A little Human Touch

Posted: May 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

My first child was born the day Human Touch and Lucky Town were released. Made for a terrific maternity leave. She graduates from college this weekend. I listened to these CDs over and over and over and watched the OJ trial during my maternity leave. I’m surprised my hormones survived …

This was her birth announcement.

 

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Phone message on my work phone:

“Another reason fans are loyal to their Boss is he donates to all the food banks … He’s helping the people take care of the people. What’s not to love about that?”

Thanks, Cathy, for the thoughts …

On that subject, a group of fans who post on the Backstreets ticket exchange and message board, called BTX, are organizing a pre-show fund-raiser for the food bank. Here is the donation form.

Here is the information:

Time for another Fundraiser and another show!

DATE: May 13th
TIME: 2:00PM until showtime
LOCATION: The Hilton Albany http://www.hiltonalbany.com/

The hotel is located 2 blocks from the Times Union Arena and we have used it the last several tours. It was known as The Hotel Albany last tour and it was a Crowne Plaza before that. The owner may change but the location is the same.

Details :
1) Fundraiser – Donations will be accepted for the Regional Food Bank of Northeast NY. We will have a donation bucket set up at the bar but even better would be if you donate online prior to the show. roadhse ma is working with the folks at the Food Bank to set up a “Bruce Sent Me” link on their site, should be active in a few days. I will update when it is. Please hold off donating until that is set up so we can track the total. Let’s try and top last time, $463 collected! I would like to suggest a donation of $7 per person, $10 for a group of 2 and $15 for a group of 3 or more (just like last time).
Link is active.

 

Click on the link below and you can select “Bruce Pre-Show Party” from the dropdown section I want my donation to be designated toward:. I just tried it and everything seems to be working.
https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/1415634

Thirty-two full concert shows have been performed by the E Street Band on the “High Hopes” tour in 2014, and to date,  167 different songs have made the setlist. Brucebase gives a list of those songs here.

I have general admission seats for the Albany show at the Times Union Center on Tuesday. I’m hoping to get into the pit and be surrounded by lucky fans with a sign request that makes the setlist. As a designer and editor at the Times Union newspaper, I wrote my sign requests in a short story about what venue-appropriate song Bruce should consider playing. Here is a link to the story, published last Thursday in our Preview magazine.

Here is the story in blog version, complete with videos to accompany the songs. After a long upstate New York winter, which seemed to end just last week, I think my first choice would team up nicely with “4th of July Asbury Park (Sandy),” “Seaside Bar Song,” “Waiting on a Sunny Day,” “Girls in their Summer Clothes,” “Racing in the Street,” “Jersey Girl,” the list is endless:

Published Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are known for playing venue-appropriate songs while on tour. For example, Bruce has played “Get Out of Denver” in Denver, “When I Leave Berlin” in Berlin and “Lion’s Den” at Penn State.

Here is a list of songs the Boss might consider for a concert at the Times Union Center in Albany.

1. “I Wanna Be A Lifeguard.” Music critic extraordinare Greg Haymes, aka Sarge Blotto, was lead singer of the Albany band that created this hit song. He has reviewed many Springsteen concerts and interviewed the late E Street Band keyboardist Danny Federici, and wrote one of the last features on the posthumously enshrined Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who died in 2008. “Lifeguard” hit the national airwaves in 1978. The video was played on the first day of broadcast for MTV and earned considerable repeat airplay.

 2. They Might Be Giants’ “Albany (The Egg).” Watch it on YouTube and you’ll see why this song would fit in the E Street set list.

3. “Erie Canal,” from his Seeger Sessions album and tour.

4. “A Love So Fine” Chiffons cover. This song was the closer when Bruce played at the Nott Memorial, Union College, in 1974. That concert is preserved on a famous bootleg, “Spanish Harlem.”

5. “Glory Days” in honor of Union College’s national champion hockey team.

Loyal to their Boss

Posted: May 8, 2014 in Uncategorized
Cover design by Joyce Bassett / Times Union

Cover design by Joyce Bassett / Times Union

 

Amy Biancolli wrote a terrific Springsteen fan story for the Times Union’s Preview section today.

