Hockey Night in Buffalo


A lot of sports networks are broadcasting classic games with no live events to cover and MSG is no different showing Buffalo Sabres games from mostly within the past twenty years or so. I’ve looked in a little bit, but haven’t been hanging on every word. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always fun to see the Maple Leafs blow a lead and the good guys win, but beyond a brief look I haven’t been loitering until the latest game debuted.

Programmers dusted off the second game of the 1975 series between the Sabres and Montreal Canadiens.

Maybe it was the lineups, maybe the low camera angles, the advertisement free ice and boards, the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, but it was a different game in 1975 and played by those teams very well.

I was transfixed. My favorite Sabre ever is Gil Perreault and to look back and see him at his peak was a real treat. The shifts seemed longer then so you got a good look at your heroes. It was also fun to see Rick Martin and the complete game that he had as well as the way Don Luce, Craig Ramsay and Danny Care could frustrate the opposing big line.
The Canadiens were rock stars too. The following season they would go on a string of Stanley Cup wins, but I don’t think I had seen footage of Henri Richard playing since this game was played.

A season or two later, these two teams would put on the most exciting 0-0 tie ever played, no penalties, just people like Perreault, Rick Martin, Guy LaFleur, Yvonne Cournoyer showing off skills at such a high level it should be hockey fan recruiting film.

For the unitiated, you couldn’t buy a ticket to a Sabres game in the 70s. Happenstance took my dad and i to a couple of games then. When the Sabres made their first visit to the playoffs, my grandmother was visiting from football crazy Akron, Ohio and given that no major league played hockey there couldn’t understand what the fuss was about.

She learned that Ken Dryden was okay, because his older brother Dave was the backup goalie for Buffalo in 1973, but that if your name was Mahovolich, we weren’t crazy about you.

It was a real trip to watch this the other night to see those things. It might have been Henri Richard’s last series. The Sabres later won the series, but from the look of the Aud and the nature of the game, longer shifts, wooden sticks, silver skate blades, the brown goalie pads sported by both Ken Dryden and Roger Crozier, I was fascinated, despite knowing the ending.

For this lifelong hockey fan, must see tv. For all the recent mediorce seasons, it was nice to be 11 once again and getting to stay up late to see the good guys win.

 

Only A River…


It seems every commercial these days seems to start out with “In these challenging times” and each restaurant and car dealer wants me to know the steps they are taking to stay clean along with every news outlet tells me I’m getting the facts (when you think about it, it isnt the best disclaimer.).

While staying home is something my introverted side has trained for forever, occasionally, you need to sooth your soul while avoiding anyplace too “peoplely.” To paraphrase 80s favorites Simple Minds or one of my favorite singers, Billie Holiday, I like to cover the waterfront. The sounds and sites are soothing. You can be out and breathe without having to circle City Hall.

Richard Avedon has nothing to fear from me. I think I have an eye, maybe not talent but an eye. The Unity Island is a great spot to watch the sun check out, international waters rip by, trains overhead and traveling canadians on the horizons, but mostly a good spot to stop and be.

I have come three straight days and got this one. I was thinking about on the first visit and seized the moment this eve.

Happy places are where you make em in this socially distant world. A little further down river and mother nature shows off against the industrial background. Wander but stay 6 feet away.

My Hockey is Broken


I started ushering at the downtown local Buffalo professional hockey arena in 2009. I needed the extra cash and this seemed like a way to have a fun gig to make that extra dollars and enjoy the assignment at the same time. They are my team.

When you take that posting, you are a building employee first so you are there for all kinds of events but the hockey ruled the roost. The Sabres made some noise in 2006 and 2007 and some of that still echoed off the walls when I started.

It was always a thrill, or at least it was. When the Sabres first started playing, there was something about it. So much so, that when the Sunday night games would start at 7pm, I would listen before drifting off and my brother at the end of the room wouldn’t mind. We both wondered how Ted Darling could tell that the puck that just went over the glass

Now understand, game day is always a thrill. You can’t help but have a bit of anticipation as the event starts to unfold. Behind the scenes is often more captivating than what is visible and I guess that part of the allure for me in assignments such as working an event.

Despite the differences between concerts, lacrosse, tournament basketball, hockey drives the train at that’s fine. For this lifelong fan/parttime usher, that’s alright but for far too long, my hockey has been broken.

There are always good parts. When working the lower portion of the arena and finding a practice puck that made it over the boards, you had a guarantee for brightening a little kid’s evening and making that experience that much more special. But the game would start.

