Ever had one of those moments, one of those times, when you felt that anything was possible? When all your plans fell into place?
Or just simply something amazing you weren’t expecting to occur, dropped from space into your life? Did you feel at that moment that you could conquer the world? That you were close to invincibility?
And are you sometimes able to close your eyes, concentrate, and feel that you are still there?
For me this date, Saturday 25th June, is one of those times, perhaps THE time. But the year is 1988.
And I am drenched in sweat, at the front of 72,000 people at Wembley Stadium, London. I feel I could hold each one of them on my back.
I look up and the night sky is clear, straight up to heaven.
But I am in heaven, here on earth.
The only thing in front of me is Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, pounding, pulsating into my every muscle.
As they do, I’m thinking back seven months earlier, purchasing Springsteen’s new album Tunnel of Love, released only the day before, from a record shop in North Street, Liverpool. Placing it on my turntable that night for the first time, setting up a tape and hitting ‘record’.
Once done throwing the cassette into a travelling bag and the next morning flying to New York.
For the next month I travelled the highways and back roads of America in a collection of Greyhound buses, buses that were sometimes my bed through night streets, deserts, towns and cities.
And throughout I listened to this highly personal set of songs that were in stark contrast to the Born In The USA album that had catapulted New Jersey’s favourite son to superstardom three years earlier.
I absorbed each track, allowed them to soak in, to be my travelling companion via my portable cassette machine.
I had Born In The USA on the reverse side. And on other tapes, U2’s seminal Joshua Tree from the same year, John Mellencamp’s The Lonesome Jubilee, Springsteen’s own Nebraska.
But it was Tunnel of Love that defined this most lonely of journeys, a journey I had planned for years, a long trip of discovery and often tangible isolation. I never felt so wrapped up in a set of lyrics, lyrics that would take several months to fully identify with and comprehend.
And in the here and now at Wembley, a long, long way from isolation and living each line, involved in my own romantic roller coaster with someone who was stood my side, holding my hand and even briefly sitting on my shoulders. Each day we worked to discover what we had got in this new thing we’d found.
Right now, however, all doubts were put aside. Right here, on this hallowed turf, with this band, in this place and this set of unexpected circumstances, I felt invincible.
A year later, Bruce broke up the band. Me and the someone who had been standing by my side had parted to separate galaxies. For a while, the world felt a colder and more solitary place.
With time things got warmer, a little more populated and expansive. And eventually Springsteen reformed the band and my journeys with them continued to places such as Dublin, New Jersey, Paris, Barcelona. That journey is set to recommence next year.
But sometimes, when June 25th falls on a Saturday, or just whenever I need reminding of life’s possibilities, I close my eyes and think of that moment when all the stars aligned, and made me feel completely and utterly, invincible.