Prolific Rock-n-Roll Concert Goer!

I just went through my 7 scrapbooks of significant events, which have been compiled to date from age 11 to now, 55 years. And the object this time was to discover how many unique performers and groups I have seen in concert, excluding theater shows, like on Broadway, or the West End in London primarily. I knew that at least some of the listed performers will have been repeated, as I like to do things that are pleasurable repeatedly.

The longest list of performers seen repeatedly was Bruce Springsteen, both with and without the E Street Band, now standing at 19 times seen live in person. But then, that was a no brainer, as I have been dubbed the #1 fan in all of New York State. My home is a  shrine to him, and also with Patty, in some of it. With Bruce goes Patty, after all. And she counts as a subcategory too, for being in the E Street Band, as I enumerated these groups and performers by how many have women in them. Unsurprisingly, rock is a male dominated domain. We came in with 47 groups or performers female, at least one member, out of total list count of 145.

Wow, 145 distinct groups! But I also followed the rule that the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame uses: that a musician can be included both as a solo performer as well as a group member. There are several instances of that too, in my list. A few of the performers were counted as concerts, even though the line between theater like spaces and concert halls might have been blurred, in a few cases. For example, Springsteen on Broadway was a theater, but he qualifies as a concert artist, because the bulk of appearances were in concert venues. Saw him on Broadway three times though, 2 of which were in the 1st and 2nd row orchestra, so we interacted again, all 3 times even, because I am loud and boisterous in my enthusiasm!! He saw me, wearing my custom made T shirts, with him and me meeting in person, for his book, Born to Run, which was in the same week, in September and October 2016, NYC and Seattle. Yup, bonkers 4 the Boss! Blinded by the Light of his brilliance indeed.

Now methinks that this list should be made into a work of art, but that is in the realm of fairy dreams…as it will be a commission of an artist, which isn’t something I have ever done. Probably too much to do, in cost. Or a patchwork quilt? Another pricey item…and how do u include 145 artists on a quilt 4 a bed??!! Sounds like too much. As a rebellious teen-ager, I wrote on my bedroom wall, in black magic marker, a list of my performers, among other important things…on a mint green painted wall. I remember the parental reaction too, back then, of writing on walls. My compromise was to repaint the wall, years later, into Dark Purple, so writing was not an option then. Still rebelling, year after year after year. It also said on that pre-wall: SEX, DRUGS AND ROCK-n-ROLL REIGNS SUPREME! You might have thought my single mother at the time might have been alarmed by such a religion of my teen self so obviously displayed. And I was experimenting, from age 15 on, because I was an early bloomer in all these things. Permissiveness was the parental style in my teen years. When sex was on the menu, a visit to the gynecologist was necessary then, to prevent pregnancy and STD’s. OK, they thought, kids are growing up…and this is part of that. Practical advice and medical care, that was it. And yes, alcohol experimentation, weed, hash even, but nothing worse than that. No cocaine, no crack, no OxyContin, which might not have even existed back then.

Today’s young people have a whole panoply of threats to their welfare, much more than in my youth. A country gone amok with gun crazed lunatics, armed to the teeth with AR-15’s, AK-47’s, vaping with permanent damage quickly to young lungs, many many pain relievers that are narcotics in the homes of their parents, and a culture that is avoidant of such narcotics, which means inadequate pain relief, even when it’s clinically indicated. Because countless millions have already died from the heroin substitution post no more narcotics availability. Fentanyl, laced products with horse pain relievers, that kill just on the first time. Add on all sorts of threats, including biking in streets filled with unconcerned motorists, who look at the bicyclist like he is an impediment to your getting where you want to go, fast! It’s the same attitude that drug dealers use: it’s all about me, and my own needs; never mind you, and your needs. That doesn’t concern me.

We are in a soup of threats, which to me the biggest one is the climate change catastrophe. One of these threats will be coming to get you, one day or the next, so my advice would be to be good, to help your fellow man, and to care about him and her, because the good you do counts on your life ledger, before the Last Judgment. And in the meantime, enjoy your music, food and drink, sex, whatever floats your boat!

It’s later than you think. Have a party too! Because people like that sort of thing. Sing, dance, eat and drink…no harm in that. And the endorphins are flowing, which is its own pleasure, the natural kind. We will keep doing the stuff we love, even while the world is crumbling, in pieces, shattering glass, up till the end. Kristallnacht will be repeated in the future, and it won’t only be the Jews, but any minority group you find yourself in. They are coming for you too, because hatred is this time’s Boogeyman. Everywhere. And no one is safe, ultimately.

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Analysis of “Dancing in the Dark”

IMG_3289Dissatisfaction with self, poverty, looks, address, lifestyle of young rebellious teenager, up all night, with a horndog look at the female wares on display, at the hangouts. Just give me a look, that certain look, and I’m all yours! A dance first, then straight to the Promised Land of plenty and a comfy bed, with you, yonder comely woman, eager. But I need that money first, that animal magnetism, that POWER, to get you. As it is, I am no one, with a massive itch to be that guy, the one everyone wants, and my power is in my song. And my Wranglers, on an album cover, with patriotic colors, a bandanna, and a guitar, which is my bitcoin in the race to get what is coveted, nay needed: a Woman!

Bruce Springsteen is a master of the poetry of song. The metaphors are surreal, and the melodies stick with you, year after year, dance after dance. They become your on Earth religion. You cannot ever have enough of it. They seep into you, like a cup of melted chocolate, so sweet, syrupy, rich and thick. You cannot untaste either the hot chocolate or him. They are inextricably linked. And so, Bruce becomes the unattainable, which he was once himself, when he was hungry as this artist, with nothing, nothing but the insatiable itch, that needed scratching. I am personally glad he got what he wanted and also what he needed. He had had some major success already, when Born in the USA hit, in 1984.

