' Cinema Romantico: Climb In Back, Heaven's Waiting Down On The Track

Friday, April 18, 2008

Climb In Back, Heaven's Waiting Down On The Track

The world is a strange place. As I departed this morning for work my friend Matt advised me Chicago had been the victim of an earthquake last night. I never felt it. Apparently, I slept through the tremors, and so I wondered if it was all make-believe. (It wasn't. Though not a direct hit on the city, Chicago did feel the effects of a 5.2 earthquake, but that's not the point here.) But then I arrived at work and found an email from my fellow movie snob and E Street Band disciple Rory advising me that, in fact, there had been an earthquake, just of a different variety.

Bruce Springsteen's longtime, loyal, brilliant, courageous organist Danny "Phantom" Federici passed away yesterday at the age of 58 after losing his bout with melanoma. My deepest sympathies, of course, to his family and friends. He meant an awful lot to an awful lot of people.

Perhaps it shouldn't hit me with such force when you consider I never met the man (though saw him from a great distance five times) but it did. I've spent the last hour stifling tears in my cubicle. I have no desire to explain to my co-workers why I'm weeping. I'm fairly certain they wouldn't understand.

The E Street Band always somehow sounded like both a gospel revue and a carnival - truly. A trip to their shows was just like attending church on the Jersey boardwalk, even if indoors. This fact can be directly attributed to Mr. Federici's organ, hymn-like and festive at once.

"Racing in the Street", found on Bruce's 1978 album Darkness on the Edge of Town, is one of my favorite Springsteen songs. The lyrics, as usual, are downright stunning, the final verse one of the greatest pieces of writing by anyone in any format ever. But something happens after that verse and it's an organ solo from Mr. Federici. At the end of such a gorgeous, sad, though ultimately uplifting song you can't help but feel like crying. Yet, you didn't have to, and you didn't have to because the organ did it for you. His notes on that never sounded like someone crying to me. They were crying. So I think I'll put that song on my Ipod (repeat) and let it do the crying for me.

No comments: