The Boss Attends Prep SchoolFor one magical night The Boss rocked my prep school. Bruce was twenty-six, so not much older than my fellow Choate seniors. Born To Run was just beginning to break. Bruce's lonely nights at the Stone Pony were almost gone forever. It is rare that a tipping point can be clearly and unambiguously identified that April night in the twisty modern Mellon Arts Center a line was passed, a point tipped.
Are You Kidding Me?The funny back-story is I almost didn't go. This concert was one of the three best in my life: 1. Miles Davis 2. Bruce 3. Chick Corea and Gary Burton and I almost didn't go. I was an ignorant kid. I didn't know what I didn't know. When you are a senior in high school you think you are all-knowing.
This is beyond an absurd idea. I can still smell the cigarette smoke from the Choaties at the bleachers that night over thirty years ago. I can hear myself explaining why I wasn't going to the concert. I didn't smoke, but the cool kids hung out there.
As I was riffing about not going to see Bruce my friend Nick Rizinni grabbed my shoulders, looked hard and deep into my eyes. "Are you crazy?" Nick shouted. Nick had a way of knocking bullshit to the ground fast. His intensity shook me. We headed down to the arts center leaving smokers in a cloud behind us.
Bruce literally ran on stage. Energy, joy and magic rolled up and spilled out of this little guy from New Jersey. Cold fusion in a can Bruce played, bounced, shook, smiled and sweated bringing over a thousand Choaties along for a wild ride. I don't remember sitting down.
I do remember knocking into Nick and several Rosebuds (girls from Rosemary Hall) in sync with Bruce and Clarence Clemons. It was full contact dance/scream for several hours in the balcony. Like Bruce, I was soaked in sweat by the end of a three hour Bruce-a-thon.
Bruce was like an energy virus. Everyone was rocking, knocking and loving the moment. He played for hours. He never slowed. Every now and again Bruce would seem to ease just a tiny bit. We would all take a breath thinking that we would finally get a break.
Then Bruce would run in place guitar strung across his waist. He moved his feet faster and faster revving himself and us right back up, no rest for the weary. He pushed himself, his friends in the first rows, the band and even the Choate faculty. We screamed, yelled and stomped.
Maybe we could relax and have so much fun because college was a done thing. Only "senior projects" and two months of Connecticut spring separated us from our futures. Soon we would be scattered to the wind like so many seeds. During that night in April we were together.
We were one with a small, unshaven, energetic music man and his E-Street band. Thank you Bruce. Thank you Nick (wherever you are). Thank you Choate.
Read my riff on seeing Miles Davis in concert.