This story about a rock star begins with a crumb bun. Well, a crumb muffin. I came down to breakfast this morning and there was a crumb muffin on the counter. Reader, I know you, like me, would never take a bite of that muffin, but that one big crumb on top that looked as though it would fall off if given just enough encouragement, how about that? Of course, to save the counter from the messiness of it all, you are duty bound to pluck that crumb and plop it on your tongue.
And with that morsel of remembrance and this week’s New York Times, the journey to Giants Stadium and the last Springsteen concert to be played in its doomed walls begins. The crumb had a hard and mixed sweetness, the taste of so many mornings back when I was growing up in New Jersey, when my weary factory worker dad would celebrate Saturdays by getting up at 7 a.m. instead of 6, and drive to the Newark bakery he favored.
By the time I rose there would be the aroma of coffee, the scent of bacon and the seduction of crumb cake in the kitchen, and we would have our only time alone all week. Country music on the cardboard radio (it’s here in my office as I write), 75 watts of un-recessed lighting above us and dad whistling as he fried the eggs in butter — as deft as a dancer, and as light on his feet as he wasn’t on the scales or in his heart.
Bruce Springsteen played the last concert ever to be played in Giants Stadium last Friday night (the Stadium is slated for demolition this year). In Monday’s Times the discerning Jon Pareles wrote reverently of the moment without reviewing the music at all. That’s as it should be, because even those of us who weren’t there know the music was ancillary to the event though probably anthematic and pitch perfect. It had to be all about the words and therein lies the confluence of memory and one man’s songs and the irony of it all as well.
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