Rediscovering ‘the Boss’ and some of his fans

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 23, 2002

Fan n. (Short for fanatic.) An ardent devotee.

Fan n. (Short for fanatic.) An ardent devotee.

That’s how the dictionary describes it.

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My sister described it this way. “You’re nuts.”

She was referring to my trip to Albany, N.Y., last week to see aBruce Springsteen concert.

Fanatic? Me? Hardly. All I did was pay three times the facevalue for my ticket and travel over 1,300 miles (one way).

But I met some fanatics; shared what was reported to be a taxiwith them on the way to and from the concert.

In this taxi-van, which by my count was built to hold sevenpeople, were one driver and 9 passengers: two women fromBrookhaven; a couple from England; a woman from Rhode Island, and atrio of male buddies — two from Maryland and one fromDelaware.

I’m not certain what or where the driver called home. I triednot to think of him at all after he told us he fattened up thefamily’s parakeet and ate it for Thanksgiving dinner.

My attention during the ride was focused on three things –praying for safety, holding on for dear life, and hoping the knee Iwas sitting on didn’t give out.

The couple from England didn’t say much, but they seemed verynice. They were in the U.S. to see “the Boss” and a few sights.

The male trio was a lively bunch. Last week’s concert marked the55th Springsteen show for one of them, and I think they each had 55beers to celebrate.

I don’t know how many Springsteen concerts the woman from RhodeIsland has attended, but Friday’s was the third on this particulartour. From my vantage point on the knee, I was unable to see herBruce tattoo.

I’m don’t want the reason I went to Albany to get lost in all ofthis.

I specifically wanted to hear songs from “The Rising”performed in a New York location. Springsteen has been makingrecords for 30 years, and I’ve been listening much of that time.Music critics have called this material — much of it written indirect response to the 9-11 attacks — his masterpiece.

According to a story published in Time magazine earlier thisyear, Springsteen spent many hours after the attacks telephoningand visiting people who lost loved ones. Day after day he wouldpick up the newspaper to find his own name in an obituary: “He wasan avid Bruce Springsteen fan.” “She loved Bruce Springsteen’smusic.”

The somberness of 9-11 is evident in some of the lyrics. From“Into The Fire”:

“It was dark, too dark

to see, you held me

in the light you gave

You lay your hand on me

Then walked into the darkness

of your smoky grave

Up the stairs,

Into the fire.”

If you are not a Bruce Springsteen fan, I won’t say this recordwill make you one. If you are and, like me you haven’t listened inawhile, you’ll rediscover the greatest of his music and hislyrics.

Ten of the 25 songs Springsteen performed in Albany were from“The Rising,” so I was not disappointed.

Some old favorites like “Badlands,” “No Surrender”and “Darkness on the Edge of Town” were included. He finallycalled it quits after three hours with “Santa Claus Is Coming ToTown” and Chuck Berry’s “Around and Around.”

It had been 18 years since I last attended a Springsteen concert(this was my third). If “the Boss” keeps playing, I’m not planningto wait that long again.

Write to Nanette Laster at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, Miss.39602, or send e-mail to