only inspired in me, but how much it has taught me. If I had to point to one person who's moved me to care about public policy, social equality and all of the, pardon the word, 'ideals' that I hold so dear, it would be Bruce Springsteen. His music is as much a part of my life as anything. It makes me realize how much I love my family, how important my friends are in my life, how lucky I am to stand beside the girl in my life. It's my dreams both lived and searched for. It's everything that I hold dear. And right then, I realized that the feeling had set in.