Finding Grace in the Concert Hall: Community and Meaning among Springsteen Fans by Linda K. Randall
123 pages, $22.95 list
eBook availability
Finding Grace in the Concert Hall
Community and Meaning among Springsteen Fans
Bruce Springsteen’s music and performances have provided an emotional outlet for thousands of fans all over the world. Drawing from participant observation, the statements of Springsteen fans, and the life and music of Springsteen, Randall’s ethnographic treatment documents the ways in which fans are inspired to create a global cultural community. This community functions as a social network, offering emotional support, spirituality, and the motivation for doing good works.

Randall discovers that the sensitivities and values Springsteen instills in his fans are as alive and valid as those experienced by adherents of widely recognized spiritual traditions. Her in-depth examination of the thoughts and actions of these fans reveals that embracing nontraditional spiritual values can engender multifaceted feelings, including trust, hope, and respect for humankind. By acknowledging that a personal spiritual connection can develop outside a sectarian landscape, an appreciation of and tolerance for different belief systems can be cultivated and nourished.
“The ties that bind people together in culture and community are no longer only those described in traditional community ethnographies of village peoples in far-away jungles and deserts. Finding Grace is an ethnography of popular culture in a complex world that has become connected by travel, the Internet, and as seen here, the multiple messages of Bruce Springsteen’s 30-year body of music.” — Jeanne Simonelli, from the Foreword
Table of Contents
1. Joining the Church of Bruce and the Ministry of Rock 'n' Roll
2. Releasing Religion
3. Genesis: In the Beginning, There Was Freehold
4. "Tramps Like Us"
5. Community in the E Street Nation
6. Listening for the Liberated Word
7. Spirit in the Night: Good News through Social Justice
8. Witness for Bruce
9. Sacred Music, Contagious Ecstasy
Conclusion: "Tomorrow There'll Be Sunshine and All This Darkness Past"