On Saturday, several loved ones and I will partake in New Jersey’s closest attempt at a communal religious experience: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Giants Stadium. Or MetLife. Whatever it’s called. While I haven’t seen nearly as many Bruce shows as some of my countrymen, it’s not my first rodeo.
Typically, in the Garden State, everyone gets along; tailgates are very friendly. We’re all there for the same reason: to see the Boss and the heart-stopping, pants-dropping, house-rocking, earth-quaking, booty-shaking, Viagra-taking, love-making legendary E Street Band. However, in the 11 shows I’ve had the good fortune (and made the financial sacrifice) to attend, I’ve noticed some unbecoming behavior both in the Jerz and abroad. We’d all do well to follow some ground rules.
1. Don’t wear a Bruce T-shirt. Just don’t. No one likes that guy. This also applies to all other concerts, other performances and brewery tours. (Something I noticed in my years as a tour guide.)
2. When in New Jersey, don’t wear a Stone Pony shirt or make shirts that say you’re from New Jersey. We can all safely assume you’re from here. We are too. No need to state the obvious. Exception: Pony shirts are OK outside of the tri-state area.
3. Don’t wear any American flag regalia. We saw so much of this at the Gillette Stadium show last month, mainly on bros who hit up their dads’ closets to a Born In The USA as possible. This is not the 4th of July, nor is it Halloween.
4. Don’t get mad when Bruce goes on a quasi-political rant. He plays you music for three and a half hours; you can listen to him for three minutes. He doesn’t have to “shut up and sing” because you bought a ticket but don’t agree with his views. And if you think this politicizing is new, you haven’t been paying attention. Usually, his ramble about four songs in is about the volunteers from Community Food Bank collecting food and donations at the stadium. Give them a little something.
5. Don’t cheer at New Jersey mentions if you’re not actually from here. True story: a couple sitting next to us at the Working on a Dream show in Boston hooting, hollering and dancing, generally making merry. Then, Bruce played Jungleland and upon the “over the Jersey state line” the girl went crazy. I, thinking I had found a fellow Jersey lady in somewhat enemy territory, asked from where in my great state she hailed. She replied “Connecticut.” Womp womppp.
6. Don’t get your knickers in a bunch when he doesn’t play Glory Days. That song sucks anyway.
7. Most importantly: participate! These aren’t concerts so much as giant drunken singalongs. Stand up, dance in your spot and make a fool of yourself.