My friend and I went this past Saturday to the Bruce Springsteen concert at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. This was my first “full on” rock concert. I went to a Michael McDonald and Steely Dan concert at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View in 2006, but sitting on the back lawn isn’t the same thing as being down in the mosh pit 20 feet from the stage. This was also my first broad exposure to Bruce Springsteen since the only song I’m familiar with was “Born In The USA” in 1984 when I was a teenage Reagan Democrat.
We got there three hours before the show started to get the pink wrist band for the mosh pit. The number on my wristband was 666—an interesting number. What made it more interesting after we got our green wrist bands and lined up to enter the building was two men standing on the sidewalk out in front, one wearing a sandwich board that proclaims “JESUS SAVES YOU FROM HELL” and another with a bullhorn reassuring us that we were all going to hell (but not because we were attending a rock concert). They managed to annoy everyone in hearing range and prompted some people put in their earplugs sooner. After haranguing the front of the line for 20 minutes, they moved 30 feet down the sidewalk to annoy the people in the middle of the line. I seriously doubt that security would nab these two if they stepped off of the sidewalk (protected speech) on to city property (trespassing). The traffic officers on duty were more interested in the taxi drivers who stopped wherever they please.
Once the doors opened, it was an orderly mad rush into the mosh pit.
My first impression of the HP Pavilion (previously known as the San Jose Arena) was that the interior layout doesn’t seem to match the exterior layout, looking smaller inside than outside. I expected the interior to look as impressive as the exterior for the $100 million USD that the city spent for the arena. This was the same city council that dropped $500,000 USD on an Aztec snake god statue that looks like a giant pile of dog poop.
Bruce was had a great time singing, playing his guitars or harmonica, and taking requests from the audience. The most memorable moment was when he pulled up a guy from the front row who had the song title, “Glory Days,” written on his bald forehead with a permanent marker, and playing that song nearly blew the roof off the place. Another moment was when Bruce showed a sign that said, “Bruce, You’re my real Dad!”, admitting that he was here in these parts back in 1969.
Come to think of it, I was born in 1969. Hmm… I could never grow a soul patch like his.