I saw my first Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert some 7 years ago in Baltimore, my home town. I went with a group that included a dear friend who has seen him many times in various cities since the 70’s. She refers to her attendance as worshiping in “the church of Bruce.” Since that initial experience, I have seen him an additional 5 times in Los Angeles (twice), Philadelphia, Washington D.C, and just this past week again in Baltimore. Count me among the converted.
Of course there are his American working class songs that have received countless awards. And it amazes me to see how the music and each particular song touches so many, with tears for “The Rising,” jumps and whoops for “Rosalita,” and steely determination in “Born to Run.” But it’s more than the music.
His concerts were the rage in the 70’s with tales of playing 3 or 4+ hours. This was unheard of, even for bands in their 20’s. Well, they are still doing it now in their 60’s. They played over 3 and a half hours last Wednesday. And they don’t phone it in. Just watch Bruce, who tracks miles as he moves around the arena, literally tossing one guitar in the air for another between songs, Max Weinberg, who looks like he may spontaneously combust during his drum solos, and Nils Lofgren, who delightfully spins in some kind of jig in spite of hip replacement. How do they do this? And WHY?
They are simply doing what they are supposed to be doing. They have hooked into their life’s mission and are fulfilling it. They are sharing their gift when they play and we get to see their sheer delight in each moment.
Witnessing this gives me great hope. It reminds me that we are each given a purpose that we are destined to fill. And when we know what this is, our work will be like play, and we will never want to stop.
I haven’t quite figured out what mine is yet. I seem to be in the “process of elimination” stage. But I do feel like I’m getting closer.