Archive for the ‘Springsteen is still Boss’ Category

The Freedom of Music: Clarence Clemons (1942-2011)

June 18th, 2011
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One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

I wasn’t always a Bruce Springsteen fan. When The River was released in 1979, I well remember the hype CHUM FM gave the album, and not having a clue what the fuss was about. Where’s the hot guitar solos? Springsteen himself wears a suit vest onstage for gosh sake. All hype, seemed a reasonable response. sidebar-1

It’s not that I disliked, you understand, not really. Born to Run, I would have to admit was a great song. And the other songs I knew, Tenth Avenue Freeze Out, Candy’s Room, Prove it All Night and later Hungry Heart, were all good songs. And if I had sat and put it together in that way, thought about his songs, I probably would have been a convert much earlier than I was.

There really was no excuse. Darkness on the Edge of Town is a great album, a work of art as much as any album of the rock era can be called that. I was 15 when Darkness was released in 1978, so I had no excuse. Except, I knew nobody who had it, liked it, talked about it. An album that good, by an artist that good, an artist we all knew just never listened too, and it seems nobody in my high school bought it.

I regret that I didn’t get Springsteen then. I was doing the concert scene by then, and had I seen Springsteen in ‘78, I would have been catching an astounding performer at his absolute peak. Even a few years later, when I had less excuses, I would have been seeing him perform at a level that few others ever do.

The conversion would take a few more years. It began in the middle of the night in 1983. I was working midnights at the local Food City, and had the night off. I stayed up, and when the TV was done for the night, turned on the radio. At 4:30 the DJ said he had tickets to Springsteen’s legendary sidekick and saxophonist, Clarence Clemons, and his band, the Red Bank Rockers at the El Mocambo. I called, got through immediately and had my name put on the list for the show – apparently virtually nobody else was listening at that time. On one days notice, and knowing nobody who was a Springsteen fan, I couldn’t find any takers for the second ticket, so I went by myself.

Upstairs at the El Mocambo was a small place, wider than it is deep with a low ceiling. It holds maybe a hundred people, who sit four each at a table. Rows of table run only 2 or 3 deep, thus about ten across. It is, it must be said, an intimate setting. I took a seat about ten feet from the stage and settled in to see I had no idea what. All I really knew was he played saxophone for Springsteen, and was on that album cover, the one where he’s leaning on Bruce. Hey, I was going to be ten feet away from a man on an album cover, and that was pretty cool. However, I was only ten feet away should it prove to be not very good and I wanted to leave halfway through.

I needn’t have worried. I remember sprinklings of the night. He started and ended with a couple of instrumentals. He brought out a little guy who sang great R&B, and had an on fire band behind him. He played for what must have been close to an hour and a half, but it seemed like ten minutes. And by the last song, Fire, I was dancing on my table, as was everybody else in the place.

I had often heard it said that music has energy, that it could be electric. I had no real idea what that really meant until that night when, like Ben Franklin standing in the storm with his kite, I learnt exactly what that electricity felt like. It was magical. I have said before that I learnt the meaning of the phrase raised the roof that night. The energy was so palpable in that little tiny room it felt like the roof must have moved upward so that the walls wouldn’t blow down.

How sad to hear the Big Man, he was 6’5” and 270 pounds, with the ever present big smile died yesterday, one week after suffering a stroke. He was 69, too young, too talented. I’ve seen Springsteen six times now, seen Clemons absolutely nail that astounding Jungleland solo. Seen him hanging out beside the speakers, like hoods at the drug store, while playing Rosalita. Seen him standing on one edge of the stage, while Bruce was on top of the piano, yet Clemons is the guy who was hard not to look at. I’ve even seen him kiss Springsteen, the singer on his knees after sliding across the stage to where Clarence was playing. But what I’ll always remember is that night 28 years ago when he seemed to come within’ an inch of literally blowing the roof off the El Mocambo. The night I learnt Rock ‘n’ Roll didn’t have to come wrapped in loud guitar solos and wailing singers.

No, Rock ‘n’ Roll is good time music, and nobody did good time better than Clarence, the Big Man, Clemons.

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The Freedom of Music: Dancing In The Dark

January 30th, 2011
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One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

Dec 31, 2010 6:25 PM
This shall be one long lonely night.

