The global superstar talks about the masculine facade of Donald Trump, the strength he inherited from his mother, the philosophy he shares with fans, and the joy he delivers on stage
Bruce Springsteen exists at that rarefied level of fame where you get to move like a Dalek, without ever actually having to touch anything. When he is out in public, at least – when he is being the Springsteen who is Brooooooce, the Springsteen who is the Boss, rather than the one who’s been married for 25 years and has three kids – no obstacles stand in his way. No door is left unopened, no person steps out in front of him, and if you find yourself in his orbit, you can’t help but find the gravitational pull of stardom yanking you into your position.
I’ve seen and experienced this a couple of times. In 2010, when he attended a screening of the documentary about him, The Promise, at BFI Southbank in London, a friend and I were walking down the red carpet towards the cinema when there was a stir around us; we felt it before we noticed the faces lining the barriers turning in one direction. Behind us, Springsteen had alighted from a people carrier. We panicked – We’re not meant to be here! Where do we go? – and made ourselves as small and invisible at the edge of the carpet as we could while he ambled past and the energy followed behind. I don’t remember how the doors opened, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t have to lift a finger.
Then backstage at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, this past June. Springsteen was just finishing his final number – an acoustic version of his wonderful 1975 redemption song Thunder Road. We were in the access tunnel at the side of the stage, where a fleet of black luxury cars lined up, windows tinted, engines ticking over, waiting for him and the band to leave the stage, to be whisked from the stadium before the house lights have flashed on, while tens of thousands are still finishing their drinks and working out where the nearest exit is. It is, doubtless, the same wherever he plays.
The 67-year-old Bruce Springsteen who enters the room at his favoured London luxury hotel – door opened by someone else, naturally, and it took three people to wait with me for him to enter – has skin the colour of wealth and clothes so casual they could only be expensive: a close-fitting jacket, a slightly scoop-necked T-shirt, and jeans whose left leg is flecked with white paint, as if he’s just been touching up the cornicing in the corridors. You half wonder if someone splattered the paint on for him, just to keep things looking blue collar.
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