Sarfraz Manzoor delved deep into his Bruce Springsteen fandom in his memoir Greetings from Bury Park, which has been adapted into the film Blinded By The Light that opens tomorrow (August 16.) One of the most interesting facts about his fandom is the fact he’s seen The Boss in concert over 150 times.
With that many shows, there’s plenty of different venues where he’s seen Springsteen live, but one of his most memorable experiences took place in a very intimate setting:
“This isn’t a venue at all, but in 1998, Springsteen sued this company in London for releasing bootleg CDs of his music, and he took them to the high court in London. I was working as a journalist and my boss said I could cover the story. So, I basically sat in the high court in London with Springsteen for a week for the trial. Most of the time, I was sitting next to him or I was sitting just across the row from him, so I was about 4-5 feet from him every day, for hours on end for a week. So, that wasn’t a performance, but that was one of the most amazing venues to ever see him.
That was one of the ways we bonded, actually, because he would see me in the morning and say, ‘Hello.’ The most amazing thing was I was sitting next to him once, and then the judge said that the court would adjourn for 15 minutes. Everyone just got up to leave, and it was just me and Bruce left. We started to chat about stuff, and I said, ‘Oh, you haven’t toured with the E Street Band in awhile. You should really tour with them again.’ ‘Tracks’ had just come out. It was just an amazing thing to be chatting with him.
The following year, they went on tour, and they were playing in Manchester. I think it was the reunion tour, maybe. I met him outside the Midland Hotel in Manchester because that was where he was staying. I hadn’t seen him in over a year since the trial. He steps out, sees me, and the first thing he says is, ‘My courtroom companion! How are you?’ How many people has he met in the intervening year, but he was able to pinpoint and say ‘my courtroom companion.’ What a guy…For all of the fact that he’s successful and all of that stuff, fundamentally, he’s just a decent guy who happens to be extraordinarily talented.”