We go way back, Bruce Springsteen and me ... or it feels like it

 

Rob Hastings
Thursday 18 July 2013 17:38
Comments

Bruce Springsteen and I don't know each other. We've never met. There are no Rolling Stone or NME-style backstage stories for me to recount about chats over beers after a gig — let alone memories of dancing onstage amid the E Street Band. And as a middle-class Brit who can't drive, I'm hardly the natural audience for an American singing about underemployed labourers driving '69 Chevies out west in search of work. Yet had I been one of the lucky fans asked about their relationship with The Boss for a new documentary released on Monday, that wouldn't have been a problem.

The thought occurred to me while looking around the crowd and singing along to a typically majestic rendition of “Jungleland” during his concert in London's Olympic Park a few weeks ago: the camaraderie between the devotees who cheer “Bruuuuuce” at every one of his shows feels — in my gig-going experiences, at least — unique. It feels like we know him, the man himself.

The followers of countless other musicians and bands feel the same about their heroes to some degree, of course. So what makes him special, and demanding of this new film, without ever partying in fans' own living rooms like Pete Doherty and Carl Barat used to in the early days of The Libertines?

The everyman nature of his lyrics certainly helps. The earnest strength of his words in “The River” or “Bobby Jean”, about modest people and their efforts to break free from poverty or make a faltering romance work, override the fact he has been a world-famous millionaire for decades.

Above all else, it's that warm-hearted charisma on display throughout his three or sometimes four-hour long sets. No longer content with picking pretty girls out of the throng for a boogie during Dancing In The Dark, he now gets little kids on his shoulders and hands them the microphone, or escorts old ladies onstage. He recognises when a super-fan has followed him around the world with the name of an obscure B-side written on a piece of cardboard to wave as a request — and he grants their wish. Even as a small figure in the distance to someone at the back of an 80,000-strong stadium crowd, there's an inclusivity to his gigs that is a rare but wonderful thing.

Springsteen and I don't know each other, but Bruce and me? In my mind, we go way back.

'Springsteen & I' is released in cinemas on Monday

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in