Wednesday, October 21, 2009

God's Driftin' in Heaven

At one time missing a Springsteen show at The Spectrum would’ve been unthinkable to me, but lately it just hasn’t seemed to matter that much. Not even the fact that last night was the last time he’d be playing there—for real this time—made a difference to me. He could play my dream set list and I’d still feel there was something missing.

And there was. Yeah, despite the fact that he played not one but two of my handful of favorite (and obscure) songs—one of them hadn’t been played in 28 years—I remain convinced that I would have, on some level, been disappointed by last night’s final performance at the venerated arena in South Philly had I been there. Convinced because even with superior song selection it was still a performance with no coherent set list, a show that relied on two major crutches—playing an entire album in proper sequence as part of the set, and having “stump the band time” (in which people wave signs with song requests at him). These things—coupled with shameless audience pandering, booty shaking to teenage girls younger than his own daughter, oversinging, sluggish arrangements—all this and more (poor fan behavior, for example) made the City of Brotherly Love a place I didn’t want to be last night.

So nope, though my first ever Springsteen show was at The Spectrum in December of 1980, I didn’t feel the need to be there for the swan song. I used to believe in poetic justice, in events aligning themselves just so; at one time, being at The Spectrum last night would have been a no brainer, missing it unimaginable. But listen to the songs—Bruce is always talking about living your life, finding your place in the world, connecting with people, taking care of each other. And I think, upon reflection, that I can honestly say that I’ve done those things—maybe not as much as I should have, but I’ve tried. I’ve tried to break out of my closed off shell of a personality, discard the self-hatred, attack the despondence and depression. I’ve gone out and lived in the world. And to me, that is far more important than any one show--even by The Boss himself.

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