It’s not that weren’t moments. For everybody that ever wrote (however, correctly) about the morgue like state of the fandom, I wish there had been more witnesses to a come from behind Buffalo win over Toronto in I think 2011. The home team came back from two goals down and won it in overtime. The building shook with passion. When the winning goal went in, you would have thought the war was over, deliriously happy strangers were hugging and high fiving, joy was pretty contagious without any assistance from Labatt’s.

When it is going good, it is like watching a game with a bunch of new friends and the wins would yield high fives and laughs that made the long day. When it was going not so well, you were watching the crowd with greater intensity, on Leaf nights to see if all the chemical serenity stayed serene.

I fear the Sabres are squandering Jack Eichel’s talents and what time Rick Jeanneret has left behind the microphone, tragedies both. They aren’t out of it, but to come off a nine day vacation and stumble all over yourselves while playing the worst team in the league (and losing) in your home building in such a zombified like state is a tough beat.

I stopped ushering after the NHL Draft in 2016. The long commute from my fulltime job and scheduling issues along some general exhaustion got to be too much. But when the concerts and other spectacles outnumber the memorable games, that is an issue, and one that still isn’t righted. I think of the overtime goal in 2016 Eichel scored with one second left, the Leaf game I alluded to, and concerts by Stevie Wonder, Further, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam. Roger Waters as the ushering highpoints.

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The hockey should really outnumber the music. Hope only springs so eternal, but I can’t help but thinking Darcy Regier & Lindy Ruff weren’t the problem.

Fix the hockey, that will sell the jerseys, that will sell more drinks, that will make the good players stay here to be good, that will get people into what can be a great game. There have been great games here. There was a 2-2 with the Montreal Canadiens played 43 years ago that I still remember because it was such a thing of beauty.

I shouldn’t be watching for when pitchers and catchers report when there is still lots of hockey to be played. It would be nice if it was meaningful or even fun. The fun is drowning in the dispirited, lethargic results.

Fix the hockey, Sabres. My joy is disappearing.

Me, closer to the cup a few year ago, than this year’s squad

They are my team, I’m just exhausted from 13 years of shortcomings. He is too, probably.

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(from the Buffalo News)

 

I Found My Bike!


Bicycles. I like to ride mine. It’s fun, centering, gets the blood flowing, exercise inducing and revelatory. There is peace on them thar pedals

I don’t get overly serious about it, so not to spoil my fun. I mean some things look just swell in lycra, but I’m not one of those things. I was very proud that I recently conquered a height fear and rode across a bridge into Canada. A few close friends do it all the time, but for me, a big deal.

Celebrated with coffee and a doughnut on the other side, but I digress. A meeting that I missed about planning on Buffalo’s east side ignited a thread on Facebook about bikes, bike helmets as well as who owns the road. The meeting was talking about a highway that was shoved and divided a neighborhood that didn’t have the political muscle a couple generations ago to be afforded consideration.

The discussion thread on Facebook started in discussing the differences about helmets, bike cultures in other countries and the like. One of the things the thread revealed to me was the existing biases about road traffic.

The thread resonated as over the summer I was out riding, in a bike lane, to meet two close friends who have deepened my love of pedal power through encouragement. I was in the bike lane, not sneaking through traffic, and a yahoo traveling in a car heading in the other direction cowardly yelled at me to “get on the sidewalk!” For the uninformed, that’s not where bikes ought to be with regularity. I sneak here and there, but I don’t make a habit of it as walkers and strollers get the sidewalks and prolonged bike existence there is a huge hazard.

I don’t know why said yahoo had an issue as I was traveling in the right direction in the proper lane. It’s funny to think that the painted white lines are the only things preventing bumper cars is painted white lines, but everybody is sure possessive about their share.

We can all be better. I think on that point, everybody can agree. I’m not so sure most motorists could pass a road test if they had to on given day. Red lights get run all the time. Stop signs get ignored or get a token slowing down, and for some people, keeping your car full of juice to run the turn signals is a tall order. Don’t get me started on the various definitions of “yield” I see on a daily basis.We are guilty (myself, included) of being the people George Carlin talked about: “There’s nobody going my speed!”

