Springsteen's Fans Take Center Stage In New Doc

Springsteen & I Eagle Vision, 142 mins, $14.98

Every musician at least pays lip service to the importance of their fans. Some even coalesce together as a community, former stronger-than-normal bonds (think Deadheads. The KISS Army. Beliebers).

But few performer's fans are more rabid, loyal, and emotional about the artist and the music than followers of Bruce Springsteen. And -- though it is clearly aimed at the same said rabid fan -- Springsteen & I is a fascinating glimpse into this bond.

The documentary is mostly self-shot footage from fans, on cheap phone cameras to near professional-style clips, who wax rhapsodically about Bruce Springsteen, Bruce Springsteen's music, and Bruce Springsteen's impact on their lives. It also had a brief theatrical run this past summer.

Running the gamut from the touching and sad to hilarious and inspirational, contributors (who were asked to send in clips or simply sum up their thoughts on Springsteen in three words) come in from all ages and around the world.

From remembrances like "His music taught me how to be a man" and "I lost my virginity to 'Thunder Road'" to footage of the mother who only plays Springsteen music in her car for her three sons or the English factory worker who found his shitty seats upgraded to front row at Madison Square Garden by a member of Bruce's staff, Springsteen & I covers the fan experience in a surprisingly emotional way.

Almost a subcategory of these clips are women who appreciate the Boss a bit more, um, intimately. Like the woman who nearly orgasms talking into her computer camera about an onstage encounter where she could "see the sweat through Bruce's jeans." Or the mother who used to point to a picture of Bruce on the wall and tell her newborn "Daddy... there's Daddy." Yeah, it gets a little creepy sometimes...

Interspersed between the clips are rare performance clips -- some never before seen -- spanning nearly four decades from grainy black-and-white club-gig footage in the early days to audience-shot YouTube ready things from the last tour.

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In some instances, the filmmakers go back and interview a few who had 15 seconds of fame with the man himself, like the European street busker who found himself playing an impromptu mini-show with Bruce, or the guy dressed as Elvis fulfilling a "lifelong dream" to be onstage with him, holding a sign saying "Can the King sing with the Boss?" before Springsteen pulls him for a quick version of "All Shook Up."

Again, the documentary is meant mainly for the already converted follower of Bruce Springsteen, but it does speak to wider issues about how art -- especially rock and roll -- becomes ingrained into the real lives of people.

Bonus materials include fan clips that didn't make it into the final film, fan interviews, and (best of all) six songs from the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's set from London's Hard Rock Calling 2012 show.

It includes two duets on Beatles songs with Paul McCartney, after which the superstar duo incredibly had the plug pulled on them for violating a noise curfew. The incident made national news, showing that even two of the biggest musical legends on the planet might not always get their way, and that residents around Hyde Park take their sleep time seriously.


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