“You are a very boring person going to all of these concerts so many times on your own.”
I was on a high after my third night of watching Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
play in Cape Town, South Africa, to be greeted with this statement by my taxi driver. I’ve been called many things as a Springsteen fan, but this is my new favourite.
I don’t think he meant to deliver such a blow to my Spring-esteem. I was beaming after another incredible night of music (57 different songs over the last three Cape Town concerts one fan counted), and now I had been declared boring. But, I assured myself, if I’m boring then so is every other Springsteen fan. On night two, my new South African friend with school boy enthusiasm (despite his 45 odd years) cried: “This guy is a fucking genius. Anyone who thinks he isn’t – they are the crazy people.”
And it’s true. I’ve travelled a round trip of 14,000 miles to see the same band play in the same venue over the space of four days, and I’m one of many. I could not have felt less bored, or boring. It’s been a liberating week of music based therapy. Sod the yoga retreat, give two fingers to the detox break, and abandon the relaxing spa weekend cliché, just get Bruce Springsteen reassuring me “it’s alright” and telling me my “dreams will not be thwarted” and it’s impossible to not have a healthier and more positive outlook on life.
The second two nights in Cape Town saw Bruce turning the band into a live jukebox – grabbing sign requests meant we heard No Surrender, Rosalita (complete with “Burger Girl” bonus lyrics – video below), Tougher Than The Rest, and a few chosen by Bruce himself including Trapped and Jack Of All Trades. Johnny 99 was a highlight for me – Bruce guiding the horn section to the front centre stage, clearly in his element as he conducted them through the song. Around me the crowd, the majority of which have never seen a Springsteen show, went wild at such an up tempo fun performance, one of many over the last few days.
My decision to travel to South Africa on my own for a week of concerts has upped the intrigue among the non-Springsteen fans too. The trip has prompted those more fond of the food side Burgers and Bruce to ask which album I would recommend for Bruce beginners. Turns out I’ve been recommending that classic “Born To Rub” as opposed to Born To Run. My description of it being a “solid start” has taken on an entirely new meaning. The original is definitely one to buy, and I can’t yet comment on the other…
But that album. That song. It’s guaranteed on the set list and I’ve heard it at every Springsteen concert I’ve been to, but I will never ever tire of it.
On my third night of singing the lyrics of Born To Run back at Bruce I realised, again, how his concerts will always be fondly remembered as some of the best few hours of my life.
If that makes me boring, then F**k It:
I love being boring.