It features superfan Bill Butler, a native of Red Bank, N.J. He goes to my church and we never miss a chance to chat about Bruce, while my husband and his wife roll their eyes and laugh.

Here’s an excerpt from Amy’s piece:

But as first times go, Bill Butler‘s beats all.

It was 1970. The Clifton Park resident was then a kid in Jersey. A friend invited him to his father’s movie theater, where they watched some flick or other — it may have been “Rosemary’s Baby” — and then sat around afterward as the crowd filed out.

“And the curtain goes up. And the band comes out, and they were practicing.”

It was Springsteen. Butler had never heard him before; his ears were accustomed to Black Sabbath. “And you know, I thought, ‘Here was a different sound.'” Butler’s second Springsteen sighting was an actual concert — a little while later, at the Clearwater Swim Club — and he’s been following the kid from Freehold ever since.

… Butler’s one of those guys: He grew up on the Jersey Shore right when Springsteen was starting out, and he isn’t sure how many shows he’s attended. “You know, I’ve counted ‘em up, and I’m somewhere between the upper 120s and the mid-130s.” That said, “I don’t know if I’d call myself a fanatic.”

Good Evening Albany!
We’re so glad to be here tonight.
In the city of the previously-known Albany River Rats
Now the Albany Devils I guess
But the Albany River Rats was a much better name
A much cooler name.
Albany River Rats … that’s a name from a Bruce Springsteen song … like uh “A meeting of the Albany River Rats … at midnight … somewhere… Doing something.”
Change it back!

Anyway, for all you Albany River Rats out there.
The E Street Band has returned!
And we are here tonight with some new faces and some old faces. And we’re looking into some new faces and young faces, and some old faces … you and me. (laughing!)
But our mission remains the same! We are here to bring you the joys and power of music and shoot it straight into your heart.
We are here to send you home with your hands hurtin’, your feet hurtin’, your back achin’, your voice gone … waking up in the morning and saying “What the fuck happened to me?”
Tomorrow … I told you.
But we’re also here tonight to bring you news with a beat, with a beat, with a beat and to tell you a story. A story about what’s goin’ on outside and what’s going on inside, a story of hellos and goodbyes … a story about things that leave us and things that never leave us.
So let’s get started.

Calling all Bruce fans!

Posted: April 22, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Albany will mark my 20th Springsteen show. I’ve seen every full-band tour since my first show in 1978 at RPI.

When you go to a Springsteen show, it is common to meet people who have seen Bruce hundreds of times and have hundreds of bootlegs.

I haven’t kept pace and never had the extra cash to travel to shows. But I have this blog and I’ll put my memorabilia up against anyone (see my basement below).  I’m sure there are many, many people out there who, when they hear a song by Bruce, they think of me. That warms my heart in some strange way.

The Times Union in Albany, where I’m a news editor, wants to do a report about Springsteen fans for publication. The story will appear in our Preview magazine on May 8. Your basement doesn’t have to look like mine to participate…

Bruce and the band are back in town on the 13th.  Follow the link in this blog post:

 

The Bassett basement

My basement when I had the urge to drag everything (well, almost everything) out to photograph it.

 

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(Editor’s Note: My 26-year-old niece Amanda drove 9 1/2 hours by herself to witness Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band perform on Tuesday, April 15, 2014,  in Columbus, Ohio. It was her ninth show. She is a Special Education teacher in the Guilderland School District and the tickets were a gift to herself for her birthday next week. At first I was upset I didn’t just blow off work and buy one of her extra tickets, but after reading her story I realized her dream wouldn’t have come true if I joined her. I feel better now … I love you and I’m so happy for you!)

By Amanda Bassett

It was Holy Week, and Bruce didn’t fail to provide a religious experience. The nine-and-a-half-hour drive to Columbus, Ohio, was filled with corn and farm land, but as soon as I arrived I forgot all about the long haul. Music was being piped into the somewhat “Stepford Wives”-like planned Nationwide Arena District, and in anticipation of the concert the music was mainly the featured artist of the day: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. No complaints from me there!

