THE WAITING IS THE HARDEST PART: Waiting on a Dream, Springsteen’s Keynote Line
The Waiting Is The Hardest Part:
Waiting On A Dream: Springsteen Keynote Line
The grackles get up early in Texas. They’re cawing and singing before the sky’s even thought of turning faded black, let alone gray. It doesn’t matter that you’ve been writing til 2-something, they scratch at your unconsciousness ‘til bleary-eyed, you rise.
What else can you do? Though with the first come, first served policy for SXSW’s Keynote address, rise and shower and head out into the… well… light.
The highway is most definitely not filled with broken heroes, just those early risers and working stuffs who begin their days at daybreak. I am not one of them; at least not the up’n’dressed’n’on-the-road kind.
But I am. E Street Radio playing… “Drive All Night” making me smile, sung with the intense heart generated by a low, but enduring pilot light…. a man confessing “I would drive all night/ just to buy you some shoes – and taste your tender charms.”
Now there’s a profession of faith that just about every woman can get behind.
And the people are all here… Cued up with paper cups of coffee, folding chairs, bleary eyes. They’re telling tales of Springsteen sightings yesterday, tours they followed, ways Springsteen’s music changed their life…
They are the faithful. This is the soundtrack to who they are, how they got byThe River tour, the activism and food banks. The ghosts of Danny Federici and Clarence Clemmons, as well as Tom Joad. Being at Giant Stadium and hearing “Wrecking Ball,” knowing how powerfully literal it was.
One of the Volunteers mentions Platinum passes – which cost upwards of 1,000 dollars – will get precedence on entry. Surely, not! Surely someone as committed to the people who grew up believing in the songs, believing in Americans who work with their hands, the sweat of their brow and the strength of their backs.
After all, the faithful have come to hear the state of the nation as the one superstar who still sees them sees that. What does it mean to be post-Blue Collar? How do you cope with the ghosts of how many Middle Eastern wars? Viet Nam? 9/11? How do you make peace with the jobs being sent overseas, not to be replaced for those American faithful?
Springsteen must know. He always has. There is no sanity from the politicians – seemingly on either side. Surely there’s more to it than praying.
I have a friend who’s a major newspaper guy, editor at The Dallas Morning News, Louisville Courier Journal, Ft Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, The Tennessean, a New York Times-owned daily who spent his furlough weeks as a fry cook to do the job he was so good at. Thinking he saw the future coming, he jumped to a .com, which on paper seemed like a sure thing. It went bust. Now there aren’t jobs for a man like him.
What did he do wrong? How can you have that kind of resume and not be able to find meaningful work? Where do you go? How do you find a reason to believe in the dream?
Not that it’s that cause/effect here in this cue. But the rumble moves down the line…
The man next to me looks both ways, tells his companion he’s going to check it out. He patrols the perimeter, looks for other lines, other entrances. He comes back and announces, “There’s nothing else. This is the line…”
The tension eases. Springsteen remains faithful. All is not right in the world, but the Boss can still be counted on.
Only two hours until the Celebration of Woody Guthrie begins. That is the Keynote’s opening act… fitting… thought-provoking… perfect.
Only 90 minutes, perhaps, until admission to the hallowed Ballroom D.
Waiting on a dream… or hope… or something to believe in, indeed.