© Chuck Duboff
Interview with Diane Geddes
Member of Springsteen2Wpg
Bruce Springsteen; the E-Street Band. Just reading that sends chills through the bones of devotees of the Boss. I have been a fan of Bruce and his band for as long as I can remember; I was blessed to get an opportunity to see Bruce Springsteen and the boys play down in Fargo, a concert I won’t soon forget. Recently, while on Facebook, I came across a group called Springsteen2Wpg. I observed, followed, and became intrigued by the notion of the Boss playing in Winnipeg. We have a new stadium, we seem to be getting all the name acts to come to the ‘peg…and quite simply, why not Winnipeg? So, I started to follow these dreamers a little more…and bought into their efforts to try and bring Bruce to Winnipeg. I’ve been told that band members have responded to their tweets on Twitter and their management has acknowledged Springsteen2Wpg.
I’ve been pretty fortunate to get to know another Bruce fan, Diane Geddes, quite well. She has started to follow this Blog (what with all my Bruce posts) and we often share tweets on Twitter and banter back and forth about the Boss. It does seem like she has been to a lot of concerts, so, this week I decided that Sundays are now going to be, whenever possible, SPRINGSTEEN SUNDAYS….and I asked Diane to be the first contributor to SPRINGSTEEN SUNDAYS.
What follows is a piece Diane wrote and e-mailed to me;
what an interesting piece of writing….
What’s it like to see Bruce Springsteen Live?
Perhaps my oldest daughter said it best when she attended her first show with us in Chicago a couple of years ago. She said it was like going to a musical and everyone knew all the words to all the songs and are part of the show. It’s a big party! She can’t wait to see Bruce when (if) he comes to Winnipeg.
For me, it’s more than just a fantastic and unpredictable concert, it’s a chance to have fun with other fans, see some you haven’t seen in a while and make new Bruce Friends. At times it’s almost spiritual. It can be thought-provoking at other times. But, at all times, it’s just crazy fun!
What’s the most important thing to remember when seeing Bruce live?
Comfortable shoes! I remember my first show, Fargo 1999, I was so thrilled that I had got a great deal on a pair of high-heeled boots that afternoon. I thought I looked like a rock-chick wearing those boots that night. I laugh when I think how I must have looked walking out of the Fargodome in my bare feet, carrying those boots in hand at the end of the night.
Are there others in Winnipeg that you know travel to see Bruce?
There are many here in Winnipeg and in Manitoba. Many of them are part of the Springsteen2Winnipeg project. Some have been seeing Bruce for many years longer than I have and have been to many more shows than I have. Bruce has played Minneapolis and Chicago many times and Manitobans are well represented there. It’s been a long time since Bruce played Fargo, but there were lots of us, Canadians, in that audience.
How hard is it to get tickets for other cities?
It’s easier today, in my opinion, than in the old days, when you had to get your tickets by telephone or go to a ticket counter. The problem today is that there are many more people who will travel to a concert and there are secondary sellers that want to buy up the tickets for resale. We’ve been very lucky to have gotten tickets to most shows we wanted to go to. We have a couple of computers, iPhones and iPads, so we increase our odds by using all of them. It’s pretty comical on ticket day! When tickets went on sale for a few shows in Ireland at the same time, we were in Phoenix for the last show of the USA Wrecking Ball tour. The time difference meant getting up in the middle of the night to try and get tickets. Happily, we got the tickets.
How does Europe compare to North America?
There are differences, for sure. We were in Ireland and Wales but we met fans from all over Europe. Like North Americans, the European fans love Bruce. To me, the Europeans show their passion more than we tend to. Bruce feeds off of the audience, so it seemed to me that the European passion brings out something a bit different in Bruce.
The way they do the pit is different too in that they queue up and have regular roll calls to keep the queues intact and under control. I was impressed with how well run they were. It was tons of fun in the queues and in the pubs before and after roll calls. You really bond with each other. The downside of the way that it’s done in Europe is that the people with time on their hands get the best spots. Here, the lottery system means we have no need to line up days ahead. You come a few hours before the show, get your number and come back at the designated time. A number is drawn and that becomes the first number that walked into the pit.
Because I was on vacation in Ireland and Wales, I had time and I had amazing spots in the pits for all six shows. For the last show in Kilkenny, I was the 5th person into the pit and leaned on the centre walk out. The investment of my 4 days of queue roll calls as that I got to strum Bruce’s guitar, hold his hand and get Max’s drumsticks at the end of the night. By comparison, I have a love-hate relationship with the lottery system. At the last show in Toronto, the lottery number was one behind us, putting us the last people in the pit queue. People came and took pictures of the unluckiest people that day – us! On the other hand, in Moncton a few days later, we were about 30 from the front and leaned on the right walkout all night.
What’s been some of the best concert moments you’ve had?