We seem to be a vortex that our own chosen path is the sole consideration, but it’s not a video game. I see the warnings to remember the motorcyclists when the weather improves. I also see if you stand at a busy street corner, you can see a number of drivers looking at their phones waiting for the light to change. Not all bike riders are pure either. Just like motorists, foolish selfish chances can get taken, but also just like motorists, the majority do attempt to follow the rules of the road. But we pedalers are allowed to proceed at the red traffic light if nothing is going on. Don’t be a hater as you burn fossil fuels in your Excursion. Hell, some pedestrians can’t cross the street without completing a phone conversation or updating their Facebook status.

And none of us are supposed to what we want. We are not supposed to be in a hierarchy of who gets to do what. Bike riders have been sold a bill of good about helmets. While the helmets help for certain injury situations, we have drunk the Kool-Aid so hard that folks are shamed about their use. In full disclosure, I wear one. I hate it.

It’s uncomfortable and makes me look like the Great Gazoo, but putting it on was my choice. It’s not a good look, making my cheeks look like a rain gutter for the bags under my eyes. I’d much rather let what’s left of my locks feel the breeze, but I’m on my own journey, NOT YOURS.

A friend reported on that on a trip to Europe, Holland specifically, that bikes are more numerous, and helmets aren’t as abundant, because there isn’t an automotive hierarchy. It’s not cars first. It’s a road and we all need to share and contribute and be aware that we are not the only people inhabiting it.

It’s a big road and there is room for everybody.

The Lights of Home


When you have a seemingly iditarod-like commute to work, it does give one time to think. After doing it for three years now, if I had any brains, I’d have Rosetta Stone loaded and teaching me French by now, but I digress.

It doesn’t take much in Western New York weather terms to cause that 45 minute regular commute into something out of The Odyssey. Maybe it was an accident last year, maybe it was realizing that just because one can go 65 m.p.h. on the rolling hills of New York State Route 20A does by no means mean that one should. I know a minivan driver who executed a perfect snowstorm arabesque last winter would now agree with me.

But, after heeding the warnings of the morning weather and traffic folks and knowing these backroads, one can settle one’s mind a bit and sort out conundrums like:

Why are the visible snow plows in the area always going the other direction while the lane I’m in still covered in muck?

Why did the prius driver in front of me only use his wipers to clean his car off? It can’t be because the car is too tall.

Did the guy in the admittedly cool looking mustang realize what rear wheel drive was going to be like on a snow laden commute? If he arrived alive, he got a hell of an arm workout.

While I do work, you can hear the tell tale sound of deer season in the distance, the occasional shot gun blast.

If ever I needed a reminder to slow it down on these nasty roads of ours, it was the sit of a chevy pickup in the ditch on the media the other night. I believe there were other cars there as well as the emergency vehicle count was around a dozen. Betting the non emergency vehicles were tempting the fate of Mother Nature. She apparently doesn’t like that.

I do pity others as there is a speed trap underneath an overpass that requires the officer involved to twist in his driver’s seat and aim the radar gun, blow dryer, or whatever in the opposite direction. So, window down, snow falling, 20 degree temps, that is a back ache waiting to happen.

It’s bad enough when the daylight or lack of daylight savings time comes into play and messes with our collective circadian rhythm. I didn’t even no what that was until Star Trek explained it to me. Now, it is responsible for the xannax in my diet.

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When the good weather and traffic folk say on their broadcasts that “it’s nothing we can’t handle,” they are usually correct. Whenever I hear it, it makes me cringe a little as an example of somebody who can’t handle it will be found at least once on the road to or fro.

Ever notice that when you are driving into lake effect snow, the net effect isn’t hyperspace a la Star Wars but more along the lines of barbeque smoke. No matter what direction you are driving, you are driving into it. Somehow, it knows.

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After Christmas, the thrill is gone.

 

 

Growin’ Up


You never forget your roots, where you were built, where you founded. It is an anchor to your existence. For me, it was Big Red, the whole red barn, the house that M.C. Esher built.

My folks bought the place in 1967. While I haven’t lived there since the late 80s, my folks stayed there until two months ago. That longevity provided the building blocks for me and my brothers and sisters as well as an extra home for my great kids who carefully noted that “something about Grandma’s house just makes the bagels taste that much better.” They weren’t wrong. I feel the same way about the bourbon. My mom and dad built a pretty good world for us to get started in.

While it appears to be fairly straightforward in appearance, the 2 floors each at multiple levels which made the realtor’s description sort of funny. The second floor is on six different levels, the first only had a pedestrian four levels.  M.C. Esher would have had a field day with those floor plans. The place has a lot of character which is appropriate as it housed and hosted so many.

