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7th Of December, Asbury Park: Inside the Carousel House

Posted on 15 December 2010 by Caryn Rose (10)

leaving oz

The contest was announced on Friday: enter to be an audience member at an exclusive Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band (emphasis on E STREET BAND) video taping on Tuesday, December 7th, for a Springsteen webcast to be broadcast at a future date. Obviously, I entered; it was likely that this would be the only such sighting in 2010. I spent all Monday night hitting refresh on my phone, waiting to hear if I’d won, which I didn’t; only 15 people out of 2500+ entries got in. While it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve stood on the boardwalk in the cold hoping for a miracle, I wasn’t heading down the Shore this time without a way in; it was too uncertain, due to the small space, and it was too goddamn cold. The phone call extending me a way in came at 10:09am the next day; we had to be in Asbury by no later than 2:30. I put on tights, wool socks, jeans, tank top, thermal, long sleeve shirt, short sleeved shirt, sweater, hood, two scarves, a coat and a wool hat. (If you think this is unnecessary detail, you have clearly never stood in December cold in Asbury Park waiting for some Bruce Springsteen event.)

We left at 12:15, hearts pounding the whole way that there wouldn’t be an accident or construction or a flock of sheep crossing the road or something, anything preventing us from getting there by check-in time. We parked near the Stone Pony at 1:30 and made our way over to the group of fans congregating next to the parking lot adjacent to the carousel. There was a drop line of at least 90 folks (that was the highest number I saw written on someone’s hand), but alas, no one was getting in this time. At 2:30, the guests and contest winners were herded into a pen next to a rental truck in the parking lot, and Lil (who you may know from Convention Hall shows) started calling names and checking ID’s. Then they checked them again, and finally gave us bright green wristbands.

We were walked into the casino around 3pm. As we walked by the people waiting and hoping, we were actively booed. The SO said it felt like a perp walk, and he was not far off. We were taken into a room between the space you can walk through on the boardwalk and the carousel house, where the arcade used to be, if you remember back that far.  I remember the carousel, and the Casino; I used to play on a KISS pinball machine in the arcade, and know I rode on the carousel at least once or twice. The roof has been fixed and the walls have been patched but otherwise, we were standing in a ruin. The last time I was in this space was 1987. There are ghosts here, I am sure of it, and to add to the oddness, the E Street Band are on the other side of that wall, playing music.

The space was unheated but we were, gratefully, out of the cold. Jackets start to come off. We were told we were going to stand there because the band was still rehearsing. George Travis (Springsteen security honcho) explained that we would need to stay here for a while but that they were going to bring in a monitor so we could watch; we could hear perfectly fine. The monitor was about the size of a 12″ color tv, but we appreciated the effort. They also brought out folding chairs and bottled water. Everyone seemed a little wary to accept the hospitality because who’s accustomed to being treated with kindness by concert security?

I didn’t want to avidly watch the footage on the monitor – not that it was easy to do – but I did see Steve and Bruce do a great James Brown shtick with the cape and the “I can’t do this no more” during of “Talk To Me,” using what looked like one of Steve’s horrible flowered shirts. (Although it could also have been Bruce’s, I’ve seen him in some terrible prints too.) We could see that there was a 5 person horn section. We could see that Max had shaved off that dreadful goatee. I still knew that no matter what I saw or heard it wasn’t going to matter or ruin what it would be like when we were inside. I did not know how right I would be. At this point, in my mind, we are still going to be an audience, either standing in front of a stage or sitting in seats or something similar. To be honest, my biggest worry – besides surviving the cold – was that they would hire professional extras and this would end up being another ‘Shine A Light’ scenario (where my friends who were ginormous Stones fans found themselves shut out of the Beacon or stuck in the last row of the third tier, while professional models who couldn’t tell you if “Jiving Sister Fanny” was a real or fake song title were dancing in the front row with Mick). This was not something I should have worried about for half a second.

