Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Springsteen & I: Review

I love Bruce Springsteen.  

I've loved Bruce since I was 12 years old in 1984 and my aunt's neighbor's daughter slept out all night to get tickets to see him at the Meadowlands.  We piled into my aunt's old Chevy, no seat belts, sitting on each other's laps and drove a couple miles to the Meadowlands.  We stood on our seats and screamed until we were hoarse and clapped until our palms bled.  And my whole world changed.

When I am at a Bruce concert all that exists are my emotions and the music.  I am a completely emotional being, not even aware of physical things.  I feel as though my insides are released and turned on the outside and shared with thousands of people and then, at the end of the night, it's all put back together and I am better for it.  I shared that experience of what it means to be human, broken, hurt, scared, loved, happy, grateful, aware, sad, angry, melancholy, elated...ALIVE!  

The music lives in my blood, the lyrics live in my heart.  I relate to Bruce's faith and I love how he talks about Jesus turning tables in the temple, how Jesus told us to take care of each other, how God provides.

I am on several Springsteen forums and one time, a while back, we were asked to submit our stories.  I submitted something but never heard back (it never got picked).  But I was very excited when I heard about the release of this documentary.  I immediately went on-line and bought tickets for opening night.

I was psyched to sit in a crowded theater with people who get it.  There were "Bruuuuuuuuuuuce calls" when the lights went out and I was not the only one crying when the lights came back on.

It's hard to explain to anyone who doesn't love something WHY you love it.  You can explain it, but unless they love it too, they are never going to fully understand it.  But this movie gets several things spot on.

 First, it's different for everyone.  Everyone gets on the Train of Hope and Dreams and finds something different, but something meaningful to them.

Second, Bruce REALLY appreciates his fans.  And if you don't believe that, you don't know him.  This movie starts with Bruce telling the fans that he is there because they are there.  It's more than just making money, it's a matter of energy.  I've seen enough Bruce shows to know that they have different energy and the crowd dictates the energy, the band plays off the crowd and the crowd plays off the band.  If the crowd doesn't have the right energy, you won't be transcended by the church of rock n' roll.

Bruce upgrades.   The first few rows at a Bruce show are not sold.  They are given.  I know one of his cousins, and I know the family gets those seats.  I also know that Bruce employs people who go to the worst, highest seats in a venue and upgrade those people to the best seats in the house.

This factory worker from Britain's seats were upgraded at Madison Square Garden.
He saved for years for the trip and could only afford crappy seats.
But he was upgraded...that's God working through Bruce.

Third, Bruce is one of us.  Bruce never forgot where he came from.  I know several people who know him in real life and they all say the same thing.  But this is evidenced by Bruce playing on the street with a street musician and by what he did for a fan who got to meet him -- it's one of the last scenes of Bruce & I.
Bruce plays a busker's guitar on the street.
This movie is funny.  There are several fans whose reactions are funny.  And there are two moms who I completely relate to.  One of them is named Theresa and she asks her son, "Do you listen to the words?  Do you really listen to them?  I want you to hear them.  I want you to really hear them."

The other mom laughingly says how proud she is of her kids when they can sign a song that is 30 years old.  Amen.

A satisfying ending.  The best thing about the movie was the way it ends.  It ends with a few encores...just like a Bruce show.  Just when you think it's over...he comes out again.  Just like at a Bruce concert, in the crowded little Jersey movie theater, on a rainy Monday night, a few hundred fans just kept clapping, waiting for just a little bit more... We weren't done yet.  We weren't all back together yet.  We needed just a little bit more.  And we got it.  We ended satisfied, just like at a concert.