The tree or trees intertwined on the right was the result of three year old me (and damn, I was adorable in 67) picking three samplings from other parts of the yard and thinking they would be good there next to the house. Must have been right, about that anyway.

After helping pack the move of my folks’ worldly goods, I made a return trip to collect some left behind items to take to their apartment. It was a little surreal to see something so familiar so empty. But much like my incredible folks, it deserves to work a little less hard.

Pretty great spot to get your start.

Thanks, Big Red, it was a hoot

 

 

I Will Follow


So, a few buddhas of my youth have been touring on their laurels a bit. Both Bruce Springsteen and U2 celebrated or are celebrating albums from 30+ years ago. Initially I was of mixed emotions about this. Both are quite capable of putting out worthy brand new music and have new records in the can, but chose victory laps for highly regarded records from sometime in their past.

While initially I was in the “but the new record…” camp in both places, I’m shutting up. If a band can play like they mean it, I guess we should sit back and enjoy that. If the passion is there, it remains a sight to be seen. It’s our classical music. I mean nobody is upset that there isn’t any new Beethoven floating around.

When Bruce announced a tour to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the release of “The River,” I thought fine. The companion album of outtakes from one of the prolific periods of Bruce and E Street Band was a nice treasure and musically the band hasn’t lost a step. The steeple chasing spectaculars are definitely a bygone era for understandable reasons but these cats can play. The show wound up being a top to bottom playing of the River, an introductory outake and a mix of other stuff. I was fine with that. They were great. Treated myself to another show, and it was more historical as Springsteen released his autobiography. It’s a good book and again, hearing songs that don’t get much airplay get well played was great.

But….you get a little further away from new music.

I guess that is okay, as the group owes its fans nothing, having given their all for decades. Bruce’s upcoming Broadway (and likely West End) solo offering makes you think the end is in site, but you know he’s got more to say. The selfish fan hates to admit it, witness everybody calling into E Street radio to grouse. You hate to see the fear that the mass audience of the 80s might not be there be the reason. As the man himself said “what’s to be afraid about playing the new stuff? They’re not going to clap as much?”

I remember thinking, watching a show in Pittsburgh on this tour as Bruce and the band started “Incident on 57th Street,” that there was a noticeable increase in beer aisle activity. I thought if those philistines leave during “Incident” to get overpriced beer, they deserve to be stuck in line for the “Rosalita” that followed.

Stevie Nicks was quoted in Rolling Stone as not being interested in making a new Fleetwood Mac record because she is afraid nobody would buy it. I say if you have the muse, turn it loose.

This brings me to U2. I first saw them in 1983 on their tour for the “War” album. I “blame” their current tour on the success of the River tour. They are also celebrating a record I’ve purchased in many formats with “The Joshua Tree.” It is a great work. There is part of me that wants to go see them just so I can hear “One Tree Hill,” a long time favorite song of mine. They have always taken a long time between albums, so it was a little maddening that this victory lap was undertaken, but ever was it thus. A new record is coming. While I’m still deciding what I think of “The Blackout,” I’m happy they got a new record ready and when it is released, I’m sure I’ll snag a copy.

When Bruce puts out any of the finished records fans have heard about, I’d snarf that up as well.

People talk of nostalgia or greatest hits shows like they are bad things and I guess the shows shouldn’t be seen that way. Billy Joel tours regularly but hasn’t put out a new record in 20 years. Because he has such a vast catalog and plays like he means it, folks go to the show and have a grand time. I guess that would kind of be the point, wouldn’t it.

It’s our classical music to be sure. The seemingly endless supply of music related deaths over the past year or so makes a rock fan feel his mortality a little bit, that some of things that have always been there from when you first started looking in the racks at Twin Fair, National Record Mart, Cavages and the mighty Record Theatre are always going to be there in the mass quantities that they were. Even the music stores are going by the way side.

You feel your own musical mortality a bit as a rock fan when one of your heroes takes up a 12 week Broadway residency so he can go home each night. I can’t blame him. I just hope we meet again along E Street as Broadway is a little too pricey for this working stiff.

So hopefully U2 has a great show tomorrow, I’ll look forward to the bootleg, er, the download.

Train in Vain


I’ve been following the kerfluffle about a proposed new train station for Buffalo for sometime. I don’t have a real strong opinion about it as improvements are almost always good things and well, I finally have a good car. The current station is such a shack that it needs the Property Brothers to come to its aid or be replaced. There is a large amount of rail around the region that has been abandoned and forgotten about that you almost wonder if the fixings were possible to make the Metro rail more than the semi-straight line if we were fine with it going above ground more, but I digress. To call the current station a Fixer Upper would charitable.

