A road trip to a Bruce Springsteen concert. I should just stop right there, because you could fill in the rest with your own experience or imagination. But I won’t. How about a father-daughter, 360-mile trip from Spokane, Washington; down along the beautiful Columbia River Gorge to see the Boss and the E Street Band at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon? How about having a little fun by sticking custom-made decals at various landmarks all along the way? If this sounds remotely interesting, read on my friend…
Planning a Road Trip to a Bruce Springsteen Concert
I have been to a lot of concerts over the years, but for one reason or another, had never attended a Bruce Springsteen concert. I knew he was on tour and it just dawned on me one day that he must be gettin’ up there in age. At the time I write this Bruce Springsteen is 63 years old. Born to Run is from 1975. How long is he going to tour and perform those famous three and a half hour concerts? When, if ever, would he come back to the Pacific Northwest? When I found out the Boss was coming to Portland, it was going to be now or never for me. It had to be now. It had to be.
You can’t go to a concert alone, and my twenty-year-old daughter jumped at the chance to go with me, and I was happy to take her. It was a chance to spend some time together and for both of us to see an American Rock n’ Roll icon live and in person. We couldn’t wait. This occasion begged for a little somethin’ extra. This shouldn’t be an ordinary road trip. This was Bruce Springsteen for cryin’ out loud. In the middle of the week, in late November in the Pacific Northwest. We were gonna make some memories.
Hittin’ the Road for a Bruce Springsteen Concert
Or as I called it – “The Boss or Bust Road Trip 2012”
The road trip begins at 9:12 am on Wednesday, November 28th, 2012, with the latest CD from Bruce Springsteen “The Wrecking Ball”, cranking in the CD player. Damn good CD by the way. The weather this time of year can be nasty, but we catch a break, and its full speed ahead all the way to Portland. We are armed with a bunch of Bruce Springsteen CD’s and about 40 or so custom decals designed by yours truly for strategic placement along the way. It’s about 360 miles or so to the Rose Garden in Portland and we allow plenty of time for some fun.
Our first sticker was actually stuck on our own kitchen door window, but on the road we stopped at a rest stop about 45 miles out-of-town and stuck the first one on a state of Washington map. Right at eye level for all to see. There were no sticker rules except one: No decals in a bathroom. This is Bruce Springsteen, it wouldn’t be right. Besides that’s too easy. As the road trip progressed, it became as much fun as I hoped it would be. The Boss was with us the whole way through the various CDs we brought, and we found ample opportunities to make our mark. Here’s a small sampler of what I’m talking about:
The Concert – Bruce Springsteen Live Through the Eyes of a First-Timer
It was smooth sailing with many stops down through the Columbia River Gorge. At about 6 p.m. we checked into the motel located just blocks from the Rose Garden, (no parking hassles!) and then it was off to the show. No opening act needed or wanted. The concert started 30 minutes late but was worth the wait. The house was full, the lights were up, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band came out rockin’. “We take Care of Our Own” was the song playing in the CD player when we pulled out of our driveway that morning, and “Land of Hope and Dreams” was the first song played in the concert. I was into it from the get-go and found myself smiling almost the entire time. The concert was so much better than I thought it would be. The crowd loves this guy. Three and a half hours went by so fast. When the concert was over, I literally could not think of a word to describe the experience. “Awesome” sounds so juvenile. “Great” is way over used. “Legendary” was what I expected. But Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band was all of those and better. Some observations about the show:
- The charisma just radiates from out of Bruce Springsteen
- The E Street Band, including the horn section and the background singers is really tight
- Straight forward rock n’ roll with no games or gimmicks
- The Boss is the most appropriate nickname of any famous person I can think of
- The range of emotions I felt during the show were complete
- The crowd loves Bruce, and the audience felt like one big family during the concert
- When Jake Clemons plays those sax solos, the rest of the band turns to watch
- The Boss seems like a person who is full of love, although some lyrics in “The Wrecking Ball” are very angry
- He is very gentle and warm with the fans he brings up on stage
- Bruce Springsteen takes requests. Are you freaking kidding? Who else does that?
- There was no messing around with the encore, it came quick
- No Politics – Thank God
- There was a spiritual feeling to the concert at times
- The age range of the crowd was from about 12 to 70+
- The sound was really good
Set list from Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band in Portland, Oregon 11-28-2012
- Land of Hope and Dreams
- No Surrender
- Hungry Heart
- We Take Care of Our Own
- Wrecking Ball
- Death to My Hometown
- My City of Ruins
- Spirit in the Night
- Loose Ends (sign request, Steve’s Choice)
- Growin’ Up (sign request)
- Jack of All Trades
- Seeds (sign request)
- Johnny 99
- Darlington County
- Shackled and Drawn
- Waitin’ on a Sunny Day
- Drive All Night (sign request)
- The Rising
- Thunder Road
- If I should Fall Behind (sign request, Bruce solo)
- Born to Run
- Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) (sign request)
- Dancing in the Dark
- Santa Clause is Coming to Town
- Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Heading Home after Seeing, Hearing and Feeling Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
It is such a great feeling when something lives up to the hype. So few things do. It’s even better when something you really want to be good exceeds all your expectations. That seldom happens. For those of you who have seen Springsteen before, your probably sayin’ “of course, what did ya expect?” I did expect him to be the best I have ever seen, and he was even better than that.
Bruce Springsteen and his music kept us company every mile of the way home. We found some fun places to stick more decals, and we ran across an old friend from high school at one of our stops who was also at the concert. I tried to find his car so I could bless it with a decal, but no luck. As I came back down to earth and got back home, my heart was full, my spirit was lifted, my daughter & I had an experience to cherish, and life was good.
Click here to go to the official Bruce Springsteen website.
Thanks for reading! I really appreciate it…If you like road trips, you should check out this epic West Coast Road Trip article. Get free articles from CashArtBlog emailed directly to your inbox. Just type in your name in the box up in the top right corner. It’s fast, easy, confidential, and free.