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How a 23 year old banking analyst ended up on stage with Bruce Springsteen

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | May 16, 2014 12:48 PM

(Hershey) -- Greg Squassi and his friend Anthony Lucci had been preparing for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's concert in Hershey Wednesday for months. Not just listening to the music, but they wanted to get on stage.

So what did they do? Well, naturally, they made a sign.

"It was a big, big piece of cardboard spread out into four different foldable sections, and in big, big, black bubble marker letters, we had just written 'Can We Jam with the E Street Band?'", says Greg.

The answer, it turns out, is yes.

Springsteen spotted the monstrosity during Dancing in the Dark, when the Boss is known for pulling people (usually women) on stage to dance and make a memory. The Boss had just finished up playfully dancing with a middle aged woman when Greg and Anthony raised the sign, complete with neon lights ringing the borders, to get his attention.

"What I do remember is seeing him ask for the sign, and pointing at us. And then it was kinda a blur."

"I do remember the sign leaving my hands, and getting thrown towards the stage."

Greg and Anthony's planning didn't just involve figuring out how to get on the stage - they wanted to be members of the E Street Band, if only for a few seconds. So when they were pulled up, they knew exactly what to do.

"We just kinda formed a perfect little triangle between the three of us on the mic stand and did just a little back and forth vocal exchange."

The crowd roared, Bruce smiled wide, and two guys saw one of their dreams come true.

"It was unbelievable. it was perfect."

To hear the full story from Greg, click above, or read his comments below.

“Well me and my buddy Anthony had been kinda planning this out for months. We knew we really wanted to go all out with this concert and get on stage. We thought our best bet would be to get general admission tickets and get as close to the center of the pit as possible.

"It wasn’t too pretty honestly. It was a big, big piece of cardboard spread out into four different foldable sections, and in big, big, black bubble marker letters, we had just written Can We Jam with the E Street Band” And in between the E and the Street, we included a little logo, a Jersey Strong logo, which is a logo of a gym that I belong to back home that Bruce goes to as well, so we were hoping that he would notice that. And that was neon so that also stood out. And on the perimeter of the sign we had to use blue, small strands of light that would blink and they were pretty bright, so it wasn’t the most beautiful thing but if you’re looking at it from 15 feet away, you’re not going to miss it.”

"We were up until 2 in the morning the night before, and we had to wake up at 5:30 to get to the arena at 7:30 in the morning. The sign itself took about an hour and a half or so, gluing everything together, getting the lights strung up and everything, so it was a long night and an early morning.

"We knew Dancing in the Dark is usually the best opportunity for Bruce to bring somebody up there. So about halfway through the song, he brought a woman, and we still had our sign going, you could see we’re right in front of him, we’re really hoping he’s going to point us out, and after he brought this woman on stage, she went back down and we went up.

"What I do remember is seeing him ask for the sign, and pointing at us. And then it was kinda a blur. I do remember the sign leaving my hands, and getting thrown towards the stage. And Bruce picked up the sign, showed it to the crowd, asking Do we need some new E Street members? And that’s when the crowd erupted, and then from there, we just got pushed up, handed the guitars and jumped right in.

"We knew we were headed straight for the mic. Bruce is in the center, and my buddy had gotten his guitar before me, so he lined up next to Bruce on Bruce’s left. And I went over and stood next to him and Bruce kinda ushered me around like ‘no get on the other side of the mic’ so then we just kinda formed a perfect little triangle between the three of us on the mic stand and did just a little back and forth vocal exchange. It was unbelievable, it was perfect.

"It’s pretty tough to concentrate when you’re looking out at 30,000 people. It was strange. I guess it’s a little cliché but it really felt you were in a living room or something like that. The band did an excellent job to make us feel at home and comfortable, and we really weren’t star struck or nervous or anything because it felt like exactly what we were supposed to be doing. It worked out perfectly. Everybody was so into it. The whole crowd was going insane, it was just the perfect scenario for us.

"Bruce has hundreds of songs, so he needs some help. So he’s got a little cheat sheet in front of the microphone that has all his lyrics and the chords for his songs. So we’d look down , and we know how to play guitar so we tried to follow along a little bit, but we are pretty positive those guitars weren’t plugged in.

"I’ve already had to explain this quite a few times. We are big fans of Bruce Springsteen, and we had been thinking about this for months. So when we got on stage, we knew what we were going to do. We knew we wanted guitars, we knew we wanted to get up to the microphone. As far as staged, you can watch a youtube video and you can hear our voice, if it was staged, I don’t he would’ve picked anybody with our voices.

springsteen.jpg

Photo by Courtesy

Greg Squassi (l) is pictured with Bruce Springsteen at Hershey on May 14th.

"I didn’t tell too many people, because I couldn’t comprehend anything, I was just sorta in shock. I didn’t remember which songs he played next or anything. I sent a couple pictures to a few people and they all said wow you guys had great seats. And then I said no, look at the picture again, do you know who that is? And then the realization hits, oh my god, how did you do that.  So that’s when it started spreading like wildfire and I started getting phone calls, text messages from friends and family, co workers and all that. It’s really been blowing up.

"I haven’t slept really in 2 days between staying up and then the adrenaline last night, but it’s been non stop phone calls, text messages and it still feels like I’m up there, to be honest with you. It still feels like I’m on stage, looking at all those people, singing. I don’t know if I’m ever going to come down from it, I don’t think so.

"We spent an hour after the concert, talking to strangers, saying that they’ve been to hundreds of shows, and they’ve tried to do this and to just savor every second of it. It’s special. It’s a once in a lifetime thing, if you’re lucky. So we really lived the dream, and we all appreciate it, all of us who went up there."

 

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