Friday, April 25, 2008

I Told Myself I Wouldn't Cry - Bruce's Eulogy for Danny

I don't care how emotional I can be, reading something online doesn't typically lead to tears. A shocking elimination on 'The Bachelor' maybe, but not from reading a posting on a web site. I thought I was stronger than that.

BUT, when you are reading Bruce Springsteen's eulogy to his fallen friend and fellow E-Streeter Danny Federici...that is tough stuff. Attending a Bruce show (and I'm an appreciator, not a diehard) is truly an uplifting and therapeutic experience with a smattering of soul searching thrown in. With songs of childhood reckless abandon, unrequited love, and running from the drudgery of everyday life, Bruce brings his fellow concert participants into a "let's leave our crappy lives behind and head for the open road" kind of mindset. And THAT is VERY powerful stuff. (Especially for people in New Jersey, but that post is for another time.)

With the shit on television, and the mindless websites junking up our minds, not many things are "real" these days. When Mariah Carey out-lipsynching Ashlee Simpson is newsworthy, we are in trouble. But Bruce lays it out there and people respond. So how can someone so known for opening his heart and soul be prepared to put his love for his friend into a speech? It is probably impossible. But he did it, and it is every bit as heartbreaking, funny, joyous, rebellious, and moving as one of his concerts. And that, my friends, is the sign of a true artist.

Here is an excerpt which I just loved:

In the studio, if I wanted to loosen up the track we were recording, I'd put Danny on it and not tell him what to play. I'd just set him loose. He brought with him the sound of the carnival, the amusements, the boardwalk, the beach, the geography of our youth and the heart and soul of the birthplace of the E Street Band.

Then we grew up. Very slowly. We stood together through a lot of trials and tribulations. Danny's response to a mistake onstage, hard times, catastrophic events was usually a shrug and a smile. Sort of an "I am but one man in a raging sea, but I'm still afloat. And we're all still here."

I watched Danny fight and conquer some tough addictions. I watched him struggle to put his life together and in the last decade when the band reunited, thrive on sitting in his seat behind that big B3, filled with life and, yes, a new maturity, passion for his job, his family and his home in the brother and sisterhood of our band.

Finally, I watched him fight his cancer without complaint and with great courage and spirit. When I asked him how things looked, he just said, "what are you going to do? I'm looking forward to tomorrow." Danny, the sunny side up fatalist. He never gave up right to the end.

Amazing. Grab a couple tissues and read Bruce's eulogy to Danny Federici here.

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