(This post has nothing to do with the Red Sox. It’s about a concert at Fenway Park. Pardon the brief interruption. Thanks.)
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will be at Fenway Park for two shows on Aug. 14 and 15. They also will be at Gillette Stadium Aug. 18. In all, about 140,000 people will see them that week.
Here’s one word of advice: Go.
There are still some tickets available at Fenway and given the size of the venue, you’ll get a pretty good view of the stage. There are video screens, too.
Full disclosure: I am not remotely impartial about this. I’ve seen Bruce solo or with his band 114 times since high school, coast to coast and even two shows in Ireland last month. There are probably about 50 other times I’ve gone to see a band play in New York or New Jersey on the off chance that Bruce might show up.
I go for the music, but also for the fun of traveling and hanging out with friends.
A lot of people ask what’s the point of going so often. You can only hear “Born to Run” so often, right?
True. But no two Bruce shows are the same. In Ireland, he played 16 different songs from the second night from the first. In all, there were 46 different songs the two nights. Rarely is there a night when there’s not something unique about the show.
On this tour, there are 17 people on the stage. Bruce has a horn section, backup singers and his usual compatriots in the E Street Band. They’re capable of amazing things musically. Over the course of three hours, you’ll get plenty of rock. But also some gospel, folk, jazz and blues.
Jake Clemons, nephew of the late, great Clarence Clemons, is in the band now and handles the sax solos. He’s terrific. So are the rest of the horns: Clark Gayton, Eddie Manion, Curt Ramm and Barry Danielia. Seeing a band with a great horn section is really a treat.
Bruce runs around the stage like a teenager, literally diving into the crowd at times. Whether you know all the words or not, he somehow pulls everybody in the arena into the experience. You’ll hear three hours or so of music and you’ll be on your feet a lot.
There are a lot of preconceived notions about Springsteen. The biggest is that some people think he will talk about politics, But in the five shows I’ve seen on this tour, that hasn’t happened. He does encourage folks to contribute to local food banks, however.
A lot of people also figure they’ll hear just his MTV hits from the 80s, the stuff from the “Born in the USA” album. You’ll get some of that, but very little he does live sounds like it does on the record. He is touring behind a new record, “Wrecking Ball” and recently has pulled out a lot of rarities from his early albums.
His last show in Europe went four hours and that didn’t include the five-song acoustic set he played for the people who showed up early.
A few years ago my mom wanted to see Harry Connick Jr. perform in Boston for her birthday and I grudgingly went along. I wasn’t a fan going in but I was coming out. He was a terrific entertainer. He sang, he danced, he played assorted instruments and told some jokes.
That taught me a good lesson about not being stubborn when it comes to art. It’s silly to shut yourself off to something without experiencing it first to make up your own mind.
Bruce is in that vein. You’ll leave feeling you saw something special. You’ll see and hear things you don’t expect and walk away impressed that a 62-year-old guy loves what he does so much.
There are probably a dozen or so people in my life, friends and family, who didn’t understand the big fuss about Bruce and asked me about it. So I took them to a show and every one of them had a great time.
Are they all as nuts as I am? Nope. But they had fun and most have since gone back a few times. So I hope you figure out a way to go and you have a good time. Come say hello at the shows.
Look at it this way, maybe you haven’t done anything memorable this summer. Now is your chance. A summer concert at Fenway Park and a few beverages. What’s not to like?