“Order the good wine …”
Clarence Clemons aka The Big Man, was partial to the above words when saying goodbye to a friend. In the documentary – ‘Who Do You Think I Am?’; those words leave the viewer seeking the good wine.
Everyone knows Clemons’music. The entire world (or most of it) have intentionally or unintentionally listened to one of his Sax solos or soulful parts within his or Springsteen’s E Street Band’s songs. Clemons touched the world from within but more importantly – the world touched him from without.
Director Nick Mead ( also a personal friend of Clemons) takes the viewers on a trip. Literally and figuratively.
The film explores where Clemons came from, the places he arrived and the inner voice of Clarence that propelled him forward through his musical and spiritual life. An inner voice that spoke volumes to every person he met on his magical journey.
Mead introduces the viewer to many of the characters that shaped Clemons and in turn – sculpted The Big Man. Bill Clinton, Nils Lofgren, Joe Walsh and Clemons’ nephew Jake Clemons (to name but few), take turns relaying guesses on what made Clarence tick. None quite understanding the entire man but each – knowing the impact Clemons had on his immediate world, the larger globe and on Bruce Springsteen himself.
The Boss and The Big Man were brothers from another Mother. By all accounts in the film, Bruce and Clarence gave each other what the other did not have yet shared a common ground; the same soul. From the time they met, the time they parted ( Springsteen ended The E Street Band for a time) and the time they reunited – emotions replaced the microphone and the instrument. An unmistakable bond took place between them and bonded the world around them. The Clemons – Springsteen relationship also diminished racial tensions as this was one of the first times an African American and Caucasian displayed a mutual love for the world to see.
Clemons himself reflects throughout the documentary on music but mostly life.
The film follows Clarence shortly after the mammoth Springsteen tour ended in 2003 as he ventures to China. An awakening took place with The Big Man as nobody knew who he was. A huge global star and something Clemons got used to -suddenly he was a man of different color walking the streets of China like a bull in a china shop.
Who Do I Think I Am?
Director Nick Mead and Clemons then let us in on a moment that few realize and even fewer discover. The questions, the thoughts behind what is a man’s place in a universe when his sentence is but one in a book filled with billions of pages.
The answer to the age old question asked by a man who by nature loved – and gave his soul to mankind? ‘Order the good wine …’