An artist unparalleled in many ways Bruce Springsteen has built his colossal career and his faithful following by lending a voice to the voiceless and the disenfranchised. In a world where everyone wants to be seen as a King or a Queen…or a Boss, he has never stopped making music about the working class, the out of work, about injustice and corruption, about love, delusion, divorce and all the other things most people would rather not hear about in their music. But, we can’t help but listen when Bruce is singing because it sounds so amazing and feels so damn real. He recognizes the disenchanted and makes us feel like our lives matter– that is at the heart of the connection and relationship Springsteen has forged with millions of fans. While Beyonce quips at paying concert-goers to put away their camera phones, and Justin Beiber and Rihanna turn concert seats into VIP suites, Springsteen has secret employees inconspicuously seek fans out to upgrade their seats. Springsteen & I is a compilation of love letters to Bruce– messages, stories, and insights from fans, as well as memorable Bruce Springsteen performances. Not only is it a gem for Springsteen lovers, but a testament to what separates him from other artists.
“Where we wanna go, we can’t get there by ourselves,” chants the Boss at a concert with the conviction of a preacher. Somehow he makes everyone feel less alone. In this documentary we see the role he plays in the lives of his fans, which is more than a singer, songwriter and musician. For some he is a poet, a teacher, a brother, a friend or often a prophetic figure. We meet fans who can’t get through a day without listening to Bruce, parents who bring their kids up on his gospel, people who have a Springsteen song to correlate with every significant moment of their lives.
Springsteen & I is full of fun, engaging and heartening anecdotes, such as one told by an Elvis impersonator from Philadelphia who went to a Bruce concert in his white polyester suit holding up a sign saying “Can the King sing with the Boss?” Sure enough he ended up on stage singing “All Shook Up” and “Blue Suede Shoes.” Some messages are just to give their thanks, like the young female truck driver with a Masters Degree who was grateful for the music that made her feel important.
And, then there’s the awesome epilogue featuring clips from a concert in London and a very special guest appearance that should not be missed by rock n’ roll fans. Directed by Baille Walsh, produced by Ridley Scott Associates and made up entirely of fan submissions, Springsteen & I is a really worthwhile montage of Springsteen fandom.