The Boss and concert stuff....
April 27, 2008 7:31 AM   Subscribe

What was Bruce Springsteen taking during the show in Atlanta?

My wife and I just saw Springsteen play in Atlanta (freaking amazing) and were seated behind the stage. Because of the vantage point, we could see a number of "backstage" sorts of things happening, one of which was that at 3-4 points or so during the concert, Bruce would come back to an area beside Max on the drumset and take/swig/squeeze something into his mouth. The procedure looked like this:

Take a drink of water.
Pick up what looked like a tube of something, squeeze some on his finger, and rub it around his gums.
Take the tube, put the tip in his mouth, and squeeze more directly in.
Take another drink of water, head back to the microphone.

My wife noticed that it sometimes coincided with playing the harmonica, and her theory is something like Ambesol for pain. I can see how playing would be hell if you had a sore...but he was putting a TON of whatever it was on, and it seemed to me a completely numb mouth would be bad for, you know, singing.

So: singers out there, or anyone with a clue: WTF was he doing/taking?
posted by griffey to Media & Arts (8 answers total)
If it was a topical pain reliever (e.g. Anbesol) he wouldn't have been drinking water after applying it to his gums (that would have just rinsed it away).

It's more likely that it was something to keep his mouth/throat moist and hydrated.
posted by amyms at 7:42 AM on April 27, 2008

I wonder if it's not just something to combat dry mouth perhaps? Since, as you say, performing with a numb mouth would seem most unlikely.
Maybe the Boss like a smoke before a gig...

Or like you say, it's to do with sores and playing harmonica (particularly metal ones) can hurt.
That said, I have no idea.
posted by opsin at 7:43 AM on April 27, 2008

Maybe something like this
posted by miniape at 7:55 AM on April 27, 2008

Yeah. I was thinking just vaseline or something when you mentioned putting it on his gums. It would keep them moist and lubricated for singing and harmonica-ing. Of course he wouldn't be squeezing it directly into his mouth for consumption though. I haven't used orajel, but it sounds like one would use that on the entire mouth. So probably that or something like it. Your wife is probably right that he used it more frequently before, during, or after harmonica playing. Seems like that especially would require the mouth to remain moist more so than with singing. Probably not a topical anaesthetic, unless he was using it on just one spot, like a canker sore, and using orajel on the rest.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 8:10 AM on April 27, 2008

It could have been energy gel, used by runners and cyclists. The Boss is known for marathon, high-energy performances.

PS: I'm jealous.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 8:20 AM on April 27, 2008

FWIW, I don't think he did that in San Jose or Sacramento (pit both nights, baby!). You might have more luck asking over at the BTX forum.
posted by wemayfreeze at 10:18 AM on April 27, 2008

I have performed onstage for years and have never heard of anything like this. If he had a bad tooth, maybe I could understand the Orajel/Ambesol theory, but I imagine that the Boss has a good dental plan. There would be no good reason to use the stuff from a performance aspect.

Maybe it was liver paste?
posted by peewinkle at 12:04 PM on April 27, 2008

I have to disagree peewinkle. I've never had a problem while performing on stage either, but I've had a dry mouth at other times and it can be a bitch when talking, so if I was performing on stage and suffering from it I'd most certainly want a way to deal with it.

Plus, they do list various medical reasons for dry mouth happening, and maybe he suffers one of those. That said, isn't the Boss immune to everything, and immortal? Or something like that...
posted by opsin at 12:23 PM on April 27, 2008

« Older Scientologist Athlete   |   Help a weakling achieve her first push-up! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.