The above was written on the Facebook wall of somebody I’m close enough to be bothered by it. It wasn’t serious, not a cry for help or a desolate person in desperate need of company. But left alone on new years, she felt a little saddened by it.

sidebar-1I didn’t have a wild and crazy new years eve myself, although I was out among friends. A few drinks, some nice finger food to nibble on and the conversation of a couple of good friends. Did I drink? Why yes you honour. Much? No, not very much at all. Which perhaps explains how, at around noon on New Years Day, I was working out.

I put Bruce Springsteen’s Live at Hyde Park, a Christmas present, in the DVD player to work out with. As it was playing, Dancing in the Dark came on:

Message keeps getting clearer,
Radio’s on and I’m moving around the place.
I check my look in the mirror,
I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face.
Man I ain’t getting’ nowhere, just sittin’ in a dump like this
There’s something happenin’ somewhere, baby I just know there is.

Stay on the streets of this town, they’ll be carvin’ you up all night.
They say you gotta stay hungry, hey baby! I’m just about starving’ tonight.
I’m dying for some action, I’m sick of sittin’ round here trying to write this book,
I need a love reaction, c’mon baby give me just one look.

Springsteen has always had that one line, that phrase that could express so much. The intensity and passion of Born to Run, summed up in:

I wanna die with you Wendy on the street tonight,
In an everlasting kiss.

The sadness of The River:

And for my nineteenth birthday,
I got a union card and a wedding coat.
We went down to the courthouse,
And the judge put it all to rest.
No wedding day smile, no walk down the aisle,
No flowers no wedding dress.

You kind of know that’s not going to be a happy song.

But Dancing in the Dark was always different. It was the pop song, the song Courtney Cox danced to. It meant, well, nothing much.

In fact, it may have meant something very much more. During recording of Born in the USA, Springsteen’s manager and producer Jon Landau sent him home one night with a simple instruction: the album is good to great but it needs a hit. It needs a radio song. Go home and write it.

He did. Interesting then that he references writing so prominently in Dancing in the Dark:

I’m dying for some action,
I’m sick of sittin’ round here trying to write this book,
I need a Love reaction…

Suppose you change the word book for song, and it’s not hard to imagine you are looking into Bruce Springsteen’s very heart at that moment. It seems light enough, until…

“This shall be one long lonely night.”

It’s the knowledge that someone you love is lonely that changes the song. It becomes not a dance song, but a sad song with a happy face.

When the Born in the USA album came out, there was a fair bit of remark about Springsteen’s appearance. A once gaunt, skinny, weak looking kid (well, young man), he was now muscular, built up on weights. Meanwhile his foil, The Big Man, Clarence Clemons, had also hit the weights, adding bulk, losing fat. Springsteen gained weight, it was reported, Clemons lost. It seems unremarkable, except:

I check my look in the mirror,
I wanna change my clothes my hair my face.

Again you ask yourself, was Springsteen giving us a peek into his very darkest place, at 120 beats per minute of happy synthesizer pop?

And again you remember the words of Jon Landau: “go home and write a hit song.” Not a carefully crafted examination of your psyche. Not a scream for help. A pop song. So Springsteen did, all the while leaving a song that 25 years and hundreds of listens later, there was still something there to be discovered.

“That’s why,” as Clemons said in his recent autobiography, Big Man , “he’s the boss.”

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Cool for Cats Friday

November 19th, 2010
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There was once a time when Bruce Springsteen wasn’t a filthy rich socialist. He was, simply put, a brilliant musician and performer – period.

How good? The songs Fire and Because the Night got cut from Darkness at the Edge of Town good. Here’s a live video of Because the Night from 1978.

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Happy 60th Birthday…

September 23rd, 2009

Bruce Springsteen could get the AHIH Birthday nod because of 35 years of quality rock ‘n’ roll and leave it at that. I could offer best wishes on his 60th for turning the Fender Telecaster into a rock ‘n’ roll instrument, synonymous in rock ‘n’ roll circles with Bruce Springsteen much like Jimmy Page and his Les Paul.bruce_springsteen_3

On the other hand, in 1974 Bruce Springsteen set out to record the greatest rock album ever, and almost succeeded (arguably did) with the release of Born to Run. Three years later he released his most artistically complete work, Darkness on the Edge of Town, leaving possibly the two best songs (Fire and Because The Night, the former become a hit for The Pointer Sisters; the latter for Patti Smith) on the cutting room floor. He also wrote one of those songs that may never go away, Blinded By The Light, made what it is by Manfred Mann. Surely that’s enough for birthday wishes on his 60th.

