There were a lot of reasons for me shaking my head at my father growing up. They were different shades of things I used to think that I wouldn’t do when I was a grown up. I am not sure I am a grown up yet but I think I have managed to echo a lot of the things I thought I was better than.
Entwined in my idealistic childish ideas of dad-ness, which ignores that anyone is a human being, was the idea that Bruce Springsteen was shit (because my dad loved him). It was a little odd that Bruce should bare the scorn for me not wanting to like something my dad liked as I generally loved to have things in common with my dad – so he would talk to me. However, he was often a bad-tempered man with little time or patience for others (apple-tree-distance-etc) so I didn’t get to shoot the breeze as often as I would have liked. And the resentment of this was part of the reason I scorned his love of Bruce Springsteen.
In retrospect I should have simply acknowledged that he was a man trying to wake up/just getting home from work (night shift worker) and being mithered by a 12-year-old about Bryan Robson’s injuries every day was probably not the best way to get the best of out the father-son bond. But I was 12.
The self-absorbed preamble is about me admitting that my dad was right about it all: getting pissed, smoking, being often a poor human being, having no respect for people – and Bruce Springsteen. He was right about it all. And though I was slow for the penny to drop (I was quick to catch on to being not very nice) the last few years have seen me listening to more and more of the The Boss.
Today, then, cannot be classed as the culmination of 34 years waiting to see the man dubbed The Chief by many (I know it’s The Boss). And when I said I used to resent Springsteen earlier, it was the kind of resenting that children do: you think you are resenting it at the time but later realise (a) you were actually absorbing it, (b) you were enjoying it and (c) given some perspective it’s pretty fucking special to you. In other words I haven’t just been listening to The Boss since 2006, he’s been going in by osmosis for 34 years.
But, yes, I was quite looking forward to today. Even though it was in Coventry (honestly – for what it offers – that is a long and uninteresting tale, it would only be worth telling you if it lasted three words) and it took us about 4 hours to make a 2 hour journey. I was in front of a KFC poster for so long that I started wondering why you get the little tub of beans (or coleslaw) with a KFC meal. And I have never wondered that before.
But the concert was worth it. It was really, really, really, really brilliant.
Was this review a bit lopsided with regards the balance between personal perspective and talking about what the performance was like? You’re right there should have been more about me. If you want a review of the gig by a professional music writer just google it or something.
OK, OK. He did Born to Run in its entirety (dedicated to James Gandolfini*). He could probably sell out a gig of this size just doing that. Well that was 40 minutes in the middle of a three hour set. THREE HOURS. He is 64 in September. It was without a doubt the greatest performance I have ever seen. And that is probably why they call him The Boss.
*It struck me in the columns and obituaries following his death how no-one talked about how similar his surname was to the wizard from The Lord of The Rings books.