Published Thursday, November 15, 2012 AT 5:23 PM / Updated at 5:27 PM
Me and the Boss
Tom Shatel Omaha World-Herald

No, I’m not referring to my wife. Not this time, anyway.

This guy from New Jersey is putting on a little concert tonight in downtown Omaha. Don’t worry if you get stuck in traffic. He’ll probably be going until 5 a.m.

The mention of Bruce Springsteen’s name always brings back a Pavlov’s response for me, and that would be a cringe. Then I start thinking about Dave Hart and Warren Powers. They aren’t part of the E Street Band. For one night, they were.

This story takes place in 1984, the Monday after Thanksgiving.  I was in KC then, young and single and dazed by all the videos MTV could cram into my head. Springsteen was already an icon before then, but during the summer of ’84 his album “Born In the USA” rocked everyone, even those who had never heard of him before. In other words, it was a commercial smash.

I hadn’t gotten in on the ground level of Bruce worship in the 70′s, but I was a big enough fan in 1984. Who didn’t want to dance with Courtney Cox? Or be the mechanic lucky enough to return the keys in “I’m on fire?”

Short story long: I scored two tickets to see Springsteen’s “Born In the USA” tour concert at Kemper Arena, the Monday after Thanksgiving. Talk about gold. Those may have been the most sought-after tickets in KC concert history to date, or since the Beatles appeared in KC. Or, Eagles-Ronstadt at Arrowhead.

Now, what is the Monday after Thanksgiving famous for, besides diets? It’s the day colleges fire losing football coaches.

That Monday morning of the concert, I got a call from the office. Missouri just fired Warren Powers.

Get down to Columbia. Now.

That night, as I sat in my Campus Inn hotel room writing a lede and four side bars, I thought about what I was missing. My tickets went to a friend and his lucky date. I’m sure they had a splendid time. I never did ask.

Meanwhile, MU fired Powers so it could hire Woody Widenhofer. I’m sure there’s a biting Springsteen song about that somewhere.

Now I’m older and blessed to have responsibilities in my life. I won’t be at the concert tonight at Century Link. I may sit at home and get on the internet and see where Warren Powers is these days.

About Tom Shatel

Tom Shatel is a columnist for The Omaha World-Herald. You can get in touch with Tom on Twitter (@tomshatelOWH), or send him an email at tom.shatel@owh.com.