Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Boss

I was twelve when Bruce Springsteen came to Sydney and I wished my dad would take me. I'm not sure I ever told him and he certainly didn't suggest it. I played the LP on dad's turntable and found my first famous person hero. The faded wish to see him lingers. Somehow he was the whisper of what it really meant to live and love passionately. So much more than he ever set out to be, and a life outside of his own corporeal existence.

I got married fifteen years later and we laughed over identical copies of Ghost of Tom Joad. We lay on the ugly blue carpet, smiling at the ceiling, and talking Springsteen.

Last night we sat in a room with Bruce. Us and a few thousand others, as he sang until he was exhausted. He crowd-surfed and joked. He dared us to get up and dance. The music was incredible, the band generous and exuberant. And now I've seen Bruce Springsteen. Seen him totally enjoy himself and totally spend himself.

He's a fascinating hero, partly because of his mystery. He's a little bit poet, a little bit philosopher. He's a little bit political and a little bit reclusive. I suspect he's pretty normal if you know him, and then he's a performer who loves to give a big show. He sings with all his passion and mourns for the lost of the world. He tells prosaic stories in epic ways.

He's an ideal hero, because I can read my own emotion and passion into him.

The memories I have, of listening to his songs, draw me back to the emotion of teenage me. In a funny way, he was a father alongside my dad. Not an everyday, bodily dad. But the dad of my emerging dream self. The big brother who taught me about life and love, in songs. Funny things, heroes. I'll never speak a word to him, but he'll have shaped my soul. Just a little. But enough that thirty years later, I can see the imprint. Feel the wish.

We spend a lot of time tut-tutting at foolish or ridiculous famous people. The ones that would just be embarrasing or shameful, if we didn't all know their names. But here's to the regular famous people. The ones who perform big but live ordinary. Who inspire us with their passion but exist without us in mind. The unselfconsciously famous.



Natalie Trust said...

This was so great!

"I'll never speak a word to him, but he'll have shaped my soul. Just a little. But enough that thirty years later, I can see the imprint."

Many artists have shaped my soul too. Thank you for reminding me of all the Springsteen moments in my own life.

Shelly Miller said...

I've been thinking about this too. How so many significant things happen through ordinary people, not just those on a stage. Glad you finally got to see him perform. Must've been wonderful.

Paula said...

This is very thoughtful! There's something about being able to see your favorite band from when you were a teenager that is just delicious. Thank you for stopping by my blog :)

Mommy Emily said...

Oh man. First of all, I have a little bit of a thing for Springsteen. And secondly, this makes me like him all the more. I love that he lives ordinary, and that you help us to realize that the famous can be very regular people. Love you Kath.