Dear friends of Noi & Springsteen, let me introduce my son, Andrea Penna, to you, who turned 18 just a few months ago. This is the last evening our competition is open and he is studying for his high school diploma. I come in and without explaining much and ask him to record Racing in the Street for me. We switch on the mixer and TV camera quickly and I ask him to sing it as it comes and play it on the piano that found its way into his bedroom a year or so ago.
Andrea started listening to Bruce’s songs right after he was conceived, taking part in The Rising concert in San Siro when he was still in the womb. Then when he was born he turned against Bruce in rebellion.
He listened to everything but the Boss. In the car he asked me to put something else on. I accepted his decision in silence!
But DNA doesn’t lie. In 2016 he turned 16 and I begged him to come to the cinema to see Blinded by the light with me. That was when he saw the light. He couldn’t keep his eyes off the screen and carefully read the words which cropped up as banners in the film. He identified with that boy looking for an identity and finding his own way. At the end of the film I asked him nothing. We got into the car, he scrolled through the playlist and selected The Promised Land and turned the volume right up.
Bruce had got under his skin definitively, and was making plenty of noise. And since then day after day, it has been practice practice practice, first with an acoustic guitar and for a year or so the piano. Self-taught. Born to Run, Dancing in the Dark, Thunder Road, The Promised Land, etc. Every evening there's a little concert in his bedroom. I’m the only spectator. Happy. Partly because there's no ticket to pay.
Racing got inside him. He plays it between one break and another in his study afternoons.
The recording is improvised, imprecise and to some extent rough and ready. I’ll admit that he's not at his best tonight! But it doesn’t matter, this is my Andrea.
And that's how I like him!
I explain the competition to him and tell him that we have very little time, just 2 and a half hours. He signs the disclaimer.
He tells me he doesn’t have much time because he has to revise Latin.
And to get it all ready and send the email and video off.
I quickly put the video together, rough and ready as well, with no particular effects and load it up onto youtube.
The result of the competition doesn’t matter. What's important is that He&I have made something together which will remain with us for ever, for us. And perhaps for our friend Bruce, if we ever bump into him.