When the band finished rehearsing, George Travis started bringing small groups into the carousel house. As we stepped through the opening in the wall (I’m not going to call it a door), we were greeted by a blast of hot air, and Max Weinberg saying, “Well, hello there!” The former carousel space, along with the rest of the Casino, has been abandoned for many years, but the carousel house has been revived in recent years and used for pumpkin sales, movie screenings and small theater productions. The band was set up in the center of the space, and the cameras were in place in front of the stage area. I assumed we would just be standing somewhere in front, so imagine my surprise when we were directed to walk across the stage, between Max’s drum riser and Roy & Garry’s riser. “But that’s the stage,” I said. “That’s okay,” said George, “You can go there.” I still didn’t believe him, really, but gingerly made my way across the stage. Our group was positioned behind Max’s drum riser, and to the edge of the riser the horn section would be on. Literally feet away. Other people were behind Roy and Garry’s riser, still others in the front. There were family members and other VIP’s over on each side. Now, you might think the backstage view would be bad, but you would be wrong. The only way you have ever stood in that location was to be a member of the band or the crew – even if you were at Tramps for the Greatest Hits video you were still standing below a stage. The disadvantage to our position was that we could not see Bruce when he was at the mic, but the absolute proximity to everything – the fact that you were STANDING ON THE STAGE WITH THE E STREET BAND -  was so overwhelming that it just didn’t matter.

For the record, it was not cold, at all, inside the carousel house. That was my number one question about the whole thing when it was announced, warning us that it wouldn’t be cozy warm like a Convention Hall event, because I knew without the shadow of a doubt there was no way the E Street Band was going to perform in the freezing cold of December right next to the ocean. Of course, we were all dressed for warmth because we had been warned to be dressed for warmth – I tipped my hat to anyone who was fashionably dressed but I was in multiple long sleeve black shirts and jeans with big pockets so I didn’t have to worry about a purse. People began removing layers. We stashed our coats underneath the horn riser – me not wanting to do so without explicit permission because I was still like a deer in headlights that it was okay to be there. We were encouraged to do so, even, so there wasn’t a huge pile of coats in the shot. I didn’t want to breathe too hard on an equipment case, let alone put things under other things, but no one had a problem with it.

This is the moment when I understood why there were so few people who won the contest. I can tell you with certainty that there was no room for any more people than they already had in there, and that there were probably a few too many people. There was the fixed camera on a track along the front of the stage, and two handicam guys, and other people walking around with things like the cord for the big camera on the track and a device that I can only imagine was some kind of light meter for one of the cameras, and then roadies needed to get through to do various things like plug in plugs that came out again. (Harry, Max’s roadie, had a major problem happen with a kicked-out cord, which impacted Max’s ability to talk to Harry and to hear his click track, that had to have been accidentally caused by an audience member being moved around.) We also needed room to step back and move out of the way of all of these people and yet more people involved in the production, in addition to all of the regular road crew, which could not have happened if it was packed solid. Additionally, Adele was there with a large family contingent. I know that if you were shut out you will not believe me and you will insist that more people could have been fit in if they tried, but having stood on the outside looking in before myself, it is not like there was bags of room that they willfully refused to fill with fans. There was a lot of equipment and the entire E Street Band with a 5-person horn section plus David Lindley in there. Bruce kept referring to an audience of 59 – it was probably a tiny bit more than that, but I could be wrong.

The other quirk of our position was that we had a direct view of the prompter, which wasn’t at Bruce’s feet but was instead a large tv against the back wall of the space. So we could see every word. It can be distracting, you have to will yourself not to watch it. Even if you know the words it is tempting to follow it. It is also distracting in the case where you might not be fond of a particular lyric. (“Walking on the wild side/running down a one way street” not being one of my all-time faves, for example.)

The handwritten setlist was on Max’s tech’s desk, which was right next to where we were standing, and I willed myself to not look. Yes, we’d heard some of the songs rehearsed but had no idea what would make the final taping. We could also see the first song on the prompter and see the sheet music – smaller, like 2/3 of a page sheets that look like charts Max wrote for himself – propped up on his drum riser because we were standing FIVE FEET AWAY. You know Max’s kit is small but standing behind it, it seems completely inadequate to produce the noise necessary to power E Street. We note with wonder that Max’s IEM’s are plugged into his drum stool and then a cord runs through the riser and around a board and over to his roadie’s desk.

We had wondered if Bruce would sing the 78 “Racing” with the 78 lyrics and the prompter unfortunately confirmed that by displaying the first verse when we were positioned. I’m of two disparate minds about the 78 racing. Part of me thinks “why is he singing this version, it’s so different, augh I hate it, you’re disturbing my understanding of this song”. It’s so much brighter, it’s a different song. I would also argue that it’s a lyrically weaker version. I don’t understand why he sings it. Then on the flip side I understand presenting an alternate version and it fills my heart up in a different way than the one I have known and loved for 32 years.

