Tuesday, August 7, 2007

"Raise Your Hand" w/ Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

On August 30, 2003, Dave & Serge joined Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band on stage during the encore for "Raise Your Hand." Thanks to a new audio bootleg of this great show, this video now has excellent sound. Check it out.

Recently, Bruce Springsteen's longtime friend and assistant Terry McGovern passed away. He was a good friend of the Bielanko brothers as well. On Marah's message board, Serge wrote a moving tribute to Terry with this great story about how Terry was there for them while they prepared to sing w/ Bruce and the band that night.

Standing backstage, really behind and under the stage, in a small dim-lit box of electronics and guitars, my brother Dave and I had cotton mouth. "Nerves" doesn't even begin to describe it. You cannot prepare yourself...or your body, or your mouth for such things; there is no training.

Occassionally, I would try to focus and then I would see bits and pieces of the band out on the stage: Springsteen's hair, Emmylou Harris's wind-swept dress, someone's guitar neck. Inside of my heart I felt all of the blood in my body bashing against the chamber walls like waves smashing a winter jetty, the effects of their collision rippling through my muscles to my skin, goosebumps the size of pencil erasers running a range up and down my arms and legs.

I looked at my brother. He had to go with me up there. To sing. With our hero. We both looked at the only other person around. It was Terry. Terry was Bruce's guy...his buddy and his minder and his assistant and for all I know he mighta wrote BORN TO RUN to be honest. He was a huge guy, intimidating to many folks, but secretly very very sweet, as Dave and I had discovered in the past few years. And for some reason, he really seemed to like my brother and me.

I stared Terry in the eye.

"Dude, this is nerve-wracking. All of New Jersey is out there!!!"

He stared back. Music out on the stage, 60,000 people, Giants F'in Stadium just beyond this thin black curtain, what seemed like all the world gathered to scream and hoot for their beloved native son.

"You guys got this, you know you do," he growled. He looked past me. Did he really believe we were about to pooch the show??

My brother, his lips as dry as mine, his heart as bursting with unfiltered joy and fear, mumbled that he needed a beer. Of course, the very notion of even sipping a beer before appearing out on that stage with The E Street band was a twisted one, almost sacreligous to the very notion of the rare and wonderful opportunity being presented to us. I hoped Terry hadn't heard Dave say that. I didn't want him to think we weren't taking this as seriously as we were. Christ, I was as serious as passing out....which was a distinct possibility at this point.

Dave and I watched, or rather listened, to the song before us unfurl. Bruce Springsteen and Emmylou Harris sang a duet, I think. I don't even remember. I only recall wishing simultaneously that the wind would kick up so hard, a great typhoon wind, as to blow Emmylou right off the stage leading to a speedier appearence for us. Yet at the same time, I wanted their song to last forever, days turning to weeks, then years, Bruce forgetting all about us as the scattered sands of time blew over him and the band and the stadium and the fans...maybe to fossilize there, the song only ending centuries from now. Then me and my bro would just shrink away back to the hole we climbed out of, never to perform in the dream we had somehow dreamed into reality.

Then, I noticed Terry had disappeared.

The song onstage was minutes old, soon to end, I thought. I peeked over the cold steel steps that rose to the stage and saw for the first time the magnificent endless horizon of lighters, flashbulbs; the swells and sways of a massive crowd thrusting with life out there in the dark. Dave's leg was bouncing up and down beneath him, his boiling excitement jackhammering his bones.

My lips were sun-baked wedges of licorice. My tongue was a hunk of sticky kindergarten paste rolled in seashore sand. Dear God, I thought...not now....PLEASE!!!...just let me get the words out for three more minutes! Let me sing this song with my brother and Bruce and Patti and all without having to pull my mouth open with my fists in order to hear a dry squeak eek out of my gob and into the piping hot microphone that would deliver my message to "RAISE YOUR HAND" to the crowd! Palpatations, beads of sweat, visions of glory or absolute failure, everything was slashing into everything else, my courage beginning to fail, my dream in danger, when I felt the cold touch of a late summer ghost on my rigid arm.

It was Terry. He had a bottle of Rolling Rock in each of his giant paws and he was touching them ever so slightly to my brother's arm, and to mine. He had gone and gotten them for us. I was his forever.

He didn't say a word as we took them from him. The song was ending. The crowd was roaring. I thanked him with my eyes above their sound. Ahhh but Terry,he was already smiling. Smiling that rare grin and watching the two brothers slug down their bottles of beer as if their was nothing left in this world but to finish them, crack a burp, and walk out into the spotlights of an enchanted land where dreams come true for little guys, while gentle giants hang off in the distance,unseen, but forever watching your back.

Goodbye Terry... Thank you for the way you treated us, the beers, and the passes to a dream.

Serge Bielanko


Anonymous said...

Online Casino Game tyuueooru
http://stonewalljacksoncarnival.org/ - Online Casino Games
[url=http://stonewalljacksoncarnival.org/]Web Casino[/url]
On the other side, people seem to be more interested in participating in online casino compared to land-based casinos.
Play Casino Game
More casino options The number of online casino is far higher than bricks and mortars based casino all across the world.

Anonymous said...

Just popping in to say nice site.