It was a complete fluke.
I was 17 in August of 2007, and I was in New York City seeing the musical Jersey Boys. He was there, and I found out. And I had to meet him.
Bruce was, and still is, my hero. When I found out he was there, I was so overwhelmed that I started crying and couldn't stop. My friend Danielle joked about finding me a paper bag, and my mom wondered aloud, “What do I do if she faints!?” It was a real possibility considering I was crying just from being in the same ROOM as Bruce Springsteen. Screw Jersey Boys! I had to meet MY Jersey boy.
After crying through the whole first act, I pushed my way through the crowd and met Bruce during intermission. I could barely eke out the words “I love you” as we shook hands and locked eyes. Then I cried more.
As the show ended (I also cried through the whole second act), we saw an usher go to the front and escort Bruce and his guests out. My mom whispered, “Amy, follow him out.” So I did. As he got into his black Escalade, surrounded by the frenzy of Times Square and camera flashes, he blew me a kiss.
And, you guessed it, I cried.
I cried from 7:30PM until after 2AM.
When I don’t know how to react, I cry. And I couldn't figure out how to react, so I kept crying. I eventually managed to pen a song about it later that night.
I can't tell you anything else about that trip to New York other than it was hot, I met Bruce Springsteen, and that meeting him remains one of my favorite moments in my life.
At that point, I hadn't seen Bruce play live yet. But even now, having seen him seven or eight times, I still cry when he starts playing.
Although Bruce isn't the original reason why I started playing and writing music, he's a big part of why I keep doing it. He's unparalleled in his ability as a communicator and in his bond with his fans. He's given me, and so many others, incredible experiences. If I get even marginally close to that, I'll die happy.
Here's a verse from that song I wrote almost nine years ago:
I looked my hero in the eyes
And he stared straight back at me
I knew if I didn't surrender
It would end in a catastrophe
I wanted this to be a quick story, but how could I be quick with something so important!? If anyone here has any connection to Bruce, please tell him Amy Mantis says thank you and that he (and you!) can listen to her songs at amymantis dot com.
Thank you, Listserve, for this opportunity. I love this community.
Keep fighting the good fight.