Having David Lindley there to recreate his parts was a nice touch. I have to say, after being immersed in the 78 band format with the box set and the paramount and the live show and then today, I don’t miss the patti/suzie/backup singers and I do not find myself missing Nils. I really don’t. I am not anti-Patti by any means, and I have loved Nils as part of the band from the day he set foot on the E Street stage, but there is something so – lean and taut and muscular about the the sound and the performances with the stripped-down band, and I like it a lot. I would not be upset if he toured with the band in this format. I would actually be delighted, to tell you the truth.

Every song was done twice. From where we were standing initially, it was tough to hear what Bruce was saying, whether it was to the band or joking with the audience or talking with Thom Zimny. There was some rearranging of the fans after the first take, Landau himself coming out to move people around – guys who were too tall, someone who wore a suit, someone else with a white shirt on (it was Mary-Ellen’s communiTEE from 1999 if you remember that). You were a smart cookie if you wore black or dark clothing.  No logos. No type, even the guy in the FREEHOLD FOOTBALL shirt was asked to turn it insideout and backwards.  There was some small glee on our part that the guy wearing the Phillies hat had to remove it. They continued to rearrange people throughout the shoot in order to give everyone a turn and probably for visual interest as well for the cameras.

Everything onstage is black. The risers. The band’s clothes. Their shoes. The solo cups for drinks. The tissue box for Bruce. The CABLE TIES. None more black.

The horns came out for “Gotta Get This Feeling.” We couldn’t hear them in the first take, and clearly, neither could Bruce, because the first thing he asked for at the end of the song was for more horns in the monitor. The horn section was Eddie Manion, Curt Ramm, Clark Gayton, and two other guys that no one knew. The SO asked Ed Manion who the other two horn players were before the show started, and if I cared about this as much as he did, I would include their names here (it will obviously make the printed piece in the magazine). It had been driving everyone crazy that there was a trumpet player that no one knew. Ed Manion was down at our end. It was pretty cool to be that close to the horns, and utterly amazing that they were there, at least for a woman who wants him to tour with horns all the time.

“Outside Looking In” was next. Steve clearly muffed something during the song, judging by the looks on his face as he turned around and rolled his eyes. (There would be a lot of those looks throughout the evening.) Bruce’s comment at the end of the first take was that they were going to do it again so they could get the ending right, that someone was “entranced by the excellence of the E Street Band, and you forget what you remember!” (I am also told I have the quote wrong, that it’s “you forget that you’re a member” but I stand by my version)

Even though I couldn’t hear what the guys in the band were saying to each other half the time, it didn’t matter. Just watching Bruce and Clarence crack up while talking to each other was enough, watching Roy and Garry laughing hard, watching inaudible conversations accompanied by laughter. It was like being inside the Blood Brothers DVD. There were also the performance intricacies, watching Bruce come over and conduct the end of the song with Max. You’ve seen this if you’ve ever sat behind the stage, or at the side of the stage, but he was all of 5 feet away and the subtleties were bigger, more obvious, more important. Saying ‘one,” pointing with his hand, bringing the guitar up, bringing his heel down. I think about him talking about going to the Satellite Lounge to watch Sam Moore and understand what he was watching. Watching Garry clearly cuing himself off of Max. There was so much of this kind of thing, the working together E Street Band detail that I could watch for hours and hours. No, I couldn’t see Bruce, but it wasn’t like there wasn’t anything else to just stare at open-mouthed (when I could manage to wipe the ginormous smile off my face, that is).

“Come On Let’s Go Tonight” was introduced by Bruce talking about how the 70′s had an “enormous ending and an enormous beginning” with the death of Elvis and the birth of punk rock, and that Darkness was “filled with the ghost of punk music to come. “  The SO calls this the Factory & Johnny Bye Bye mashup. There were also two takes for this song.

“Save My Love ” was next, which was like – hey! a fast song! a song we know better than the other ones! It was a little bit of a respite. Before the second take, Bruce takes the steps that are at the back of Roy’s riser and moves them – himself – next to Max’s riser. The SO thinks he’s going to use it to climb on the riser, I think he’s going to prop his foot on it, but no one really knows. On the second take, Bruce addresses the crowd in front of the stage (and keep in mind when I say ‘stage’ I mean “the black carpet on the floor of the carousel house” – there was no stage, we were all on the same level, except for the risers for Max and Roy and the horns) and asks if they can handle some stage direction, and that at the end of the song he wanted them to come up onto the stage. Then he turns around and asks the people behind the stage if we’re in. You can imagine the reaction was enthusiastic, but the truth is that we didnt know exactly what he wanted us to do. This is Bruce and E Street, not some straight edge band playing at a house party surrounded by the audience who paid $5 to get in. I would know what to do there, I don’t know what the rules are here and FSM knows I don’t want to do something wrong and get thrown out.

