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You're right Jonathan, I share similarly intimate connections with this song. Thanks for this great post.
Thanks Jonathan for this wonderful piece. A little while ago I wrote a bit about the first time I heard Springsteen play "The Promise". It was the 1st of July 1978, I took Highway 101 up from the bay to Berkeley. I met my brother and a group of his friends at the edge of the UC campus and we wandered until we found the Berkeley Community Theater. Throughout my high school years in the suburbs of DC, my older brother Kent was studying at UC Davis and I cherished the moments we had together. Each time we reunited seemed like an epiphany. We talked and argued about life, art, politics, poetry, spirituality and music. We had seen a few concerts together on the east coast starting with a J Geils gig in Asbury Park. But neither one of us had seen Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band play live. Until that night in Berkeley. The concert was a revelation, almost a rock n' roll revival. But there was also an undercurrent of pain and empathy. Two songs stood out for me that night. The first was Springsteen's haunting, solo piano version of "The Promise" which became a sound that I tried to get into my paintings from that day forward. The second was Bruce and the E Street Band's electrifying version of "Because the Night". I knew that Springsteen had penned the song and then given the not quite finished work to Patti Smith to complete and record. I took that song on as my romantic talisman. Somewhere down the line I knew I would find a partner who would feel the passion from those haunting lines and that searing music just as I did.
Thank you both for your praise, and thank you Mr. Chadwick for sharing your story! That sounds amazing. I've watched one of those "Promise" piano performances from '78 on YouTube, and while it's obviously not close to actually being there, it still sent chills down my spine. Wonderful stuff. Your anecdote makes me wish my brother liked Bruce - I'm the only one in my family who does.