‘The Boss’ makes Philly ‘rise up’

By Lauren Mineo
October 10, 2002

I think it is safe to say that describing a legend is rather difficult. Bruce Springsteen made his way up through the ranks, in his earlier days being compared to Bob Dylan. Radio DJs said that he would not make it because there were too many words in his songs and he could not sing. I wonder what they have to say for themselves now.

Seeing Bruce Springsteen in concert is more than just a concert- it’s an experience that stays with a person. There are traditions at his shows. People go to have a good time and to reminisce about those “Glory Days.” His way of life was their way of life and they love him for it.

Walking into the First Union Center, I was one of perhaps five concert-goers that were not wearing denim “something.” The buzz was contagious. The beer was everywhere. The crowd was wild with anticipation.

People started taking their seats, waiting impatiently for the concert to begin. Every few seconds, the extremely inebriated man in front of me would scream something slightly resembling “Bruuuce!!!” For those who have never been to a Springsteen concert, this is one of those “things” you need to know. At my first concert a few years ago, I thought that he was being booed by the crowd. I turned to my mother seated next to me and asked her what had happened. It turned out that they were all saying, “Bruuuce.”

To tease the crowd, the lights go up then they come down. This is repeated several times until around 8:30 p.m. when the only light in the venue is a single spot on center stage. The E Street Band rises up from the stairs behind the stage and is followed by the one and only- The Boss.

Wasting no time, the band got right into songs from their new album “The Rising.” At one point, Bruce had a bit of a memory lapse, revealing, “I forgot this baby.” He sang an absolutely beautiful, harmonious acapella intro to the song with his wife and fellow band member, Patti Scialfa. It sent chills down my spine. His rough, raspy voice and her unique, songbird voice combined together, were simply magical. Thankfully, he remembered it.

For this new album, he added in a string player for a different feel. His reasoning behind creating a new album stemmed from the inquiries of his fans voicing their need to hear him in their time of sadness around Sept. 11 last year. Needless to say, the tone of “The Rising” is rather somber and reflective. This tour exists for a reason other than solely entertaining.

Of course he included those songs that get the whole crowd riled up. We heard “Badlands,” “Dancing in the Dark,” “Born to Run,” and “Born in the U.S.A.” Those songs were definitely needed as the tone of the last half of the concert was very mellow- mellow enough that my eight-year-old brother, who should have never been at that concert in the first place, fell asleep in his chair. And furthermore, who sits in their chair at a Bruce Springsteen concert? Shameful.

Waking my brother up to “subject” him to “Born in the U.S.A.” as one of the six encore songs, he suddenly became energized. By the time we left, he was bouncing off the walls. He had a new-found love for Bruce. My sister, bless her little heart, thought I had gone insane by the way I was acting during the show.

One day they will understand. They will realize that they watched a legend do what he does best.

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Lauren Mineo

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