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STFU! 

We had great seats but, alas, we also had the Biggest Bruce Springsteen Fan in the World directly in front of us and he was dead-set on letting everyone in the vicinity know that he was the BBSFITW all night long. He was standing 45 minutes before the show began and remained standing, pumping both fists in the air, singing every single lyric, screaming "Broooce!" (STFU!) nonstop, and dancing (rather moronically) the entire night. And his girlfriend followed suit, making visibility even worse. Couldn't help thinking of a recent music chat room thread that called Bruce to task for the over-obsessive nature of his fans. It reminded me of the fan who screamed, "We love you, Bruce!" during a wonderful L.A. Devils & Dust show several years back, to which the Boss aptly responded: "Oh, but you don't know me ..."

The adoration is easy to understand, of course, being a huge fan myself. Springsteen is arguably the last great rock superstar and the first to fully embrace the responsibility of that role. He symbolizes, for at least one generation, why it was OK for them to "waste" a life on the rock 'n' roll dream. And any show that kicks off with the line, "Is anybody alive out there?" and concludes with a song that includes the line, "It ain't no sin to be glad you're alive," is surely an experience of joy and hope to be celebrated, especially in a death culture where the powers that be want you to experience nothing but fear and loathing. One does have to wonder, to that end, however, why some of the other BBSFITW in attendance found it necessary to "boo" Springsteen's sole anti-Dubya statement before then dancing and singing along to every word in the following "Living in the Future," with its symbolic "Tenth Avenue Freeze-out" saxophone cop.

Cool show, nevertheless (the guitar duel that concluded the new album's "Gypsy Biker" was breathtaking), although, at two hours, a bit shorter than the two-and-a-half hours reported in other cities. One other annoyance, however, was letting the 5-year-old kid down front on his Dad's shoulders (lots of parents with kids there) pick the second song of the encore. In most cities, that space has been reserved for either "Kitty's Back" or "Thundercrack" — neither of which this fan has ever seen Springsteen perform live, despite at least 60-plus shows attended since 1975. Nice gesture on the artist's part, to be sure ... but the darn kid picked the rather forgettable "Ramrod." Oh, well ... I love Springsteen but I'm not sure about some of his fans these days. I do know I'd have loved this show more if I hadn't had to choose between standing (and annoying those behind me), staring at the big screen on top of the stage or simply staring at BBSFITW's ass all night long.

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Speaking of Rock/Pop, In The Flesh

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