I was, when last we visited, about to go to Greensboro to see Bruce Springsteen in concert. It was to be the third such concert for me, a person who leans more toward folk, bluegrass and country. (An aside: when Peter, Paul & Mary were appearing in Raleigh, I wanted to be the first in line for tickets. When I went to the ticket person at a nearby grocery store, I asked for the best available, hoping I would be within sight of the group. "Well," the ticker-seller said, "would you like first-row center or second-row center?" I had overestimated the eagerness of the fans, I suppose.)
In this post-concert report, let me say that the man is simply not of this world. He will be 60 years old in September, and yet for nearly three hours was in constant motion and constant voice. That would have been amazing enough, and yet the music was spectacular in and of itself. Either Springsteen is one of those people simply blessed with vigor of much younger years, or he has made a deal with the devil.
The crowd, which included many of my generation (I'm 56), stood throughout and cheered mightily. The funniest moment for me was when Springsteen, a master showman as well as a great musician, went out in the crowd to gather signs that had song requests on them. He brought one to center stage and said, "Sometimes people ask you to play stuff they think you don't know." He flipped the card over and it said "Hang on, Sloopy," an old rock tune from the McKoys, probably going back to the '60s. He and the E Street Band then proceeded to show they knew it quite well indeed.
It's enough to make a 56-year-old tune up the Telecaster and ponder the notion that perhaps stardom is still not impossible. Almost enough, that is.