But sure enough, when the band goes into the instrumental break at the end of the song, Bruce comes over to Max’s riser and climbs the stairs and gestures at the crowd and we all come out and stand six inches around the drum riser, RIGHT THERE, there is Max hitting the drums and there is Bruce playing the esquire, and the esquire is two feet away from me, and this all made my OMG I AM STANDING ON STAGE WITH THE E STREET BAND freakout I had at the beginning of this whole thing pale in comparison.

And then it ended, and believe it or not, everyone made jokes with Max about “Hi. Now get off my stage’ and politely filed off the stage in the order we came in and went back to our spots and stood there vibrating with OMG THAT WAS AMAZING I CAN’T BELIEVE WE JUST DID THAT. Every single person. No one was too cool for this school. Also, I should note that not only were people enthusiastic there was also a zero asshole quotient. There was polite applause at the end of every song but there was no bellowing, there was no BRUUUUCCEEEing, there was no interrupting Bruce’s stage patter with some irrelevant BLERGHGHGH that ensures that no one who wants to listen gets to hear what he’s saying.

“Brokenhearted” followed. I have to say that this is not one of my favorite songs. That was until I was standing there, listening to Bruce sing that last refrain over and over again in that soul shouter voice, the one he used when he sang with Sam Moore, and the horn section is there, and you are not standing in Asbury Park, you are standing in Memphis, or Muscle Shoals, and I closed my eyes because it was just too much after a while, and I wanted to take the music in starting with my toes. Of course, Bruce doesn’t like the take, and wants to do it again. Steve walks over and starts to give direction to the horn section. Now, one of my favorite pieces of Springsteen history is the story about Stevie coming up to the horns during the Born To Run sessions and singing their parts to them, and Bruce saying ‘He’s in the band’. It’s one thing to know this, intellectually, because it’s history; it’s another *entirely* to watch Stevie do something where he’s actually being serious and being the gigantic talent that Steve Van Zandt actually is. It’s one of those things I would say was on my Springsteen bucket list except that it’s the b version of the list, the list of things that you won’t even put on a list because you don’t believe they will ever actually happen (like Bono and Bruce onstage together, or “Higher & Higher,” – you get the idea.). And they do it again, and Bruce is having issues with the lighting, he’s giving very specific direction there as well for the end of the song, how he wants it framed, how he wants it lit. And they do it again, and Stevie is conducting the horns from across the stage in the half darkness, and oh my god! This thing is huge! This thing is enormous! These were songs he THREW OUT, remember? And they’re from 30 years ago.

Bruce does not like the ending and does it two more times until he’s satisfied with the horns and the lighting and the shot and then there’s a break. The band put down their instruments and stand in the middle of the stage, chatting like we’re not even there. That’s when George Travis comes up to us and says “We’re switching, but you can’t take notes in front”. He takes the people who were right behidn the stage and switches us with the people who were in front of the stage, but behind the camera track. As we walk through the stage (again), we have to walk right past the band. We say hi to Max again as we stroll by, we say hi to Garry, we say an especially warm hi to Clarence, standing there with crutches – he moved a little slowly but I thought his energy was good. We greet them as though they are neighbors and we see them every day of our lives.  It was starting to feel less surreal, but in many ways even more surreal. We had no idea how surreal it was going to get.