Maybe I’d say happy birthday because he performed two of the three best concerts I have ever seen, first in 1984, just before he was to achieve superstardom. Dancing in the Dark was on the radio, Courtney Cox dancing on MTV, her first flirtation with fame. The second time was almost 30 years later, in 2003. Performing from a new album, the 50-something Springsteen stepped up for 2 1/2 hours. If a reformed Led Zeppelin hadn’t upended the “best concert I’ve ever seen” listing in 2007, I could say with absolute confidence they would have been the two best shows I have ever seen.

Someone else, I might offer wishes because he wrote the following lines:

brucespringsteenIf dreams came true aww wouldn’t that be nice…

I’ll love you with all the madness in my soul…

The street’s on fire in a real death waltz
Between what’s flesh and what’s fantasy
Man, the poets down here don’t write nothin’ at all,
They just stand back and let it all be…

I got Mary pregnant and man that was all she wrote.
And for my nineteenth birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat.
We went down to the courthouse and the judge put it all to rest…

We learned more from a three minute record than we ever learned in school…

But it’s a sad man my friend who’s livin’ in his own skin
And can’t stand the company…

On another day I might suggest the guitar solo in Prove it All Night is worthy o, the bass line in Fire, the passionately strained vocals on Born to Run suggest the recipient was worthy.

Truth is, I can’t narrow down Bruce Springsteen’s contributions to one lick, one line, one song, one album. His career has produced a body of work that can only be called significant, much of it among the best in rock’n’roll.

So Happy 60th Birthday Bruce Springsteen, because of the years of wonder you have given me, and because even after all these years, rock ‘n’ roll still seems important to you.

Birthday Wishes, Rockin' and Rollin' and Never Forgettin', Springsteen is still Boss

I’ve Been Waiting for This

April 24th, 2009
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Finally, it’s 10 degrees at 10 in the morning. The sun is shining and the weather geeks say 17 degrees by noon, 21 by mid afternoon. I’ve got the two wheel peddling machine oiled up and I’m getting some time in the sun. Have a great Friday everybody, especially here in Southern Ontario.

Somehow, I’m in the mood for some Bruce (yes I know he’s a lefty) Springsteen:

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The Freedom of Music

February 1st, 2009
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freedom-of-music-headerOne likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

Super Bowl Sunday. The end of the NFL season, where football pools, betting lines and ageing rockers credibility goes to die.

sidebar-1Ever since Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake proved without a doubt that you can no longer claim rebel status unless the cameras are rolling, Super Bowl half-time shows have featured acts that, 30 years ago, would have been apocalyptic if the record company said they should play the Super Bowl.

This years half-time show will feature Bruce Springsteen, the once future of rock and roll, now more like the farmer of rock and roll, milking every last drop from it’s drying teat. Bruce will be on full display, in a non-Janet Jackson way I hope, to promote his new album, Working On A Dream, which was released last Tuesday. The question I can’t help ask myself is, why? Why does Bruce Springsteen think he needs to play second fiddle to a football game to sell a few records?

The reason can probably be found in the record (bunch of MP3’s actually, but that doesn’t ring). It’s terrible. The interesting thing is it my first instinct is, not bad. Catchy, you might say. But upon further review, even that’s not really true.  Compared to other new releases this week, The Best of Hillary Duff say, or Mariah Carey or Liona Lewis, it may well be a work of genius. But when you compare it to Bruce Springsteen, this is a dismal failure of Springsteen’s quality filter.

It’s not a problem unique to Springsteen: The Stones and Paul McCartney are two prominent examples that come to mind. But who’s making music that you will listen to this time next year anymore?  The last Stones album, A Bigger Bang? Not when you have Let it Bleed or Made in the Shade to listen to? Bob Seger’s Face the Promise? Better choice than others mentioned here, but not compared to Live Bullet or Night Moves.  Even the newer acts I like. Will I really  listen to Kid Rock or the Foo Fighters five years from now? Maybe one of the above, but there won’t be many. So Springsteen is not unique in this regard.

Yet, if you are a fan of Springsteen, can you be faulted for expecting better? This is the guy who left Fire and Because the Night off of an album because they didn’t fit. How many songwriters never wrote a song as good as either? How many modern acts have zero songs in their repertoire as good as those two? Springsteen gave them away. And it’s not just the seventies. The Rising is one of the best albums of the last ten years. In fact, if you cut it down to eight songs, forty minutes – the same restrictions Born to Run or Darkness on the Edge of Town were recorded under – you have an album that belongs with the aforementioned. It’s all the bloody filler that hurts the Rising, the extra time that CDs allow that turn every disk into a double album length epic.