I firmly place my good concert position on Bruce karma; I had two extra tickets that I practically gave away to a guy and his buddy who wanted to attend. I told them “Just make sure you love the show.”  Then we all lined up outside in the cold according to our numbers. My wristband was 88. I had gone early in the day to get my wristband and I decided 88 was a good number to have because it’s my birth year. When it was time to draw 790 was called and they let everyone up to 111 in the front pit, I barely made it in. (We guessed about 1,000 people got wristbands, so those 790-1,000 got in, then 1-111.) So the guys  I gave the tickets to and I were in!

At that point it was the goodwill of fellow fans that got me to the front row center. I could touch the center mic. People were impressed I had driven 9 1/2 hours by myself to see the Boss. It also helps that I didn’t block anybody by being up front! (From small things mamma…). As the first chords of “High Hopes” rang out I knew this was going to be like no concert I had ever attended.

Sure enough Bruce crowd surfed during “Hungry Heart,” and I along with the crush of humanity around me passed him onto stage.  Grateful we didn’t drop him, I was wildly unprepared for the experience of turning around and having him laying inches from my face. I thought at that moment I could die happily. Thank god I didn’t and that I stuck around for the rest of the show.

The highlight for me had to be “The River.” A disclaimer … this song gets me crying in the car, so when the harmonica hit it was all over. This was one of my parents’ favorite songs and it always reminds me of them. They got me hooked on Bruce with this song, and I owe them everything for that. When my mother passed away a year ago after battling cancer, the song took on a whole new meaning. Bruce  sang it perfectly and he walked up to the front of the stage. I will never forget this moment: after he sang the line “Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true? Or it something worse?” He reached out and grabbed my hand for the next two lines. It was surreal, and after the song was over the”Brucebuds” around me congratulated me,  as if I did anything except stand there tearing up while holding Bruce’s hand!

The rest of the show was just as amazing, with many opportunities to high-five the Boss or put a hand on his boots. I can’t wait to download the live version of the concert so that I can hear my contribution to the guitar-playing during “Born to Run!” (Well, me and about ten other people!)  I’m still pinching myself to make sure that I really was staring straight up as he sang at the front mic. I couldn’t even take a ton of videos or  photos; I wanted to make sure I was taking it all in and was really immersed in the atmosphere.

Some of the many highlights were “Trapped,” “Prove it All Night” with the 78 intro, and “Bobby Jean.” I’m a Tom Morello fan, so I loved “Tom Joad” and Morello’s solo work on the song. Despite Little Steven and Patti’s absence, the ESB was rocking as always. The two girls who sang “Sunny Day” were GOOD and they had Bruce pull their parents on stage.  In my mind, my parents were by my side too.

The countdown begins

Posted: February 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

I’m as excited for this as I was for the reunion tour. Going for general admission this time. I’m 5’0″  and with my 5’0″ niece, I’m sure #brucebuds will part the way. Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 10.43.00 AM We are thinking: try for Pittsburgh and Albany is a lock.

A letter to my concert buddy

Posted: February 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

Dear Jean: I am writing more letters  to family members and friends and not just relying on electronic communication (thanks for the inspiration Gaslight Anthem and Brian Fallon).

Jean, I felt like writing to you today and since you’re my Springsteen concert buddy, I’ll do it here on my blog. Today is Friday, my day off since I work Sundays. Fridays were our day. When you got sick and couldn’t go to work I was lucky to spend my Fridays with you. Obviously, hanging with you was a real joy and as a bonus it helped me avoid things like grocery shopping, housework, laundry, etc. (You often said housework  can wait until later.)

I thought of you when I went cross country skiing this morning in Kinns Road park. I remember driving to your house, picking you up and bringing you out here so you could check cross country skiing off your very long bucket list. I was so nervous … you had just recovered from breaking your arm playing soccer and I was petrified you would fall. You did, of course, and when I reach the little hill where you fell I always laugh just like we did that day.