Who doesn’t want to “change my hair, my clothes, my face?” Only the privileged are satisfied with their identity, and all it represents, like the royalty of England, or the celebrities of the Red Carpet, America, both NY and LA. The glitterati. The curvaceous, tall, well oiled robber barons of industry, the alumni of the Ivy League, the rich, the famous, the actors, singers sometimes, the tall, the beautiful. Even the ordinary citizens who play on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are exceptional in their looks, and all make a living, to a certain degree. Otherwise they would be screened out. They do not represent the masses; they are other. Bruce was once one of us, the people, in his self doubt and ugliness, uncertainty about self, just a massive, gnawing hunger, and a talent, and a refusal to give up, even when the deck was stacked against performers retaining the rights to their own songs and performances. Bruce persevered and won! He is a legend today, still making music, still melancholy, but still opening up to us, his fans, who revere him.

And when Courtney Cox dances with him to this song, in the video, we are with her too, fulfilling a life dream, as we imagine we are her, up there. Dancing in the Dark, but everyone watching, mesmerized, because “this gun’s for hire,” and we are the bait, because we are WOMAN! THAT WHICH CALLS OUT IN THE NIGHT, A NEED, AND A WANT, BUT IT BURNS ACUTELY, AND WE MUST HAVE IT, or die trying. Such as it is, for me, in Bruce, and other men I have hungered for, some of which were caught, some not. And the music still slumbers arousal in me, as I see myself, dancing unadorned, in my birthday suit, in the mirror, and it satisfies, yet not. Because the need is nigh. Yes, tired we are, as it has gone on too long. I could just die from want of it. And that would be ok too, as an outcome. At least the unslaked thirst would abate then.

Even as we dance in the dark, and the light of day, naked. But in my apartment, because it’s verboten elsewhere. I am glad Bruce made his dream come true, against all odds. And made the Earth so much better for all of us, his fans. We are legion, the world wide. My love reaction is for him, and another, but he shall remain nameless, as it’s unfit for the light of day. Yes, I “…gotta stay hungry, Hey baby, I’m just about starving tonight…” He and ¬† I have that in common, a burning desire, which does not let up. “I’m on Fire” is also a Bruce song. He got what he wanted, but I am a lonely poet, toiling in obscurity, on a lonely planet.

Please, God, let me have him! The object of my affections! I am so him, and he me…but only in my dreams. Like Fantine in Les Miserables, death is preferable to endless calumny, suffering. I am worthy of his love! But yet, it does not matter. I am forever dancing in the dark cave of silence, which is inky black and has no exit. My poetry is my voice. Crying out, forever, until my voice is finally silenced. At least it will live on after my voice. That is a consolation. Like a song it is, my voice, after I’m gone.

Analysis of “Jungleland,” Bruce Springsteen’s Opus

In an interview on TV which aired about a year ago, after having written his personal memoir, Bruce Springsteen was asked which 5 songs were his favorite Bruce songs, which is hard to do, when you are Bruce, and all your songs come from your very soul, your own life experience. For me, I had to think as a diehard fan, who has only grown in my admiration for this artist, as the time drones on. But I was pleased to have guessed 3 of Bruce’s actual picks from the best songs he has ever written. One was fairly obvious, the track “Born to Run.” But for me, “Jungleland” was a true masterpiece of length, of a story of young love, of the futility of trying to assert control over your own life and love. And Bruce did pick this song, to my delight. We were in agreement on what an amazing song this is, of the search of young love, and the things that get in the way. And in some ways, the song rings true for me too, in the ambivalence of choices made, at tender ages, “as the girl shuts out the bedroom light, in whispers of soft refusal, and surrender…”

 

Yup, I have a real life tale, at Philadelphia’s now torn down Stadium, when I saw Amnesty International do a mega concert, which had Bruce playing too, one of 5 acts that whole day, with a friend, who came with me, who has since passed away, one year ago. So no one has first hand proof of what happened to me when Bruce opened up with that famous chord that signaled the only dreamt of, long denied, suppressed, screaming from the depths of my soul, where I fell on my knees, hearing “Jungleland,” and truly astonishingly, had an unusual physical reaction, which was only in the realm of fairy dust and spells…it is not to be physically described here, but which remains with me, to my dying day, that reaction I had…Because needed things in the body of a true fan need no real explanation…just believe, and it will come. And that day, it did! Oh my!

 

And so, in listening, over and over, with a magnificent coda by the immortal Big Man, Clarence Clemons, on a brilliant saxophone solo, making you think about the boy and the girl of the song, with a backdrop of teen rebellion, and the law not far behind, chasing young Bruce, whether in Freehold, NJ, or out on the boardwalks of the shore, with a girl who captured his sweet stony heart, with her soft hair, and pearly whites, running, but not too fast, because she wants to be caught, by him….And the depression of not having the right keys to open the lock, at the right time, he gets and gives what he can, but it seems like not enough…

Because the price is too high. “He winds up wounded, not even dead…” A horrible epitaph of longing unfulfilled, which is kind of like the living death, because death is at least clean, done, no more awareness of what you cannot have, because you lack the key that opens that door. Yes, this song really hits home for me. And the mists of time swirl around you, remembering past loves, and the AGONY and the ECSTASY OF not ever getting what you need, not really want anymore….Because the longing has surpassed that depth, of the “lawman running down Flamingo, chasing the rat, and the barefoot girl…” The metaphors and imagery are beautiful, and yet somber. And they stay with you, forever, wondering if the breath left in the body is enough, to actually catch that boy, who is now long since, a man. And you are long since, also, a woman, who left her heart in a darkly shrouded room, somewhere near Flamingo Road, chasing the dream.