Since we’d spent every song except the first take standing behind people, we felt no guilt situating ourselves front and center. We get our places sorted out, and the band are still chatting and taking a break. Bruce takes a stroll over to the group that is clearly family/VIP’s, chats with them. He comes over to our group. Someone says that they had gone to Cleveland before the Grushecky show in Pittsburgh to see the Esquire in the HOF and it wasn’t there. the SO asks him if he’d seen the exhibit, Bruce said no, but his mother had. (Adele was right up front for a huge portion of the set, smiling big and rocking out. I do not know how she does it.) The SO says, well, most of it came from her, and I mention how I especially enjoyed the letter that Robert Hilburn sent to Adele, apologizing for not sending her the clips of his reviews of Bruce’s concerts fast enough. Bruce asks me to explain it again, and I do. He says, “That’s in there?” Yes it is. There was also a conversation between the SO & Bruce about the horns. The SO says “The horns are great, you should bring them on tour.” Bruce says, very emphatically, “There isn’t going to be a tour.” “I know, but I mean the next one.” (The SO’s comment after he walked away: “I don’t want an autograph, I don’t want a picture, I just want to tell you how I think you should do your job.”) Bruce walked around talking to other VIP’s, and then went behind the stage to talk to that crowd there.  It was like being at a wedding or something – I do not mean to imply that we were the only ones who had interaction with the man, because everyone seemed to. We were somewhere in this weird zone between being invited guests and being ticket holders. Springsteen security and staff could not have been nicer to everyone.

And then, the show started again. The first song is “Aint Good Enough For you”. They do a take, and Bruce is clearly frustrated, trying to walk around, get some crowd interaction – but he can’t, the shots have been blocked and the cameras are fixed and he can’t interact with the crowd as much as he’d like to, although he tried, coming across the camera track and singing to an attractive blonde woman standing next to me. When the song is over, Bruce comments that this is a song that needs singers, but that they don’t have any singers in this band, that they used to have microphones but they took them away. Clarence protests. Bruce relents and says that Clarence is actually okay. He then inventories the rest of the band, that Garry could sing if pressed into service,  that Max and Roy had to take a singing test before joining the band. (There is much, much laughter from all parties accompanying this semi-tirade.) I don’t remember what he said about Steve singing, but you and I could probably imagine what he’d say about the vocal stylings of Miami Steven Van Zandt. He says, “We need singers,” and the next thing I know he is telling us to move up in front of him. So we step across the camera track and I am now standing in front of Bruce Springsteen’s microphone. Stevie suggests that he sing on the piano, Bruce comments that it seems like a very long time to be “situated up there”. He sings. We sing. He sings. He puts the mic out for us, repeatedly. He stands on top of the monitors and sings to us. He gets on top of the piano towards the end and beckons us to come up to the riser. We do. He sings the last verse up there, holding the mic out to us for the Jimmy Iovine line, which the SO – who cannot sing – nails loudly, which cracked Bruce up. (He had changed the lyric to “Mr. Landau” during the first take, and even Bruce knew that didn’t work.) It reminded me of that legendary introduction to “Double Shot of My Baby’s Love” where Bruce explains about fraternity rock and points out that on those records, the audience was louder than the band.

I still cannot believe that we are standing as close to Bruce as we are and interacting with him as much as we are. It was a controlled environment, sure, of people whose names were all known to the organization, but there wasn’t any visible heavy-handed security; the most that happened was that Kevin came out and took away Bruce’s harmonicas and cups off of the drum riser once he understood that there was going to be regular traffic around that area. Anyone could have taken anything, touched anything, been inappropriate – and not one person was. It would have taken just one person to ruin it for everyone and no one did a goddamn thing. No one touched a mic, no one grabbed at a guitar, nothing. I don’t know if there just weren’t any assholes there, or if they were just off their game because everyone else was so clearly on their best behavior so they wouldn’t dare. All I know is that it would have taken one person to break the magic and that didn’t happen. This is another reason they kept the crowd so small – you couldn’t have done that if there were many more people (although we were still just damn lucky that there wasn’t an idiot in the bunch). Bruce kept testing us, and we kept acing the test, so he kept increasing the crowd participation, and we kept doing the right thing. It was pure luck that everyone was so awesome.

We go back to our spots, and it’s time for “The Promise”. It is time for FULL BAND “The Promise.” I am trying hard to not break the fuck down totally and lose it hearing full band “The Promise for the very first time standing four feet away from the E Street Band and I am not doing very well at it. It is one thing to cry silently in the dark standing in your spot in an arena, it’s another to do it when Bruce is reading the teleprompter right over your head behind you. IF you heard me on E Street Radio the Sunday before the record came out, it was the first time I had heard the full band take (or that I remember, I am sure I heard some demo at some point a gazillion years ago back in the bootleg collecting days) and all I could say was, How could he not give that to us sooner? It would have saved lives, caused marriages, solved world peace, babies would have been born. It is still all of those things, it is more than all of those things, and it makes me tear up right now just trying to write about it. It is another thing off the impossible bucket list.

