The other night I saw God and it turns out he looks exactly like Bruce Springsteen.
I haven't completely figured out if there's a poetic meaning behind it all, but my 30th Springsteen concert was part of The River Tour, meaning he would be playing the entire iconic double album straight through before launching into another full set. I'd missed the original River Tour. I was too young to go to a show, a fact that didn't comfort me in the least when my parents and my sister left the house and promised to bring me back a tee shirt. No joke: I remember almost nothing from the earliest part of my life – and when it comes to the night I had to miss the Bruce show, I can vividly recall the name of my babysitter and that the feety pajamas I was wearing were yellow.
I still have the shirt they brought me. It fits now. I've been to many shows since and I feel nothing but blessed for all of those perfect nights, but still – the River Tour was always the one that got away.
Then December came. Springsteen released The Ties That Bind, a collection of outtakes from The River. Soon after, he announced that he and the band were heading back on the road for a mini tour and they'd be making two stops at The Garden. Pretending for a moment that I'd actually internalized anything from that time I secretly read The Secret, I entered the date of the show in the calendar of my phone before tickets even went on sale. (I think the pretend-gurus call this action "visualization.") The thing is, I knew I'd end up with tickets somehow. If 29 concerts had taught me anything, it's that I would happily trudge through gigantic cold parking lots looking for scalpers or suck it up and just pay far too much on Stubhub to gain entrance to a cathedral where holy music was played on a black electric guitar.
It was my first stop on the Let's-See-How-Much-I'll-Pay-This-Time ride, but I didn't really expect to come away from Ticketmaster victoriously. So many times I've frozen when it's time to type in that weird computerized security code and then a terrible message pops up to coldly inform me that all the tickets are gone. I think there's also a pop-up that appears that tells me my hair looks shitty at the moment, but my devastation might just be causing momentary hallucinations. This time – for this tour – I got tickets immediately. They weren't the best seats in the place, but it was a sure thing: all these years later, I was going to hear one of my favorite albums of all time played from side to side (to side to side). It could only be better and more memory-inducing if The Garden's floor was covered in a rust shag carpet for the evening.
I can hardly remember the first song he played, so dumbstruck I was rendered the minute he walked onstage and I realized that I was in the same room as someone whose words have defined my entire life. So yeah, the first verse of Meet Me in the City is a little fuzzy, but I recovered quickly and the night was magical. It was almost a little bit bizarre – but in a beautiful, hazy way – to hear all those songs that once played on a loop in my den as I built forts with my sister. Images came rushing back like a wave and the water was warm and still. As we all went along on Bruce's River journey, I found myself going on my own memory tour and I began to understand my past just a little bit more clearly.
There's a real gratitude I feel when words someone assembled and then crafted into a sentence moves everything inside of me. I think that one of my biggest goals is to write that one line that resonates so powerfully within somebody else. It's the dream of sharing that kind of lyrical collective consciousness that I guess I find so damn interesting and during the show, I thought that dream just might come true.
I mention all this because I'm imagining the act of seeing Erika Jayne perform live brings upon the same kind of emotional peace. Sure, the guy's been famous since before I was born, but I'm pretty sure nobody's ever called Springsteen "an enigma wrapped in cash." No, Erika Jayne is the real legend and I'm guessing that watching her hump that stage will finally convince all of us that real art does exist and I know that she will dazzle me to such a degree that I'll have the immediate desire to leave her show – while she's still singing – go home, and bedazzle everything I own.