Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Farewell to a Big Man

The news this week about the passing of Clarence Clemons, he of E Street band fame, literally signified an end to an era for many of us in the E Streeters. His funeral services today were marked with an acoustic version of Tenth Avenue Freezeout performed by Bad Scooter himself.
To anyone who knows us, it comes as no news flash that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band has been a part of our lives for more than 30 years. We've grown up with Bruce and the band, seen them collectively hundreds upon hundreds of times. And we've shared some unbelievable related memories over the years.
Like what?
Well, for example, there's Halloween 1983 - Tom Beaupre and I, doing our own version of the Boss and the Big Man:
The scary part is - that suit I'm wearing? It was actually a suit my father wore! And no, he was not a pimp! Here's our obligatory cover of the Born to Run cover:We met Clarence himself at the Biltmore Hotel in Rhode Island in 1985. Then of course, there's our backstage visit with Bruce at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium:But for me, personally, out of the dozens of times I've seen Bruce and the band, the most memorable ones have been the last round of them, which I've been able to experience alongside Andrew. Watching a next generation Bruce fan rocking out to the tunes the rest of us grew up with has been one of the most unforgettable parenting experiences. And while Heather didn't get bitten by the Bruce concert bug, listening to her belt out Born to Run and Thunder Road word-for-word from the back seat as a young toddler still reigns right up there among my personally proudest parenting moments. The summer of 2009 was a banner year for Bruce, Andrew, and I, as we took in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, featuring - who else? Bruuuuuce!Here's the Big Man and the rest of the crew at the Hartford show in 2009:At that same Hartford show, here's Bruce rocking it out, appropriately enough, during Tenth Avenue FreezeoutHere's a shot of Bruce and the band at the Verizon Center in August, 2009:Father and son, sweating it out at said concert:And then of course, there was April vacation, 2008, in Florida with the Scanlon family, which also happened to be the week that marked the passing of E Street organist Danny Federici. As luck would have it, Bruce and the E Street Band were playing in both Tampa and Orlando that week, and who'da thunk it - we scored seats for both shows!

Behind the Orlando stage, we got to see all the band members exiting the stage, including the Big Man himself, clearly impaired in his mobility:While Bruce and the band may tour again, it just won't be the same without the Big Man on stage, busting the city in half. Unquestionably, the greatest concert wingman in the history of rock band touring, his stage presence is irreplaceable.Truly, there are teardrops on the city.

Clarence, thanks for a great ride! As I've stated elsewhere previously, tell Gabriel to move over, there's a Big Man coming to blow his horn!

Cue the unforgettable Jungleland sax solo:

Outside the street's on fire in a real death waltz
Between flesh and what's fantasy
and the poets down here don't write nothing at all
they just stand back and let it all be
And in the quick of the night they reach for their moment and try to make an honest stand
but they wind up wounded, not even dead
Tonight in Jungleland

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Good Times Bruin!

So today, we headed into Boston with a million of our friends to celebrate the black and gold, or black and yellow, if you like that song. Great day for a Bruins celebration!

Here we are at the Garden, three of us in our Bruins colors, Andrew wearing his Red Sox green.Andrew and Mary on the downbound train.The happy couple at the GardenMy two girls -the biggest Bruins fans I knowClaude Julien, a fave of Jackie's, gives a nod to fellow championship coaches Terry Francona, Bill Belichick, and Doc RiversCam Neely happily shows of the spoils of war to the crowdBrad Marchand, Heather's fave whom she met earlier this season, takes a run at Black and Yellow rapTim Thomas takes his turn hoisting Lord Stanley's cup highAndrew just can't help himself. Here he is, beaming with the Bruins cheerleaders. Who knew the Bruins even HAD cheerleaders?!?I hate when this happens. I'm standing there, minding my own business, and suddenly I'm surrounded by cheerleaders who want their picture taken with me. Go figure.Heather gives a puck Overall, the day gets two thumbs-up from Bruins nut HeatherAndrew happily gives Mary a better view of the festivitiesChara gets ready to take the cup to the million people waiting to see itWith the cup behind them heading out to the parade route, the girls are all smiles Heather makes it a clean sweep Congrats to the Bruins for a great season, and kudos to the city of Boston for pulling off yet another exciting victory parade! Next up: the Red Sox!

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Party Line

After all the awards ceremonies, formals and proms and graduation ceremonies, we finally got a chance to cut loose with a dual graduation party for both Andrew and Heather, with friends and family coming from all over! Held at the historic Middlesex MeetingHouse in Billerica, there was a ton of food, family, friends, and oh yeah, Baggo!

Here's Michael and Kate, playing the role of props for the food shotThe SMS crowdHeather's crew on deckIntense Baggo rivalries were renewed in between feedingsWhile Andrew makes his pitch, Scott apparently celebrates the results of a successful tossThe LHS crew, standing guard around the dessert tableThe E Streeters get decked outAnd back outside, the E Streeters make way for the LHS Red Raiders to square off on the field of battleUnlike the E Streeters, though, the LHS kids can finish things off with smiles and hugsThanks to everyone who turned out (and to those who couldn't make it but were with us in spirit)! It was a great wrap to a busy week!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Heather's Turn in the Cap and Gown

Still playing blog catch-up here, so here's a fleet of photos from Heather's SMS graduation celebration. Goodbye SMS, hello LHS!

The graduated siblings, accompanied by their puppy, who graduated top of his class in obedience schoolMom couldn't be prouder A kiss for my beautiful treasure And then all together nowHeather and Virginia, waiting for the ceremony to get underwayDue to one of the fastest grad processions I've ever been to, photos were blurry at best, though I did manage to snag the beaming diploma shotAwash in white, the SMS eighth-grade girls beam up on the altar Heather and Mary - and just what is that look Andrew's sporting in the background?A hug from the proud brother, captured on film, proof that they DO love each otherHeather and her favorite teacher, John Locke, not to be confused with the enigmatic character from LostHeather and Chloe: "Seriously? They graduated US???"Graduated galsAdding some blue to the mixThe proud godmotherAnd the cousin, himself getting ready for his own eighth-grade experience Outside, the grandkids make a Nana sandwichAnd finally, a rose among the roses, my beautiful girl!Congrats, Heather! We're all proud of you! It's been a blast watching you grow up! Bring on Lowell High!