I really adore my friends. They each have something unique about them that makes me smile and for my friend Greg, one of those things is his sincere admiration and deep respect for Bruce Springsteen. This past weekend, he saw his 100th Bruce Springsteen show!! I asked him a few questions before and after the concert. Take a look.
Lauren Ignited: What kind of emotions do you have going into your 100th Bruce show?
Greg L: There’s always a ton of emotions going into a Bruce show, but obviously, this one is special. His music has been a soundtrack to my life since I was 16. The memories come rushing back every time I see him. So many great times. So many lifelong friends made. All because of this one man’s music. From my very first show in 1985 which changed my life, to my most recent show in Tampa where I literally held Bruce up as he was singing a verse of Waiting on a Sunny Day, it’s been an unforgettable ride, and I hope I can see 100 more.
LI: What was the first song that you ever heard by Bruce?
GL: First song I heard was probably Born to Run. The first actual Bruce record I bought was when I was 12 in 1980 and I bought the 45 for Hungry Heart. But it wasn’t until 1985 when I really got hooked.
LI: Describe your first Bruce show?
GL: My first Springsteen show was 8/9/85 at Soldier Field in Chicago. I was 16 and although I liked his music, I wasn’t a huge fan at that point. I went to the show because I had always heard how great he was live. But I wasn’t prepared for what I was about to witness. I walked out of that stadium completely transformed. I was blown away. I had never seen anything like it, and at that point in my life, even though I was young, I had seen a lot of shows from a lot of bands. I said to myself that night – “I want to see this guy as many times as I can.” And fortunately, that’s what I’ve been able to do.
LI: Have you met Bruce before?
GL: I have met Bruce before. I used to work in radio as a DJ, and back in 1996 on The Ghost of Tom Joad tour, I had a chance to go backstage in St Louis and meet him. He was so great, and so nice, and took the time to really talk to me. I have a framed picture hanging in my place of Bruce and I, along with the ticket he signed and the backstage pass from the show.
LI: What would you tell someone to convince them to go to their first Bruce show?
GL: One of my favorite things is to take someone to see Bruce who’s never seen him before and just watch their reaction. The energy that Bruce Springsteen brings to the stage is unlike anyone else. It’s a Rock & Roll revival. That’s the best way to describe it. I tell people that he is the single best performer in Rock & Roll history. Obviously, that’s very subjective, but I’ve seen hundreds of shows by hundreds of bands, including all the huge names, and no one can touch Bruce live.
LI: What are you expecting to see tomorrow?
GL: I think the New Orleans show will be special. First of all it’s part of Jazz Fest which is legendary. But Bruce tends to bring some local flavor to his shows, and he’ll pull out all the stops. I’m sure he’ll add a special cover song or two just for New Orleans. When he played Jazz Fest in 06 with the Seeger Sessions Band, in the first post Katrina Jazz Fest, he rose to the occasion and it’s frequently mentioned as one of the all time greatest Jazz Fest performances in the history of the festival.
LI: What song do you most want to hear?
GL: I’d love to hear Backstreets which is my all time favorite Springsteen song. It reminds me of my best friend who unfortunately we lost to cancer 4 years ago. Every time we go see Bruce, we raise a glass to Paul Krewer, who we went to so many shows with and shared our passion for Springsteen’s music. I’d also like to hear “How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live”, it’s a cover song, but Bruce wrote new lyrics to it about New Orleans after Katrina and debuted it at Jazz Fest in 06. It’s never been played with the E Street Band, so that would be pretty special.
LI: Do you have  pre-show ritual?
GL: My pre-show ritual is to hang out with my friends, talk Bruce, reminisce about all the great shows we’ve all seen together, and just live in the moment of what we are about to witness.
LI: What would you say to Bruce if you met him after the show?
GL:  We’re about to leave for Jazz Fest now, but if I talked to him after the show, I’d just thank him for everything. For how much his music means to me. How much his shows have meant to me, and to thank him for still being as great as ever, and to never stop. It’s been an incredible ride. So here’s to show #100!!!
I checked in with Greg after the show to hear how it went, and here’s what he had to say:
LI: How did the 100th show feel? Was there something magical that happened at this show that hasn’t happened in the past?
GL: The 100th show was special. Bruce clearly catered this show to New Orleans. He played 3 Seeger Session Band songs for the first time ever with the E Street Band. This was in reference to when he played Jazz Fest in 06 with the Seeger Sessions Band. Bruce always rises to the occasion, and this was no different. He also played a couple of verses of “When The Saints Go Marching In” in the middle of his song “Rocky Ground.” It was a joyous, thoughtful, and inspiring show. The place was packed! When we got there around 1:00, there were thousands and thousands of people there. We managed to work our way up pretty close to the stage between bands. The crowd was estimated at 100,000 people.
LI: Do you feel like you’ve accomplished a personal record?
GL: A personal record yes, but hopefully I can keep on adding to it!
LI: Do your friends think you’re nuts? 😉 (not me, of course. I think you’re awesome.)
GL: My Bruce fan friends get it of course, but my friends that have never seen Bruce, or that just aren’t as in to music as I am, think I’m crazy. I get questions like “don’t you get tired of seeing him?” or “isn’t it the same every time?” What I always tell people, and it’s true, “Much like snowflakes or fingerprints, there are no 2 Bruce Springsteen shows alike.”  Every show is different, and that’s what makes seeing multiple shows so much fun.
LI: Were you able to meet Bruce?
GL: I didn’t meet Bruce, nor did I try. I’m happy with the one time I got to meet him. Having said that, if it ever happens again, I of course would welcome it. 🙂
LI: Did you talk to any fans close by in the audience and share with them that it was your 100th show? What did they say?
GL: I did talk to some fans around us and shared the milestone. There were several people around us who had seen him 20 or 30 times, but they were impressed with 100. There were also a lot of people around us who had never seen him before, and of course, they were all blown away by the show.
LI: How was Jazz Fest in general? Who else put on a really great show?
GL: Jazz Fest was great. I would love to go back sometime. We stayed at the stage where Bruce played all day, so that gave us a chance to see Trombone Shorty and Dr. John who were on before Bruce. Both were great, especially Trombone Shorty. What a great show he put on! I’m hoping he comes to Houston soon, I’d love to see him again. And Dr. John actually came out and did a song during Bruce’s set which was very cool.
LI: What do you have planned next? Will there be a 101st show coming up?
GL: Well unfortunately, Bruce will spend the next couple of months in Europe. I’ve never gone overseas to see a show and I’d love to do that someday, that’s definitely on my to-do list. My  next Springsteen shows won’t be until September 8 & 9 at Wrigley Field in Chicago. I’m sure I’ll be adding some more shows to my itenerary as well. He’ll be playing stadium shows in September, then most likely add some arena shows in the fall. I’m sure there will be some Texas shows at that time, and of course I’ll do some more traveling too. Can’t wait!
LI: Any closing comments?
GL: I’d just like to encourage anyone who has never seen Bruce, even if you aren’t necessarily a fan, to go see him! You won’t be sorry. You’ll have the time of your life. No one does it quite like Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. And who knows? Maybe you’ll get hooked like I did and I’ll see you at show after show after show…
So, there you have it. Greg has 100 concerts checked off his fan to-do list and he’s not anywhere close to done.
Learn more about Bruce Springsteen via his website and connect with him on facebook and twitter.
Pictures courtesy of Consequence of Sound and  USA Today. Share your Bruce Springsteen stories with Greg via his twitter account, @ConcertTshirt.
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