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I grew up listening to my oldest brother listening to his music and I looked up to him and favored his taste, just like any little brother would.  It was the early 80's. He would rise with rock each morning before school. I lay in my kid bed there in South Jersey, attentive to his tunes. Bruce Springsteen welcomed me into each early day and life really, so I grew up, like many, particularly many in Jersey, feeling like Bruce was related to me.  Sure, celebrity can have a unique effect on people, to make the fan feel close to the total stranger, but there's something else when it comes to Bruce.  He's on a first name basis for a reason.  His intention or maybe his only best option was to tell the stories of people like him, from places like his and thusly they found some easier path into our souls.


I've always loved hearing "Bruce Stories" from fans like me, and my brothers, who feel like they know him.  There's always something mythic in the retelling.  I know there's a certain

amount of embellishment in their tales, but in some way, it makes them all the more enjoyable to hear.  And there's something to be said for anyone who moves a storyteller to exaggeration.


In 1977 Bruce Springsteen played the Carlton Theatre, described by locals as a shuttered theater, which opened for occasional shows.  Today it is the renowned Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank.  "Born To Run" had come out two years earlier and Bruce had already had his face on the cover of Newsweek and Time Magazine in the same week, but there was still something of the rising star, the local-boy makes-good about him and the shows at the Carlton had that neighborhood intimacy about them.  The best kept secret was already being shouted from the rooftops, but the locals were still holding on.  The stories that were later told about "that night" in Red Bank are part of the pantheon of Jersey rock history.


When Bruce returned to the theater 31 years later, Driving Jersey was there to take in the tales of the fans and the following.  Many we spoke to weren't even going to see the show, they were there for the spectacle and I like to think, part of it, was being there as a perpetual homecoming party, a homage to a guy from the neighborhood who fulfilled the promise.


Enjoy Driving Jersey: Bruce, and think about all those promises you made to yourself back in the day.  It's never too late...remember, "there's magic in the night."


Additional music (end credits) for Driving Jersey: Bruce was provided by The Following.


Special thanks to Max Bernstein.