My Sister Karen took me to my first Bruce Springsteen Concert. Thunder Road was the First song of the evening. Well it wasn’t the opening song. We missed that one. You see, this integral Bruce Springsteen Odyssey began at Kent, State University, Karen’s Home Court at the time. I was invited down for a Little Sibs weekend, but Karen happened upon two Bruce Tickets, and our plans changed.As Karen always says"I thrive on spontaneity." We weren’t gonna go Ice skating at the Hockey Rink any more, and hang out with her Hockey player boyfriend and his little sib.
We were going to Bruce.
I was beside myself, as you can imagine any 14 year old Bruce initiate would be. There was only one problem. We had no car. But, With great enthusiasm, Karen implored her roommate, who was clearly distracted at the time sprinkling brewers yeast on her popcorn, to have pity on us and lend us her 1962 car of unknown origin and/or gasoline status, and or color.
For some reason, Karen hadn’t gotten her license till she was 18, so she didn’t have a lot of experience with map reading or navigation, or actual driving for that matter.It was a Leap of Faith. But No matter,We Had Reason to Believe we’d get there. We were Workin on a Dream.We did eventually get there, after taking some unexpected Backstreets, and ending up in some Badlands.Not a State Trooper or Highway Patrolman in sight. It was a wonder we didn’t end up in a Wreck on the Highway or in Nebraska. It took some some creative parking, But we had arrived; The Promised Land. Arrived just in time for Thunder Road.
I’m not sure how many other great Boss anthems we missed before our arrival, but arriving in the midst of the yearning cry of that blessed harmonica’s opening,I was ready to Prove it All Night–ready to incorporate every bit of the Boss that was left in that first formative Boss concert of my adolescent years. Standing behind the railing among Springsteen fans of varying degree, Bruce was then and there cemented into my being, and I was officially Growing up.
Gloria’s Eyes were filled, from then on, with the knowledge that, in this Land of Hope and Dreams, as long as we aren’t Blinded by the Light of fear’s Brilliant Disguise; Your own Worst Enemy, we are entitled to All that Heaven will Allow. At that moment, Karen and I were connected; Parallel, not unlike Bruce Springsteen’s gracing the Covers of Newsweek and Time on the very same day . I Don’t expect that memory to Fade Away. For times like these are The Ties that Bind, and in the inimitable words of Karen herself, when we work our way beyond our own nosebleed seats, down to the stage level, It’s Every man for himself. No retreat baby,No Surrender. And My Beautiful Reward? Dancing full on in my Levi’s and Frye Harness Boots with the all of other Gate Stormers enjoying Life Itself, because Tommorow Never Knows.
As We Floated out of the Cleveland Coliseum that night recounting every moment of the concert we did see, we were oblivious to what door we were exiting, or what side of the parking lot we'd end up on or where in fact we had actually parked the car some 3 glorious hours earlier. Wandering aimlessly for another hour,we needed to surrender, despite our vow not to.
We did need to get back to Kent State to enjoy what was left of the Little Sibs Weekend Festivities. So we enlisted Security, and when asked what sort of car we were looking for, we looked at each other, unsure of whether we had driven an Oldsmobile or a Ford or a Chevy. It could have been an Astin Martin for all we knew. When asked, at least, what color it was, we responded in unison. Karen: "Green"; Gloria: "Brown".
Rest assured, we did find it, our odds increasing as more and more of the responsible drivers left, visions of Bruce Springsteen jamming in their heads.
IT was two or three in the morning when we returned, and we were starving. Luckily, there was plenty of Brewers Yeast Popcorn left.
"Glory Days, Yeah they'll pass you by, Glory Days, In the wink of a young Girl's Eye. Glory Days. Glory Days..."