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Thread: The Boss at the Philly Library

  1. #1
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,561

    The Boss at the Philly Library

    Some meet the Boss — and are tongue-tied.

    No talking at the library

    By Jeff Gammage STAFF WRITER
    Sharon Colan, 72, of Southampton, Burlington County, was at a loss for words. CHARLES FOX / Staff

    An unidentified woman plants a kiss on the guest of honor — others did so, too.

    Joe Brooks holds biography and a phone with a picture of himself with Springsteen.

    Lynn Thames shows off the picture she took of herself with Springsteen.

    Springsteen jokes with a pregnant fan at the Free Library.CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer

    Joe Brooks had hoped for most of his life for a chance to meet Bruce Springsteen, and when that moment actually arrived Thursday, he leaned close and said:
    He couldn’t get the words out. It was too emotional.
    And then it was over, and the next fan was being ushered onto the riser.
    Karen Fox Noonan told Springsteen, “You really do have the diamond-hard look of a cobra,” referencing a line from his “It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City.”
    He laughed.
    Stacie Plank said to him, “Thank you for being my hero,” then broke down as she stepped away, overcome by the emotion of the moment. Such was the series of small, intimate-for-a-second interactions as Springsteen visited the Central Library of the Free Library of Philadelphia for a meet-and-greet with 1,200 ticketed fans.
    They got an autographed copy of his new autobiography, Born to Run, a chance to have their photo taken with him, and a moment to shake his hand or say a quick word.
    Springsteen, in black leather jacket and black jeans, had words for them, too.
    “Be strong,” he told Pearl Lorenz, 45, who is battling cancer.
    “Thank you,” she answered.
    To one man, he said, “Thanks for coming out,” as if it was the fan who was doing Bruce a favor.
    For most fans, it was over in six seconds. And that was enough. Plenty, in fact.
    To many of the people who waited in line in the rain, Springsteen and his music are not merely their lives’ sound track, but its compass.
    They know that among the millions who adore him, who buy his records and attend his concerts, and who in many cases have been doing so for decades, only a tiny fraction ever actually get to meet the man.
    That was the quandary Thursday. You’ve been granted a few seconds with Bruce. So what do you say?
    Do you say, Thanks for everything? Or I love you? Do you ask him about a particularly obscure lyric? Or do you simply stare, amazed at the moment?
    “I forgot to kiss him,” said Lynn Thames, 55, of Wynnewood, as she exited the library.
    Others remembered.
    “Can I kiss you on the cheek?” Debbie Heilbrunn asked Springsteen.
    “Sure,” he answered.
    And she did.
    Sharon Colan, 72, of Southampton, Burlington County, wanted to tell Springsteen that he’s agood parent. That he’s raised three lovely children, and he should be proud of that.
    “I couldn’t get the words out,” she said.
    Lots of people simply said thank you — for all the music and all the shows and all the years. Others brought tokens — photos taken at a concert years or decades ago, or from the time they ran into him on the street.
    Dallyn Pavey, 58, of Wayne, keeps pictures on her phone from the time in 1988 when Springsteen pulled her on stage as he sang “Dancing in the Dark.” She’s seen him about a hundred times in concert.
    And when she stood face to face with him on Thursday, she simply said, “Hey, Bruce.”
    Really, she asked afterward, what is there to say? She loves him. His fans love him. He knows that. And they know Bruce cares about them, too.
    He didn’t have to spend the day meeting people, several fans said. The book would be a best-seller without any personal promotion. But it was something nice he could do for his fans, something personal and meaningful.
    Of course not everyone got inside. Tickets had sold out in minutes.
    And so Joe Burns of Fishtown walked the wet sidewalks, asking everybody in line if they had an extra ticket they might spare.
    “I’m ‘working on a dream,’ ” he said.
    No one was sure how long the event would go on. Or at first, when Springsteen might show up — he had arrived 90 minutes early for a previous event in Freehold, N.J., where he grew up.
    On Thursday, he stepped into the Free Library just before 11:30 a.m., a half-hour before the scheduled starting time. The line outside stretched around the block.
    Bob Cappella, 54, was first.
    He drove in from of Pottsville, Pa., and stayed overnight in Philadelphia. On Thursday, unable to sleep, he got up, walked the streets at 5 a.m., and finally made his way to wait outside the library.
    The chance of a lifetime? No. It was much more rare. It was, as one fan described it, beyond the bucket list.
    In many cases, these were fans who for 40 years or more have been having a conversation with Springsteen in their heads. People who had “I Wanna Marry You” played at their weddings, and have “Thunder Road” — the acoustic version, of course — planned for their funerals.
    Brooks knows.
    The 50-year-old had a 22-second speech planned for the moment he met Springsteen. He timed it in advance, honing the exact words.
    He wanted to tell Springsteen that his music got him through a divorce. That it has bound him to his son in ways he could not imagine. That he’s grateful.
    And then, as he stepped onto the low platform, he froze.
    But, he said afterward, that’s OK.
    “When he means that much to you, to get a chance to be that close —,” he said. “Today was the period at the end of the sentence.”
    215-854-4906 @JeffGammag


  2. #2
    MIke R is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Stinson Lake - New Hampshire & Provincetown - Cape Cod Posts: 52,003

    Re: The Boss at the Philly Library

    so far I am really enjoying the book
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace" Jimi Hendrix

  3. #3
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 7,881

    Re: The Boss at the Philly Library

    That is very exciting to see the Boss at the local library there! Born in the U.S.A.!


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