My friend Ben and I both grew up listening to and loving Bruce Springsteen -- in all of his incarnations but most especially with the E Street Band. Ben drove my brother down to Philadelphia one fall to see Bruce and the band perform there. My brother and I drove our mother up to the Pepsi Arena in Albany once to see Bruce and the band perform there. My ex-boyfriend and I braved the beer guzzling frat-boy holy terrors that populate the stands at Giants Stadium -- twice -- to see Bruce and the band (once with a surprise appearance from Emmy Lou Harris: truly a special experience) perform there.
Ben has a way with words, especially when it comes to music, that sometimes moves me to tears. I've shared them here before, and once again today I found myself so grateful for his particular worldview:
As soon as I heard the news last night about Clarence Clemons, I turned on "Jungleland." I’m embarrassed to say that I listened to the song through my horrible sounding computer speakers. I held those little speakers in my hand. As Clarence’s sax solo began, probably his most famous, I carried the speakers into the living room so my family could hear it. Although I think they all ignored me, I continued to listen. That sax solo vibrated through those speakers, right into my hands, and through my body. I got goose bumps then, and I’m getting them again now just thinking about it. Out of the hundreds of concerts that I’ve been to in my life so far, I’ve seen Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band more than any other. There’s a reason why Clarence always got the biggest applause out of anyone on E Street–Even bigger then The Boss. That’s because, as Bruce would say, Clarence was "The Minister of Soul" and "The Secretary of the Brotherhood." There was something about The Big Man. He seemed approachable and likeable, but at the same time, so much cooler than I could ever be. Today is not a sad day. Instead, I’m trying to imagine how great your solos must sound in heaven, knowing that your body, which has been failing you for the last couple of years, is without pain. God’s pretty lucky. As of last night, he now gets to say the line, "And the Big Man joined the band."
(Ben Bloom, 6/19/11, 7:34am)