Sunday, June 19, 2011

OFF-TOPIC: R.I.P., Clarence Clemons; A Little Less Joy In The World

"A Little Less Joy In The World (A Verse, A Chorus)"
Life - and the music - will continue.
Someone may be able to fill big shoes stage right.
The Big Man's sax and smile disappeared tonight.
But, the spirit of his spirit will always shine through the spotlight.

Clarence Clemons, the "Big Man" in the E Street Band and Bruce Springsteen's saxophonist passed away a few hours ago, six days after suffering a stroke.  Like many, I have great memories of seeing Clemons up close and personal, seeing how much he enjoyed playing music, enjoying the spotlight and interacting with the fans standing and yelling in front of him.

The few times that I was fortunate enough to be standing in the first couple of rows of "the pit", I was always on "the Clarence side" of the stage (stage right, from his perspective).  Even when he was in pain, he played his parts with joy and always seemed to genuinely appreciate - and return - the love from the people around me.  (Including me - I could not resist expressing my appreciation, which he reciprocated with a smile, nod or point.)

I have re-read parts of his fictionalized memoir* this week.  There is little doubt that he enjoyed his stardom during the past nearly-40 years.  And, while there seemed to be a realization that his health would continue to make life more difficult, he made a (successful) effort to come back and wring a bit more joy out of life here on earth.

Clarence is the 2nd major onstage element of the phenomenon that is a Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band concert to pass away in the last three years.  Danny (Federici) was a key component in the music, but Clarence was also a key part of the show and his shtick with Bruce cannot - will not - be duplicated.

* By the way, if you are a fan of Clarence Clemons, Bruce Springsteen, and/or Hunter S. Thompson's style of gonzo trips, make sure you check out "Big Man".  A fun, funny and insightful volume.

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