But would he get Bruce? And, more important, would he get me and Bruce?
My son had grown up relatively privileged, in a small, beautiful New England town with more trees than people. Could he understand my experience of being brought up in a gritty Philadelphia neighborhood of brick rowhouses? How I played "Darkness on the Edge of Town" in a tiny, stuffy back bedroom and plotted my escape? How Springsteen was in my room every night, sometimes whispering and sometimes shouting, but always reminding me that I must do my best - and that if I did, I would have a shot at my personal promised land?
I lived in a quiet house with my older parents and elderly grandmother. I was raised on a steady diet of show tunes and Frank Sinatra; a portrait of Ol' Blue Eyes hung in our upstairs hallway. I was raised to love Frank (and I still do), but man, I wanted to bust out, and "I've Got the World on a String" wasn't going to cut it.
A boy in the neighborhood introduced me to Bruce when I was 14. Soon I had devoured every album and memorized every song. Springsteen made me believe that there is power, beauty, and redemption in striving for something better. I could change my life. I could see the world. I had choices.
My son lives in a world of choices. He has been to Italy and Ireland. He is surrounded by books and different kinds of music. He has always been told he can be whatever he wants. He is encouraged to try new things and meet different people.
We want our children to have comfortable lives filled with advantages we didn't have. But yearning and desire are powerful motivators. For me, they were the greatest gifts of the gospel according to Bruce.
Seeing that gospel performed live is like going to a revival. In recent years, the shows have become even more like a rockin' religious service; the current tour includes New Jersey gospel singer Michelle Moore.
Springsteen acts as the minister, demanding your participation through call and response. If you don't do your part, he will demand more, exhorting you to sing and cheer until you're hoarse. He makes you listen to his stories, feel the pain of his characters, understand your role, and go forth and spread the word. And he does it all inside an amazing rock-and-roll show with one of the tightest bands on the planet. By the end, you are wrung out and filled with the spirit.
Springsteen's music has an increasingly moral dimension. He writes about what is happening in our towns and cities, what wakes us up in the middle of the night, and what eats away at our souls. His lessons are about work, compassion, prayer, redemption, love, equality, and, of course, noise. His new album, Wrecking Ball, takes us straight to the heart of the country's economic devastation, fills us with sorrow, gets us angry about those responsible, and then puts us on the road to redemption and hope.
The Wrecking Ball tour also offers a tutorial on grieving. Dealing with the deeply felt loss of his longtime friend and saxophonist, Clarence "The Big Man" Clemons, Springsteen bares his heart and invites the crowd to show him - and Clarence - the love. The outpouring washes over the band and the crowd, leaving an immense sense of healing.
A few days after the concert, my son and I were in the car when he turned to me and said, "I saw Bruce Springsteen, and my life hasn't been quite the same since."
Later, on Facebook, he posted: "It's a town full of losers. I'm pulling out of here to win."
Can I get an amen?
Maria Archangelo is a newspaper publisher who lives in Vermont. She grew up in the Olney section of Philadelphia.