First Person: Rock ‘n’ roll miracle

Forty-three years later, I was thrilled to discover that a planned work trip to Boston in May coincided with Lofgren’s Boston stop on his spring tour in support of his new album Blue With Lou.

By
June 6, 2019 22:51
4 minute read.
First Person: Rock ‘n’ roll miracle

NILS LOFGREN in performance. (photo credit: INSTAGRAM)

We parked at a corner lot near Haymarket by Boston’s North End on a beautiful spring weekend afternoon last month. It was still six hours before the show was slated to begin, but the idea was that my brother and I would stroll around the city, check out part of the Freedom Trail and grab a sandwich and beer.

The reason for the two-hour drive down the coast from Maine was to see Nils Lofgren at the City Winery club. One of my all-time favorite singer/songwriters and performers, the guitarist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band has had an illustrious career in his own right. The last time I saw him perform was back in high school in 1976 at a college gym, a few years after I had already become a staunch fan of his inspiring music. A natural-born star, Lofgren electrified the crowd with his playing and showmanship.

Forty-three years later, I was thrilled to discover that a planned work trip to Boston in May coincided with Lofgren’s Boston stop on his spring tour in support of his new album Blue With Lou. I quickly emailed my brother in Maine, who happily agreed to go online and buy the tickets when they went on sale.

I took to Twitter and, using Nils’s handle, tweeted about coming all the way from Israel and getting to see him for the first time in four decades. I didn’t expect a response, so I was stunned that Lofgren himself tweeted back “Honored….”

A few days later, my brother notified me that the show had sold out as soon as tickets were made available.

Crestfallen, I tweeted on the same thread that the tickets were gone, how bummed I was and, with a little Israeli cheek, asked if there was anything he could do. Again, I didn’t really expect a response.

But again, Nils wrote back that because I was coming from so far away and hadn’t seen him in so long, “my wife told me to put you on the guest list.”
Elated and dumbfounded, I silently thanked the Twittersphere for blowing a little angel dust my way.

Fast forward two months, and my brother and I leave the car and begin to scope out the neighborhood around the City Winery. However excited we were about the upcoming show, we really had no way of knowing if we actually had tickets. After all, a tweet from a rock star saying you’re on the guest list written two months ago, before the intense tour focus on music and travel started, didn’t guarantee anything.

We had taken the leap of faith by driving two hours, but it looked like we’d have to wait until the doors to the supper club opened up in a few hours to find out if we were in. We even joked that if it didn’t work out, we could hustle over to Fenway Park and scalp some tickets for the Red Sox game that night.

Waiting for the light to change at a four-way intersection, I spied a short fellow walking alone across the street, carrying a small shopping bag.

 “I can’t believe it,” I sputtered to my brother.

“What?”

“That’s Nils Lofgren! Come on!”

We ran across the street without waiting for the walk sign, and hustled up to Nils, who looked a little apprehensive about having his personal space invaded. I introduced myself and my brother, and thanked him profusely for his generosity about the tickets.

He warmed up to us and exchanged some friendly banter, but didn’t indicate that he recalled our Twitter exchange two months earlier. Instead, he took out a pen and rumpled sheet of paper from his shirt pocket and said, “How do you spell your name? I’ll make sure there are tickets waiting for you tonight. Thanks for coming, guys.”

Then he gathered his shopping bag and continued on his way, while we stood there with our mouths open, thunderstruck over the serendipity of life.

The rest of the afternoon was magical: street musicians on Washington Street, cemeteries from the Revolutionary War and ducks on the Commons.

That night we were led to a primo table not far from the stage, as the club began to quickly fill up. When Lofgren scurried by a few minutes before showtime headed to the backstage area, I caught his eye and gave him a namaste greeting of gratefulness. He gave a quick smile and wave, then walked on.

The show was beyond expectations, as Lofgren displayed all the fire and passion of his youth, with exquisite renditions of classics like “Goin’ Back” and “Like Rain” as well as impressive songs from the new album. The feeling in the room was that of a homecoming of old friends, especially since his band included his brother Tom and longtime accompanists Andy Newmark and Kevin McCormick (as well as amazing Springsteen background vocalist Cindy Mizelle).

Life-affirming and warmhearted, the show and the entire experience was testament to the power of music, and to the belief that with a combination of faith, chutzpah and luck, rock ‘n’ roll dreams can indeed come true.


Related Content

August 20, 2019
Netanyahu talks 'faith' with Kiev Jews

By HERB KEINON

Cookie Settings