You simply have to read this wonderful piece by Jeff Goldberg on his night out with Chris Christie at a Springsteen concert. I'm a Springsteen fan myself (and have even opined that liberal Democrats could learn something from the way the Boss addresses his audience) but my devotion can't match Jeff's, or (still less) the governor's. They dance--an unsettling thought. They sing along. They stand in awe.
And then [Springsteen] launches into "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," a song that tells the story of Scooter and the Big Man--Springsteen and his saxophonist Clarence Clemons, the central figure of the E Street Band, who died less than a year ago.
"You think it's too soon?," Christie asks me.
"Yes," I say.
"Just watch what he does with this," he says.
Clemons's death, Christie says, crushed him. "I felt like all the energy was drained out of my body. I just lay there silent on the bed, and [my wife] said to me, 'I just want to understand what you're feeling,' and I said, 'My youth is over. He's dead and anything that is left of me being young is over.'"
Springsteen reaches the crucial moment of the song: "The change was made uptown / And the Big Man joined the band" and suddenly everything stops. A video tribute appears on huge screens above the stage, and an immense, sustained roar fills the arena. Christie has seen this before, at the Garden. "It's just ... Bruce," he says. "He's a genius." He looks out at Springsteen in wonder.
I take away two things. First, Christie is impossible to dislike. The man is an original. Second, Springsteen owes him a beer. There's something very petty and disappointing about his refusal to acknowledge the governor's enthusiasm for his work. He's better than that, surely. Take it from Christie.