Saturday, October 10, 2009

The giant with a spiral notebook

Notes o
n a Springsteen concert, 10/9/09

An American History Now extra

I could talk about the rousing version of "The Rising." I could express my joy at seeing him pick up the sign that said, "Bald Guys Can Dance," and then choosing a fellow of my general demographic description as a partner during the beloved climax of "Dancing in the Dark" (take that, Courtney Cox!). I could express my happiness at the turn-on-dime transition from the old jazzy chestnut "Kitty's Back" to the new Celtic-flavored "This American Land."

But for me the best moment of the final show at Giants Stadium last night happened beforehand, when my wife and I were stuck in the bottleneck near the parking lot entrance. I imagined all the cars, like metal filings, drawn to this point from a concentric circle miles and miles around. All these people choosing to come here for no other reason than they simply wanted to. All this pollution and commerce and anticipation and love converging on a single point. But that all this -- this show, this night, and all the other shows on other nights -- began with a solitary figure, alone, sitting at a piano, perhaps, but certainly at some point working with nothing more than a pen and a spiral notebook. And that he made something, from the workings of neurons in his head, that resulted in all this. The spectacular power of a human imagination. Astonishing.