But the downhill slide for Springsteen was not out of the blue: Magic, his last CD,  suffered from lack of quality songs, save for two or three. And The Seeger Sessions was clearly an ironic cash in on a socialist icon: political in intent, larcenous in fact. But this one. How did the guy who left Fire aside let every song on this album past his crap filter? Their is not a redeeming song, not a point to hang your hat on. It’s bad, boring and meaningless from start to finish. For the first time in twenty-five years, I won’t be buying a Springsteen album, I have no interest in going to see him live lest he play this rubbish, and then treat me to a political speech I have no ineterst in hearing. This is one working man who is fed up with the so called “working mans hero,” and will save my hard earned money for more deserving entertainers. And that is a sentence, I never thought I would type.

Springsteen is still Boss, The Freedom of Music, This Week on my I-Pod

The Freedom of Music: The Springsteen Time Machine

September 21st, 2008
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One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

If you gave a group of Bruce Springsteen fans a time machine and said, you have one use, and return it in six hours, that machine would undoubtedly be making a bee-line for 1978: the golden age of Bruce. 1978: The Darkness on the Edge of Town tour. 1978: The legendary period of Bruce Springsteen concerts that bootleg recording today confirm Springsteen’s band was as tight as any band in the business, and video shows the Springsteen showmanship at it’s absolute peak.
Whenever I hit the gym in the corner of our basement for a run on the treadmill, I throw a video in the DVD player that the treadmill faces. I often chose music videos for a couple of reasons: 1) if I only watch 40 minutes of the video I’m not walking away feeling like I missed something; 2) I can keep the video on through the whole work out – stretching & weights on top of running – as back ground music. This week, it’s been Springsteen circa 1978.

A couple of years ago I downloaded a video called “Pièce De Résistance: Capital Theater, 19th September 1978.” Here’s part of the blurb:

This release features what many consider a peak of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band [sic] incredible 1978 Darkness on the Edge of Town tour; a three show stand in an intimate theater on home ground in New Jersey. This was the first of those shows and was broadcast live on the New York station W??W (it’s indecipherable), which is the excellent source recording for the main body of this release…

An amazing document of one of the highest moments on Springsteen career[sic], black and white professional multicamera footage…

Who “professional, multicamera black and white” films in 1978, I don’t know, but it’s a stunning watch. Springsteen is that good here, a 24 song set list with no weakness, an almost three hour show of raw emotional musical energy. That, however, is not enough. To have kind of show is one thing, to capture it is another trick altogether. This DVD manages to capture it, and it is spine tingling good.

Moment in history captures are often disappointing, making the watcher yawn with unfulfilled expectation. The great thing about this DVD is not just the sense of history, but the fulfilment of expectation. You watch it and think, oh man, if only I didn’t go to see Nirvana in 1991 when I had that time machine. But Nirvana it sadly was and I’m left with a black and white DVD, which thankfully is an entirely satisfactory replacement.

Springsteen is still Boss, The Freedom of Music, This Week on my I-Pod

Saturday Fluffernutter: Danny Federici – 1950 – 2008

April 19th, 2008
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Three days after Warren Zevon passed away in 2003 Bruce Springsteen opened his Toronto Skydome show with the song My Ride’s Here. Standing centre-stage accompanied only by violinist Suzie Tyrell on his left and keyboardist Danny Federici playing accordion on his right, Springsteen paid tribute to an old friend, and began the best of six Springsteen shows I have seen. Two days ago, Federici himself succumbed to cancer. The last Springsteen show I saw occured last October, a mere month before Federici would leave the E-Street Band to pursue treatment for his melanoma.

Federici was with Springsteen almost from the beginning, making his first E-Street Band appearance on Springsteen’s 2nd release, 1973’s The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle. He would spend the better part of the next 35 years playing organ, and occasional accordion, with them. But he turns up before that, in an earlier Springsteen band called Steel Mill


“Danny and I worked together for 40 years – he was the most wonderfully fluid keyboard player and a pure natural musician. I loved him very much…we grew up together.”
—Bruce Springsteen

Springsteen also has a video up of the last Federici performance, on March 20, 2008 in Indianapolis:

E Street Band keyboardist Danny Federici treated Indianapolis fans to a special appearance at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 20th. Danny’s performance was a profound expression of the healing power of music and community, all the more poignant in light of his death just a few weeks later. Here, from the Indie show, is an excerpt from one of Danny’s signature accordion performances on the rarely-played Sandy.

