While all this may sound as if I’m mocking the reverence displayed toward a performer, I’m not. His concerts are a spiritual experience (I was going to say “religious experience,” but that would be far from the truth because nothing close to the fervor I witnessed last night ever snaked its way into a single Catholic mass I’ve attended). He does mention Jesus directly at times, as a way to expound on love and tolerance and justice. He also urges good deeds, encouraging fans to contribute to a Chicago food repository at the end of his shows here. On top of all this though, which is substantial, is his sheer commitment to his art. That’s the part that stays with you as you leave his shows. Everything is choreographed and slick, sure, but it never feels packaged or stale or phony. The message: my work, my art, is important, and I will give all of myself; this is my gift to you, a glimpse into my soul. The guy was drenched.
Since I’m moved by this gift, I’m always puzzled by the talkers in the crowd. Usually, they annoy me, but I figured this was an outside venue, and I wasn’t going to get myself worked up over this. My favorite Springsteen concert by far was when he toured by himself. I think the talkers, knowing he wouldn’t be rocking out as usual with his E Street band, stayed home. Thank you for that, talkers. And, by the way, shut the F up. Not very tolerant, I know. But really. Shut up. The songs are not merely songs. They are poems, they are anthems, they are hymns. They deserve the care of our attention.
And the dancing in the seats? I love that. Sway, stomp, and twist all night. I did see some pretty awkward moves, but that didn’t matter. That music was reaching somewhere deep.