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Shared experience

By Mike Ruffin My good wife and I have attended a lot of concerts over the almost four decades of our marriage. We got off to a rough start, though. In early 1979, about half-way through our first year of marriage, the band Boston was scheduled to play at the Macon Coliseum. We scrounged up enough money to buy tickets. But my motherin- law suffered a serious stroke a day or two before the concert was to take place, so we had to go to Tallahassee to see about her. We didn’t get to see Boston. While living in Louisville, Kentucky during the early 1980s, we saw concerts featuring Kenny Rogers (the Oak Ridge Boys were the opening act and they stole the show), Linda Ronstadt, and Anne Murray. We purchased tickets to see Gordon Lightfoot, but, much to our disappointment, the show was cancelled. We finally got to see him 30 years later at Macon’s City Auditorium. It was the only concert for which we’ve ever had front row seats. We witnessed the ‘Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’ right up close. We’ve been able during the last few years to see some of our all-time favorites. They’re late in their careers, but they still put on impressive shows. We’ve recently seen James Taylor, Carole King, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Bob Seger, Jackson Browne and Neil Diamond. We have tickets to see Van Morrison in a couple of months. I imagine it’ll be a marvelous night for a moon dance. A few years ago, a friend who is a big-time Bruce Springsteen fan invited me to see the Boss with him on a Saturday night in Tampa. I had to preach the next morning in Fitzgerald. We got home around 4 a.m. It was worth it. It was the best concert I’ve ever witnessed. It became my mission to share that experience with my good wife. And so it came to pass that I was sitting in front of my computer with my credit card ready when tickets went on sale for his Feb. 18 Atlanta show. And I got good seats. The Boss and his E Street Band put on their usual spectacular marathon show. They played for three and a half hours with no intermission. This tour commemorates the album ‘The River,’ which was released 35 years ago, so Bruce and the band played the album in order. The highlight for me was their performance of ‘Out in the Street,’ which I’ve always wanted to hear live so I could join the audience in singing the ‘Oh-oh-ohoh’ response to ‘When I’m out in the street.’ It was a blast. Then they played several favorites such as ‘Prove It All Night,’ ‘Badlands’ and ‘Thunder Road.’ Finally, they blazed through an encore set that included ‘Born to Run,’ ‘Dancing in the Dark,’ ‘Rosalita (Come Out Tonight),’ ‘Bobby Jean’ and the closing number, a cover of the Isley Brothers’ ‘Shout.’ ’You make me wanna ‘˜Shout!’ Bruce sang. And we did. When the show was over, my good wife said, ‘That was the greatest experience I’ve ever had at a live music event.’ ’I knew it would be,’ I replied. And I was pleased, because sharing a wonderful experience with someone you love is even better than experiencing it yourself, and making someone else happy is better than being happy ‘¦ Michael Ruffin is curriculum editor for Smyth and Helwys Christian publishers and a native of Lamar County. He has served Baptist churches in Fitzgerald, Adel and Augusta. Ruffin also has served as Associate Professor at the School of Religion at Belmont University. He preaches at The Rock Baptist Church at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

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