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Friday, December 2, 2016

What's It Like Meeting Bruce Springsteen

2 Jersey boys hanging out in Kennesaw, Georgia.
For the later years of the 1960s, The Animals were my favorite band. If the Animals had a leader, it has always been singer Eric Burdon. Now I've never met Eric personally, but I should remedy that in February when I plan to interview him for a book on classic rock I'm intending to complete before 2019.

From 1969 to the end of the 20th Century, my favorite band was the Rolling Stones. I wouldn't say I was obsessed with them, but I did adopt much of their swagger and convinced my wife to name our only son Michael (Mick Jagger) Keith (Keith Richards). But despite my fandom and the fact that I've only missed one Stones tour since 1969, I've never even been close to meeting Mick or Keith and I doubt that will ever happen.

For the past 15 years or so, my favorite group has been Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. As a fellow Jersey boy, I have long admired Springsteen's songwriting and political/humanitarian stands. In fact, of all the artists of the 3rd age of Classic Rock (the 70s), Springsteen is the most accomplished and the most relevant today. And the E Street Band which he dominates is, and has long been, the greatest bar band in the land.

Today, I got the chance to meet my most admired rock and roll icon when Bruce Springsteen appeared at the 2nd and Charles book store in Kennesaw, Georgia.

I truly am amazed that I got one of the much sought-after tickets to the event. This was the second mini-tour Springsteen had undertaken in support of his widely-praised autobiography Born to Run. In Philadelphia, tickets had sold out in minutes and resellers were offering a chance to get close to Bruce for as much as $1,500. (The actual cost of the ticket was the price of a book and a service fee).

When I saw Springsteen was coming to Kennesaw, which is only a half-hour from our Atlanta apartment, I knew I had to try to be there. The tickets went on sale at noon on the Monday before Thanksgiving and I promised to try to get one immediately.

However, since I was in Orlando at Universal Studios having fun with my 2 grandkids, I didn't remember to check the website until 12:13. I was absolutely certain I was too late, but you can imagine my jubilation when I saw the message: To complete your purchase click here.

Now normally, as a writer, I would detail the Meet and Greet. But instead I decided to just enjoy the "magic" moment and chat with fellow fans in our 2-hour wait to see Springsteen, exchange a few words with Bruce, have a picture taken, and receive an autographed copy of the new Born to Run autobiography, which is currently number 8 on the New York Times best seller list.

I was certain I could find a first-person account of the extremely exciting, well-run event (and yes, the crowd did scream Bruuuuuuuuuuuce when we first spotted the artist arriving in an Escalade). As I anticipated, I did find such an account written by Craig Schnieder of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Here it is:
So I’m talking with Bruce Springsteen Friday morning and ...
Wait, let’s stop right there. That sentence was four decades in the making. For me, the idea of talking to Bruce Springsteen is crazy high-end bucket list stuff.
But there I was, sharing a moment of his undivided attention. It only lasted seconds, as I took my turn stepping up to him at an event where you receive a signed book of his in Kennesaw. But those seconds will last the rest of my life.
Much as I dreamed about meeting him, I fretted over it.
To continue reading the article to discover what it's like to meet Bruce Springsteen, click here.
Encore
Here is the Facebook entry I posted about the event ...
It might not be quite as powerful as a personal prayer from the Pope, but I got a benediction from The Boss today.
When I thanked Bruce Springsteen for his music and his stands for social justice at his meet and greet in Kennesaw, Georgia, he grabbed my hand and said, "Thanks and bless you brother."
So I have now officially been blessed by Bruce.
He laughed when I told him we were both Jersey boys, but he got all the musical and the writing talent.
By the way, his autobiography Born to Run, which was why he was in town, is a great read. You should check it out.
We also chuckled at the fact we both saw the same concert in 1966 - The Blues Magoos, The Who, and Hermit's Hermits. Bruce saw it in Asbury Park and I saw it in Philly.
Even though it was only a brief encounter, it was definitely worth standing in line for 2 hours with hundreds of southern Springsteen fans with all of us swapping concert stories.
I spent much of that time talking to Jennifer, a 39-year-old single mother who drove 6 hours from Muscle Shoals, Alabama to meet Bruce.
Jennifer was nervous and kept asking me what to say. But Bruce took care of that when he smiled, hugged her, and kissed her on the cheek. All she could do was beam.

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