Stevie Van Zandt’s Memoir “Unrequited Infatuations”

I just finished listening to the audio book version of Stevie Van Zandt’s memoir Unrequited Infatuations. I chose to listen to the audio book instead of reading the print version because the man himself, Stevie Van Zandt (a/k/a “Little Steven” and “Miami Steve”) narrates it. It would be more accurate to say the he performs the book as opposed to narrates it, because unlike many narrators, Van Zandt reads the book with an unmatched enthusiasm, vigor, and dedication that I have rarely encountered in an audiobook.

The audio version captures your attention immediately, right from the opening, and never relents. If you’ve ever imagined sitting down on a park bench with one of your musical idols and hearing all about their life, their trials and tribulations, their dreams, their goals, their adventures, and their life lessons, that is exactly how this audio book feels. It’s shockingly but refreshingly candid, and provides tremendous insight into his work with Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, Darlene Love, his solo music, his political activism, his acting career, his work with The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame committee, his Teach Rock foundation, and just about everything else you could possibly want to know. This book was such a thrill to experience. The time flies by. With the exception of Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, I don’t think I have ever felt such exhilaration after finishing an audio book. Unrequited Infatuations is easily one of the best memoirs I have ever experienced.

The Jonas Brothers in Camden, NJ October 7, 2021

The Jonas Brothers in Camden, NJ October 7, 2021 Photo: Megan Earling

If you have read this blog in the past, you already know that I mostly write about my two favorite musical heroes, Bruce Springsteen and Prince. So what the hell am I doing at a Jonas Brothers concert? Well, I don’t exclusively write about Bruce and Prince (see my other recent post about AJR’s stellar concert in Wallingford, CT). I listen to a wide variety of artists, but I admit that I always assumed that the Jonas Brothers were just another boy band, and I haven’t listened to terrestrial FM radio in many years, so their music wasn’t on my radar. That is until my teenage daughter started watching their old show on Disney+ and she fell for them hard. So of course I hear their songs all the time around the house now. The brothers are now her number one musical obsession right alongside another set of brilliant musical brothers, AJR.

My daughter, along with almost every other kid her age, had a rough 2020. The pandemic of course halted almost all social gatherings and she went to school remotely for three out of four marking periods of her freshman year of high school, finally going back in person for the last marking period. She worked hard and stayed on the Principal’s List, but despite having a loving family and friends, it was still a rough year. Shortly after our family got vaccinated, I found out that the Jonas Brothers were touring, and I made it my mission in life to take my daughter to see her boys.

If you haven’t been following the concert industry, you might not know about dynamic ticket pricing. I could write an entire book about this topic and how to use it to your advantage, but the quick version is that instead of tickets in certain sections of the venue having a fixed price, the ticket prices can change constantly based on supply and demand, just like prices from scalpers. I logged onto Ticketmaster every day of the summer and watched the prices in the first few rows of the pit change until they reached a price low enough for me to pull the trigger. Then one day, boom! I scored her tickets in the sixth row of the pit, dead center in line with Nick Jonas’ microphone. You can’t put a price on your kid’s happiness. Well, you can actually when it comes to concert tickets, but you have to work hard to make sure you don’t get robbed in the process.

So was it worth it? Let me explain it like this: One day in 2020, in tears, my daughter asked me, “Daddy, will things ever go back to regular normal?” The best honest answer I could give her was that yes, they would, but I couldn’t promise her when. I could only promise her that they would...eventually. Thursday night at the Jonas Brothers concert, I got to see her watch her musical heroes up close and hear her say, “Daddy! I made eye contact with Nick!” and I saw the same look in her eyes that I’m sure I have in mine at a Springsteen show. That look is priceless. So yes, that alone was worth it. The surprising part is that I myself enjoyed the show! Part of my enjoyment was of course seeing the show through my daughter’s eyes, but I also knew almost every song they played at the show because I had heard them at home for the last few years. Their songs have infectious hooks, creative bridges, and lyrics that make you feel something. And speaking of those lyrics, after a long time without being at a large-scale concert due to the pandemic, it was an absolute joy watching thousands of girls sing every single lyric along with the band during the show. Luckily the amps were louder than the girls, but not by much. The girls gave the amps a fight! I’m not saying they were as frenzied as a Beatles audience, but these are my daughter’s Beatles, and that’s why it was so much fun. Last but not least, I found out that the Jonas Brothers are Jersey boys, and I’ve had a pretty good run enjoying many, many concerts featuring a certain Jersey boy from Asbury Park, so maybe it’s something in the water in Jersey!