Now, honey, I don't wanna clip your wings
But a time comes when two people should think of these things
Having a home and a family
Facing up to their responsibilities
They say in the end true love prevails
But in the end true love can't be no fairytale
To say I'll make your dreams come true would be wrong
But maybe, darlin', I could help them along

During Hungry Heart, Bruce leaves the stage to get even closer to his fans. He continues to sing while interacting with the crowd along the way. When he reaches what would be half-court, Springsteen is surrounded on every side and at every level facing 18,000 screaming fans.

Musicians can teach us a lot about civic engagement. And perhaps no one proves it all night better than Bruce Springsteen. When Springsteen and his E Street Band deliver their front porch messages, you hear stories of love and family, defiance and victories, hope and resilience, responsibility and forgiveness and growing up.


The group opened their latest tour in Pittsburgh Saturday night so there's no better time to declare Springsteen "The King of Civic Engagement." It is not just one thing he does in one song, it's the variety of ways The Boss makes a deep and powerful connection. He captivates and engages everyone in sight.


The tone is set in the very first song Meet Me In The City Tonight. With the house lights on to signify we are all invited in, Bruce launches into the first verse, then the chorus and then...the song surprisingly all but stops. Springsteen pauses, faces the fans sitting behind the stage and then turns to face the full house.

Let the broken hearts stand

As the price you've gotta pay
Keep pushin' till it's understood
These Badlands start treating us good

Whoa, whoa, Badlands
Whoa, whoa, Badlands
Whoa, whoa, Badlands
Whoa, whoa, Badlands
Whoa, whoa

Bruce: Pittsburgh!!!!

We're so glad to be in your beautiful city tonight. We're here to rock 'em and sock em, we're gonna take you to the river. I want to know are you ready to be transformed?
Crowd: YEAH!!

Bruce: Are you ready to be transformed?

Crowd: YEAH!!

Bruce: Are you to be transformed?

Crowd: YEAH!!

Bruce: Let's Go!!!


And off we go. And there he went...into the crowd!

Bruce Springsteen

The King of Civic Engagement 

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by Ted Canova

Springsteen slowly turns his back and first leans his rear end and then his back as he falls into the faithful's outstretched arms. Talk about trust. It takes over a minute for him to be carried like a God to the front of the stage where he grabs the hand of band mate Jake Clemons as Jake plays his saxophone without ever missing a beat.


The mood changes but the connection continues during the soft and romantic I Wanna Marry You. Springsteen stands bare and vulnerable, alone at the front of the stage playing maracas. As he sings, it feels as if you're the only one there.

The show ends three hours and twenty minutes after Springsteen asked the crowd "Are you ready to be transformed?" The answer was never in doubt.


January 16, 2016

In his famous anthem Badlands, Springsteen leads the fist-pumping crowd to near exhaustion.