I used be to a Bruce Springsteen fan. To put it mildly.
This was in sixth grade. I had never really paid much attention to music before, tending to like whatever I heard on the radio station my mom listened to. I learned about Billy Joel that way, but I don't think the station ever played Bruce.
It was probably a combination of liking Bruce on my own, along with the fact that my best friend, who I absolutely adored, was really into him, that really pushed me into total obsession. We raced to buy his albums - though on our sixth grade budgets this meant that it took us weeks (months? I don't remember) to get them all. We taped his videos from VH1 and watched them over and over. (Anyone remember Courtney Cox as the lucky fan in Dancing in the Dark?) We played his tapes over and over. (And one time, when I was sleeping over her house, we left on an album that had a pause before getting to the bonus track. We'd both fallen asleep and then suddenly we were jolted awake by - "WAR!!") We hung posters and ripped-out magazine pictures on our walls. We made up code words that sounded like real words, so that when we said things like "bye", in our heads we were really saying "BIE" which stood for "Bruce is excellent."
Yeah, we were really, really dorky.
If you need visual proof, here's me at a family gathering wearing my Bruce t-shirt.
And here I am at my birthday party showing off my new Bruce sweatshirt and Bruce pins.
And with my Bruce Springsteen book. (I actually wasn't obsessed to the point that I brought this book around with me and displayed it - in this picture, we're at the Baltimore Inner Harbor, where my aunt brought the book along, wrapped, as a late birthday gift and I had just opened it.)
So yes, dorky Bruce Springsteen fan.
And then my best friend moved away.
We kept in touch for a while and visited each other, and whenever we got together, we had just as much fun together as we had in the past. There is something about her that makes it easy to just fall back into our friendship. But as time passed, we continued on with different lives and didn't keep in active touch. I had other good friends - best friends even - but I never felt quite the same comfortable connection to them as I had to her. (And that's ok.)
We never actually managed to see Bruce in concert together. Once after she moved away, she came back to visit at a time when Bruce tickets were going on sale. We went to the Ticketmaster office at something like 5 am and waited in line for hours. We were so excited to have a great spot in line that would assure us not only tickets, but great tickets, but then shortly before the ticket office opened, they reorganized the line and allowed people with some kind of advance ticket bracelets to get in front of us. We were pushed so far back that tickets were sold out before the ticket office even came back in sight. We were so disappointed.
Somehow we found each other again while I was in grad school and we met up for lunch. It was great to reconnect (and I learned she had since managed to see Bruce twice in concert), but for no particularly good reason, we didn't actually keep in touch again after that. I actually lost her number that I had stuck up on my refrigerator and wasn't sure how to find her again.
But then Facebook came along. We caught up again all over again and made tenative plans to try to meet up relatively soon. And then I heard about the free Bruce concert that was going to be held within walking distance of my house (it was actually an Obama / register to vote rally), and I emailed her right away. Without hesitation - she didn't even blink :) - she signed up for her ticket and made plans to come for the day.
It was only a 40 minute show, but it was wonderful. (Squeakles slept through it all in my sling.) We couldn't actually see him most of the time because we were pretty far back in a the giant crowd, but it didn't really matter. I was just glad to be there. I was somewhat disappointed that the show was so short, but it was free and it was Bruce and so I was grateful.
Here are some really fantastic pictures I've found of the concert. (My own view was so obstructed and my little telephoto lens just couldn't narrow the distance.)