It’s Cape Town. It’s a balmy, lazy Sunday evening. And we are on our way to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band.
The vibe in the stadium is really chilled. We make our way to our seats and observe how the stadium fills up. I notice a sign that reads: Born in the RSA. I have to give it to South Africans. We are really festive and get into the spirit when we need to.
An hour later, when the lights are dimmed and the band comes onto stage, I am on the edge of my seat, eager to catch a glimpse of the man who up until now, I have never seen performing – I have just listened to his songs over and over again, especially when I was a teenager and my brother used to dance in his pajamas with a broomstick (guitar) to “Dancing in the Dark”.
The first thing I notice is that Bruce Springsteen looks much younger than his 64 years. Yes, his temples are gracefully sprinkled with grey, but his face is so youthful and his smile…well that’s a whole different story. Too charming for words.
But what really intrigues me is his stamina and passion for what he does. He simply moves from one song to the next, swopping his guitar every two songs or so. He is absolutely awesome. He LOVES the audience. He runs along the ramp and slides to a halt on his knees. The audience goes CRAZY! Even girls that are young enough to be his daughter are desperate to touch him. He guzzles down a beer that’s handed to him by a fan, he throws himself on his back into the audience and then they carry him on their hands back to stage. He kisses a girl and I wonder what Patsy will think – but secretly if I were 10 years younger, I probably would have wished it were me!
Three hours later, at the end of the evening and after a non-stop performance, I have fallen in love. The man is a legend.
A few days later, I see a pic of him jogging on the beach in Cape Town and I am even more impressed. He is lean and toned. No paunch belly, no fat rolls. Just pure, lean muscle. And when I do research, I find out that he is very particular about staying in shape and being healthy for his concerts. It is said that he never, ever did drugs, he just ran on the treadmill and did weight training for the last thirty years.
“Think of it this way”, he is recorded to have said: “Performing is like sprinting while screaming for three, or four minutes”. And then you do it again and again. And then you walk a little, shouting the whole time. And so on. Your adrenaline quickly overwhelms your conditioning”.
Bruce Springsteen, please sprint your way back to Cape Town again and again. We love you.