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Darkness (but alot of light) in the midst of town

July 17, 2012

On Saturday night I went to a rock concert … a little sneak back into my old life, the one before Hope became the centre of my world, one where I used to stand for hours / days in the rain to ensure a place in the middle at the very front of a Springsteen show. It wasn’t just because I loved to see the man and the band up close, I loved the friendship and the camaraderie I had with other like-minded fools and it was also because if you have a rail to lean on you don’t get as squashed and you always have air in front of you. On Saturday at the Hard Rock Calling show I ended up standing on the other side of the fence watching so many friends from so many years down the road queuing to get let in and then nearly 7 hours later just before the show started, I crept in to the arena and found myself squashed in a huge melee way way way over to the left of the stage scarcely able to see the band through gaps in the tall throng in front of me and having to squint up at the screen to see what was going on on stage!

a whole different perspective on a show

It was still an amazing show and I still wept, laughed and whooped along with the other 88,000 people there but, BUT, I came away realising two things:

1 – if you go to a concert you really do need to be at the very front


2 – I hadn’t enjoyed it as much as I might have done because a small tufty haired person was a mile away from me, and the ache I felt being apart from her which came over me as I walked away .. I had to force myself to keep walking on into the venue … and half way through the show, was invasive and all consuming by the end.

on the outside looking in… Hyde Park Calling

Quite aside from all that it was fun to be out and about, to drink a beer in a crowd and to have my spirits soar and my emotions tingled … as you’ll know if you’ve read this blog waffle of mine for more than a few entries, I do have a bit of a ‘thing’ for Bruce Springsteen, well not for him per se but for his music, for his passion and for the joyous poetry he has bought into the world… and I guess it says something that it was a Springsteen show that was the first thing, 6 months after her birth, to even so much as tempt me away from my girl for longer than an hour.  The fact that the show started with Thunder Road one of my very favourite songs got it off to a fine start, I’m not one of those purist fans who has to have a new and rare song every show, and I’m also not that into the classic crowd pleasers so this show did have a great balance. It was a festival show rather than a true Bruce show but the music still sparkled around the increasingly dank and dreary night and lifted people’s hearts against the rain that began to pour down. Hope’s ‘Uncle’ Jake played a mighty sax … standing, at times, where his even mightier Uncle Clarence stood until so recently, I’m sure Jake was full of joy at the experience at the same time as aching with the loss of such a marvellous and quite mythical man … Jake put his own fizz, fun and flamboyance into the show in a humble and a perfectly professional way … I wept and hugged myself as I watched the sweet man who had held Hope so tenderly at her Christening play some magic into the night in front of the sweaty raincoat wearing, wellie boot stomping throng.

Jake on the big screen

Then Paul McCartney appeared … I have to admit that I initially thought, “oh no what’s he doing here”, not being a particular ‘fan’ of his and having been underwelmed by his performance at the Jubilee concert it felt a bit too much like a distraction from Bruce and the E Street show. I was wrong. So very wrong … the fun, mischief and zest for life that two iconic rock stars gave put Peter Pan to shame. They blasted the clouds away with ‘I saw her standing there’ and then stroked the crowd until we arched our backs with glee and danced the night away to ‘Twist and Shout’ … then just as the wave was about to break all over us, the sensation about to peak… some pillock pulled a plug out.

Some jobsworth pencil pusher who didn’t have the gumption to let the light and joy that was washing over London run its course, decided that for health and safety reasons and the fact that the show had over-run it’s curfew by a whole 11 minutes, that he (surely not a she) should stop a history making performance in its tracks. Like a yawn that doesn’t come or an orgasm that never quite arrives the whole show ended amidst confusion and increasing anger .. the cries of Broooooce turing into Boooooos and almost 100,000 frustrated people spilling out into the park. Apparently Bruce, McCartney and the band (according to Steve Van Zandt’s tweet) were all forced to wait backstage for the huge crowd to disperse … and giving them the time to reflect on the joyless ‘police state’ that England seems to have become.

I walked back to where I was staying .. steps increasingly fast and increasingly painful … wellie boots on a pavement after standing and being pushed and shoved in a huge crowd are NOT the way to go … it took a great deal of effort to get them off after nearly 2 miles of pavement pounding! At least I didn’t have to be crushed in the tube or on a bus … and it was a lovely night to walk in.

I cuddled my girl close, I rubbed my feet and my tired eyes that night … it took ages to get to sleep … so many thoughts going round my head not least sadness at having missed the tribute to Clarence Clemons that would (or rather had at the other shows in the tour) ended that section of the show … I had been looking forward to seeing that and being a part of it. I hope that the absurd treatment the band received doesn’t put them off coming back to London … having had exuberant shows all round Europe it must have been so so annoying to be stopped in their tracks like that in London.

Eventually I drifted off and had a very odd dream about seeing 4 moons … very odd … hanging over London … trying to shine through the darkness that had fallen over the midst of the town (to painfully distort a Springsteen track) when that plug was pulled or the switch was thrown. I woke up an hour or two later to hear Hope chatting to her feet, she was telling them how she’d sat in her push chair, her father beside her on a deck chair outside the concert perimeter fence and listened to her first concert. She chatted happily til nearly dawn and then we both fell asleep and awoke to a sunny day in the land of Hope and dreams.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2012 12:54 pm

    Wow! What a journey you’ve had with the rollercoster ride of IVF….Hope is just adorable! Really enjoyed reading your post – felt I was at the concert with you – amazing experience!

    • July 19, 2012 11:44 pm

      Thanks Sue … much appreciated and yes she is gorgeous : )

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