Springsteen in SA: Ready to grow young again

Cape of High Hope 1

From Backstreets, the largest Springsteen fanzine, for which I was privileged to write about my experience:

Bruce Springsteen landed in Perth earlier today, where he and the E Street Band will begin a month-long Australia/New Zealand run on Wednesday night. But before we turn our full attention to Oz, let’s take one more look at Bruce’s first visit to South Africa, which wrapped up on Saturday. These four shows constituted a massive road trip for writer Connor Kirkpatrick, who flew 14,000 miles in covering Cape Town and Johannesburg for us. But we also wanted to hear from someone who wasn’t traveling, but rather traveled to — someone for whom South Africa is home. Alta Cloete, who administers a Bruce Springsteen South Africa Facebook page, found Springsteen’s first visit to her homeland “a tremendous experience.”

When I was privileged to see Bruce Springsteen for the first time in the UK in 2012, I never thought for one moment that he would ever come to South Africa. For that matter, when I became a fan in late 2009 I never thought I would ever get to see him live.

Bruce has proved me wrong again and again. He taught me to dream and to work for my dreams. So I, not an adventurous traveler and aged only a few years younger than Bruce, made it to the pit in Sunderland — and survived to tell the story. It ain’t no sin to be glad Continue reading

Johannesburg: 1 February 2014

HandeOn Saturday afternoon six formidable women (Yes, I include myself! 🙂) packed themselves into a sexy silver 4×4, turned Wrecking Ball up real loud and got ready to grow young again. As we went barreling along the highway way above the speed limit, I felt like I was living dangerously for the first time in my life. (Yes, I know that’s a bit sad, but so be it.)

Of the dangers of Johannesburg I did not see anything. I saw thousands of excited people streaming into the beautiful stadium affectionately dubbed The Calabash and groups of friends preparing boerewors on gas fires and drinking lots of beer. I saw diehard fans from Europe who had spent the day in the African sun for that treasured place right in front. I experienced a level of anticipation Continue reading

Cape Town Night Three

Born in the RSAI have made various interesting discoveries, mostly about myself and mostly not very positive, during this show.

Firstly I need to feel at home, even in a crowd of strangers, to really enjoy myself. Unfortunately I could not really relate to the fans around me, simply because they were no fans.

There were clearly more young people in the audience that the previous nights, which is good, as Bruce has surely made some new fans. The fact is, however, that many of them did not know the music and they did not care. (Of course I was more than willing to share my great knowledge of all things Springsteen with anybody acting vaguely interested. :)) They were there to have a great time and they had just that.

Of course Bruce always delivers and they were surely in for a few surprises. Probably firstly that he is so OLD. Secondly that one can be old AND stunningly sexy. Thirdly just the sheer energy that he exudes. Fourthly the frequent Continue reading

Cape Town Night Two – 28 January 2014

Met Pete Seeger 1Last night I felt like an experienced fan. Gone were the anxiousness, the jitters and the fear of the unknown of Sunday night. In was the heady feeling of something great drawing near. I knew the venue, how the process of entering is handled (although they made some changes), where I like to stand, what to expect of the audience.

Of course I knew what to expect of Bruce. Has he ever had a bad show Continue reading

Cape Town Day One – 26 January 2014

Belville-VelodromeNabyWhen I was privileged to see Bruce Springsteen in the UK (Sunderland and Manchester) in 2012, I never thought for one moment that he would ever come to South Africa. Well, for that matter, when I became a fan in late 2009 I never thought I would see him live.

Bruce his proved me wrong again and again. He taught me to dream and to work for my dreams. This enhanced my writing career, but most of all my personal life. So I, not an adventurous traveler, in 2012 managed to find a dear friend to guide me through the terrors of the level of public transport we only dream about here. Aged only a few years younger than Bruce, I made it to the pit in Sunderland – and survived to tell Continue reading

Another year is over!