One of my favourite Springsteen moments, a video of him playing Fire at an acoustic benefit put on by Neil Young for The Bridge, “a San Fransisco – based program that would make available vocal computers for severely handicapped children who otherwise had no way of speaking.” (Glory Days, page 443). It is Springsteen on guitar and singing, Nils Lofgren on guitar and Federici on accordion:

RIP Danny Federici, and thanks for the memories.

I was staying at the Marriott
With Jesus and John Wayne
I was waiting for a chariot
They were waiting for a train
The sky was full of carrion
“I’ll take the mazuma”
Said Jesus to Marion
“That’s the 3:10 to Yuma
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here”

The Houston sky was changeless
We galloped through bluebonnets
I was wrestling with an angel
You were working on a sonnet
You said, “I believe the seraphim
Will gather up my pinto
And carry us away, Jim
Across the San Jacinto
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here”

Shelley and Keats were out in the street
And even Lord Byron was leaving for Greece
While back at the Hilton, last but not least
Milton was holding his sides
Saying, “You bravos had better be
ready to fight
Or we’ll never get out of East Texas tonight
The trail is long and the river is wide
And my ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here”

I was staying at the Westin
I was playing to a draw
When in walked Charlton Heston
With the Tablets of the Law
He said, “It’s still the Greatest Story”
I said, “Man, I’d like to stay
But I’m bound for glory
I’m on my way
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here

Fluffernutter, RIP, Springsteen is still Boss

Darkness on the Edge of Leaf Nation

October 23rd, 2007
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Separated at birth:

Darcy Tucker

and Bruce Springsteen

When I saw this mornings Toronto Sun cover I wondered, why is that old picture of Springsteen on the front page of the paper? Turns out he has a bum knee and won’t against Atlanta. Or is it Tucker has the bum knee?

Either way, Springsteen is not playing Atlanta tonight.

Rockin' and Rollin' and Never Forgettin', Springsteen is still Boss

This Week on my i-pod: Springsteen Magic.

October 20th, 2007
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I had tickets to see Springsteen on his way through town this past Monday, and much enjoyed my sixth Bruce and the E Street Band concert. While I spent the past few weeks catching up on Springsteen, listening to recordings of earlier shows on this tour, listening to some of the best live shows from previous tours, remembering how good Darkness on the Edge of Town, Born to Run or even The Rising is, much of my listening has been his new CD Magic.

This is for two reasons. 1) It is featured fairly prominently in the current live show and I didn’t want to be sitting going “I don’t know this song” when he played something from it. 2) It’s a good CD.

I liked his last CD too, The Rising, but it was too long. Springsteen’s best work, Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town, Born in the USA are 8 – 10 songs long and come in at about 45 minutes. The risings 15 songs come in at well over an hour, and could stand to be tightened up. Make it a 9 song 45 minute CD and it possibly ranks up there with Springsteen best stuff.

At ten songs and 47 minutes, Magic is a little tighter. It’s also loaded up with fairly good songs. From the opening Radio Nowhere, which has been playing on the Radio Everywhere it seems, a good solid rocker that I liked on first listen and still do. You must, however, excuse the lift from Jenny Jenny (867-5309). the opening guitar line and verse chords are almost identical, although Springsteen rocks the line up while Tommy Tu-tone chose to go poppy.

Another lift is the lovely Girls in their Summer Clothes, which is melodically a slower version of the Who’s The Kids Are Alright. None the less it’s a nice song, that’s romantic and hummable. Livin’ in the Future, despite it’s political overtones, is one of those great Springsteen numbers that lifts a Motown feel, reminiscent of 10th avenue freeze out.

Springsteen, unlike most of his peers, has lost very little of what made him great. He still writes great, fun songs, and still gives an energetic performance. His voice still growls and he seems not to have really settled down. His legendary work ethic has kept his skills up, and Magic is a CD that belongs in the Springsteen library: unlike a lot of acts of his vintage that are still putting out music, Springsteen seems to still have something to say, and still has an interesting voice to tell it with.