It doesn’t exactly scream “Welcome to Buffalo.” It is such a hole that folks tend to wait in their cars and that was even before part of the ceiling gave way. The debate is interesting because there are positives and negatives to all sides in this. It leaves this semi-interested citizen hoping that reason wins the day. After watching Niagara Falls build a station and apparently then talk to Amtrak, I hope my city thinks thoroughly about where to drop much monies. I wasn’t really cognizant of the Exchange Street station until my daughter used Amtrak to get back and forth to school for a couple of years. When it was open, not many folks went in.

I don’t have any real strong opinions or preferences in that it doesn’t feel like we are looking to build the next Union Station or anything but you hope the folks who are signing off do what is actually best for the region, not just what is in vogue, popular or nostalgic or all of the above.

The popular talk centers on the old Central Terminal. I sort of liked that idea as it does reuse a building made for that very purpose and trains actually do still go by it. It might be a bit misnamed now as it isn’t central. My admittedly bleeding heart liberal inner-preservationist self would like to see it come to life and maybe give an economic engine to an area of the city that hasn’t one in years. But my pragmatic self thinks that it would need by in from our local transportation authority as a transportation center to make a go of it and I don’t think they are feeling it.

Other folks want to shove it into Canalside as that is an area enjoying on-going success. While I can appreciate that notion, I’m of a mindset that not everything needs to be shoved into the canalside area. It’s a recreation area, access to water, and generally working pretty well. The planned stage, merry-go-round, all good things. There is a museum going up soon as that is fine, leaving another plot of land to develop and somehow having the trains schlep on through there doesn’t work for me, not that it is up to me. You hope the area stays to true to experiences, letting Canalside be the spot for the good times (sort of makes it sounds like a casino). After all it wasn’t long ago that a youtube video taught folks how to find the place.

Again, not like Buffalo has a Grand Central Station coming, but you hope the committee is thinking ahead not just for right now. Let there be connections to taxi, buses, ride sharing with some place to park to pick up folks or drop off and things that get people to all parts of the city. Maybe a new facility should be put right where it currently stands, where all the taxi, buses, cars can get at them.

Wherever the landing place, it going to take some effort to get most local folks to not catch the train….in Depew.

Shenanigans


Can’t swing the proverbial dead cat without hitting some.

-The President Elect didn’t save jobs from Carrier. The state bribed them with tax breaks to not take them all. This is a strategy that worked out really well for Carrier in New York State where the only thing still functioning with the name Carrier on it is the dome.

-Saying you are “Draining the swamp” doesn’t preclude from the fact that you might just fool around and refill it.

-Coal jobs aren’t coming back. With wind and solar getting to be cheaper, it’s one of those industries that won’t dominate as it once did and for somebody to magically promise, without substantiation that the jobs are coming back is both exploitive and sad. But then again, so is believing that somebody.

-Did anybody ever take a more pained dinnertime photo than Mitt Romney? Whoever lit that table was editorializing in their own way. You can almost watch his soul leave.

-New York Times contributor Paul Krugman noted on Twitter that “Another metric: Trump would have to do one Carrier-sized deal a week for 30 years to save as many jobs as Obama’s auto bailout.”

-So the NFL decided to bust the Bills’ Offensive Lineman Seantrel Henderson for using medical marijuana…to treat Crohn’s Disease. First, just legalize it already. Look at the revenue that Colorado is reaping. Second, NFL? Really? Seriously? It’s not a performance enhancing drug, it’s a medical regimen. Good thing he isn’t beating anybody up. Oh, wait, you’re cool with that.

-The Affordable Care Act is a noble idea, but a flawed law. I think Congress wasted all those votes on repeal because they didn’t have to actually deal with the consequences of “what’s next?” Well, guess what, time to shine, obstructionists!

-Cutting Social Security and Medicaid, this confuses me a little, as they are things that we pay into, why would payouts need reduced? Oh yeah, because that pot of money keeps getting borrowed for other things.

-I’m not certain that Bernie Sanders would have won, but I’m glad the grumpy old man isn’t going gently into the good night.

-The recount efforts won’t change anything, but there is no harm in letting the process play out. I mean, unless you think it might not go your way, then panic on twitter.

-Nobody, and I mean, nobody ever gets everything they want or promise done once they get into office. That said, despite not being the most natural campaigner, Secretary Clinton was a pretty capable Senator.