Onlangs kitaar hoogI have really neglected this blog during 2013. But I have not forgotten my readers. And I have certainly not forgotten what Bruce has done and still is doing for me.

The dream of an e-book about handling depression with the help of Springsteen music has brought me to the point where I had the courage to announce it to kindred souls worldwide and to start the Facebook page Fighting depression with the music of Bruce Springsteen. This has brought me into contact with lots of wonderful people. It is precious when you share your pain and your victories with me.

Of course the greatest joy of my year was the announcement on 1 November that Bruce is coming to South Africa. I cannot describe my joy. I am extremely grateful that I can (more or less!) afford to attend each and every one of the four shows. Of course I am totally scared about handling four shows in GA in a week. I had a knee operation during the year struggles to get fit again. Another problem is that only for one show I will be among real fans. For the three Cape Town shows I will be with three different people, only one of the being a bit of a fan. The other two will be there because they love me. I am grateful for that, but also quite stressed. I laugh a little at myself, but I am very apprehensive that South Africans will not really know his work well enough to understand and appreciate the shows. If I catch one soul complaining about the length of the shows, I am certainly going to do something to him!

Thank you for popping in here. Thank you to everybody with whom I can share the depths of my struggle with depression, as well as the joy and strength I get from the music of Bruce Springsteen. I feel privileged and humbled by the contact with Bruce fans and depression fighters from all over the world.

And as always: Thank you, Bruce!

Great new documentary for Bruce fans!

Dans met maA few years ago I – being a lone fan in a country where Bruce’s work before and after Born in the USA is little known – to my delight discovered Julian Garcia’s Springsteen show Groove it all night on Home Grown Radio NJ.
This led to numerous exhausting nights, as the time slot was for me in South Africa between 3 and 5 in the morning in winter (if I remember correctly) and between 4 and 6 in summer. Only true fans will understand somebody doing this!

By the time the programme was discontinued due to the barrage of Springsteen activities 2012 brought with it, I had luckily also discovered Tom Cunningham‘s Bruce Brunch on 105.7 The Hawk (which falls right in the time when ordinary South Africans take their Sunday nap). 

Great was my surprise when I received a message from Julian yesterday (on the saddest Valentine’s Day South Africa has had in some time, due to the Oscar Pistorius tragedy) that he has been busy working on a documentary about people who had been Continue reading

On the rollercoaster again …

Skets Angela Cotena 2

Sometimes I miss my boring life-before-Springsteen.
I really don’t like all my emotions when these dates just start to roll out.
Joy, nerves, joy, anxiety, joy, fear, joy …
Should I try to attend a show? Should I spend the money and take the stress?
Should I wait and hope he comes here?

What if the man totally overworks himself?
What if … a hundred things … I am not even going to think any further.
One can only stand Continue reading

Speak your mind – without the fear of stuttering!

Bruce fans, please allow me this one non-Bruce post!

Or maybe it is not a non-Bruce post, as it has a lot to do with changing your life if you are not satisfied with it.

And with perseverance and lots of hard word.

Things we all know are important parts of the Springsteen magic we all love.

So please allow me this little ode to my brave son:

Most of us often find it difficult to speak our mind, even without having a Continue reading

A new dream!

I am happy to report that Bruce’s name has been mentioned by the top promotor of shows in SA as one of the possibilities of the future.

I also know this as a very thin branch – but I have grasped it with enthusiasm and good faith.

Most shows in the recent past have been in Johannesburg and Cape Town – the first being the home of my friend who travelled with me to Sunderland and Manchester, the second being about ‘n hour’s drive from my home.

As always, dreaming about a Springsteen show has filled my with joy and a feeling of being young and full of life.

PS. Thanks to the unknown artist for the wonderful sketch!

Can’t stop dreaming!

Yes, I have tentatively decided to be there when and if Bruce tours again.

That was a good start after torturing myself for some time with the idea that I should stop right here. I have seen him twice and that should be enough.

Well, of course it was not enough.

