Wednesday, 24 July 2013

LIttle Italy and Springsteen in Dumfries

In September I've got a special birthday coming up, I can hardly believe it, but I'll be 60! The strange thing about getting older is that inside you feel much as you did decades earlier, it's just your body getting older, and it feels odd to think I'm the age I am now lol!  I'm having a little birthday bash in Dublin in October and have invited various people close to me. I asked my friend Dawn but she wasn't able to make it, but then she surprised me by treating me to a meal out and the Springsteen film as a very early birthday pressie.  I was very touched at her thoughtfulness, I am blessed with fabulous friends!

So, yesterday July 22nd was the evening. I drove through the afternoon heat to Dumfries, 37 miles from where I live, unfortunately my car's air con decided to stop working at the start of this hot spell!! I arrived at Dawn's and cooled down with an ice lolly lol. We then set off for the restaurant, Little Italy, a lovely place with a large outside eating area. It was cooling a little now and they had big umbrellas for shade so we sat on outside decked area. We had a gorgeous meal of tomato, garlic and pesto bruschetta followed by a wild mushroom pizza. We took our time and caught up on each others news as we ate, we are never short of chat!  It was great to eat outside in the balmy evening air.

We left and headed towards the venue, parking beside the River Nith and the oldest bridge in Dumfries, the Devorgilla Bridge named after Devrogilla, Lady of Galloway who was the mother of John Balliol, born 1249. The bridge is very old, made of the local red sandstone, at one end is the Old Bridge House, built 1660, which is now a little museum. Dawn said it is really good to visit, it has rooms from past centuries and an old dentists surgery! We made a note to visit it together one day.

We walked by the river, which was very low due to no rain for weeks, and on to The Robert Burns Centre where the film was being shown.  We went into the very small and very warm cinema there and settled into our seats. I'm a Springsteen fan, actually have been longer than a U2 fan which is amazing! But I haven't seen as many of his shows etc. Dawn isn't a fan, and I appreciated her suggesting this evening all the more because of that.

The film was mainly self-videoed footage of fans talking about the influence Springsteen and his music has had on their lives. It was emotional, moving and funny.  One man talked about the music and what it meant to him and was overcome with emotion and ended up sobbing. One of the funniest for me was a British couple, the wife a fan, the long-suffering husband not. The husband (a natural comedian) was the one filmed and one of the things he berated Bruce was for his considerately long shows!

Some of the best segments were when fans' stories were backed up by footage. Like the young British girl who held up a sign saying  "I'll be your Courtney Cox" (referring to the Dancing in the Dark) video. And Bruce got her on-stage to dance with him for that song, her joy and excitement was palpable.

Another was an Elvis impersonator who went to the gig in full Elvis gear and was pulled on-stage to sing Elvis songs with The Boss and managed to take over the show for a few minutes and pull a ham-string in the process! Bruce dubbed him the Philadelphia Elvis. It was great to hear how it felt for these fans to have their dreams come true. Another man was dumped by his girlfriend the night before the gig so he took a sign saying he had been dumped and Bruce got him on-stage and gave him a big hug, you could see the healing on the devastated man's face, which was very lovely. Bruce said he'd been dumped a lot and that, "They are regretting it now!"

The close relationship Bruce has with his audience came across well, and it is understandable that he has a huge loyal fanbase.  People feel he is talking about them in his songs, ordinary people sometimes feel they don't have a voice, well Bruce is their voice. I'm a fan, not a mega fan, but if I'm struggling with something I often listen to Badlands and it lifts me up, music can be so powerful.

Live performances from throughout Bruce's long career were interspersed with the fans' stories, though sometimes I wanted to see a bit more of certain performances than was shown. Personally I found the film sometimes made me laugh, made me want to get up and dance, other times it made me quite emotional. The live performance of Blood Brothers was stunning.

There was a 15 minute segment of live footage from Hard Rock Calling 2012 in London at the end. Really good to see Because the Night, love that song, and Nils Lofgren's whirling dervish guitar solo was amazing. Paul McCartney joined Bruce for I Saw Her Standing There and Twist and Shout. As usual Bruce was ready to keep going but, unbelievably, the plug was literally pulled because the curfew had been breached!

The epilogue was film of Bruce meeting some of the fans that had the longest segments in the film, including the British Mr and Mrs, Bruce told the Mr that he was now going to do four hour shows lol!  I think anyone who is a big fan of anyone or anything can understand how these people feel. It was a good way to finish the film, and really, seeing how Bruce was with those fans you realise why they love him so much, his sincerity isn't forced, his passion for music is unique and he loves every moment on stage, and he's a very, funny down to earth guy.

When we came out of the cinema into the still balmy night we were sweating almost as much as Bruce on-stage, boy was it hot in there. Dawn was impressed with the film and Bruce's music, I think he's gained another fan! I wasn't surprised really, I know Dawn is passionate about music and this film gave her the chance to hear a range of his music and she appreciated how diverse

So, as I tentatively approach 60, I look at Bruce who's still looking good and rockin' at 63, and he inspires me, I've still got lots to see and do in my life and I'll continue rockin' too!

                                     Honey, I want the heart, I want the soul, 

                                                 I want control right now 
Talk about a dream, 
try to make it real 
You wake up in the night, 
with a fear so real, 
Spend your life waiting, 
for a moment that just don't come, 
Well, don't waste your time waiting

(Badlands, 1978)