Bruce Springsteen, Copenhagen busker - I’m On Fire, 1988 (via fuckyeahtheboss)
Three years ago today BT and I walked down the aisle to If I Should Fall Behind by Bruce Springsteen (the Seeger Session version).
As we grow and love, and fight and work it out every single day of our lives, the words of this song formulate what is for me still the most mature, brilliant and true declaration of love a marriage can give: a good, honest promise to keep.
We swore we’d travel darlin’ side by side
We’d help each other stay in stride
But each lover’s steps fall so differently
But I’ll wait for you
And if I should fall behind
Wait for me
David Brooks of the NY Times thinks this is why I know most Springsteen songs by heart, and I could tell you exactly where to find a ballroom that’s Open All Night, or which turn you should to take to go down to Greasy Lake, or find your way out of Jungleland over the Jersey state line.
Certainly, Springsteen’s detailed landscapes helped me to imagine his world, but the universality of his themes - love, work, growing up, failing, getting up and carrying on, leaving home, going back - is what really spoke to me when I didn’t even speak English and could recite all the words of Thunder Road.
When I went to New Jersey for the Glory Days Symposium and did the Springsteen tour of the Jersey Shore (under the expert guidance of Stan Goldstein and Lawrence Kirsch) I marvelled at just how much these places looked exactly like I had imagined, as though Springsteen had photographed each one and sent them to me in private correspondence with a map and a mission to find them.
It was a nicer version of what I experienced the first time I went to New York City and found it exactly as it was in the movies, a mixture of disbelief and disappointment (and, ultimately, rejection: New York City is amazing in so many ways, and yet a place I never warmed to in the way I did with New England, where I felt as though I had found some sort of ancestral home, or San Francisco, a city that truly filled me with wonder).
New Jersey reminded me of home, and I’ll never know the extent to which this is because I grew up listening to Bruce Springsteen in Italy, or because Bruce Springsteen’s America (a place that doesn’t really exist, a place of the imagination as much as it is a real, traceable, geographical place) is really not that different from my homeland (a place that I can only experience filtered through memory and other kinds of distorting mirrors).
But the devil’s in the details, a Jersey devil, no less: the time I got lost driving in Asbury Park I found my bearings by a road sign announcing Kingsley Avenue - and right there where I was chasing something in the night, at the end of the road, I found an Italian restaurant.
Ogni volta che sento il ritornello di Wa Are Alive penso a The Road di Cormac McCarthy. Nel libro il mondo sta morendo, è finito tutto, si giocano i supplementari dell’apocalisse e in campo sono rimasti solo quel padre e quel figlio, e il padre dice al figlio “we’re the good guys. We carry the fire” e il figlio ci si aggrappa e si ripete questa frase sempre, come se il ritornello fosse l’ultima cosa rimasta. Ti ricordi? Ecco, la promessa che fai a te stesso quando diventi Springsteeniano, quando Bruce ti attacca i cavi della batteria al cuore e all’anima e poi mette in moto, è questa: è la promessa di restare vivi, di portare il fuoco, di alimentarlo. Il fuoco che ti si accende dentro quando arrivi a capire Bruce è un fuoco che scalda, un fuoco che mette in moto dei macchinari giganteschi, un fuoco che anche quando distrugge lo fa per rinnovare, come le piante del bush australiano che vanno in autocombustione prima di rinascere.
Perché quando ormai hai visto Bruce Springsteen in concerto 9 volte la prima cosa che fai quando torni a casa è comprare il biglietto per il prossimo concerto? Perché Bruce ti accende un fuoco dentro. Te lo racconto su JunkiePop.
My brother gets his second Springsteen tattoo after his second Springsteen concert.
Frenzy in Firenze: Yes, that’s exactly where I was last night (a couple of rows in front of the photographer’s spot). As the dude says in the Backstreets review: “This is not a singer. This is a religion.”
We Take Care of Our Own
Death to My Hometown
My City of Ruins
Spirit in the Night
Jack of All Trades
Prove It All Night
Honky Tonk Woman/Darlington County
Working on the Highway
Shackled & Drawn
Waitin’ on a Sunny Day
Land of Hope and Dreams
* * *
Born in the U.S.A.
Born to Run
Seven Nights to Rock
Dancing in the Dark
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
Twist and Shout
Who’ll Stop the Rain?