So here it is, black on white: If and when he tours again, I will try to attend some shows again. Preferably more than Continue reading

No surrender? Not always a good idea …

As I am listening to the tracker from Gothenburg, Sweden, I can gladly announce that I have surrendered … 🙂

For a painful month I have tried to persuade myself that I have seen two Springsteen shows in my life, that it was a great, great blessing – and that it was enough.

It was a terrible month. (I must add that other factors attributed to Continue reading

Looking back 1: 18 May 2011 – A lifelong campaign to see the Boss live

In my country the idea of huge live music shows in stadiums is only just settling in with recent visits by the likes of U2, Neil Diamond and Roxette. For a middle-aged (hate that word!) woman it is fairly weird to have a desire to attend something like that, unless it is somebody like Neil, who was on his height of popularity when you were young. I am also aware of the fact that Bruce will most likely never come to SA. I am still amazed Continue reading

Looking back: Where it all started for me …

This post was written about two years ago. Nothing has changed since then. Except my growing respect for the man.  And my continuous gratitude for what he is doing for me.

I have alwyas had a pretty nice life, full of good things and fun. I have a beautiful family, I live in one of the safest places in my troubled country. But for the last twenty of more years I have struggled with depression. There were many good times, but the darkness was always hovering on the edge of town. And often it invaded the town, it ruined its buildings, it hurt its citizens.
Recently a few things came together in my head. I did a course in life coaching, which gave me wonderful Continue reading

Wrecking ball lyrics – Land of hope and dreams

I have always loved this song since I got to know it on DVD. Only recently have I heard that it specifically references to people coming by train from Central America to the USA to find a better life. Of course I can really relate to that, as South Africa is the host to thousands and thousands of Zimbabwians and also many from the DRC, who hope to find a better life here. Unfortunately most of them are too poor to come by train. They often have to walk, and often through national park areas where lions are one of the many dangers. And tragically few really find a better life here, because my beloved country is too busy struggling with her own overwhelming problems (especially poverty, unemployment, the Continue reading

Book: Darkness on the edge

The second book about Springsteen that I read on Kindle, is Darkness on the edge: Tales inspired by the songs of Bruce Springsteen, edited (2008) by Harrison Howe.

The idea to have short stories written on the base of Springsteen songs is of course brilliant. And very logical, seeing that most of his songs are just perfect little short stories with (often) a great beat. And those who do not tell a story, usually paint such a clear picture that Continue reading

Looking back: We take care of our own

As I played and replayed We take care of our own during the past week – and became thoroughly addicted – I realized with sadness just how applicable the song is to virtually any human situation. Yes, it is very much human nature to take care of our own, often to the disadvantage of others. Through the ages individuals in a position of power have been looking after themselves first, exploiting those under them. While Bruce surely thought of America while writing it, I cannot help but think about my own country when listening to the song. When you move around here you can also be fooled by appearances, as you can be fooled by the music to think of this as an upbeat and positive song. But below the exterior there is much more. Below the surface (and not always below the surface) in Continue reading

A (wonderful) new addiction

I think I might have acquired a new addiction. Up to now I have managed to keep them quite harmless, even advantageous. (Have killed the love for chocolate … more or less … )
Reading has always been a love of mine. I was a lonely kid who used to read whatever was within my reach whenever I had an empty moment. To this day I still tend to read in social situations which bore me. To the day of her death my mother used to Continue reading

Waiting … waiting …

Not for a sunny day (we have more than enough of them here in Africa!), but for a tour annoucement. This is while I have serious doubts about the wisdom to embark on a typical tour at this stage. Or ever again. But Bruce is the Boss – and I hope he overrules me completely and is busy organizing a European/UK/Scandinavian tour for next summer.  This will give me at the ripe old age of 55 the opportunity to attend my first show. If the family plans work out … Best of all, I have discovered a SA fan who will be an excellent companion – no need to drag one of my non-fan family members with me!
I am a caring person who worries about Bruce hurting himself or somebody’s health giving in and of course about their Continue reading