My Photo
Location: Midwest, United States

Monday, June 13, 2011

Clarence Clemons

Restless midnight. I wander from room to room disjointed and distraught. About two hours ago I learned Clarence Clemons suffered a massive stroke. The news set my mind spinning, sent me cascading through time and space. I wasn't prepared to learn "The Big Man" had fallen.

How can that be?

I've listened to a great deal of music over the course of a lifetime. Watched countless musicians in concert. Never one to pick favorites (it would be an injustice), I simply absorbed as much as I could, as often as possible...selfish gifts to thirsty heart and soul.

But there's a great big warm spot in this heart o' mine for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. First saw them in the late 70's. I had cued the song "She's the One," immediately cranked the amp to "11" and knew, simply knew, that he knew what I knew.

Saw him perform as a young man (read that both ways). Concerts so powerful they could put nuclear reactors to shame. Concerts so long that the band and audience had to be wheeled out on stretchers.

I'm serious.

Saw Bruce and the band perform whenever they came to town. I aged along with them. Sang along with them. Came to be that the concerts took on the air of revival meetings. It wasn't just the music. There was humanity. There was enormous talent, sure. But there was fellowship, too. Mutual care and concern.

Shared love.

And there was always Clarence Clemons, that mountain of a man, who would place reed to lips and blast his sax to the rafters. And we would stomp and roar in appreciation of the raw sex in the sound. He punctuated each song and made us throb.

If you have never seen Bruce and the E Street Band perform in concert, I feel sad for you.

I’m guessing I’ll never see them perform together ever again.

I’m sad for me.

And grieve for Clarence.

* * *


Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

Don't count him out just yet, Jonas. All I read was he's had a stroke and is seriously ill. No one has mentioned the severity of it. And some people have tremendous recovery after a stroke.

Case in point, my aunt's second husband (Jim) has a massive stroke a couple of years ago. Completely paralyzed on the right side, unable to talk, swallow, nothin'. He was in intensive care. They had the priest in to do Last Rites, it was that bad. He was incapacitated completely. Within a week, he was starting to eat on his own, form words, use his right hand.

Now, you'd never now he'd almost died. He even drives again. Walks, talks like normal. Tires a bit quicker but that's it. He's 77.

So let time be on Clarence's side... see what healing his brain is capable of. Not everyone does what Jim did, but the potential for rerouting those signals is amazing in the onboard computer we all lug around in our craniums.

Mon Jun 13, 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger Wine and Words said...

What a great tribute and an awesome video. I hope he recovers. Such talent is not easily replaced. You know the kind of talent I mean, right???? Not just correct notes, and perfect pitch. Not that kind at all.

Mon Jun 13, 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Yvonne Osborne said...

That is sad news. He is one of the best on the sax, and I like your description of the way he played..."we would stomp and roar in appreciation of the raw sex in the sound. He punctuated each song and made us throb." I saw Bruce and his band in Detroit a few years ago. I'm glad I went.

Mon Jun 13, 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger Selma said...

I'm so sad about this too. What a talent and what a great performer. I saw Springsteen and the E Street band in the 80s here in Sydney and I will never forget how spectacular the show was. I actually cried with happiness. Everone else was rocking out and there I was blubbing away. It was one of the best nights of my life.

I hope Clarence recovers. So sad.

Mon Jun 13, 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

I'm hoping Clarence will recover, Ponita. Based on what's been posted on official band fan websites, Clarence has had two brain surgeries but is responsive. His left side is paralyzed, but he can squeeze together the fingers of his left hand. The band members were advised to fly to Florida immediately.

My own personal experience with strokes has not been as positive as yours. I've no way of knowing how all this will turn out for "The Big Man." I'll simply hope for the best.

Yes, Annie, some bands are transcendent in the way they create music and magic. The E Street Band is a sterling example. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers also comes to mind. Dream Theater, too.

Watching Bruce and the Band over the course of decades has been fascinating. They've morphed from intense rockers to something far richer (albeit calmer). I last saw Bruce three years ago and he had slowed considerably. But the good vibes had only grown stronger.

I'm not at all surprised, Selma, that you understand.

Mon Jun 13, 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger PattiKen said...

He is an awesome talent, pouring out his soul with every note. So far, he seems to be hanging in there. If good wishes are good medicine, he'll make it.

Tue Jun 14, 10:45:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Clarence Clemons has passed away.

Sun Jun 19, 07:32:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones