Bruce Springsteen Book Signing in L.A. Moves Fans to Tears

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Bruce Springsteen appears to greet fans at the book signing for his autobiography "Bruce Springsteen Born To Run" on Sept. 27, 2016 at Barnes & Noble in Freehold, N.J. 

As a performer, Bruce Springsteen is arguably the best in rock history at creating a sense of intimacy with fans. For five decades he has made fans in even the biggest stadiums feel as if he is speaking just with them. The result is a bond between artist and fan that rivals any in the annals of rock. The stories of fans who have seen hundreds of shows or traveled the world following “The Boss” are part of rock lore.

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So it was no surprise that as Springsteen’s current book signing tour for his new autobiography Born to Run rolled into Barnes & Noble at L.A.’s Grove shopping center Monday (Oct. 3), fans had been lining up and sleeping on the sidewalk since Saturday afternoon. Many of the fans who had spent their whole weekend lined up on Third Street were there simply for a chance to say thank you. And when Springsteen walked into the Barnes & Noble just after 10:30 a.m. PT, an hour and a half before the scheduled noon start time, the crowd of 1,100 lined up on all three stories of the store chanted “Bruuuuce” and yelled as if he was about to deliver another four-hour performance.

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Sisters Aliceann and Rachel Grusin arrived at the Grove on Saturday at 2 p.m. and spent 40 hours on the sidewalk to have their picture taken with Springsteen. And in the very quick 30 seconds or so they got to hug him and take a picture, what did they say? “I said, ‘I love you, I thank you,’” said Rachel, who was moved to tears by the experience. “[And] he said, ‘You’re welcome.' He was amazing.”

For the two of them, who have been attending Springsteen concerts together since Aliceann took Rachel to the 1984 Born in the U.S.A. tour, they agreed there was no one else that would elicit this kind of emotional response. “I met Bob Dylan,” Aliceann said, adding it wasn’t the same. “Not even close.”

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Kevin, who got there Sunday morning, felt the exact same. He drove by the Grove on Sunday morning with his girlfriend and when he saw the line realized if he wanted to have a chance to be one of the lucky 1,100 who got in the store, he’d have to get in line then. So he did. “I felt like a geek,” he quipped. “But I figured it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I may never get to meet him again, I got to take a picture with him, shake his hand and get a book. Now I’m gonna go home and sleep.”

Was it worth it to him? “Oh yeah.” He used his 30 seconds or so to say thank you, tell Springsteen it was an honor and encourage the recently turned 67-year-old rocker to keep doing what he’s doing and never retire. So what did Springsteen say? “He was just laughing and said, ‘I’ll try.’”