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South side boy takes the stage with Bruce Springsteen in Nashville

Henry Hynes plays alongside "the Boss" at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville
Henry Hynes plays alongside "the Boss" at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville
Maureen Hynes

In 1984, an unknown actress named Courtney Cox landed the coveted roll as the adoring fan summoned on stage by Bruce Springsteen in his “Dancing with the Dark” video. Although it received heavy airplay on the “new” MTV station, it was generally agreed that it did not capture the excitement of Springsteen’s marathon concert performances.

Flash forward to 2014 and “The Boss” is still packing them in at stadiums across the country and wowing the crowds with his live shows. And much to the delight of a ten-year old South Sider, he still has a penchant for calling people onstage to help him out with “Dancing with the Dark” and other songs from his extensive repertoire.

The kid’s name is Henry Hynes, who just happened to be at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for Springsteen’s April 17, 2014 show. It was a family affair, which included Henry’s parents, his two siblings and his aunt Maureen. The Hynes clan was scattered about the Arena with Henry and his aunt way in the back of the general admission section.

“One of the reasons I love 'The Boss' so much is because it’s something my brothers and I have always done together and to go and bring the next generation out was a special night,” Maureen Hynes said. But the night got decidedly more special when, “out of nowhere, one of Springsteen’s road crew members came up and asked if we would like to get closer.”

As the pair thanked him profusely, the roadie told them that, “Bruce loves when people support him, especially the kids.” And with that they headed into the pits, “which at that point was the closest I had ever been,” stated Hynes.

Maureen and Henry edged closer. To their surprise, the crowd let them pass. With a slew of Chicagoans in the pits, Henry’s Blackhawks’ jersey might have been their ace in the hole as they soon found themselves in the front row.

When Springsteen kicked out “Dancing in the Dark” as part of his encore, Henry went from his front perch to the main stage—right beside The Boss himself. Hynes said that “when Bruce actually came up to Henry and pointed on him to get on stage, I went crazy. I was jumping up and down like a lunatic. To see my nephew do a guitar solo with Bruce was one of the best experiences of my life.”

Until Henry appeared on the Jumbotron with Springsteen, the rest of his family were unaware of the pair’s good fortune, as Maureen’s phone had died. But, she later received texts with photos of Henry’s big moment from friendly fans in the pits.

“You gotta love Springsteen fans. Everyone was so nice,” said Hynes. “About 100 people stopped us and told him how great he was on stage, which was amazing.”

She was also quick to give additional props to her nephew for “toughing it out on his feet for four hours.” Henry actually lost his shoe when he took the stage but was fortunate enough to find it.

Following his amazing spring break, Henry is now back in class at Most Holy Redeemer School in Evergreen Park. His mom Jennifer, said that “it’s been kind of nuts,” as news of his lucky break continues to spread. She said that both the school librarian and Henry’s teacher have saved the Chicago Sun-Times and SouthtownStar articles about him.

Although Henry’s stage appearance really registered with older folks, his mother noted that a few of his classmates are also fans “because their parents are.”

Obviously, the Hynes children were destined to become Springsteen fans. This is clear by the mere fact that Henry wakes up in the morning to a Springsteen ring tone on his phone. And although they weren’t originally planning on bringing the 6-year-old Matthew down to Nashville, they rethought their decision when they heard the boy singing “The Ghost of Tom Joad” in the back of the car.

Many of the articles written about the exchange between Springsteen and Henry highlighted the fact that Bruce referred to the young star as “serious,” which his 8-year-old sister Gabriella scoffs at. “If Bruce knew him, he wouldn’t call him serious,” said Gabriella. However, his mom does cop to fact that Henry “doesn’t like people staring at him.”

But the boy might be singing a different tune now that he’s played with Springsteen in front of thousands of rabid fans. Henry still has the guitar pick from “The Boss” and hopes to master the guitar himself very soon.

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