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As If We Were Rocked: Memories Of Bruce Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball Tour

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A brief video glimpse of Springsteen’s 2023 tour kicking off in Tampa — I could totally feel the scene.

Last saw Bruce on Wrecking Ball tour in San Jose. It was like church, except that I always hated being in church, and I loved the show.

To say, I loved it, is too simple.

Something in it made me very uncomfortable, too. I brought my daughter, Circe with me.  In 2012 she was 17. We didn’t often do things together, but she was a fan and I had been a fan for many years — since I was 17. It was a long drive from Guerneville, like 4 hours one way. We exhausted our conversation pulling out of the driveway. I thought, yes, she is her father’s daughter, she is no better than me at “keeping the ball rolling,” as my mother once put it. Then the show. Tears for the memory of Clarence. Cheers for the stories, the incredible lead-ins that with a one-two-three would crash into a familiar song. Cheers for the energy, the magic, the memories. Then the lights would come up. We’re all pumping our fists in unison, thousands of us. These are my people? Yikes, I don’t have people. I was the only one in my 8th grade class to choose not to be confirmed – it was a source of pride. Lights went down on the crowd, up on the stage, Bruce played a deeply credible version of “Land of Hope and Dreams.”

Well, this train carries saints and sinners
This train carries losers and winners
This train carries whores and gamblers
This train carries lost souls

I said, this train, dreams will not be thwarted
This train, faith will be rewarded
This train, hear the steel wheels singing
This train, bells of freedom ringing

The lights came up. We cheered. We hugged. It was a great and memorable hug. It was not the turn to the person next to you and mumble these sincere words of peace and good will, it was the bursting forth of 17- year-old souls, though I think now Circe’s soul is older than mine.

And with time, I know it is.

It was a self-conscious, un-self-conscious hug.

It felt ordained.

It was as if we were rocked.

Dan Coshnear is the author of the book of short stories Separation Anxiety