Broadway, Podcasts, and the Communal Power of Bruce Springsteen

There's only a few more performances left of Springsteen on Broadway before it's Netflix debut on December 16th. While the question of what’s next is up in the air (as tour rumors surfaced and were debunked in less than a week), I can say that this show in particular has left me eternally satisfied.

September 4th, 2018. My night at the show.

September 4th, 2018. My night at the show.

The Community that Bruce Springsteen Built

Springsteen on Broadway was undoubtedly a landmark in Bruce’s career and rock and roll history, and likewise, it was an exciting time for fans as well. From the lucky fans to the fortunate, some traveled great distances for this one, stationary show.

Just in the few conversations I had during my short time in New York; I heard fascinating stories of how people became lifelong fans, their first E Street show, and even encounters they’ve had with Bruce himself.

One thing I concluded is we’ve been so preoccupied listening to the stories Springsteen shares that we haven’t realized we have our own to tell. With that thought still in my mind, and with the way the universe works, soon after I returned from New York I was asked to be a guest on Set Lusting Bruce, to recount my Springsteen story.

I had a great time on the podcast, and Jesse is a remarkable host and carried a delightful conversation. We also discussed my childhood in Kansas City, shows I've attended, and how Bruce gave me my tattoo; “Bound for Glory.”

Listen to my episode on Set Lusting Bruce here!

I more than just recommend Jesse’s podcast. If you’ve got an interesting Springsteen story of your own, he’ll be happy to hear about it. All of our stories are a piece of this living history, and sharing them only enriches it and makes it stronger.

I sincerely believe that we’re all looking for something to make us feel less alone. I’m not talking about finding some kind of presence to fill that void, but to find something that just simply understands. So that when we’re sitting in our cars, alone, we have that voice and that message that helps us feel less lonely. So no matter who and where we are, we’re essentially in the same car, on the same route, heading to the same destination.

Something like Fate

I’ve had something like fate happen recently. Upon scrolling through the Spring-Nut’s page on facebook, I stumbled upon a video from the River Tour 2016, in Kansas City. This was a show I attended, so I jokingly thought I would be in the video, and to my surprise, there I was!

As Bruce strut down the aisle during “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” he stopped and hugged my sister and I. At the time, I knew my dad got a picture from behind, but I had no idea that anyone else recorded the moment.

Credit to Andy Slinger on the Spring-Nuts fan page.

Bruce Springsteen

Watching the video instantly took me back to that ecstatic moment and how lucky I was then and how lucky I am now. I was seventeen at the time, and while that wasn’t so long ago in the grand scheme of things, I feel almost like a completely different person. So much has happened between the age seventeen and twenty, I feel like I’ve lived more life just in these three years then I’ve ever had before.

If I could go back in time and tell my seventeen-year-old self that one day she’d have her moment with Bruce; to tell him what it all means, and that he would write her mantra on her arm, she’d want to believe me so badly she’d never sleep again.

Everything I need to Hear

With every passing year Bruce’s music means something new to me. Somehow, I find whatever I’m looking for in a song I’ve previously overlooked. I’ve found myself in a one-sided conversation with whatever album that’s currently spinning. But maybe it’s not as one-sided as I think.

After listening to my episode on Set Lusting Bruce, I started reflecting on Springsteen on Broadway, and how it was everything I needed to hear. It was loud and joyous, and sometimes stark and meditative. I thought about the last song I heard Bruce play, “Born to Run,” and how the song itself was its own anthology. It was everything you come to a Springsteen show for — rejuvenation, salvation, a transformative experience, not to escape but to awaken something else, to find that sense of community.

Bruce concluded the song thumping his fist on his guitar as if it were a heartbeat, softy throbbing, ceaselessly going strong. I still can hear it.