Today I decided to tidy a cupboard of my house and along with crumped papers, old pens and newspapers clippings I have found the tickets of the “The River Tour” Shows! Seeing those tickets again has brought a lot of memories to my mind. Three nights and nearly 12 hours of live music have hit me in only a few seconds, just like a fast clipboard of images, smiles, tears and music.
Now, in a more relaxed atmosphere I have the chance to sit down and write peacefully and in detail about those three nights that changed my life for the better, with Bruce it’s always for the better. Trying to make a recap of the impact of those epic evenings, I think that the best way to talk about them is throughout my highlights of each night! Are you ready to go back on time? Let’s go!
BARCELONA, MAY 14TH
First show after 3 years of not seeing them. That first statement made me feel really emotional and with tears almost falling from my eyes with only having the idea that I would see them again in a few hours. But as always, reality surpassed my expectations and that night the change was made uptown. Each and every song was special but some of them made a huge difference to me and the first one was: JACKSON CAGE. This is one of the songs that I feel that has always been underrated for some estrange reason. It has always caught my attention in an enormous way and in Barcelona I really felt that I belonged to the Jackson’s Cage. I’m forever grateful to have heard it life and have shouted each and every line of the song with all the strength of my lungs.
Then all of a sudden, love invades the stadium and, holly s***, I WANNA MARRY YOU with the Here She Comes intro. Bruce’s voice was very deep in that one and I could really see that mature wise voice in every note. I was really impacted.
Lights down, everything turns black and: BAAANG! The first piano notes of POINT BLANK start to fill the air courtesy of the magic hands of the Professor. Everytime that I listened to that song at home I was left really empty for the raw words of it, but that night… the song seemed to fill and overflow that emptiness. The realness and truth of the song put everything back to where it belonged and it felt so good, so right finally.
If there was a song me and my sister were hoping to hear, that was I WANNA BE WITH YOU and like a magician, Bruce picked a sign from the crowd as if it was a rabbit from the top hat and the wish was granted. That garage old song gave us life.
And last but not least, our beloved gone friend Prince decided to join the party. The perfect and tender performance of PURPLE RAIN was something that was just out of this world.
Do you know which was me and my family’s reaction after that show as soon as we got home? Well, we bought tickets to see them again in the final dance in Zurich! But first, we had a stop in the most beautiful city in the world: Rome, here we come!
ROME, JULY 16TH
That hot July night my mission on earth was fulfilled. That duty that I was sent here for, was accomplished! It was not only the setlist, the place, the energy…. It was something that is above all of this, and that I don’t know how to explain! But that night something inside me shifted and renewed me. And my highlights are……
First and foremost, the one and only, the indefatigable NEW YORK CITY SERENADE! Violins, piano, guitar and voice all gathered there on stage to create the perfect potion, the secret formula of immortality. As Bruce sang on You’ve Got It, you just know it when you feel it! And that is so true. It is unbelievable how a single song has that much power on someone’s soul. It was electrifying. That song brought me back to life, back to reality. That song was just a warning of the epic night I was about to witness.
Bruce stated that people do not pay to hear their favorite song, but to hear him be as present and alive as he can be. And he was so right. We travelled a lot of miles to hear a brother voice that could tell us that we were not alone, that that thing we were facing had happened to him before and that he had a melody that could help us overcome it. And that’s what I felt during INDEPENDENCE DAY. The whole crowd making the chords at the unison, showing him that we needed those words, and standing to the promise that we would keep that wisdom to face whatever the future may surprise us with.
We are warriors, and we feel the urge to stand for what we believe in but most of the times we cannot find the voice to do so. We don’t have to suffer here either as Bruce is in charge of this too. And during DEATH TO MY HOMETOWN I felt that something meaningful and relevant was happening and that I was being part of it. Similarly happened during THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD. In a more relaxed and slow key we declared that things can become what we want them to be and we whined for all the voices that do not have the chance to do so.
Everything. That’s what the performance of JUNGLELAND meant to me. This was a song I really wanted to hear live because I assumed it would be really special. However, I was not aware of the magnitude that a song could take in 10 minutes. From the very first note my legs shook and my hands spend the whole performance on my breast, noticing the beat of my heart, which was faster than ever before. And in the right precise moment that Jake took control of the sax solo, my heart skipped a beat and I lost control of myself. The tears started falling one after the other without being able (and wanting) them to stop. I felt as if everything that I was chunking the tears back of in life could now go out and free myself, free my soul. And I sang the last verse where two hearts beat as if it were only my heart and Bruce’s one, there at Circus Maximus.
And as if that weren’t enough, Bruce dropped one last song out of the top hat: DRIVE ALL NIGHT. At that point of the night, the words “don’t cry now” had the opposite effect. Bruce did not sing that song, he recited it, he whispered it and he found the perfect tone to go directly straight to our deepest fears to nullify them.
ZURICH, JULY 31ST
We finally walked out of there in Zurich. TRAPPED was the song that redeemed us and that allowed us to break with what was sinking us. Bruce gave us the tips to take the reins of our life and to start living the life we were afraid to live. He showed us how fun being free can be on songs like ROLL OF THE DICE. I have to thanks a million times the person who brought the sign because that song was way much more than another performance. That song was a dividing line for me. And it brings a smile to my face every time that I remember that moment, and on days like these I appreciate that a lot.
The rain was drizzling, the sky was closed with clouds and Bruce preached one of the most valuable lessons ever: AMERICAN SKIN (41 SHOTS). That song meant a lot to me because it brought me back to reality, where not everything is fair, not even close to be fair! And it made my sins go out of me and vanish with the rain that was falling. Like the couple on Racing In The Street, who in a way or another could redeem their souls and begin again.
And in between of all those mixed emotions, MARY’S PLACE was the cherry of the cake that was missing. For me that song is the perfect sum up about why do I run after Bruce. In a world that is filled with fears, with blames and injustices, there is always a shelter, a refugee to go when you don’t know where to go. A place where people like you will be gathered to be kind to one another, to celebrate music and to help you “let your problems rain”.
And there we go, to the last song, one of the most meaningful ones of the whole tour. Our dear beloved companion BOBBY JEAN. On all of my three nights of the “The River Tour” that song was played and it acquired a complete different meaning to the one it used to have. That song told me something really valuable: sometimes not everything we love can last forever. It does not matter how much we try to keep it by our sides, that precious thing will go away and that won’t be the worst part of the story. The real shock will be having to live with that emptiness. But always, above everything, we can’t lose faith and stop trying to fight for it.
Bruce, till we meet again I’ll miss you buddy! Good luck, see you soon, somewhere and maybe together we’ll be able to carry our souls home with the help of music!