Bruce week is over now in Los Angeles. It’s like Fashion week with worse clothes but better music. I had to go back to the last concert ever in the Sports Arena Saturday night. It felt like unfinished business to me and one thing I learned is I am too old not to listen to my gut anymore. I knew it would be a different show somehow. The two cover Irish songs done in honor of St. Patty’s day on Thursday would surely be replaced. I had to be there to see with what. The River itself also bothered me. I had to hear it again live. I felt I missed it or at least great parts of it. It happens to us often when we pre-conceive rather than just openly receive.
A great evening Friday night reminiscing with Marjorie and Marietta, the best Bruce fan twins ever, planted the seed to get back there for both Marjorie who had been there on Thursday night and myself. Marietta had just come to town for the Saturday night show and was going to her usual front of the pit place. That woman knows what Bruce is going to do in concert before even he does, I suspect. Marjorie had plans with friends on Saturday night so if they would agree to go to the concert and I could be in charge of trying to find tickets we could pull it off. With my persistence and Marjorie’s magical Springsteen mojo we would be there for sure. If you are ever hanging with her have her tell you her Springsteen family stories from the 80s!! They are epic!!
Saturday morning after sorting out sundry kids and visiting niece and boyfriend, I got busy on the computer. I worked the latest Ticketmaster drops, to no avail. I was going. I knew that much. A call from Marjorie late morning to say they were all in changed my search from one to four tickets. We also did not want floor tickets under any circumstances and no concourse- a tall order eight hours before the show. I began the search on BTX – nothing. Ebay- nothing. Craigslist was the best possibility but also where the counterfeiters lived. I wanted only private party not the big Stub Hub costly ones. Loge tickets there were still going for 600 bucks that day. Problem is if the tickets were too cheap, they were probably too good to be true as well. I devised a little plan to smoke out the counterfeiters. Many good tickets were gone as the people had already sold them. The few I did find, they all were paperless email tickets that they wanted to send me but no actual meet at the arena. These were a bit suspect to me so I told them they needed to take a picture of the barcode and text it to me first. I said I had a friend who worked security at the venue (this part is true at least) and I would send him the picture to test the barcode for authenticity first. Well as you can imagine none of them responded at all to this fine suggestion.
We were getting a bit desperate. My friend, Security Donald, did have a ticket guy but we would have to wait until 7:30 that night to see what he had. Too dangerous really so I continued. Amidst all the supposedly great seats at like face value or 200 bucks there was one ad for four tickets at $595 each. This I knew was legit but also crazy. I do crazy well so I called him. I said, “ You gotta be kidding at that price with the concert a couple of hours away.” He said ‘”Make me an offer.” I said “$200.” He said, “Have a nice day lady and hung up on me.” Boy, that annoyed me. I continued the search on CL. Marjorie and I went back on forth on the plan. Maybe we split up and I find a single ticket and she takes two since four were getting impossible. At that point her friend’s husband was going to stay home. We threw around all sorts of ideas to get us in that door. About an hour or so later, I went back to the $595 guy with a text that said, “ Look if you reduce the price of your tickets at all later today as we get closer to the show, I want first crack at them.” He sent me back a “???” which is a nice way of saying , “what the hell are you talking” about it in text speak. Exasperated, I called him and told him who I was and what I wanted. This time though I realized his accent was purely New York. “Where you from in New York” I asked him –mid argument. “Brighton Beach and you” he asks? “The Bronx.” “Oh my God, my mother went to school at Roosevelt blah blah blah. Yur kiddin’? Well then you should be sellin” these damn tickets to another New Yorker shouldn’t you?” “Ok “ he says, “make me another offer. “ Three hundred”, I pull out of the air. He says “done.” ““Wait I a minute,” I tell him, “I have three other people I have to ask.” He wants to know who I am going with? Are they fans? Stuff like that. Only the biggest fan on the planet I tell him. She danced with Bruce on stage in the 80s, etc etc.
