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behind the scenes

Posted on 06 May 2009 by Caryn Rose (2)

HELLO PEOPLE COMING FROM CRAIGSLIST IN DENVER. The ticket seller is full of shit. He has crappy club level seats he paid too much money for and now regrets having. I had front row seats in the first level behind the stage. Don’t buy his stupid tickets.

==

I scored two tickets behind the stage, in Roy’s corner, at 11:20am the morning of the Nassau Coliseum show. We sat in traffic for an hour and a half, parked illegally, picked up the tickets at will call, and literally threw the people who had bogarted our seats out one second before the lights went down.

When the lights came up for Badlands, that’s when I realized that we were almost practically on the fucking stage.

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These seats were released at 11:20am because that was right after load in and they could see whether or not these had to be blocked or listed as obstructed. There were only two seats in the row, which was ideal for us. (We don’t like people.) I’ve been in the pit before, I’ve had my elbows on the stage back in Rising, and I’ve even been behind the stage before – but this was something else. It takes a lot to have me in a state of total freak out the entire time at a Springsteen show, but these seats did it. Maybe if we had gotten there before the show started and I’d had some time to get used to the idea, it would have been completely different.

I had the presence of mind to bring my camera, and you can see all the photos on Flickr.

I’m not going to review the show here (yet), but what I did want to talk about was what it’s like to sit behind the stage. The sound was great. You give up some front views, but if you’ve seen the show before, you know what’s going on, and the stage is open enough, and the band turns around enough, that you don’t feel like you’re missing anything.

Things you can only get good views of from behind the stage:
–Max drumming (We did not have Jay Weinberg which was a blessing)
–Roy’s hands on the keyboard

Yeah, you see Max drumming from the front, but from the side, there’s nothing in the way. He has a tiny little video monitor over to the side, so he can see what it looks like out front. The boyfriend thinks it’s so he can see the signs (more on that in a bit) but I found it fascinating. I also want to know what video screen can put up with the potential punishment from a drummer hitting it repeatedly.

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(if you look at the normal size photo, there’s a note on the picture that shows you where the video screen is)

Roy on the piano is probably something that we in our geekiness love more than anything else. I am a wannabe piano player, sure, but just in terms of watching the best musician in E Street play up close and personal, we were just spoiled. There’s just something beautiful about it.

The signs. So we could see HIS view of the signs. Watch him walk down along the front and pick them out. We could see ALL of them. And then he gathers them up, brings them back, and drops them on the floor next to Max. Then he starts moving them around with his foot, picks out a couple. He took two – Mony Mony and A Little Bit of Soul – and tossed them down the stairs to Kevin, which meant that he wanted them to look up the lyrics and have them on the prompter while he sang the other songs. I swear, he picked the “For You” sign (you lose points for having another song on the the other side. Man or woman up, pick a song and stick with it) because it was sturdily constructed and would prop up against the mic stand nicely. (Because, frankly, I think it’s a lousy sign interlude choice. But hey.)

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The guitar tossing to Kevin is a thrill no matter when it happens. No, I did not get a shot of that.

The arrangement with the sponge in the plastic bucket: you’ve seen him do this, he walks over to that side of the drum riser and sticks his face in this square plastic dish. But the SPONGE that he uses in various capacities is in that bucket too. As I said in my comment on the Flickr page for the photo, “I’m just still not sure how sanitary this entire arrangement is.”

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Other backstage antics: one of the guitar techs has a feed of the prompter.

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Landau came out during “American Land,” which gave us something to do.

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And although I’ve seen it from out front, when Bruce came over to Clarence after Jungleland, he touches his elbow and pats him on the back once and probably says something like ‘Good job,’ this is the moment when I totally lost my shit. Because Clarence is old, Bruce is old, we’re all old, and god knows how much longer we’re going to actually see that happen.

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*I have never been so glad that they finally backed off the gestapo stance on cameras and camera phones. I kept waiting for someone to come up and bust me but there were people even more blatant than I was, so I just realized that they really did relax their stance on this and took enough pictures to be happy I have them without spending the entire show holding a camera. I first noticed this in Philly, at the start of the show when we were still at the soundboard. I kept waiting for security to come through and knock down the cameras blocking my view, but it didn’t happen. (And then we got upgraded [LEGALLY] so it wasn’t an issue, or I would have been knocking them down myself.) Given that I still harbor resentment for Springsteen security confiscating my brand new memory card in 2000 (when they were EXPENSIVE) when I was taking photos in row Z in Oakland (and had Bridge that weekend still to shoot so I had to replace it on the road), I feel this is some karmic payback time.

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2 Responses to “behind the scenes”

  1. Mark says:

    We had similar seats in Charlottesville last year–front row on the side, right behind Roy. I’ve seen dozens of Springsteen shows, but that was by far the best vantage point ever. Being able to watch Max and Roy at work, and to see the crew doing its thing backstage (including starting to break down the stage even as the encores rolled!) was fascinating.

  2. jean says:

    Wow, this is cool. Love seeing the signs as they’re viewed from the stage. Great ticket luck…I’m worn out from reading about your recent shows. I don’t know how you do it. Thanks for sharing this.