There are few artists who possess as devoted a following as Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, but perhaps none have created quite the same emotional connection over such a long period together. This relationship is closely examined by the documentary Springsteen And I, a film which was shown in several select theaters on Monday evening and made almost exclusively of bootleg footage and fan video.
The fans whose videos were chosen and stories were told had anecdotes ranging from bonding with Springsteen from youth through adulthood, working class people who felt a unity with the music, and women who worshiped the front cover of the Born In The U.S.A. album. The only thing this global connection of people had in common was a relationship with a man that was both exclusive to their fandom as they attend a show and a bond of brotherhood with a total stranger at a gig in Copenhagen.
There are many singular moments in Springsteen and I, but perhaps the most uniquely Bruce story came from a Philadelphia man who attended a Springsteen show in full Elvis costume. It was his life’s dream to bring The King and The Boss together. He reached that dream, even if it meant pulling a hammy at the Spectrum.
This motif of heightened moments and fulfilled dreams through Springsteen is continued as different facets of their lives are brought to surface. Whether through breakups, time spent on the street, or one couple’s journey from England and nosebleed seats to the front row of Madison Square Garden, the film underscored how many people have been affected by one band’s music.
Even the relationship of a man who was brought in tow to too many Springsteen shows was brought into the story before being blessed by The Boss as the film wrapped when Springsteen met several fans featured in the film. The small meeting allowed Springsteen to say thank you to people who were thanking him, bringing the film full circle and appropriately sealing a well-constructed documentation of one of the most entrusting relationships in music: The E-Street Band and their fans.