He tells me they are hard copy promoter tickets and he’ll be at the arena tonight to meet me as he is going again to the concert himself. My gut says this is the guy ! Text, text, call,call to Marjorie who decides to go dark on me now cause she is visiting everyone she knows in LA within the next two hours. Finally, “No”, she says “too much.” See if you can get him down to $250!! Sure, sweetie, for you anything!! I do tell her though that I want this ticket cause its Arena 28 (or so I thought). So I’ll try but if I can get me just one, they can wait for Donald maybe as that is the last resort at this point. I call Scalper Scott back. I tell him look they can’t pay more than $250. He thinks and says $1100 for all 4. I said no then but would he split off the tickets and sell me just one of his for $300 and I can try and get them other ones from another guy we are dealing with. Sure he says. By now we bonded as only transplanted New Yorkers in a sea of sunshine can.
Back to Marjorie I go with the plan. I will take the one ticket although I soooo wanted to sit with Marjorie this time around and we will try for three with Donald. About ten minutes later Scalper Scott calls me back. ‘Awww he says I can’t have you not sitting with your friends. Ok I’ll do theirs for 250 so you can stay together.” You are just the damn best, Scalper Scott, aren’t you? So back I go again to Marjorie, more darkness and not the good Springsteen kind, and the deal is done except I now look at the CL post again and realize they are loge 28 not arena. Still great seats as Stub Hub would tell you. So I call Scott back and said hey, no way now I am paying $300 for mine, you have to knock off another $50 cause I read your ad wrong. He started laughing so hard and said done deal and told me I am quite the negotiator. Ten minutes later the chair in my office starts to wobble and I am on the floor. The chair seat snapped right off the office chair pole. I got nothing for that occurrence.
I got a call from Donald’s guy around 5pm and when I told him the tickets I had he said he couldn’t come close to that deal, that tickets were getting real tight as people were starting to come out from all over to go to the show.
I meet Scalper Scott at Will Call around 7pm. I throw my arms around him, give him a big hug and greeting like the long lost friends we aren’t for the benefit of any cop looking for scalpers. He’s a great big teddy bear of a guy who reminds me like crazy of my great friend Norton from Queens all those years ago. Funniest guy on the planet bar none.
The music starts a little after eight. Did I mention I love The River? Did I mention that Drive All Night was the most astounding, heartbreakingly beautifully done, tears a rolling song of the night? Did I mention how perfect it was to see Marjorie’s face in rapture singing along and dancing? At one point I turned to her and said, “we want to kill Patti off so we can be her right?” She smiled and nodded. Thursday night’s annoyance at ‘why the hell (fill in the song) instead of Jungleland was a driving force of why I just felt like I had to go back Saturday night. Jungleland preceded Thunder Road Saturday night. Is there anything above heaven? Cause if so this was it.
As I was walking out the gate I texted Donald to say thank you and as I was waiting on his reply I looked up and ran right into him. He left his backstage post to come out and help with a situation. We hugged and he gave me his Thursday night backstage Bruce sticker pass as a souvenir along with a few more T-shirts!
My drive home after midnight down Western Avenue from the Coliseum to Torrance at 60mph with the best-synchronized green lights I ever had was pure joy after a Bruce concert. No mansions of glory on this ride. Although I did wonder where the hell all the cops were a few times.
Post script: I took several video clips of the concert that night. I even sent one to a friend during the show. When I got home that night around 1am or so I started watching the clips as I wanted to send one to my sister in Italy. Wait let me add this little nugget. My sister who lives in Italy and is going out with the biggest European Bruce fan now tells me she saw Bruce once in 1985 with her then boyfriend Mike but left early cause they didn’t want to hit traffic?? WHO ARE YOU, I ASK HER?? First, you didn’t ask me to go to the concert back then?? Second you are 24 years old at the time and you cared about TRAFFIC?? Go see Bruce this year on his European tour with your boyfriend and atone for those sins!
Back to the clips. I pulled up a clip to see which song it was on my phone and the sound was gone from the clip. Completely gone. I tried all the rest of the clips. The sound was gone from all of them. What the HELLLL!!!! I said that’s impossible. My friend earlier would have told me if the sound was gone on what I sent him. O come on I thought, my IPHONE is going to go out now of all times and lose the sound on these concert clips?? It was near 2am. I went to sleep. I woke up the next morning and tried the clips again. The sound was fine. With tears and laughter, I knew my new Guardian AnJel was taking care of business as usual! Thanks, kid! And I also conquered my reluctance to go to shows in big arenas. I wonder Who’s Next?