Man, I love Bruce Springsteen. I listened to his interview on Fresh Air yesterday. Holy cow it was good. I appreciate Fresh Air because Terry Gross seems to always get good stuff out of people. She’s knowledgeable, empathetic, and tough when she needs to be. That always makes for a good show. (I particularly enjoy her shows with comedians for some reason.) I appreciate artists, politicians, and other notable figures who are upfront and honest about who they are or why they do things.
I didn’t realize that Bruce still lives in New Jersey, not that far from where he grew up. I admire that. I first started listening to Bruce in high school. I honestly don’t remember what song got me hooked, but Bruce soon became my favorite artist by the time I graduated. I like to say that I have one regret in life, and that’s that I did not see Bruce Springsteen and the Seeger Sessions band when they came to Minnesota. That would have been a fun show.
I like Bruce because he seems to be an honest guy. To an extent, his songs reveal something about him. Esoteric lyrics are fine, but it’s nice when you can understand and easily relate to a song. I love listening to the song “Promised Land.” There’s also “Bobby Jean”, “I’m going down”, and “Downbound Train.” I doubt there were very many other 17-year olds in 2005 who were listening to that song as their “angsty” song. I remember listening to that song on repeat as I went out for a run in Wyoming. I was probably having some girl trouble and I thought the whole world was collapsing around me. It wasn’t, and I probably wasn’t facing the same level of hardship as the guy in the song, but it felt nice to think I did for just a moment.
I saw Bruce Springsteen back in 2004, at around a time like this. There was a lot of fervor over the election and there was a huge push to register to vote (presumably against Bush.) I went to the Xcel Energy Center (by myself!). I remember as I was leaving the restroom a guy asked if I was there to see Bright Eyes, the emo-folk band led by Connor Oberst (who I have since grown in appreciation of). I said no, I was here to see the Boss. The guy seemed genuinely surprised by that. I felt really cool.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how people project themselves in life. I liked Bruce because what he projected on stage felt real. I mean, as real as someone who is surrounded by a rock band can get, but it felt like he wanted to be up there, singing his own songs. I suppose that you’re not going to be around for forty or fifty years if you don’t get some personal satisfaction from singing those songs.
I hope I can continue to do what I love for decades. Until then, I’ll still keep listening to “Born to Run” with my windows down.
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