Last night was not the first time a live performance from a musician has brought me to tears, but it was certainly the most unanticipated.
I went to the 4th Annual Stand Up for Heroes event, presented by the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the New York Comedy Festival, at the Beacon Theatre in New York anticipating a certain amount of emotional response. (Most event organizers are well versed in the art of heartstring tugging.) But I managed to keep myself in check through the personal stories of triumph and the inspiring videos about veterans’ courageous recovery. I was there for work, after all, which meant I had to wear my (p-p-p-)poker face. Well, I tried.
Enter The Boss for a three-song set.
I’d never seen Bruce Springsteen live, and my inaugural experience was completely and utterly mind-blowing. Backed by the Max Weinberg Big Band, he took over the theater with 1982’s “Open All Night.” One minute, Springsteen was sitting atop the piano and playing it with the heel of his boot, and before I realized it, he was on the other side of the stage, tapping his left leg to the beat as he interacted with the saxophone player. He carried that energy through his performance of “Kitty’s Back.”
After two songs that made me feel like I had crashed the greatest party ever, there was a jarring 180 of emotion, as Springsteen’s wife, Patti Scialfa, joined him on stage for the somber but hopeful tune, “If I Should Fall Behind.” By the second chorus, “And I’ll wait for you/ If I should fall behind/ Wait for me,” I lost my battle with tears. It was the perfect song for this crowd, and the people in attendance (save us media trolls) deserved the moment and so much more.
When I saw U2 last year, I remember being awed to the near-tear point by Bono’s greatness, and I cried at all of my Backstreet Boys concerts as a kid. But I knew those would be hyper-emotional moments. I saw them coming. Conversely, I didn’t wear waterproof mascara to yesterday’s event. (And I really wish I would have.)
What about you, PopWatchers? Have you ever been unexpectedly moved to tears by a live performance?
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