Two Years Gone: Remembering The Big Man

The following is a reprint of post from June 20, 2011, two days after the passing of Clarence Clemons, the sax player for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. Today marks the second anniversary of his death in 2011.

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“…my soul is lost, my friend….”
~ My City of Ruins, Bruce Springsteen

Saturday evening, my wife was out with a friend. My kids were asleep, I was finishing up dinner, trying to get into Inception.

At some point, I checked my Twitter feed and noticed that #RIPClarenceClemons was a trending topic. (yes, Twitter is how I often get my news now). I did a quick Google search and found out, from that the legendary saxophonist of the E Street Band had passed away due to complications from the stroke he suffered last week.

I think we fans all knew this news was inevitable. The Big Man had been not well lately. When The Geek Whisperer and I saw Springsteen and the E Street Band opening night of the last stand at Giants Stadium back in 2009, Clarence spent most of the show seated. He had had a couple of knee surgeries and his diabetes was getting worst. He was 69, but there was a lot miles on that big frame.

But still, as David wrote in his review of that concert, Jungleland, that night, was majestic. Holy, even. Thanks to Clarence and his sax. His sax gave the E Street Band its SOUL – yes, all caps. That kind of soul. Still…his time had come.

Even before I had found out that Clarence had passed, I had ask my family to go to Asbury Park and spend some time on Father’s Day there. It’s a short drive for us, would be a nice day, we could stroll the boardwalk, maybe get some ice cream and go on the beach. But with this news, though, I knew I wanted head down there. I wanted to head down to 2nd Ave at Ocean, a block in from Kingsley Avenue, and check out The Stone Pony. The tribute, I knew, would be fitting a very big man.

To be honest, it was a bit subdued. I guess I had expected more of a turnout at The Stone Pony. Maybe it was just the time I was there (late in the afternoon on a Sunday). There were a few people that were looking at the tributes set up outside the venue. And a nice arrangement of flowers and photos on The Stone Pony stage. Nothing too over the top though….

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That’s what I wrote two years ago. I wanted to go down to Asbury Park and document the scene a bit. Even met a young fan, Zack, who posed for me in that last photo.

Since that time, I’ve seen Springsteen and the E Street Band a few times. The band never did replace Clarence. You can’t replace Clarence. Instead, Bruce now has a full horns section, led by Clarence’s nephew, Jake Clemons. And, and each show, there’s a fitting remembrance to The Big Man: When Bruce sings Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out– a bit of an autobiographical song where refers to himself as Scooter – and he comes to the lines When the change was made uptown/ And the Big Man joined the band… the concert stops for about 10, 15, 20 seconds. Bruce holds his mic high. Jake looks up. People point to the heavens.

The Big Man is remembered.

When Scooter and The Big Man bust this city in half…

Then the ESB swings back into full force, roaring from the coastline to the cities.

Just like Clarence Clemons would want.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2013

3 thoughts on “Two Years Gone: Remembering The Big Man

  1. Pingback: Renaissance Man | JerseyStyle Photography

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