This is the shot from my phone
It is always funny to me when a stranger hands me their camera and asks to take a picture. I like taking pictures. A family on the beach. A couple in the park. I do my thing. Hand the camera back. Keep going on with my day.
The next day on the beach, that same stranger will come up to me and ask, “What did you do when you took that picture of us yesterday? It is the best picture of us ever. It looked completely different than any other shot we have taken.”
Those little moments are how I see the world. That is what I do.
This past Sunday at Jazzfest in New Orleans, there were 100,000 of us all out in an open field, taking Bruce Springsteen in. Listening. Singing. Crying. Dancing. All pointing our phones at one point or another at Bruce. I had scored tickets for the front section which gave me an advantage. I took 5 pictures with my iphone. This is my favorite.
I posted it on Instagram and Facebook – and got more likes and comments than any image I have posted. It made me alittle crazy – how is it this is my most popular picture posted in social media ever?
Then I thought of the anonymous family on the beach.
Bruce Springsteen is at the height of his powers. Not his most agile. Maybe not the most daring. Still – he has a toolbox of songs, a trunk load of experience, and a clarity that he can summon at will. He is in front of tens of thousands of people every night – mixing it up live, using his band like a finely honed blade to cut through all the clutter in our heads – able to steer the show down different roads as he feels it. He came out a couple of nights ago in LA an hour before the show was to begin. He brought his family out on onstage to take some pictures. Only a small portion of the audience was there. Then he picked up his guitar and played, “For You” and disappeared. In New Orleans he summoned ghosts, wove “When the Saints Go Marching in” seamlessly into a new song of his, and made us all imagine our personal and shared losses then how to take the next steps together all in a single song (City Of Ruins). He plays his 30 year old chestnuts as gifts that somehow seem just as vital as when you first heard them. He doesn’t embarrass himself. That is a big one. Rockers in their early 60’s either evolve or make us wince. It is amazing the place he has found to work out of.
I told a friend I find that way he leads his life really inspiring – not so much the music and the way he can still burn hot with dignity. She said the songs are my way in.