I’m listening to Bruce Springsteen right now (which may or may not inspire a future post), and it just struck me that “Atlantic City” could serve as a kind of prequel to “Meeting Across the River.”
Now, if you’re not familiar with those songs, you are well and truly deprived. And so, per my civic duty, here’s “Atlantic City,” a spare acoustic masterpiece from Springsteen’s 1982 album Nebraska:
And here’s a live version of “Meeting Across the River,” from the 1975 masterpiece Born to Run:
Do you hear it?
It’s in those lines near the end of “Atlantic City”:
Well I’m tired of comin’ out on the losin’ end
So honey last night I met this guy and I’m gonna do a little favor for him
In context, it’s fairly obvious that said favor will not bode well for our hero. And that theme is the very heart of “Meeting Across the River”:
We gotta stay cool tonight, Eddie
‘Cause man, we got ourselves out on that line
And if we blow this one
They ain’t gonna be looking for just me this time
Now, it’s probably just me, but I feel like there’s a whole story between those stories. What if the two narrators were the same guy? What if something happened to the guy who still has hope that “maybe everything that dies someday comes back?” Something that ultimately led him to cross the Hudson River for “one last chance?”
How did he get there?
And is there anywhere left for him to go?
I don’t know how you do it, Bruce, but damn, you’re great at it…