He May Be ‘The Boss’ But Don’t Do This At Home

I’ve been meaning to share this ’Bruce Springsteen” story for a few years, but only recently rediscovered the photos…

So, ‘The Boss’ was playing at Sunderland as part of his 2012 world tour. I had tickets, as did many of my patients – one of whom mentioned that he was going to be down the front near the stage –  and we were all looking forward to an epic gig.

It was a typical midsummers day in Sunderland…about 10 degrees Celsius, and a fog that didn’t lift above shoulder height. Even Bruce had to laugh when he came on stage and joked that they should have been opening the concert with ‘Waiting On A Sunny Day’.

Anyway, the E Street Band got stuck in, and everybody was having a great time.

It was about an hour into the show, the band had just finished one high energy song (can’t remember which one), and were about to launch into another one (can’t remember that one either).

But what I do recall is that Bruce and his lead guitarist Steve Van Zandt (that’s him in the bandana) were clowning about and getting themselves physically pumped up for a ‘guitar duel’, and as part of Bruce’s preparation he jokingly decided to simulate giving himself a bit of self manipulation of the neck (that’s it in the picture up the top).

I laughed and cringed at the same time, not the least because we certainly don’t advocate that people go yanking about on their own neck, and because so many people in the audience seemed to want to mirror The Boss’s body language in every way that I thought we might end up with a few worse for wear Springsteen fans the next day…

Anyway, the moment passed, the show was brilliant, and the Boss (who was 62 at the time) and his band played for about three and a half hours with the amazing energy that they are so known for.

The next week my patient who’d been up close to the stage was back in the clinic for a visit, and we both laughed about the moment when The Boss gave himself an ‘adjustment’. And then my patient said that he just happened to be taking a photo at that particular moment (that’s it up the top – thanks Pete) and he subsequently sent it along to me for inclusion in this (somewhat belated) post.

As an aside to the story, it turns out that The Boss had been plagued by a chronic neck condition for a few years that would often leave him numb through his whole left hand side. It’s hard to imagine how he managed to keep on doing the things he does, but in the end this problem required decompressive neck surgery a year or two after this photo was taken, and – believe me – this type of operation is a very scary operation for anyone, but especially for someone who is a musical performer.

In this article from 2017 Springsteen says that the operation has worked well for him. We hope that continues to be the case, and that he has decided to stop yanking about on his own neck. Rock on.

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