Musical giants access different parts of your soul. Last week brought two of my favorite artists to me - Bruce Springsteen and Pino Daniele. Both bring back great memories and parts of life. Italy in New York, New York in Italy. It's wonderful that the world has become so small that you can sit in the Apollo Theater singing Quando with 1000 Neapolitans and an African American usher greeting everyone with Buona Sera.
Last week was just magical for me in terms of music. I was lucky enough to see Bruce Springsteen for the nth time in his last appearance in Giant Stadium. My first concert there was 25 years ago. I love Bruce as all Jersey girls do I suspect. Not just for his music but for his politcal leanings and his kindred spirit. Of course his music isn't bad either.
I will never get tired of Born to Run, Thunder Road, Badlands, The Promised Land, Dancing in the Dark and so many others. I have seen Bruce in the States and numerous times during the 15 years I lived in Italy. Perhaps the best concert of all was at San Siro in Milan. It was 2003 and The Rising was the album he was promoting. That album helped me deal with 9/11 more than anything else. It felt like he was able to transpose into words, in a spiritual way, the emotions that those days brought forth.
He alone was solace for me during that time. At the 2003 concert, it rained cats and dogs but no one moved. That was the most amazing part of the concert, San Siro filled with Italian singing every word to Bruce's songs and enduring hours of rainfall. It meant a lot to me to see my friends singing every word along with me. I had the same experience the next evening when I went to see Pino Daniele at the Apollo. I know Massimo Gallotta a bit and knew that he was bringing Pino to New York. What I didn't realize was how packed the theater would be. I haven't seen Pino Daniele since 1993 in Bologna when I was in graduate school. It was truly touching to hear him again in such an intimate setting with hundreds of screaming fans singing along.
Almost everyone I know in the Italian community in New York was in the audience that day. I think that is a real tribute to Daniele but also to the closeness of the community. I saw all of the local authorities as well. It felt like a big family reunion with people suggesting what Pino should play. One sour note was that a person I know saw me as I was walking in and said why are you here? You aren't Neapolitan. I didn't bother answering. There is no way to explain how much Italy feels like home to me. Just as much as the US. I don't need to explain that to anyone. I know what it feels like and that is what this blog is about, being Italica even if you aren't from the Italian gene pool. I'm not alone in this feeling but it is an integral part of my being. Insomma, inizia la nostra avventura.