I turn around after the second take to see what lyrics are on the prompter to see what the next song is, and – “Talk To Me”? Really?? “Bring back the horns!!” says one of our number as they walk back out. I think Bruce was surprised by our reaction to this song, how well we all knew it, how into it the crowd was. It was another one where we were called back up to the stage and there is a point during the song where he is balancing on the monitor RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME and I am kind of dizzy and thinking, how did I get here? I am the girl who used to get shoved into the lockers at Westhill High School for having BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AND THE E STREET BAND written on my notebook. I am the woman who gave up Bruce when a relationship turned bad and lost all of my collection and couldn’t listen for the longest time because there were too many other memories. I am standing here right now in Asbury Park and I am so close to Bruce I can smell him and touch him (his arm was very soft, as I helped him balance on the monitor – hey, the SO helped Steve up on the drum riser at one point during this insanity, and plenty of other people interacted similarly) and I am singing “Talk To Me” and worrying that I am mixing up the Bruce lyrics with the Southside lyrics but then realize that Stevie is singing the Southside lyrics so it doesn’t matter. I also believe that I am floating on little tiny foot-shaped clouds at that moment, or at least that’s what it feels like. At the end of the song, Bruce runs back to the drum riser and climbs on top and beckons that we should follow. We do, but now Garry and Stevie are trapped, surrounded by audience, as they sing together at Stevie’s mic. Bruce calls for Steve to come join him and the crowd parts and he comes over and next thing I know, the SO is helping him up, and then the two of them are up there, surrounded by all of us. Bruce hands his mic to a 7 year old kid (he was with the family group) and he panics and hands it to his brother, who equally panics and tries to hand it to me. They finally gave it to the SO who hung onto it until the end of the song (wisely not attempting to sing) and gave it back to Bruce as though this was something he did every day of his life. If only these were the kinds of things we could put on our resumes.

The song finishes, and once again, everyone dutifully just heads back to their spaces. You would think that people would fight and shove and push or there would be someone who just had to be a jerk, but it just didn’t happen. Crew members come out with a basket of Santa hats and hands one to each of us, and Bruce asks us to put them on, and asks if we can keep them – he is told yes – and cracks a joke about being a memory we’d forget on Tuesday. I know it’s going to be Blue Christmas because we heard them rehearse it, but it’s a different version, he’s trying to make it funky instead of the Elvis almost-Hawaiian version, and it’s tough, they’re not getting it. They get through a version but Bruce wants another one, he and Steve go over the chords for a few minutes, and they kick in again. Bruce tells us to come up to the front of the stage again at the end. By the time that actually happened, I was not rushing anywhere. I had been so close already so many times and the camera was in my way and I wasn’t going to knock anyone down to get there, and I was happy to have, oh, two people in front of me. It was fine. It was more than fine. It was overwhelming. I was starting to overdose in some fashion (HA).

And then it is over, and he is thanking everyone, and I am thanking George Travis and asking him how I can get my coat, which was stored under the horn riser, and he walks me back through the stage just as Bruce is shaking hands with everyone, saying no to autographs or photos but agreeing to handshakes with everyone, every single person, bar none, hugging every woman who asked for a hug, and I say “oh, FUCK IT” and get in line and tell Bruce that today was my anniversary and that we had met at the Christmas shows in 2003 and I wanted to thank him, and then I got my hug and realize I need to still get my coat. I am sorry I did not get a chance to go over to Roy or Garry and tell them how that sitting over Roy’s left shoulder is probably my favorite place to see a show, and how much I love them in the band and have always loved them in the band and I realize that it is impossible for me to ever say everything I would want to say to Roy Bittan and Garry W. Tallent but then again, did I think I would ever have a month in my life where I had multiple conversations with Bruce Springsteen? So anything is still possible.

We are vibrating with energy and emotion as we make our way out of the Carousel and into the cold and across the street and somehow find the car (I just followed the SO because I did not remember where we were parked). I called friends who did not get in and apologized for how much they would now hate us. Dinner and coffee ground us some, but the drive home felt like seconds, us talking a mile a minute the entire way, and I was still sitting and vibrating as I wrote this at 2am. I did not know how I could possibly sleep, and found myself tossing and turning until well after 4. Who would want this night to end?

