It’s that moment many music fans dream of. Loose talk around beers usually bring out unlikely scenarios, but sometimes you actually come face-to-face with your heroes. Is it ever how you imagined it would be? Some fall to pieces when confronting their dreams; left a pile of tears with distorted face and a disturbed star. Others simply freeze.
Glorious Noise found this account of one fan meeting his idol, and the author agreed to let us re-print it here.—DP
I met the Boss tonight, and didn’t fart, poop, burp, or puke.
So I worked the Bruce Springsteen show at Comiskey Park tonight. He is, as some people know, my center of musical gravity; a guy who has opened my political and social eyes. As Bono said in the Hall of Fame induction speech, “The Buddha of my youth.” He’s also the Buddha of my adulthood. Tonight, among my jobs as a runner for the local promoter, I took Bruce’s dry cleaning in, bought him a pair of rollerblade knee pads so he could slide across the stage on his knees, picked up prescription meds at Walgreens for Clarence Clemons and Nils Lofgren, and the best task of all…driving members of the entourage in a golf cart from soundcheck to their dressing rooms, about a quarter mile. Not knowing which band members I’d be driving, I turned and found Him waiting by my golf cart and found myself toe to toe with the Boss.
Talk about a holy-crap moment. Bruce broke the ice by slapping me on the shoulder and saying “Where to, young man?” Though shitting my pants, I quickly replied “Climb on in and strap yourself down, we’re goin’ for a ride.” Funny how you can function when every bit of your being is metaphorically (and perhaps literally, I’ll never know) trembling and all that’s going through your mind is “ohmygodwhatshouldido ohmygodwhatshouldido.” Nils, Little Steven, and Bruce’s kids quickly piled in. Here’s the ensuing dialogue:
Bruce: (singing) “My kinda town, Chicago is…”
Nils: “When I was a kid, our big summer trip every year was here, we’d come to see the Yankees play the White Sox. It’s gonna be pretty cool to play here tonight.”
Bruce: “It’s like the people here, it’s a whole different world out here, you know? Chicago exists as a whole world unto itself, you know? Lotta pride in this town” – (taps my shoulder) – “You’re from around here, right?”
Eric: “I live here, been here nine years, grew up in New England, lived in Jersey.”
Steve: (sounding like Silvio Dante) “See, you know then. It’s like this is a different planet, but they speak the same language we do.”
Bruce: (self-mocking stage banter) “Hey Chicago, all right! Great to be back after so long! How ya doin’, Chicago? He he he.”
Eric: “Here we are, the kids’ dressing room.”
Bruce: “Ah, the kids’ dressing room! The sign of an aging rock star, you get to the gig and the big question is, where is the kids’ dressing room? Oh my my!”
Nils: “Hey, why don’t we hop out here and walk to our rooms? We’ve been in the plane and the car all day, we could get our blood circulating.”
Steve: “Good idea.”
All hop out, everyone walks, Bruce is slow getting up, it’s just me and him, moment of truth has arrived…
Eric Maloney and his heroEric: “Hey Bruce” – (Bruce turns) – “I’m working for the local crew today and I could get myself into trouble here, but this is my shot” – (Eric extends hand, Bruce extends hand, they shake) – “I’ve been a big fan all my life, been to about 20 shows, and for years I’ve had this 20-second speech reserved just for this occasion, and here we are and I’m drawing a blank.”
Bruce: (laughing) “Whoa, 20 seconds, that’s what it all comes down to! 20 seconds, that’s all I get? How long you been listenin’ to my stuff?”
Eric: (smiling) “20 years.”
Bruce: (laughing) “So I give you 20 years and you got 20 seconds for me? Hey, is that a fair deal? 20 seconds? Man…”
Eric: (laughing) “And now I’ve spent 20 seconds telling you about it! Now that you got my 20 seconds, could we take a quick photo? I don’t wanna bug ya, but you know, you had to try and jump the wall at Graceland and I gotta ask for the picture.”
Bruce: (shakes head in agreement) “What’s your name?”
Bruce: “Eric, if you got the camera, we’re takin’ the picture!”
Bruce puts arm around me, pulls me next to him, I give camera to nearby crew member who takes picture.
Eric: (now, I can feel myself shaking) “Bruce, thanks man, this means the world to me.”
Bruce: “Hey, all right, have fun tonight.”
We shake hands again and go our separate ways.
Originally posted in the Sound Opinions forum.