Monday, August 1, 2011

Bruce Springsteen Was My First - Twice

I grew up in Old Bridge NJ, geographically and chronologically between Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi. Each was my first, for different experiences.

The first concert I ever went to was at Madison Square Garden, to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band during their Darkness on the Edge of Town tour. I was 19, and I thought, Oh, so this is what a concert is. There was no opening band, and the show lasted forever, but in reality was probably two and a half to three hours. I was spoiled, because I thought all concerts were like that.

Not so.

My second concert was at a small venue in New Jersey to see Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. The details that stick in my mind were that it was a Sunday night and the show was supposed to start at 10 pm. I went with my sister, her boyfriend, and a friend of mine. We all had to work the next day. The show started close to midnight (two hours late) and the band played for 45 minutes. We were underwhelmed by the concert, and particularly for me, after seeing Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, it was a disappointment.

I have seen Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band numerous times and never been disappointed. I have seen them at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands, and I saw them most recently at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, FL.

It was April 2008, and they were performing on their Magic tour. My husband and I, along with another couple, had tickets to see them April 19, and we four also had tickets to see Bon Jovi on April 26.

Danny Federici’s untimely death at 58 from melanoma postponed the Springsteen concert date.

On April 26 we went to see Bon Jovi at the Bank Atlantic Center, with Daughtry as the opening act. We expected an exciting evening, and we weren’t disappointed.

After checking into the hotel and meeting for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory at the Sawgrass Mills mall, we walked across the parking lot to the Bank Atlantic Center. Crowds of people milled around, and police blocked the intersections to keep people from crossing. The reason? There was a bomb scare at the venue, called in during the sound check, and the band and crew were told to evacuate the building. Law enforcement from all of the surrounding communities responded with bomb squads, bomb-sniffing dogs, and the manpower necessary to search the building.

We were not told that the show was cancelled, so we waited in a pool hall at Sawgrass Mills. Many people with tickets to the concert were waiting there as well, and updates were relayed around the bar whenever anyone had news. We finally got word that the concert was going to go on, and everyone headed over to the venue.

Security guards were searching bags and handbags as people went in, but the lines moved relatively smoothly. Daughtry was playing as people entered, and played a shorter set to accommodate the late start. Bon Jovi came on and the concert ended close to midnight. Both Daughtry and Bon Jovi put on great shows, the crowd was appreciative that they did, and the bands were appreciative that we stayed.

The next week was the rescheduled date for the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert. Due to the bomb scare the previous week, I had my second first with Bruce: a pat down before entering the Bank Atlantic Center. The show was phenomenal, and was my husband’s first Springsteen concert. He finally understood what all the hype was about, and why I am such a fan.

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