Rockin' and Rollin' and Never Forgettin', Springsteen is still Boss, This Week on my I-Pod

Saturday Fluffernutter: Grandpa Jimmy; Ma Brit; Farewell Deborah Kerr

October 20th, 2007
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Bruce Springsteen ran through Southern Ontario early in the week, playing Ottawa on Sunday night and Toronto Monday, for the only two Canadian shows so far scheduled for his Magic tour. Sunday nights Ottawa show saw some special guests as Win Butler and Régine Chassagne from Montreal’s Arcade Fire joined Springsteen on stage for State Trooper, which Arcade Fire have been known to play live, then Keep the Car Running off of Arcade Fires Neon Bible CD got the E Street treatment with a rousing version that had the audience enjoying a real treat.

Video of both are here

Weekly Led Zeppelin Update:

Led Zeppelin was never a band to miss a chance to cash in, and with their big reunion concert next month at the 02 arena in London Zeppelin, one of the last bands to make their back catalogue downloadable, this week announced that they would begin to do so.

Hopefully this means an end to those Kashmir polyphonic ring tones and we can get some real Zeppelin on our cell phones.

Meanwhile, congratulations to Jimmy Page, who’s daughter Charlotte gave birth to a daughter, Martha Alice. Check here, scroll down to Oct. 9th – pictures of a very pregnant Charlotte are just above the words October 8.

The trouble brigade: Britney Spears “breached a court order” and has lost all access to her children. Lindsay Lohan is reportedly broke, and has a new boyfriend, a winner type whom she met, and other stuff, while in rehab. John Goodman is reportedly NOT Lindsay Lohan’s new man, even though he is recently released from re-hab himself.

And farewell to Deborah Kerr, who passed this week at the age of 86. She was both beautiful and talented and she starred in, amongst others, An Affair to Remember and Form Here to Eternity: she was the one kissing Burt Lancaster on the beach while the waves rolled up around them.

Britney, Fluffernutter, Springsteen is still Boss, The Mighty Zep

Springsteen is still Magic

October 17th, 2007
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Never mind the politics that Greg Quill of the Toronto Star thinks the Springsteen concert was about. Yes, he ranted about “what’s happening in America now – rendition, illegal wiretapping, the abuse of civil rights.” Yes, he commented that title song of his new CD, Magic, is “… not about magic, it’s about tricks.” But what Quill didn’t tell you is that all this politics took maybe, MAYBE, two minutes out of a two and a half hour concert. Nor do they mention a lusty round of boos that went through he crowd while Bruce was pontificating, southern preacher style, on the evils of what is occurring in his home country: whether those boos were agreement, or dissension I can’t say.

But one thing I can speak about to the Star. When we sat during the new songs, it was not “a form of worship or meditation” it was in anticipation of a song we wanted to hear. And that was the night’s problem. Far too many lulls, far too much time sitting out the bathroom break songs, not nearly enough Rosalita/Thunder Road/anything from the River &tc.

None of the above which is intended to suggest it wasn’t a good show: Springsteen on a bad night is still better than most, and it wasn’t a bad night. What Bruce Springsteen does well is give a high energy rock and roll show with the religious ferver of a southern Baptist tent revival. Rock and Roll is Springsteen religion, and he delivered his sermon as well last night as at any other time (OK, it’s not 1978, this I understand). What the above suggests that this early into the Magic tour there is still some issues with pacing in this show. Nothing the injection of Ramrod, Hungry Heart, Jungleland and Rosalita wont fix (if your asking Bruce, at the expense of Lost in the Flood, Gypsy Rider and Town Called Heartbreak.

There were also highlights a plenty, beginning with the opener, the new single Radio Nowhere, which works very well live, and ending with the closing number American Land, with the entire band, save drummer Max Weinberg at front of stage, two accordions, two acoustic guitars, violin, tin whistle and mandolin playing a lively Celtic piece that, while unfamiliar, worked very well. In between there was Reason To Believe, Candy’s Room, She’s The One, Living In The Future and a rollicking version of Darlington County that featured Soozie Tyrell and Clarence Clemons back and forthing on sax and violin on a rocking solo segment. I have never heard a violin played like that, and it was great.

It’s early yet in the tour, and I’m willing to bet that if Springsteen comes around next year, it will be an incredible show. But this one was still a very good, and nobody went home unhappy, just wishing for a little more familiarity and high tempo, a little less politics.

Rockin' and Rollin' and Never Forgettin', Springsteen is still Boss, Thank God I Wasn't Born a Rap Fan