Why Bruce Springsteen Has Been In My Soul, Mind and Heart Since 1978
and Why 2016 and The River Tour Has Bridged Many Gaps.
by Toby Davidson
Let me begin this post by sharing three experiences that happened over the past 12 months starting with the most recent.
#1: On Oct 1st 2016, in Seattle, WA at Elliott Bay Books, I had the incredible (dream-like) opportunity of meeting Mr. Springsteen (finally) one on one, face to face, soul to soul. This monumental event included a photo opt and a chance to say….THANK YOU.
I got the” hug of a lifetime”. I must say, that up until this point, sadly or not, this was the best day of my life. If you are reading this post I believe there is no need to waste valuable character space explaining how or why this came to life.
#2: On Sept 23rd Bruce’s 67th birthday, fans around the world celebrated with him and boy did we have a great time in My Hometown of Toronto, Canada at a Rockin’ Roll centric downtown establishment called The Cadillac Lounge, the closest thing to The Stone Pony north of the border. The owner, Sam Grosso, also a life-long Bruce super – fan was the only BruceBud I knew upon arrival. Within minutes, I had 10+ more dedicated “Bruce Community Friends”.
This special evening included an open mic jam dedicated to Bruce tunes followed by watching the much anticipated Late Nights Show with Stephen Colbert with Bruce being the sole guest, promoting his much anticipated autobiography. Other than the seasoned interviewer saying, “I didn’t know you were Catholic”, it was, like always, a heart-felt, authentic, charismatic interview peppered with engaging snippets of storytelling that his beloved fans wait on baited breath for.
Thirdly, the first time in my 38 years as a Springsteen super-fan, attending many concerts over the years, I consciously committed to taking the time, money and energy to attend as many shows as I possibly could on the most recent River Tour ending in Foxboro, MA on Sept 14, 2016.
I’m proud to say that I participated in a total of 12 shows (previous tour record was 5); 2 in Europe, 1 in Canada and the balance in the USA. Of the 12, I made it into the pit 5 times. Prior to this tour I had NEVER taken the time to do the pit line process. It’s now time to segue into how it all started and why, 38 years later, I made the three items above a priority in my rather hectic life throughout 2016.
I often think back to that specific spark that started the fire and since then has never stopped burning. In 1978, one evening while home visiting, my 18 year old, university attending elder sister walked into my bedroom and casually tossed me an album and said, “someone on campus saw this guy live, a ‘folk singer’ and I though you may like it”…. That was it. Lights off, only a narrow crack of light from the hallway streaming through my bedroom door, with precision, I dropped the needle on my portable bedside turn table, placed my bulky ear phones snuggly across my head and proceeded to expose my 16 year old anxiety ridden heart, soul & spirit to something that since that moment has made my little life so much bigger, better safer, happier & yes, calmer.
It was a visceral & spiritual connection. An unimaginable feeling of unconditional belongingness. It was 1978 but the album was not “Darkness” but rather the inaugural, uniquely complex sound & words of “Greetings”. It was love at first sound byte.
I listened to” Greetings” start to finish, both sides, over and over and over ,night after night until I organically and privately knew every word (and there are lots of them) to most songs (can’t say all, but most). I also recall staring at the iconic colorful, cartoony sea-side image laden album cover that had a ‘flap’ that I would toggle between memorized, reading the words in a dream-like way over and over and over night after night. So here I am, in 2016, fully immersed in a Bruce-centric year and now able to better understand…WHY.
Since that first note streamed through my consciousness in the late 70’s, finding a permanent spot, Bruce, his music and his mind has provided all of us lucky fans a “tool” or “mechanism” to turn to 24/7 when life becomes overwhelming, and when isolation seems to be the only solution. Bruce once said, “Isolation is a very dangerous place”.
The 2016 River Tour gave The Boss loving global community a platform to beautifully and creatively convey how the past 30+ years unfolded for him and reflect on the journey. How he was able to reach into his own tool box to participate in life in a way that when he was 16 probably could never had imagined.
With his inherent generosity of character, unfathomable work-ethic, this tour gives those that really “get him” a communal place to ‘regroup’ and feel safe in a world ridden with darkness and know that life with all its ups and downs is sunny and that dancing in the dark is balanced with glory days.
Bruce, if you are listening, I am forever grateful and until my very last breath I am fully committed to being a part of this epic journey that I’m sure will be filled with many twists and shouts.
You are a gift to all of us and yes, faith is rewarded. Joyfully, super-fan, Toby Davidson
Toby Davidson, serial entrepreneur, founder Cookin’s Greens Brand, and principal at Concept to Shelf Management Consulting Firm. Toby lives in Toronto, Canada. Besides attending as many Bruce Springsteen concerts as possible, she likes to travel, rescue dogs and dance. Her favourite Springsteen album is Greetings from Asbury Park.
Many thanks to Bruce Base for providing original memorabilia and photos illustrating Toby Davidson’s story. Bruce Base is the most valuable and comprehensive Bruce Springsteen archive resource on line.