Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Coping With The Bruce Springsteen Blues

Bruce Blues
Definition: depressed spirits which comes about when suffering withdrawl symptoms from quality music following a live Bruce Springsteen concert
Synonym: Post Tour Depression

Before I set out on Springsteen Season this year I was already worried about the Bruce Blues. I admit it's very pessimistic of me, but I know how severely I suffered last year, and I couldn't push the thoughts out of my mind. Every concert I went to I felt the Bruce Blues looming. They were creeping closer with every song.

It's been a couple of weeks since the 2013 Wrecking Ball Tour ended. A few lucky people are heading to Rio, but unless I can swim the Atlantic, I'm not going to make it there. The Bruce Blues are especially difficult when you don't know when the next tour will be. I've planned my whole summer around these concerts, I've not seen friends or family, telling them I'll make some time for them after I've finished 'Bruce-ing'.

Truth is, I don't think my friends want to see me at the moment. I've got the Bruce Blues bad. Before I embarked on my various dates, I warned my colleagues that I might be 'temperamental' when I got back. That was an understatement. One day I'll be sad and melancholy dragging my feet to the kettle to make a cup of tea, the next I'll be short tempered and stroppy, shouting at the uncooperative printer/computer/telephone. Normally when Springsteen comes on the radio I yell "TURN IT UP". For the last fortnight I've been yelling "TURN IT OFF". I'm not ready to hear the music yet. It's just too soon. Too raw.

My language has been shocking. I've discovered swear words I never knew existed, used at poor defenseless items that definitely don't warrant such expletives (that printer again). I've been hesitantly asked a few times now "how long are these Bruce Blues expected to last?" The truth is, I just don't know.


Potentially until my next concert?


So for my sake, and more importantly those around me, I've decided it's about my time I return to the normal happy Hannah again. The problem is this:

How?

What I do know is that sharing is caring. I know that there's other fans out there who at some point have suffered the same desperate misery as me. I put the question to Twitter and Facebook, and asked other Springsteen fans to share their tips on how to cope with this very serious state of 'non-wellbeing'. According to the very detailed response I've received from the E Street Nation, these are the most successful ways of coping with the famous Bruce Blues:

Listen To The Music

Whether it be bootlegs of shows you've been to, YouTube videos, live DVDs or good old vinyl, this was the most popular response and the best 'healing' process for many Bruce Buds. Some fans opt for their favourite album or E Street Radio, whereas some prefer to drive the occupants of the car mad by turning Bruce up full volume on long journeys (@GaryStanley9), or treat their unsuspecting neighbours to some quality tunes (@Jmaccaoasis). If I'm entirely honest, at this stage, listening to Springsteen's music doesn't work for me. Not many people said they do this, but in the first few weeks after the end of the tour I need to go completely 'cold turkey' (@SteveBelfast41 and @TeenSprings tell me they do the same). I don't want to hear a single guitar strum, saxophone or harmonica if it's anything to do with Springsteen. Like marathon training (although I probably shouldn't liken it as I've never actually done one), I need to ease myself into it. Little by little, I'll train myself to listen again until I'm at full fitness.

Make A Photo Memory Wall

@Silverwyvern9 hasn't suffered a single second of the Bruce Blues and swears by her photo memory wall so she can look at all her ticket stubs and pictures and be happy. I don't think my housemates will allow me to dedicate a wall to this, so instead I'm in the process of making a scrapbook. It all feels very 'high school' but all the cutting and sticking is keeping me busy and making me smile.

Create Your Own Bespoke Set List

There's songs we've all longed to hear on this tour but can you imagine hearing them all in one set?! Me neither. Making a dream set list is a good way to distract yourself as you ponder over all the songs you'd want to hear, and the trickier bit, in which order. Thanks for the suggestion on Facebook 'Tumbledown Bar'-I'm working on mine and will report back soon.

Retail Therapy

Quite a popular way of coping, particularly with male Bruce Buds surprisingly. @Jarjarbigboy has hit the shops, @stewiemack has been buying more books and t-shirts and @linton_street immerses himself in posters and memorabilia. Then you can wear your new purchases with pride, like @PhilipCowen who hasn't taken his Bruce Hat off since the concert in Naples.


I have a feeling he did the 'Bruce Springsteen' on himself

Use Springsteen Lyrics In General Conversation

Genius really, you've been singing the songs all summer, why wouldn't you continue to do so now that the tour is over. Bruce Bud @RedHeadedGoose recommends slipping lyrics into general conversation to ensure you are getting your daily Springsteen 'fix'. For example, "Conference in Aberyswyth? We'll have to drive all night to get there". Or the one I've been enthusiastically trying out: "Going on holiday? Pack your tickets and your suitcase!" (Met with raised eyebrows).

Analyse Set Lists

Have more of a numerical brain and prefer stats to words? This option is for you. Go through the set lists and count how many times each song has been played like @Phelpsy09. Warning - this requires serious amounts of patience. Unsurprisingly then, it hasn't worked for me.

Enjoy The Wider Music World

I'm getting fully on board with this idea, soon I'll be heading back to the incredible acoustics of Leeds' First Direct Arena for Leonard Cohen (no pit queue for that one - phew) and I'm also going to see a very cool Italian band called The Cyborgs who supported Bruce and the band in Rome this year.

Have A Baby

Yes really! Well I'm not going to say this one is going to work for everyone, but it's going well for @tutmarie who had her baby six weeks after her last Springsteen show this year. It's also going to be a good distraction for @ChrisTreloar whose baby will be arriving shortly. Not much time for the Bruce Blues for these two Bruce Buds! I'm not going to take the advice on this one just yet, but it might be good for a few of you. Approach with caution.

Speak With Fellow Fans

Ever tried to talk about Bruce to a non Springsteen fan and been faced with a bored face or the worst question of all "who?". Yes, me too. Therefore I'm sure you'll agree one of the most successful ways to heal your heavy heart is to talk to like minded people about your experiences. With social media and good old face to face conversation, Springsteen fans can take solace in the fact there's always a sympathetic shoulder to cry on, and someone to recall memories of the shows with (I agree @northy_boy and @JenNorthy). But lets not be down in the dumps. With all this reminiscing it's also a good opportunity to look forward to the future, with more friendly faces to meet, more memories to create and a new tour (we hope).

And Finally....



The Wonderful Shake Shack Double Shack Burger

What have I been doing? The thing I do best of course! I've been drowning my sorrows with burgers, and lots of them. In fact, I've been back to Shake Shack three times in the last fortnight, which you might say is excessive, but it's kind of my therapy.


A few more weeks and a few more burgers, with your help I think I'll finally be on the road to recovery from the Bruce Blues. 



* If there is an '@' in front of someone's name it's been taken from Twitter. Look them up - we are all friends here!





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