Was it the thunderstorms and down pour that preceded the concert, delaying the show two hours, but clearing into a spectacular summer evening?
Was it learning a clutch of Vineyarders had seats in the very same section as us at Gillette Stadium?
Or was it when I first bought tickets online and through a computer glitch, my order was doubled?
In any case, the Bruce Springsteen Magic Concert in Foxboro on Saturday, August 2, was a spectacular event. Springsteen, at 58, is as limber and agile and enthusiastic as ever. He evidenced no signs of aging as he sang and played continuously throughout the three-hour extravaganza.
It was amazing. I’ve seen Bruce at least a half-dozen times, and he not only grows on you, he improves with age. Reprising classic favorites, some three decades old, interspersed with hits from his latest album, Magic, brought the audience together. He added to the charm by plucking signs from the front rows of the audience, then playing the requests: Jungleland, Dancing in the Dark, Hungry Heart. More than once he sat down for an intimate moment with front-row ticket holders.
When he cranked the audience with Glory Days, Badlands, and his stalwart Born to Run, the audience went wild. “Everyone’s hands were up, a mass of people, and you feel part of something good,” gushed Suzanne St. Andre. She wondered if he would still run across the stage and slide on his knees. He did. “It’s always exciting,” she said. The energy is so uplifting. It’s my one splurge in life. His concerts bring me such joy.”
It was an intense performance.
Springsteen challenged his audience with the withering ballad Youngstown, about Ohio coal-miners, and his antiwar piece, Last to Die echoed across the stadium. He says it all in a repertoire of 250 songs, although he added a couple of works he didn’t compose: Who’ll Stop the Rain?, Summertime Blues and American Land. Once more, the E Street Band performed exquisitely, nine conscientious musicians who contributed mightily, but ensured that Bruce commanded center stage for more than 20 stellar song renditions.
One Vineyarder will long remember this concert. When I realized I had extra tickets, I called Bob Lane. He took the tickets, but kept it quiet. At the Red Wing Diner shortly before the show, Bob shyly handed his wife Jill, a Springsteen fan, a card and out fell the tickets. “What’s this for?” she asked. “Our anniversary,” said Bob. “That’s not until October,” said Jill. “When is the concert?“ she asked. “In about an hour,” Bob replied. The look on her face said it all.
Vineyarders never let the downpour drown out their enthusiasm. Fran Finnegan brought her daughter Courtney. “We were in a great section with a bunch of people who never sat down. They danced through the whole thing and knew every word as they sang along. We had a great time,” she said. Dan Seklecki, his wife Kathy and friends reveled in the concert. A middle-aged man brought his parents, who sang along lustily. An eight-year-old boy was right in step with the crowd of 50,000. And Ms. St. Andre’s son Matt knew the words of the older songs, which predominated.
Vineyarders need to take the time to get off the rock every so often. Bruce Springsteen provided a perfect opportunity. As a phenomenal performer, who writes and sings and plays his heart out every time, he was worth the adulation.
Ms. St. Andre had one word for the concert: “Awesome.”
Tom Dresser lives in Oak Bluffs and contributes regularly to the Gazette.