Sunday, August 28, 2011


Eight years ago today, I shipped the older of my two kids off to college to begin her freshman year. We spent most of the day unloading the car and thereafter unpacking its contents in the miniscule, somewhat dank space that Suz called home her freshman year at Seton Hall. It is almost stunning to me that it happened that long ago. Sometimes it seems like it happened just yesterday. Other days, it feels as if it was a lifetime ago. A lot has happened between that day and this one. Eight years' worth.

It was also on this very date eight years ago that I saw my old friend Marc Wichansky for what was the first time in a very, very long time. I might have seen him on one occasion after the Wichanskys migrated west to the Turquoise Desert in 1985 but I know not for certain. I know that on this date in the summer of 2003, he shoehorned a trip East on business into an excuse for the two of us to see Springsteen together. And we did.

On Thursday, August 28, 2003, Springsteen and the E Street Band kicked off the three-show mini-stand they had added at Giants Stadium in the wake of their uber-successful seven night stint a month earlier. I dashed over from Seton Hall and met Marc in the parking lot at Giants Stadium. We spent a bit of time catching up and then meandered on into the Stadium to watch the show.

We actually had "GA" tickets. Back in the day that was '03 I do not recall Springsteen fans actually identifying that area as "The Pit". I do recall that Marc and I hung out at the camera position that was not more than 50-75 from the front of the stage - directly in front of the Big Man. Had Marc ever bothered to send me any of the photos he claims he took that evening, a small chance exists that I would have a shot he managed to get that depicted where we stood for the evening. He did not. I do not.

The set list from that evening confirmed what I had remembered in my mind's eye, which was Bobby Bandiera of the Jukes sang the lead vocal on "From Small Things". I would love to tell you that his singing was (a) a highlight of the show as it happened; and (b) a pleasant memory almost a decade after the fact. It was not. It is not. Mercifully it was the only song on which he guested. Apropos of nothing, Rob and I had much better luck at the next show at Giants Stadium on Saturday the 30th of August, which featured guest vocal turns from Emmylou Harris and Marah, neither of which sounded like a man being strangled to death with his own guitar, which is kind of, sort of what Bandiera's voice sound like. If only. It never quite sounded as good as that.

In fairness, Bandiera's vocal stylings were not the "low light" of the night for there simply were not any. I capped off a day on which I celebrated my daughter's ascension to the rank of a collegian by having a legitimately terrific time in the company of a man I had not seen since we were both in high school. His performance was more like the least high of the evening's highlights.

Anyway, Happy Birthday Marc. Perhaps your travels will bring you East again soon. If they do, then do me a favor if you could before you board a plane headed this direction. Take one last look around your house for the pictures you took back in '03. I am not much of a sentimentalist but I would like to see any photographic evidence you might possess of what I looked like before white hair took over my beard and made significant inroads on my head as well. Evidence perhaps of where time goes.... the wink of a young girl's eye.


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