I know this is late and lame, but I have to say a little something.
I’m not a seasoned rock and roll music critic and there are plenty of people that know more about Bruce Springsteen than I. However, Clarence Clemons was my favorite member of the E Street Band and I got to see him twice live on two different tours.
Put simply, the man was amazing. My concertmates and I were on the front row both times, but it was clear that from any place in the arena, you could just feel the energy from this enormous man; all his laughs and smiles and dances were such a joy. He wailed that saxophone almost like it was a weapon, and his parts of the song were always electric. He just had this fire, ya know?! We cupped our fingers and held up C’s with our hands through Born to Run and Livin’ In The Future and Badlands and most of all, JUNGLELAND (!) and he saw them and let out this enormous grin and I couldn’t help but grin as well. It was infectious. He loved what he did, he loved making music, and for those two nights, we got to send him a little love back.
He and Bruce were in sync at those two shows, which are only, of course, two tiny snapshots of forty or so years of friendship, playing in a band, surviving a band breakup and coming back to tour- all to make great music together. This band’s ‘legacy’ or whatever you want to call it is so much bigger than me, bigger than a fanbase, bigger than a few (great) records. I don’t know any of my favorite musicians personally, but if I had the right stationery to send to the Big Man, (and his address in Saxophone Heaven) I’d have to pen a thank you for the music that provided the soundtrack to me growing up. The music that I could listen to on both sunny days and dark nights. The songs that stuck with me and seemed to resonate like no other. The songs that made me dance and wanna shove the accelerator on my car hard and just GO with them! The songs that I could drop my turntable needle onto, skip my cd towards and shuffle my ipod with and it would just fill me with that little musical spike-happiness-feeling when you realize something is wonderful.
So thank you, Big Man. It might take me a while to tell people why I love you and they might still cock their head when I list you in my favorite musicians.
I didn’t grow up in Jersey.
I didn’t go to years and years of shows.
Being only 20, I didn’t get to see you back when the magic began.
So, I know you mean a lot of things to a lot of people and nothing to some people, but you gave this blonde-haired wide-eyed girl who stumbled upon a now-lifelong love for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band a bunch of songs that she’ll never get over or tired of.
And if I get a little misty or this big grin on my face when I hear a sax solo, you can be sure it’s because my heart’s still happy from hearing the Biggest Man in the world show me how it’s done firsthand.