Monday, November 12, 2007

Show a little faith, there's Magic in the night

ee the kid in the picture above?

He's only six, but he's pretty hard core.

We were a few people behind him and his mom while standing in the wristband lottery line at Springsteen's Nov. 5 date at The Palace of Auburn Hills. There was no doubt his parents raised him right -- he was fired up to see The Boss.

A few hours passed as we snaked through the line, hours spent hoping we would be among the 500 lucky people who would gain entry into the sacred ground known as The Pit that night. This was especially important that night, because it was Mrs. VFR's first Springsteen show.

We held Nos. 495, 496 and 497 in the lottery. When the security czars drew No. 175 and said people who held the 500 numbers after that would find themselves in The Pit, there was a lot of hooting and hollering from myself, Mrs. VFR and Ever Jolly Lee Rasizer, who had stayed in town for an extra day after covering the Lions-Broncos game Sunday.

We were led into our pen and set up shop about four people deep on the left side of the stage, directly in front of Clarence.

After waiting for a few more hours, Bruce and the band came out and kicked things off by ripping through Radio Nowhere, Night and Lonesome Day before taking a breather.

Somewhere in that set, Mrs. VFR tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Hey, there's the kid who was next to us in line!" I look over, and sure enough, there's the kid. Front row of The Pit. Dead center. Rocking out on top of his pop's shoulders.

We wonder how they wound up so close, since they were only a few people away in line, but then went back to rocking out ourselves.

Fast forward to the encore. Bruce walks out to front and center, and looks down at the kid's sign. "What's this? ... This kid's been rocking out all night! Let's do it!" He called the band together for a quick audible, and then we were indeed blessed with Ramrod.

It wasn't only Boss Time, it was this kid's time.

Not only did Bruce play the song -- the highlight of the night -- but Bruce leaned into the crowd and let him strum his guitar for a while. Then after the song ... Bruce handed him his harmonica. Then ... Clarence handed him something. Then ... after the encore, Max handed him his drumsticks.

Bottom line was that the whole scene added a bonus to what was already a very good show -- and also that the kid cleaned up.

In an odd sort of way, I felt bad for the kid. Think about it: He's only six years old, and every concert he goes to from here on out is going to be a downer!

But it was a tremendous addition to a very good night. A fantastic night. One of the best two or three of the eight Bruce shows I've seen.

Radio Nowhere sounded phenomenal, and when he broke into Jackson Cage, I'd like to think that I was the first person in the arena to recognize the throwback. Jackson Cage, Ramrod were tour debuts. We got an all-time debut in I'll Work For Your Love.

I've heard him do She's The One with the E Street Band before, but I don't think I ever heard it as rocking as it was that night.

The Palace crowd gets some kudos too, as it matched Bruce's frenzied pace for the entire 2 hour, 5 minute show. When he wrapped up a delightful American Land -- a great show-closer -- the crowd was loudly pleading for more. I could have swore I saw Bruce hesitate and consider those pleas before exiting the stage.

Perhaps the best crowd I've been a part of.

There could have been more Roy Bittan. The Professor is the best musician in the band, and I've always enjoyed seeing him spotlighted. He could have played a little longer -- 2 hours, 5 minutes is by far and away the shortest Springsteen show I've seen.

But he packed a lot into 2:05. The energy never ebbed, neither from the band or from the crowd.

There's probably more to say about the show and about the album, but I'll save that for a later post.

Oh, one other highlight was when we returned home and Mrs. VFR, fresh off breaking her Bruce cherry, said: "I get it now."


For now, I'm going to go back to watching the Rams and Gus Frerotte complete their implosion against the Seahawks. Wow, Pendleton, that 4th down play to end the game was freaking painful. Something I'm used to seeing on the shores of Lake Erie.


Another football thought this Sunday afternoon. The Lions played Thursday, so I should be getting two games right now. But that's not the case.

I'm getting zero NFL games in the 4 p.m. slot. I'm getting figure skating on two channels.

It's a Sunday afternoon in late November. Is this America or communist Russia?

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At 10:22 AM, Blogger Smokey Robinson (aka Matt) said...

Ah, the sad injustices of network programming, and the happy injustices of rock stars who give out memorabilia to a little kid only to spoil him for the rest of music. That is some weekend you had, my friend.

Now, off to the bread line.


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