You probably keep good tabs on Bruce from where you are, maybe even hanging out with Clarence and Danny. Right now we are anxiously awaiting a tour announcement and so I’m trading texts with Amanda and we’ll get that train rolling again. She subbed in admirably for her mom when you were too sick to go to Hartford with us on  “Wrecking Ball” concert #3. She will continue to do so. My daughter Sarah, who helped me form Team Jean at the Boston University Relay for Life, will most likely join us too, with Mike and John, of course. (Sarah is vice president of BU Relay and also is a regional coordinator for all the New England colleges. Her team and her ideas have helped raised thousands, we are so proud of her.)

Bruce’s new album concludes with a song called “Dream Baby Dream.” It often makes me cry when I listen to it and think of you. (I sing “Dream Baby Jean.”)  It is so YOU! If your kids did a “Jean Bassett Songs of Inspiration Volume 2″ this would be centerpiece song. Our concert foursome saw Bruce perform this live during the “Devils and Dust Tour” (July 2005) in Albany. It was the final song of the night and a cover originally performed and written by a punk band called “Suicide.” I never acquired the bootleg but now I’ll be adding that show to my collection.

I know you will be singing “Dream Baby Dream” to John and the kids. I just know it.

I said goodbye to my good friend and Springsteen concert buddy this week.  Jean Marie, you lived an incredible 49 years.

Here are just a few words from her obituary:

Originally diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2009, she was faced with a prognosis of having four months to live when cancer spread to her brain in October 2010. The prognosis only reinforced her stubborn determination to live life to its fullest and fill her days with sunshine and chocolate. She traveled as extensively and as often as her treatment allowed, including trips to Hawaii, St. Maarten and a wonderful trip to Lourdes as guests of the Knights of Malta. She saw a Bruce Springsteen concert whenever possible and Springsteen’s “No Surrender” and “Waiting on a Sunny Day” were just a few of the themes she preached on her amazing Caring Bridge website, called Focus on the Positive. The site name was from an inspiring quote from the late Benjamin Stowell, a Blue Creek student who “taught her how to cope” with cancer.

While writing the obituary for my sister-in-law Jean on a beautiful sunny day one week ago, I sent emails back and forth to her oldest daughter, Amanda, who also is a Springsteen fan. The Word document we exchanged between us and other family members we called “Jean Bassett rocks.” Her family played Springsteen music at a wonderful family gathering after the funeral service and her husband John mentioned Springsteen in his eulogy. He talked about one of my favorite Springsteen adventures with Jean. In the midst of chemo treatment, she arranged a road trip for us and our husbands to drive 4 hours to Buffalo and back to see Bruce Springsteen during the final show of the 2009 “Working on a Dream” tour.  It was Little Steven’s birthday. It was Clarence Clemons last full band performance. Bruce did the entire “Greetings from Asbury Park,” his first album. He sung “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” My favorite blurry Bruce concert photo is below, with a Santa hat covering up Jean’s “beautiful bald head” as her husband John called it.

buffalo_show

Her daughter Amanda and I have been texting each other back and forth for years when a “Springsteen moment” came up. You know what those are: When you travel and spot a Springsteen license plate; when you wish E Street Radio would play a song and it magically is on air while you are riding in the car; when your mom’s Hospice caregiver is named Shirley E. Street.

A Springsteen moment I experienced in the weeks leading up to her death came full circle as I struggled with questions of “why?” Her elementary school students and teachers created a wonderful basket of hand-painted stones and presented them to Jean a few weeks ago. On a regular basis I spent Fridays with Jean, and when I saw the basket at her house, a stone painted her favorite color teal jumped out at me. It  said “No Surrender. Springsteen.” Here is a photo.

Nosurrender

Jean did not surrender to this disease. Then why was she taken?

Our wonderful priest, Father Butler, admired a different stone in this rock garden which was brought to the church as part of her memorial. He brought it up to the altar, mentioned it in his homily, and laid it upon her casket. Also designed using in her favorite color teal, the message was Psalm 46:10 and it said:

“Be still Jean, and know that I am God.”

He explained this to the packed church of family, friends and her students gathered to celebrate her life:

To be “still,” he said, means to “surrender” yourself to God. We might not know the answers to all our questions about her death, but if we surrender to God, we can find peace and strength. On her final days, she surrendered. And that is glorious and it brings me peace.

See you further on down the road, my friend.

be_still