This is from a fascinating account of a gig by Bruce himself. This wasn’t a normal gig – he had a twelve-minute spot on TV live at a Superbowl game (in torrential rain). Not having three hours to manage the experience, he was nervous:
I’m on the move tossing my guitar in a high arc for Kevin, my guitar tech, to catch and it’s…"ladies and gentlemen, for the next 12 minutes we will be bringing the righteous and mighty power of the E Street Band into your beautiful home. So…step back from the guacamole dip. Put the chicken fingers down! And turn the TV ALL the way up!" Because, of course, there is just ONE thing I’ve got to know: "IS THERE ANYBODY ALIVE OUT THERE?!"
All I know is if you were standing next to me, you would be. I feel like I’ve just taken a syringe of adrenalin straight to the heart. Before we came out, I had two major concerns. One, something might go wrong beyond my control. That completely disappeared before we hit the stage. Tonight our fate is in the hands of many, so no sense for useless worry. Two, I was worried that I would find myself ‘out’ of myself and not in the moment. My old friend Peter Wolf once said ‘the strangest thing you can do on stage is think about what you’re doing." This is true. To observe oneself from afar while struggling to bring the moment to life is an unpleasant experience. I’ve had it more than once. It’s an existential problem. Unfortunately, right in my wheel house. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be a bad show. It may be a great one. It just means it might take time, something we don’t have much of tonight. When that happens, I do anything to break it. Tear up the set list, call an audible, make a mistake, anything to get "IN." That’s what you get paid for, TO BE HERE NOW! The power, potential and volume of your present-ness is a basic rock and roll promise. It’s the essential element that holds the attention of your audience, that gives force, shape and authority to the evening’s events. And however you get there on any given night, that’s the road you take. "IS THERE ANYBODY ALIVE IN HERE?!"…there better be.