Friday, May 16, 2014

Something in the Night: Springsteen Nation Converges on Albany


Last Tuesday night, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played an amazing show in Albany, New York.  My friend Diane and I made the long drive to meet up with a group of our fellow hard-core Springsteen enthusiasts.

Springsteen Nation
As I mentioned here, a big part of the concertgoing experience is the cameraderie of it all.  You get to know a person really well when you road trip with them, or crash on their couch...or when you undergo the pit lottery with them.  The lottery determines which holders of General Admission tickets get to spend the concert in the small area right in front of the stage.  

The pit lottery is a grueling experience. You get your wristband early in the day.  Then you kill a few hours and come back, packing into a sardine-like line, and wait for a number to be pulled out of a hat. 



Your fate rests on that number.  And after it's pulled, you stay in line, because if you leave, you lose your place.

Why go through all that?  Because there's nothing quite like standing in the pit, where you can interact with Bruce and the band, and see every nuance of what's happening onstage.  

And even if you don't get into the pit (my friends and I didn't this time around), you get to bond with some pretty great people along the way.

Jay, Lisa, me, John (in back), and Jim
For better or worse, the concert going experience is more intense from the floor, where you jostle for space, and share Bruce lore with friends and strangers while you wait for the house lights to come down.

And when the show starts, things get even more intense. Tuesday night's show was, by sheer luck, the perfect bookend to the Charlotte show Diane and I saw back in April.  Both shows were far from standard, with all sorts of rarities and requests mixed in among the more expected songs.  



Bruce typically writes up a setlist and then calls audibles, departing from the plan. Though you don't see it on the above pre-written list, he made a snap decision to play 
"Something in the Night," one of the songs I've heard him perform live a number of times, but one that never fails to break my heart...in a good way:



And then there was this song request--from a daughter who wanted to give her mom the ultimate mother's day gift: a dance with Bruce.  I can't watch this video or even talk about it without getting weepy, maybe because the interactions between Bruce and the mom are so sweet, or maybe because, as a mother, I'm deeply impressed by the daughter who put this much thought and effort into her request.


Anyway, my dear friend and traveling companion Diane Wilkes has written a much more in-depth rumination on the Albany show than anything I can manage here.  She graciously gave me permission to link to it, so you can read all about her recent conversion to Bruddhism...a more zen approach to fanatical Bruce fandom.

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