By Richard Pithouse · 29 Oct 2013
For some of the young men in the stadium that night Springsteen’s empathy was a significant moment in their developing ability to recognise themselves as people who could choose how to respond to the difficult situation into which they had been thrust.
I guess there’s a lot of young guys out there that are conscription age for the South African army….I guess there can´t be much worse than living in a society that’s at war with itself….under a government at war with its own people and being required to support that government….and I just wanna say to all young South Africans that I do not envy your position…. my prayers are with the young men here that you can use your hearts and voices in the struggle of the dignity and freedom of all the African people…..because whether it´s the systematic apartheid of South Africa or the economic apartheid of my own country, where we segregate our underclass in ghettos of all the major cities….there can´t be no peace without justice and where there is apartheid, systematic or economic, there is no justice…..and where there is no justice, there is only War!
Here the highway is not alive with young men who want to take a fast car away from the expectation that they will follow their fathers into the factory. It’s alive with people sleeping under bridges as they wonder the country in search of what work they can find. In last year’s superb Wrecking Ball, Springsteen’s response to the ongoing capture of American society by private money and power, he moves from lament to resistance.
The highway is alive tonight
But nobody's kiddin' nobody about where it goes
I'm sittin' down here in the campfire light
Searchin' for the ghost of Tom Joad
A great little article, Richard, that captures, well, how Springsteen has inspired many. As a coloured boy (I'm 48) from Cape Town, I've long had to explain my fascination with Springsteen, justify how I could relate to a man born in New Jersey, USA. Then I try and play them 'The River', which about captures my early years in a working-class neighbourhood. He, still today - 20 years after I first discovered his music - sings from my soul.
Funny thing is that 'The River' was not the first Springsteen song I had heard. There was, in 1984, the year I finished high school, 'Born in the USA' and 'Dancing in the Dark'. Alas, Rick Springfield had a few songs on the radio at the same time, and I kept confusing the two. Funny enough, the first Springsteen song I really, really listened to was 'Human Touch', and those two 'happy albums' - 'Human Touch' and 'Lucky Town' - kick-started my adoration. I know why those two albums of mostly love songs would strike such a chord. Even about love, he said everything I had wanted to say.
Two days ago I was still joking with friends that I somehow need to save up money to travel to see Springsteen, before any more members of the E-Street Band shuffle off this mortal coil. The news two days ago has made my giddy with anticipation.
I Can't Wait!
And a lovely comment above!
I'm an Indian girl (well also in my 40s now...). I will never forget the first time my cousin played me the live version of 'The River'. He made us all close our eyes so we could concentrate on the music. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up.
I can't wait for the concert. I've waited 25 years for this.