As anybody who reads my articles here with any sort of regularity already knows, I'm just a little bit of a Bruce Springsteen fan. It's a funny thing when you try to explain this to the uninitiated, too. You know that line from the Lovin' Spoonful song about "trying to tell a stranger about rock and roll?" Well that's how it is with Bruce.
Counting last night's amazing show at Key Arena in Seattle, I've seen Springsteen 34 times now. But for me, the night when I made the transition from casual fan to the raving lunatic I am today came at my fourth show, on a cold December night in 1978 at the Seattle Center Arena.
In a show that resembled a tent revival meeting as much as it did the most out-of-control house party you could ever imagine, Bruce and the E Street Band gave five-hours-plus worth of everything they had. They basically just tore the house down. The capper came just before 2 AM when about 100 of us hardcores refused to leave the building, and Bruce came out and did a surprise "Twist & Shout" with the house lights up, and half of the equipment torn down.
It was a night forever burned into my memory, and one that I will never forget.
So here we are, 30-odd shows and more than a few trips criss-crossing the country later, for yet another Bruce weekend. Like the man says, "Are you ready to ride?"
The weekend began with the trip from Seattle to Portland down I-5's infamous "slog". This is never a fun trip, although I always get a big kick out of reading the hardcore conservative messages on the giant Uncle Sam sign in Chehalis. This time out it read "Mars Has Global Warming. Can We Send Al Gore To Investigate?" Priceless.
So, after our sloggy and snowy drive down I-5, we arrived in Portland and headed to the Rose Garden to get our numbers for the GA lottery. And damn if we didn't luck out, drawing a sweet number that got us into the pit.
It's probably been about two decades since I've seen Bruce and the E Street Band up this close and personal, and man there is just nothing like it. Despite what the reports at Backstreets say, the energy level was also off the hook from the get-go, as Bruce launched into a rip-roaring segue of "Night" into "Radio Nowhere" into "Lonesome Day."