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Promises Fulfilled: A Special Report on Chicago 2023 Night 1, written exclusively for Letters To You

photo by Andrew Harris

August 18, 2023

EDITOR'S NOTE: For Chicago 2023 Night 1, we invited Andrew Harris, one of the Chicago YMCA Housing Managers who worked closely with Bruce Funds on a special campaign that secured Springsteen-@-Wrigley-Field tickets for YMCA Housing residents, to attend Night 1 himself, as well, and write about what both he and the residents experienced during the Windy City run. Here's Andrew's report/review:

There is pretty much nothing left to say that hasn’t been said already about a Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band concert. It’s been called "the greatest show on Earth," but I think that even that term cannot fully describe what seeing the show in person is like. This 73-year-old man plays nearly three solid hours of back-to-back songs; no breaks, nothing but back-to-back greats. The crowds that see these shows have some of the most dedicated and welcoming fans. Not only did everyone seem to know every word (even to some of the lesser-known songs) but no matter what the age, they were standing and dancing the whole show. Everyone was having a good time and rocking out!

photo by Andrew Harris

Every YMCA Housing resident who went had nothing but great things to say and could not believe how lucky they were. Tim works at Whole Foods and is a big Bruce fan, but had never been to a show at Wrigley Field before last week. He was blown away by the gracious ticket-donor's generosity, and was lucky enough to sit next to his ticket-donor and enjoy the show with him. Tim got there early and was able to see the stage-setup finalized and the crowd begin to build as thousands of fans began to arrive. He could not stop talking about how the show seemed to go on forever and at the same time was over in the blink of an eye.

Another of our residents, Mark, won the main ticket-raffle drawing. He was lucky enough to win two tickets to the show and decided to bring Jan, our resident housekeeper, who is retiring at the end of the month. He was happy that he was able to bring Jan as a way to thank him for the all hard work he has done here at the Y over the years. Mark could not believe that Jan was standing and dancing the whole show nonstop. Jan is in his late sixties, but you would not have guessed it by the energy that Bruce seemed to transmit into Jan and the rest of the crowd. Mark admitted that he had to sit down and relax, but Jan stood and danced the whole night away.

Our final resident who chose to share his experience did not want to share his name, but he was also lucky enough to get two tickets. He was able to bring his daughter, who is also a major fan, and they were able to see Bruce together for the first time. He admitted that he might not have known all the newer songs that Bruce played, but that did not stop him from singing along (wrong lyrics and all.) He could not stop talking about how amazing Wrigley Field was, and how Bruce kept the place alive and rocking all night long.

photo by Andrew Harris

I know I probably sound like a broken record, but I would once again like to thank Donna at Bruce Funds, who's amazing, for making all of these donations possible for our residents, and of course all of the Bruce fans who donated the tickets. These tickets went a long way to provide an experience to our residents that they never would have been able to obtain on their own. Thank you, all!

[For more on Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band at Wrigley Field in 2023, check out Rock of Ages: A Special Report on Chicago 2023 Night 2, written exclusively for Letters To You.]


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