-It would be good for our current President to take some action on Standing Rock, any action. And place his nominee on the court as a recess appointment. The court would be fully stocked for a year, while the obstructionists in congress publicly obfuscate, squirm and talking point their way around a nominee who actually meets their criteria.

-Steven Colbert was right, we are overpoliticked with the election. One of the worst mediums ever is the public comment sections of newspaper and tv websites. Laden with digital ninjas whose sole human contact is their moms yelling from upstairs to come up for breakfast, that style of uninformed, meme-posting, if you don’t agree with me, you must be a moron discourse is all over social media. I suppose this essay falls into that category, but it’s okay to disagree with me and I don’t live with mom.

-That said, everybody’s history has some poison in it. Every race, creed, color has a list of do-overs and we haven’t always come to grips with that. The naysayers who have issues with Black Lives Matter miss the point. All lives do matter and should matter, but the central point to me is that some lives haven’t mattered as much and correcting that takes time, time and recognition that a lengthy history of abuses, misconceptions and prejudice affects all involved and doesn’t magically go away. So, standing up for that is a good thing and that reminder very good.

So, another transition.

-The Buffalo Bills have me concerned. They had trouble with the 2-8 Jaguars at home and are going to play the Raiders, in Oakland, and the Raiders are pretty good again.

-It’s great that Jack is back, but should one guy….

It’s that time of the year where we act, mostly, like we should all year long. Let’s strive for less idiocy and realize that differing views don’t make the opposing parties morons. We can learn beyond facebook bickering.

 

 

A Good Night for a Ride


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When Bruce Springsteen’s current tour was announced earlier in the winter, I had a little anxiety. Our live relationship goes back to 1978 and I was a little concerned. At the time, I was between fulltime gigs and spending precious dollars on a show seemtwo hoed too much of a stretch. I’ve been ushering at the downtown arena for sometime and hoped to get the call. An vet of a number of Boss groups and collectives, I knew there might be a ticket drop of some kind, but the worry was alleviated when I got my usher assignment lists a few  weeks ago and it consisted of two hockey games and Bruce Springsteen

This seemed like nice karmic payback for sitting through cartoon characters on ice and faux-metal Christmas rock. I was a hired gun for my favorite. Like most folks with this affliction, I’ve been following the tour online and listening to a few shows. When it is your favorite, you pay more attention to everything when you report to work. When I checked in, the band was onstage soundchecking songs that hadn’t been played yet on the tour. All I could think was “wait until the gang on RMAS rebooted on facebook hears this,” momentarily forgetting that many of said group were going to be in the building.

I was curious where I would be watching the show, er, helping patrons from and the gods were smiling upon my pathetic fanboy self, with a good assignment, close enough and the corridor for the folks who were going to be standing closest to the stage got to enter. Seeing their joy and trading high fives, etc. was a lift, as was seeing my oldest pal – who 36 years earlier was my partner in crime in securing our tickets to the Buffalo date on the original River Tour. I got caught up with some other familiar faces and folks from my parents neighborhood, even bonding with a fellow usher type joking about our mutual plans to see the street businessmen about discounted concert shirts.

About an hour before the show began, a couple appeared in my corridor to survey their seats. He took a look then disappeared to get the obligatory $9.00 beer. She surveryed a little bit more and looked a little weepy. Me, being part bartender and usher, inquired if everything was okay. She asked if I was a fan. I said, of course, couldn’t wait for this assignment, and told what made it extra special on top of the band playing in great form, that of last year’s uncertain employment status, that it nearly amounted to me missing see Bruce and the E Streeters once more. She told me that it was her first show after the passing of her son, who had journeyed to a few shows with her and her husband.

She heard my story and that made her smile and she said “see, our faith got rewarded.” I replied yes, indeed, it was going to be a good night for a ride.

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I wanted to get the above poster to commemorate the experience. Like all concert merchandise, they were overpriced and scarce, and by the time I was finished for the night, they were gone to ebay.

34 songs and three hours + later and countless people who meandered during the ballads found on the River (some of the best pure musical moments of the show), it was indeed a good night for a ride.

While it is impossible to explain why your favorites are your favorites, they just do it for you. There is that extra bonus that those special moments not only happened, but they continue to still occur. Almost made me want to scramble for a Rochester ticket.

So, before I left the arena Thursday night, I did indeed order the download of the show.

Faith continues to be rewarded.