It’s not often I post about music but I felt the urge today. Back in the 1980s, when CDs were very new, there were CD clubs with special offers. At the time there was no such thing as iTunes or downloading music. The Internet wasn’t a thing yet, and vinyl and cassette tapes was still very popular. A CD club was where you paid something like £30 and chose six CDs out of a catalogue. They then sent them to you through the post on a special deal. Everyone in my family was able to choose one and I picked a double CD by someone I was vaguely aware of. Mostly, at the time, I think I just wanted to get my money’s worth as it was a two CD pack with something like 15 songs on each. That CD was Bruce Springsteen’s Greatest Hits.
I’m actually a little young to be a first generation fan. I’m probably second generation as by the time I was old enough to be aware of his music, he’d been going for about twelve years and had just hit the big time and broken through. So aged ten or so, I listened to my CD whenever I could. I liked some of the songs, thought some of them were a bit depressing and thought some were amazing.
Almost thirty years later, and probably a dozen albums on, I am now a genuine fan. Musically I have a few pillars that have been with me throughout my life. REM is one and The Boss, as Springsteen is sometimes called, is one of the others. I went from someone who bought the CD on a whim to someone who introduces others to his music. I changed from someone who only enjoyed the anthem tunes to someone who also loves the slower, more thoughtful pieces.
Three years ago I was living in Yorkshire, close to Leeds, and the city finally got its own arena. Sir Elton John was due to open it in September but Springsteen was coming to the area in July and asked if he could do a gig there.
They say you should never meet your heroes in person as you will be disappointed because they’re only human and therefore flawed. Speaking from experience, there is definitely some truth to that. However the Boss did not disappoint at all.
About 13 thousand people, including me, saw him blow the roof off the arena. It was over three and a half hours of non-stop music. He never once came off stage. And this is a guy in his sixties.
Last week I saw him again for the second time in my life, this time alongside 38 thousand people. It was loud. It was epic. It was an amazing experience. Here is a guy who has been performing live for over forty years. Sometimes when a musician has been going that long and you finally see them it doesn’t live up to the hype. They’re past their prime and just tired. Once again, he proved that negative voice wrong. He was full of energy and at times the whole arena was on their feet.
He definitely inspires me. I’ve achieved one of my life’s ambitions and am now a published fantasy author. But, I believe my best work is ahead of me, not behind me. If I keep pushing myself and trying my best then perhaps in thirty years time when others look back over my body of work, I might inspire them to create something, be it music, art, comics, a novel or whatever, and try a little bit harder on their next project.
2 thoughts on “The Boss – June 2016”
Ah, The Boss!
Like yourself I was quite young when I was first introduced to Springsteen, though in my case it was through my father, and while I wouldn’t claim to be a major fan I’ve always been fond of his music. I remember sitting in our back garden out in Hackenthorpe one summer evening in 1988 and listening to the Boss rock the Sheffield United football stadium, five miles away! Yep, we could (just abouts) hear the concert from five miles out. Almost two decades later, in 2006, I was fortunate enough to see him live, this time at the Sheffield Arena, during the Seeger Sessions tour. I’ve seen a lot of bands and artists perform live, but few compare to the pure showmanship and raw power of Springsteen.
It’s true, he still a massive force of nature and he is 66 or 67 years old now. Seeing him that first time, in a boiling hot arena in Leeds, was definitely my favourite. This last one was good, and much louder and bigger in scale, but that first one was still the best.