Bruce Springsteen in Concert: What Life Lessons Does He Teach Us?
My wife and I recently went to The Oracle Arena in Oakland, California to experience Bruce Springsteen. It was more of a revival than a concert. He was able to command twenty thousand to stand, sing and scream for three hours.
This was the fourth time we had been to a Springsteen show. This one reminded me of the first time we saw in 1978. It was in Kansas City and folks were standing on their seats in a frenzied state.
Almost thirty five years later, Bruce was able to bring the same energy and focus to Oakland as he brought to Kansas City when Jimmy Carter was president.
At this recent show, his song selection was all up beat without a real ballad to be found. The brand new songs blended seamlessly with his older work. You could feel the determination and sense of purpose emanating from his soul. His eyes portrayed an intense longing to express feelings of anger, joy, betrayal, loss and love.
The older songs, some almost forty years old were as relevant now as when they were originally recorded.
His E Street band had plenty of guitars, a horn section, a choir and two great drummers.
The E Street Band recently lost one of its members; saxophonist Clarence Clemens who died of complications from a stroke. His replacement was his nephew Jake who played Clarence's solos and made them his own while also honoring his uncle's memory.
The audience was acutely aware of the loss of Clarence and what he meant to Bruce as well as the rest of us.
At one point during the show, Bruce stood on a platform in the middle of the standing crowd and sang about the big man joining the band. A video presentation of Clarence took place while the crowd screamed to the top of its lungs for five minutes; a cathartic and healthy way to deal with the death of a loved one.
Bruce at age 63 seems to be getting younger instead of gracefully aging. His commitment to his craft is unassailable. Perhaps no performer has had the audience in the palm of his hand like Springsteen. Apt comparisons to The Beatles and James Brown come to mind.
Springsteen seems desperate to perform and deliver his message. He sings for working people everywhere. He appears to be so appreciative of his gift and it is obvious that he doesn't take it for granted.
He appears to be living in the moment as he connects with his massive audience; knowing that life is fleeting and all this intense excitement can be taken away in a moment. He now has that knowledge and the crowd seems to get that message as well.