From the Braver Institute
Holding the life of a big time rock star in the palm of your hands is not something that most people ever have the chance to do, but a couple of weeks ago I, Waye Braver, did that very thing, potentially saving the life of said big time rock star.
Here, let me explain...I have been a fan of Bruce Springsteen since sometime shortly after the release of “Darkness on the Edge of Town” back in ‘78. “Prove it All Night” was the only song I had heard from the album (I really liked it), but I had forgotten about it entirely until half-a-dozen years or so later.
While I had started to develop a true appreciation for Springsteen’s signature song “Born to Run” off of the ‘75 album of the same name, it wasn’t until the ‘84 release of “Born in the USA” when I hit a turning point from simply thinking Springsteen’s music was okay, to that of becoming more of a fan, and along with over 15 million other people, I bought the album.
I started to work my way backward through Springsteen’s musical catalog (that is when I recalled “Prove it All Night”), all the way back to fusion and funk inspired “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.” and “The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle”.
1986 saw the release of “Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band; Live 1975-85”, which was the first box set to crack the top 10, debuting at #1 (an incredible feet even for a single album), and with it I became a certified fan. The energy captured in the audio alone of Springsteen’s live performances was simply amazing, and I dreamed of the day that I would be able to attend a concert.
Unfortunately, being young, poor, and living in the Upper Peninsula, I was about as far removed from a Springsteen concert as you could get, and the opportunity never presented itself. In 1989 Springsteen sent the E Street Band packing, and with that, the high-energy Springsteen concerts went on hiatus indefinitely.
Thankfully Springsteen reunited the E Street Band a decade later, but by that time I had family obligations. At least he decided to release a live performance on HBO, and for the first time I was able to see what the excitement I had only heard of was all about. Seeing this abbreviated performance on TV only made me want to attend a live show even more.
In 2002 “The Rising” was released, and when it was announced that Springsteen and the rest of the E Streeters would be playing at The Palace of Auburn Hills, my big sister, Sorta, and I decided that we had to go to the show since she and my kid sister, Badger Annie, were now living in that area.
At the show, our seats were in the balcony almost immediately off of stage-left, and it was hard to imagine that a better seat could be found in the place, but I could see a better location to be had, and that was down on the floor in front of the stage. While the there was certainly a festive and celebratory atmosphere throughout Palace, there was a genuine party going on down on the floor, and that is where I really wanted to be.
At the end of The Rising tour, Springsteen returned to Detroit, this time to Comerica Park. While it was a great performance, it was somewhat disappointing due to the fact that our seats were so far from the stage that people sitting in Wisconsin could probably see as well as we could.
The Badger came along with us to this show, and when it was over, she and I decided that we would no longer settle for seats at a Springsteen show. The floor was the place to be, and during the next tour (if there ever was one) we would be there.
And then Springsteen recorded two folk albums, killing any hopes of an E Street Band tour anywhere in the near future.
In 2007 the E Streeters returned to the road in support of the “Magic” album, but for reasons I cannot remember, we were not able to attend a show.
The “Magic” tour ended in the fall of ‘08, and almost on the heels of it came the release of “Working on a Dream” in early 2009. When the tour dates were announced we knew we would be there, and this time we were going to be on the floor, hopefully near the stage.
Wait a second...what does any of this have to do with saving the life of a rock star, you ask? Well... nothing, but I do kind of need to build the back story. Sorry, I tend to ramble a little, and now we are all out of time for this week, kiddies. I guess you will just have to wait until the next episode to find out.
Waye Braver can be contacted on Facebook or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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