Thursday, July 23, 2009

Springsteen in T.O. 2009, part 3

The lights were down, the music was playing and Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band were all but doing cartwheels on the stage. It was easy to forget that Springsteen is close to 60. Their energy was contagious. Grace and I danced and jumped and screamed and sang and fist-pumped our way through two hours of the show. At one point, Springsteen turned his back to the crowd, but as I watched him on the huge viewer screen, I could have sworn that shall I put this...blew his nose, farmer style. Or as we call it at home, he sent a snot rocket across the stage. Even with his back to us, I saw definite arm to nose movement, and there was no question about the spray. I laughed out loud. Somehow, it fit. After all, sweat had been dripping off the end of his guitar since the first 10 minutes of the show. All that...stuff...has to go somewhere. Plus, he had impressive range. Having seen my father blow snot rockets all my life, and having been in the position to do it myself, I understand the importance of technique (which I don't have) and vitality to the endeavour. He did it several more times, with increasing precision and skill. I was impressed.

As the concert progressed, I have to admit that there were several songs I was not familiar with. I kept looking to Grace, and she would mouth the title of the song to me. I had let my fandom lapse. But I thoroughly enjoyed the music, the energy, the fun, and the time with Grace. I had a nitro pump and some pain medication tucked into my pockets with the lipstick and a bit of cash, but I didn't need either one. By an act of pure grace, we were seated right beside an exit with close access to the washrooms, which I only had to use once. After two hours of pure energy and rock, the band left the stage while the audience erupted in fist-pumping cheers and shouts of "Bruce! Bruce!". Following a teasing few moments, the band returned for a close to an hour long encore. More screaming and jumping up and down. During the encore, Springsteen took a few moments to encourage concert goers to reach out to the needy, mentioning a Toronto foodbank that would be available to receive gifts at the end of the show. I appreciated the matter-of-fact way that Springsteen expressed himself. Helping others should be a matter-of-fact thing. Just something we do. Just because we can. And considering how much money it took to get us there just for a night of entertainment, and the $40 I would pay for a t-shirt for Grace at the end of the show, how could I not give out of my wealth?

When the encore was over, and the arena lights came on for good, I found myself feeling satisfied, energized, and ready to go. My voice was hoarse, my ears hummed and I thrilled at the grin on Grace's face. Our exit was as neat and orderly as our entry had been, something that I have since learned is a Toronto thing. We had no problem finding Marc waiting in the foyer, and we met with hugs and a rush of words. I wanted to tell him every thing. I knew he wasn't interested in the concert for himself, but the concert through our eyes and ears was a different thing. Even if Bruce Springsteen is not his thing, Grace and I definitely are!

We found the car, drove to a Burger King, ordered burgers and salad and chatted incessantly. We drove to the hotel, and climbed to our room, still talking. In fact, the talking only ended after Grace fell asleep, and the hushed whispers between Marc and I faded slowly until we had followed her. The rest of the trip was routine. We got up in the morning, ate breakfast, drove home, listening to Springsteen most of the way except for a brief foray into Simon & Garfunkle when we were nearing home. We were tired. And happy.

Of course the glow has faded, and the concert has slipped into fond memory. I enjoyed the music, I was glad to see Springsteen and his band live, and the experience was wonderfully fun and exciting. The best part, though, was going through it with Grace, and receiving it as a gift from Marc. It was a moment in a lifetime of moments that Grace and I have shared, a gift in a long chain of gifts that I will receive from my love's hand and heart. It was really about us, a path that we walked together, that for a brief three hours we shared with Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, but then they moved out and we continue to walk together. The road goes ever on.

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