Celebrating The Boss’s 63rd birthday with 60,000 or so other fans in New Jersey is quite the experience. We got started early, tailgated throughout the afternoon, and entered the “new Meadowlands” ready to go. With a huge storm moving directly over MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, the entire seating bowl was evacuated to the main corridors of the venue. Imagine around 60,000 people – most of them drunk and anxious – crammed into just a few narrow hallways waiting for some news, good or bad. The show was delayed for several hours, as the rain poured and the storm rolled. But spirits remained high, and over an hour into the delay, we were given the green light and proceeded to our seats. The experience seemed surreal.
Three hours after the scheduled start time, at 10:30pm, Bruce finally took the stage and got right to it. ‘Out in the Street’ kicked things off, and the place exploded for ‘Badlands’ not long after. Starting with ‘My City of Ruins’, about halfway into the set, things became a bit dull for me (it’s entirely possible I’m in the minority here) with some strange song selections and a lack of intensity. But it was the dude’s birthday, so I thought I’d give him another chance.
The encore was spectacular – an incredible ‘Thunder Road’ and even ‘Glory Days’! ‘Born to Run’ was as good as ever, and I still think you haven’t experienced live music until you’ve seen his anthem in the flesh. When the house lights fire up, you know it’s a real party. After a visit from Bruce’s mother and other family members, a guitar-shaped birthday cake was cut, and the entire crowd serenaded The Boss with ‘Happy Birthday’. And although I would have preferred ‘American Land’ to close it out, ‘Twist and Shout’ sent us all home in a fantastic fashion. This was at 1:55am, by the way.
I’ll never forget this one. Celebrating Bruce’s birthday with him and the E Street Band. With 60,000 other screaming fans, several members of my family, and my lovely wife. With a weather delay lasting several hours. With fireworks. With 33 songs and three-and-a-half hours of the restoration of humanity’s faith and belief in rock music. In New Jersey (!!!). Just awesome.