May 07, 2009

Organized Gypsies and The Boss

A dear friend of mine was at the Springsteen concert tonight in #YYZ.
It reminded me of a road trip when we met The Boss.
A few years back, Rob and Salvatore (Sammy) - who are huge 'Springheads' - got wind of a potentially intimate show. I tagged along.
We packed up in Toronto and headed for The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey - the NJ boardwalk version of CBGB's.
It was a benefit show without said Boss on the bill. But, we had a hunch. He only lived a few miles away, a big supporter of the cause and the Joint (where he and Bon Jovi got their start). So, we were hoping.
A border strip search, leftover sandwiches, and a few hours later we rolled in. To the venue we went, via hotel and the Organized Gypsies...
Our enthusiasm ebbed. But then, we first spotted Patti, then Bruce - NY Jets cap pulled down - behind the mixing board, pulling slowly on a Rolling Rock. He was smaller in person, but rippled with vitality and was quietly dangerous. Like his music, he appeared as a working man after a long day - clear eyes, taught, ready to ambush. He wanted a beer and to be let out. To do his thing...

Still, he was gracious when we spoke to him.

Then, he got up on stage. He got bigger, but he didn't take over. Played rhythm guitar for one song...
It was more about the fact that his Ford truck was parked out back, just like everyone else. And, that he chatted with us just like you would with someone else in a bar. And, that he carried his own guitars.
To the Organized Gypsies: One of those road trip guffaws that turns into code for friends. I had just returned from Ireland
and was used to 'tinker caravans' in the countryside. When we arrived in Asbury Park, there was an open field between our hotel and the Pony. Full of makeshift tents and open fires.

Me: "Hey, look! Gypsies!"
Sam/Rob: "It looks like a Civil War re-enactment thing to me".
Me: "Yeah."

Other than Sammy's Leopard-spot gitch, that was the funniest moment of the weekend.
And, we got to meet the Boss.

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