"And so it begins!"
Those were Bruce's excited words as the last chord of "Radio Nowhere" hung over the crazed Hartford Civic Center crowd. A count-off led into the crashing opening chords of "The Ties That Bind" and we were off. Off to the beginning of another album, tour, and era in the E Street Band's history — and another chapter in our own lives. What, you think that's being overly dramatic? Maybe so, but for me it was something of an historic event. That, and simply a great rock and roll show.
You see, due to (work-related) circumstances beyond her control, TheWife™ was not able to attend. The lucky recipient of her "responsibleness" was Stepson#1. The E Street Band might be getting older, but the age range of fans seems to be expanding in both directions. There were a surprising number of younger folks in the crowd and Stepson#1 was one of them. I have to say that it was very heartwarming to witness his reaction to the event. And finally, finally ... he has seen exactly what I've been going on about for all of these years. Yes, it was a special night in many ways, and I was so glad to be a part of John's real introduction to it all.
The Internet has put an interesting twist on how things are viewed. There is so much scrutiny focused on every detail, changing expectations as well as spinning the outcomes. "Fans" have been complaining about poor song selections, debating when to take bathroom breaks, claiming Patti is ruining the band, taking bets on whether Clarence will last the tour, cracking wise about Bruce's hair, and giggling that Little Steven ain't so little anymore. It's all so pathetic and really, what does it have to do with the music?
Absolute nothing. I mean, what's the point? That Bruce isn't stuck in 1978 anymore. Oooh, poor babies.
Then there's the complaint that some of us are trapped in the "Bruce can do no wrong" cage. Not at all. My interest is in seeing how an artist makes it through life ... what the reactions are. It goes far beyond a simple good vs. bad sort of thing.
Which is why some of my favorite moments from last night are the very things these people will crab about. Patti and Bruce dueting on Patti's "Town Called Heartbreak" — I love hearing their voices blend like that. Plus, it's a nice smoldering, bluesy tune. The short "speech" before "Livin' In The Future" — Bruce is a citizen just like the rest of us and he splits his voice between pure statement and one of the bounciest songs he's ever written. There are a few more but why give any more weight to the negative spirit, eh?