Dear Mr. Springsteen.
To start off, we wanted to let you know that we, your middle-aged fans, truly appreciate what you have done during your long career. Your music has been the soundtrack to our lives; it’s elevated our celebrations and helped us through the darkest of days. You are truly a hero and an icon, and we thank you for it. That said, what the hell do you think you’re doing?
You should be slowing down, but your shows last week in your home state of New Jersey were your two longest ever in the U.S., clocking in at 3 hours 52 minutes and 4 hours even. Now, we understand when you do that in Europe — everything is at least 6 hours earlier over there, so it’s like you’re playing in the middle of the afternoon. But to start at 8 p.m. Jersey time and keep going until midnight … Well, our middle-aged selves get exhausted just thinking about it. This nonsense has got to stop.
Yes, we know that you’re 66 and if you can sing 33 songs while bounding endlessly back and forth across the stage and into the crowd, we 40- and 50-somethings should at least be able to stand there and watch. But you, sir, are like some sort of mutant. Cover you with blue fur and you’d be eligible to head the music department at Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Normal people simply do not do things like this.
Just to give you some perspective, here are some things that can be done in the time it takes to watch one of your concerts:
1. Play a whole Super Bowl (including the halftime show, which you’d know something about).
2. Watch half of the entire first season of “Stranger Things.”
3. Listen to Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 twice and still have time to nitpick the orchestra over espresso.
4. Experience an embarrassing side effect to prescription medication that will necessitate a hospital visit.
All that may be fine for superhuman you, but think about us, your devoted middle-aged fans.
Specifically, our sciatica. And our spindly old knees. And our weak little bladders. If we leave the pit to use the bathroom after hour three it’s entirely possible we’ll never make it back — someone will find us after the encores, draped over the sink like a hastily discarded nylon.
This isn’t something we have to worry about when seeing acts like your buddies Tom Petty or Bob Seger — they do a nice, manageable two or so hours of greatest hits and send us toodling along home by 10. Nothing to tire us out and no surprises to elevate our blood pressure. See, they’re looking out for us. (Or look at Bob Dylan — he doesn’t make us anxious by moving around too much, and he mumbles most of the time so as not to aggravate our tinnitus. It’s very soothing.)
But then there’s you, with your ever-changing setlists, anxiety-inducing surprise audibles and hours upon hours of unexpurgated excitement sure to leave us weak, drained and susceptible to all kinds of potential autoimmune threats. And on a work night yet.
Don’t get us wrong — we’re doing our best to prepare. We’ve been practicing standing and fist-pumping during our coffee breaks at the office, expanding our bladders by only getting up to go once or twice during the night, and staying up later than usual — sometimes as late as 11:30. (Granted, that’s after an hour nap on the couch during “NCIS,” but it’s something.)
But you may want to consider making our lives a little easier by just bringing it down a notch.
After all, maybe we ain’t that young anymore. If we were, we’d be sitting and watching Justin Bieber gurgle along to a pre-recorded track for a nice, manageable 90 minutes.
Hmm … On second thought, don’t change a thing. We’d rather drop dead watching you.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band play Gillette Stadium on Sept. 14.
— Peter Chianca writes about Bruce for Blogness on the Edge of Town; follow him on Twitter at @pchianca.
Peter Chianca: An open letter to The Boss’ from his middle-aged fans
Dear Mr. Springsteen.