I can’t believe they are only releasing five songs. I wish they would just put the whole thing together and release it as a download on iTunes. THINK ABOUT IT, MR. LANDAU

P.S. Now that I’ve had a chance to watch the webcast – I am wearing a grey knit beret, which I didn’t take off because my hair looked terrible after having been under a grey knit beret for an hour or two. Most notably you can see me during “Ain’t Good Enough For You”.

Picture 6

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10 Responses to “7th Of December, Asbury Park: Inside the Carousel House”

  1. Byron says:

    I can’t wait to be able to see the footage (I’m in Europe, VEVO is region locked, grrr). In the meantime, this will suffice as a terrific account of the event; thank you so much for writing it in such great detail, it sounds like yet another perfect E Street Band experience. I had mine various times in Italy, Spain and London – a request on my the occasion of my wedding, a chat with Bruce – and I know exactly what that energy and emotion feel like. The elation comes across wonderfully in your writing.
    Not only that, but also Phillies fans being made to remove their caps puts the icing on the cake!
    I love your blog – keep up the good work.
    Cheers,
    Irene (of Fuck Yeah! The Boss tumblr, Italian, Mets fan)

  2. Leann says:

    Once again Caryn, thank you! Reading this was a teeny bit like being there.

  3. brucemoll says:

    Hey there, really jealous!! you sound as though you had a dream night. Watching the stream now – excellent and thanks so much for sharing your experience

  4. Barbara from Md says:

    Thanks so much! I remember you that nite as I was also there. I actually was very close to you between Gary and Max. Check out my Carousel Experience on BTX. Wish we could’ve met. We hung out at Stella Marina across the street. Bruce was also there.No one bothered him, it was real cool. You expressed a lot of the same feelings that I had. I was tearful during “Save your Love”. It was quite surreal . Everything you said was right on. Everyone was very cool. It was a little weird not knowing exactly how to behave, as we were being filmed.I did get to talk to Bruce at the end and kiss him on the cheek. I actually was one of the callers on the Sirius interview. I don’t know what I did to deserve this, I guess it was my time. I think we were all chosen to be there for a reason. Maybe it was what we all needed at that specific time in ou rlife.

  5. Cary S says:

    Caryn, this could not have been a more satisfying account of a perfect Bruce / E Street Band encounter if it had been written as fiction. Thanks for your gorgeous writing to bring it to life for all of us who weren’t there.

  6. Patty P says:

    Thank you – that was a fabulous write-up, and I lived vicariously (well, as much as anyone could during this kind of experience) through it with you! Wow!!!

  7. Jerry says:

    You wrote: “someone else with a white shirt on (it was Mary-Ellen’s communiTEE from 1999 if you remember that).”

    Hi Caryn — that was me. Apparently I was standing right next to you (and F), between Max’s riser and the horns, for part of the first half of the show. I can’t believe it! Since we’ve never actually met, despite our past interactions, I didn’t recognize you.

    That t-shirt makes me very visible during the last 2 minutes of Ain’t Good Enough for You. Early on I was told by the “director” that my light t-shirt made me stand out on the film too much (“good for you, bad for us”), and I had to put on my black leather jacket, but that still left a large light upside-down triangle shining in the camera (you can see this in the video of Racing in the Street 78) so they asked me to wear someone’s dark sweat shirt. (Actually, it appears to me that the Racing video is an edit of the 2 takes of the song, because sometimes you see that light triangle on me, and sometimes not, and I’m in 2 different spots.)

    Anyway, when they moved us to the front, George (I think) came over to me and told me that since I won’t be on camera any more, I no longer need to wear the dark sweatshirt, and he needed it for someone else, who had just been moved to the back. So I was back in just my light t-shirt. And then Bruce invited us in for Ain’t Good Enough for You.

    Bruce was on Roy’s piano, and a bunch of us were right in front of them. I was at the back of that group. Immediately behind me, a few inches behind me, Steve and Garry shared Steve’s mic singing. Bruce came off the piano, through the “crowd”, and joined them, and we all turned around — putting me basically just about with Bruce, Steve, and Garry. If I had leaned forward a few inches, I coulda been singing with them. That’s all captured on the video, clearly visible because of the t-shirt.

    I’m glad you repeatedly wrote what you did about the people there, and how we were treated by Bruce’s people. I don’t know if you bothered to read the comments on BTX, but among the generally positive comments were a few people really lambasting the audience for being dull and dead, and one person who claimed to be there who said that the audience was like a dog that was beat too much and was just trying to stay out of the way. Sick.