Land Of Hope And Dreams

Bruce Springsteen and his wife Patti Scialfa after a show at the Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway.

I can’t let my Springsteen on Broadway experience pass without sharing some takeaways with you.
First, the show is remarkable.
The power. The passion. The sharing. The stories. The humor. The descriptions of life and landscapes are masterful.
And the music…well the music is sublime.

With the exception of two songs performed with his wife Patti Scialfa, the show is all Bruce. Just a piano and an acoustic guitar.
Bruce’s songwriting prowess often overshadows  his guitar playing but on the night we saw him we marveled at how his acoustic filled the Walter Kerr Theatre.

It’s a rich sound. Powerful. And it allowed him to change arrangements on songs giving them new texture and meaning.

The stories and themes that accompanied the music were a big part of the night. Bruce covered a lot of ground as he told his life story weaving in themes ranging from love and trust to parenthood and aging.
As he we all age…there’s a poignancy that comes with a Springsteen performance.
We know it won’t last forever.

We know we won’t last forever.

And so we appreciate the moments more, we savor the experiences, the feelings, the closeness and the love we have for not only the music (which is truly magnificent) but for the community this man and the E Street Band have created since 1973.

Last week, I wrote that Springsteen was about hope. And he is. But he’s also about community.
He’s worked hard to create it. He’s worked hard to scale it and he’s worked hard to deepen it and keep it going. There’s lessons to be learned from how he’s built and sustained a large tribe. There’s also lessons in why it’s meaningful to belong to…something.

Bruce closed the show with a story about returning to his hometown of Freehold, N.J. recently only to find a beloved childhood tree had been removed.
He was angry and saddened by the loss. But he also noticed that the roots system was still in place.

While the physical tree was gone, he felt the energy of the tree was very much intact.

He concluded with a prayer and a wish that the community he had built, the music he had created, would hopefully live on. Much like the roots system of the tree.
As I reflect on the show, I realized that I just loved this message.

In many ways we all try to build communities, families, businesses, works of art, relationships and more. It’s imperfect, it’s lifelong and sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail. But we hope it adds up to something. We hope it means something. I’m sure it does.

We also hope it lasts, even if we know that we won’t.

Bruce talked about the magic of his legendary E Street. How when you experience magic–one plus one somehow equals three. How true.

And so I thought back on my life and my friends. How when it clicks you can move mountains, make lasting memories with good friends, create a family, start entrepreneurial ventures, grow organizations and touch lives.
That’s what it’s all about: striving for magic, working hard to make it happen, taking risks and enjoying the journey knowing that there’s pain, loss and setbacks but love, joy and passion too.

In the song “Land of Hope and Dreams”  Bruce sings of a mythical train where there is room for everyone. You don’t need a ticket, you just climb aboard. The destination is a land of hope and dreams, a place where we all find love, acceptance and freedom.

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