There are so many and best depends on the moment. My best right now might be different from my best tomorrow. Some stand-out moments, though, are:
Moncton, New Brunswick 2012- I grew up about 15 miles from the place Bruce was playing. I moved from there when the city was growing through some challenging times retaining the railroad industry it had relied on over the years. The city has rebounded nicely over the years but hearing Bruce sing “Death to My Hometown” and “My City in Ruins” resonated personally with me.
Hamilton 2012 – “Terry’s Song” was brilliantly performed but my personal standout memory was “Trapped”. I’m sure some psychiatrist might find some profound explanation but that song gets me every time.
Limerick 2013 – My first Bruce pre-show! I knew Bruce has been coming out once in awhile to do a few songs for the people in the pit that had invested so much time in getting that prime property. Only the most committed fans will do that. I was hoping beyond hope that I’d get to be at one of those pre-shows one day. When he walked out in Limerick and I was so very close, it was one of those “died and went to Bruce heaven” moments. He did “Does This Bus Stop on 82nd Street”, “For You” and “Hearts of Stone”. Over the next week, we say pre-shows in Limerick, Cork, and Belfast… Absolutely incredible! Like a mini-concert for a couple thousand people.
Des Moines 2009 – The last show we saw Clarence perform. When in the pit, my favorite spot was left side in front of Clarence. He was “The Man”! I love a great sax but when Clarence got going, it was simply amazing. Like so many others, it was a sad and shocking day for me on June 18, 2011 when I heard he had died.
Toronto 2012 – Bruce didn’t do much touring in 2010 and 2011 and it just didn’t work out for us to travel to so when Wrecking Ball Tour was announced, we were ready to travel. Toronto was the first show I was at after Clarence passed. As silly as it might sound to a non-Bruce fan, I couldn’t stand on the left side of the stage and it was emotional for me when everyone came out and Clarence was missing. Tears came when Bruce did his Clarence tribute. Despite being the last people into the pit, as a result of that rotten lottery draw, Toronto stands out as one of my very favorite shows. How Canadian is it to be in the SkyDome (it will always be the SkyDome to me) and look up at the CN Tower in its red and white lights, listening to a great honorary Canadian (he’s honorary to me)
Like most Bruce Tramps, I could tell you many stories about every show I’ve been too but I’ll stop here.
Sounds like you’ve met lots of Bruce Fans, any great stories?
I had met a nice couple in Phoenix in 2012. We ended up going to see Jeffrey Garland the night after the Bruce show. We talked about Ireland and they were saying they would love to go but were already committed to something else. Imagine my absolute surprise, when I was walking near the Kilkenny Ireland stadium months later, to meet up with a couple on the street who asked me where I was from. When I said Canada, they asked where. “Winnipeg”, I said. “We know you” was their answer. It was the same couple from Phoenix. Long story short, they had had to change their plans and decided to come to Ireland. They told me they had been watching for me. What are the chances!
Speaking of chances, we were sitting on the grass in Limerick Ireland, waiting for a queue roll when we heard someone mention Peterborough. Well, my partner grew up in Peterborough and so we went over. Now, 9 months or so later, Patti, John and Jen are our great Bruce friends from Peterborough Ontario. We’re making plans to meet up for some Bruce shows when he announces more and they say they’ll come to Winnipeg when (if) he comes here.
Francesca is another great Bruce friend we met. Francesca is Italian and she drove on her bike all the way from Italy to come to the shows in Ireland. We hung out and we plan to visit Italy one of these day and will definitely visit her.
Sadly, we’ve forgotten more names than we’d care to admit but over the years, we’ve shared stories and beer with so many Bruce Fans from all over the world like the guys who flew from Japan into just to see Bruce in USA and the young fellows from Grand Forks at the Edmonton show, who got the whole pit and Bruce jumping up and down, as if we were all at a punk rock concert.
Mostly, we’ve made friends with other Bruce fans through Springsteen2Winnipeg. People like Kevin, Stu and Rick who have tried over the years to get Bruce’s attention and convince him to come to Winnipeg, and Yvonne who does a cover of “Cover Me” that is simply amazing. People I have only met on line, like Randy who has never seen Bruce live, Keith, Jason, Sherri, Nicole and so many more.
When I was in Kilkenny, a town the fraction the size of Winnipeg, I found myself thinking “Why Kilkenny? Why Moncton? Why so many towns as small or smaller than Winnipeg?” Bruce was inspiring that night and perhaps in the vein of those old-time revivalists, I caught a bug. Bruce seems clearly on the path of playing places he hasn’t played before… small places. Winnipeg is one of those places, and when it comes to musical history, is miles ahead of many of those places. And so, it had to be tried again!
Is there a chance this time?
I believe so! Like so many things in life, there are no guarantees, but I believe if we continue to demonstrate that we want him here, he might just come, if not in 2014, then soon. Bruce is more and more into social media and he may see us. We are being followed by some of the E Street Band members. They’ve retweeted us and have commented on our tweets. We’ve been in touch with Bruce’s management team and Live Nation. I’ve seen evidence that they’ve visited our website, so we are getting the message out. If we continue to get people on board and stay the course, I believe we will see Bruce in Winnipeg soon.