Through some elusive but tangible process, a piece of music cuts through all defenses and makes sense of every fear and desire you bring to it. As it does so, it exposes all you’ve held back, and then makes sense of that, too. Though someone else is doing the talking, the experience is like a confession. Your emotions shoot out to crazy extremes; you feel ennobled and unworthy, saved and damned. You hear that this is what life is all about, this is what it is for. Yet it is this recognition itself that makes you understand that life can never be this good, this whole. With a clarity life denies for its own good reasons, you see places to which you can never get.
Greil Marcus, Ranters and Crowd Pleasers: Punk in Pop Music, 1977–1992
(This was specifically about Bruce Springsteen’s performances of Prove It All Night and Racing In The Streets from the Roxy, 7/7/1978)