Friday, March 03, 2006

PBS and Springsteen

I watched a PBS special tonight -- a long lost BBC film of a live performance of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band from 1975 in Hammersmith, England. The album "Born to Run" had just come out. I was 25.

About 5 years later I had emergency abdominal surgery. Three days after I was released was the night of the Springsteen concert in Denver that we had saved up for and purchased tickets for months prior. Bruce had just released the album "The River". I could barely walk without gut pain, let alone take a chance on a crowd jostling me. Well, that is what my friends thought.

I went to the concert.

I padded up my 14 inch recently unstapled incision with thick cotton pads. (Translation: I taped rows of Kotex across the incision.) I wore loose fitting clothes. My friends walked around me like a phalanx of Roman soldiers.

Lordy me that concert was great. Two hours of Bruce and Clarence and Stevie and the band rocking the stadium up one side and down the other. Thunder Road, Born to Run, Hungry Heart, New York City Serenade, The River, Cadillac Ranch, Crush on You, Drive All Night...and on and on ...

(The postscript to this concert was that I woke up the next morning in agony and had to be re-admitted to the hospital. It seems I had pulled a few internal sutures. My doctor asked if I had done anything out of the ordinary. I gave him a blank look. I sure as hell wasn't about to tell him I had gone to a Springsteen concert. I figured that would be my little secret.)

I have always loved the open road, and Springsteen is definitely an open road kind of guy. There is something so magical about a vast expanse of road on a summer's night. I have driven across country a few times, and the lure of the road is very powerful -- that feeling of being unhinged from one's life, on the roam, not being in any set place is absolutely delicious to me -- so much so that in 2002 and 2005 I took long solo driving adventures.

The first lasted 6 weeks. The second lasted 11 weeks. I would wake up each morning and decide where I was going to go on that day. Maybe I would go there, or maybe I would be distracted by some byway or roadside attraction and not get there at all. I'd sometimes drive at night, the windows open, late night radio on, headlights carving out my path.

This snippet of lyrics from "Thunder Road" gets me every time

Hey what else can we do now?
Except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair
Well the night's busting open
These two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back: Heaven's waiting on down the tracks
Oh-oh come take my hand
Riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh-oh Thunder Road, oh Thunder Road, oh Thunder Road,
Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey I know it's late we can make it if we run
Oh Thunder Road, sit tight take hold, Thunder Road


Blogger samtzmom said...

Baby, you were born to run!!!! :c) What a great story Mata. It was probably the best medicine you could have had at the time. Memories like those last forever. Where will your next adventure take you?

7:29 AM  
Blogger Miss Eagle said...

I too love the open road and the serendipity of where to pull up for the night. I have driven alone the length of Australia from Darwin to Adelaide and from the NT across to Brisbane and to Sydney and to Melbourne. My current vehicle is a station wagon which holds a single sized plastic covered rubber mattress. I have only been in Victoria 18 months and have not seen much of country Victoria. So in the New Year I took myself off to Gippsland for a few days camping in the back of the car at beaches beside the great rolling waves and surfing beaches of Bass Strait. I love it and, when I haven't been away for a while, I hunger for it.

6:58 AM  
Blogger Rainbow dreams said...

Fantastic story :-)

2:13 PM  
Blogger Mata H said...

miss eagle/samtzmom/rainbow: Thank you all - yes indeed...the open road is a huge lure for me. I get the wind in my hair and feel the car's engine and something magical happens.

6:50 PM  

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