Bruce Springsteen - Yeah, Nah, or Blah?

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    Bruce Springsteen - Yeah, Nah, or Blah?

    He released his first album, Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ in 1973.  In 2012 he released his 16th studio album, Wrecking Ball.  Currently he is on tour in support of the Wrecking Ball album, with the latest edition of the E Street Band, which is 16 pieces strong, including a 5-man horn section and 3 female backup singers. 

    I was at the concert on August 26 at Magnetic Hill, a superb venue just outside of Moncton, New Brunswick, a mere 2.5 hours from Halifax.  (Within the last few years Magnetic Hill has also hosted the Stones, the Eagles, AC/DC and U2.) 

    This was my third time seeing Springsteen, the first two in Toronto in 1984 and 1985, when he was touring the Born in The USA album.  I have to admit that this time around, I was there more for the party than I was for the music, because a large group of my friends were going and we made a nice little road trip of it.

    But something interesting happened to me at the show.  I rediscovered my affection for the music and the artist.  I had been a hardcore fan in the Seventies and Eighties, but when he began to stray from the style of music that I loved on the early albums, I had gradually lost interest.

    Springsteen still puts on a show of amazing duration and incredible energy.  His interaction with the audience has an element of shtick to it-he still pulls a girl out of the audience for Dancing in the Dark-but you can’t help but enjoy it. 

    The warm feelings that came over me during the show have stayed with me.  I am just putting the finishing touches on a homemade double-CD featuring my favorite songs culled from the Live 1975-85 and Live in New York (2001) albums-with the songs in the same order as they appear on his albums, of course.
     
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    Re: Bruce Springsteen - Yeah, Nah, or Blah?

    On the official Springsteen website there are notes from each tour date.  Here are the notes from the Moncton show:

    There are many effects in the arsenal of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, all of which they can call up at will. Longtime fans know that feeling of becoming addicted all over again. For newcomers, instant fandom is nothing short of a force of nature, and tonight at Magnetic Hill in Moncton, that force was brought front and center. Opening the set to a swell of applause, Bruce called out, “Are you ready for the function in Moncton?” On display during the opening series of songs was the range and power of the E Street Horns and the E Street Singers, helping “Working on the Highway” and “Wrecking Ball” to fill the open air venue. Bruce made no secret about being blown away by this audience right from the top, calling out, “You’re pretty lively here in Moncton.”

    After a rumbling “Death to My Hometown,” Bruce confessed to the crowd, “I’m fascinated by Magnetic Hill.” Likening the Hill affectionately to his old lovers lane Gravity Hill, he told the audience that both were places where, “you park your car at the bottom and it slooowly creeps its way to the top… Here’s to gravity.” Then, never having played Moncton before, Bruce asked who had never seen him perform. From the stage, it sounded like about 80 per cent of the audience had never been to a Bruce show. “Well, I see we have our work cut out for us.” From that moment on, Bruce and E Street were dead set on making fans out of everybody there.

    Moments later, the stage erupted into “Spirit in the Night” followed by a by-request “Pay Me My Money Down,” (via an impressive foam dollar sign with battery powered Christmas lights) a first for the Wrecking Ball Tour. The Seeger Sessions favorite featured not one but two Charlie Giordano accordion solos and the E Street Horns coming forward to burst pipes. A sign reading “I Love Soozie and Darlington County” brought a spirited shout from Bruce, and the song itself, and of course, some incredible violin soloing from Soozie. “The Rising” saw Nils give us steel guitar the way it was meant to be, and Max played drums like a warrior on “Glory Days.” “Dancing in the Dark” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” saw Bruce overwhelmed by the crowd, but not ready to leave. With a cry of “One more for Moncton!” Bruce brought up opening artists The Trews and Tom Cochrane for a devastating “Twist and Shout.” As the show ended, Bruce exclaimed “Moncton! We’re coming back! Unbelievable!” After the show, he told a reporter that the Moncton crowd was a “Sweet, sweet audience… many of who had never seen the E Street Band, and you would never know it.”

     
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    Re: Bruce Springsteen - Yeah, Nah, or Blah?

    Where does Springsteen rank among the great poet/lyricists of rock music?

    Perhaps his most acclaimed set of lyrics is the epic ‘Jungleland’ from the Born to Run album.  An excerpt:

    The midnight gangs assembled and picked a rendezvous for the night

    ‘We’ll meet ‘neath that giant Exxon sign, that brings this fair city light’

    Man there’s an opera out on the turnpike

    And there’s a ballet being fought out in the alley

    Until the local cops’ cherry tops, rip this holy night

    The street’s alive, as secret debts are paid

    Contacts made, they vanish unseen

    Kids flash guitars just like switchblades

    Hustling for the record machine

    The hungry and the hunted, explode into rock and roll bands

    And face off against each other out in the street

    Down in jungleland

    Powerful stuff.  Outside of Bob Dylan, has anybody written any rock poetry quite like this?

    One of my favorite Springsteen songs is ‘Downbound Train’.  I find this to be a terribly sad song that affects me deeply every time I hear it.  The lyrics are much more compressed than the ones for Jungleland.  Here are the opening lines:

    I had a job, I had a girl

    I had somethin’ goin’, mister, in this world

    I got laid off down at the lumberyard

    Our love went bad, times got hard

    Now I work down at the car wash

    Where all it ever does is rain

    Now don’t it feel like you’re a rider

    On a downbound train?

    Wow.  I really admire how these lyrics say so much so quickly.  I think it takes a real gift to be able to pack so much information and feeling into a few lines.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from LloydDobler. Show LloydDobler's posts

    Re: Bruce Springsteen - Yeah, Nah, or Blah?

    Oh, hell yeah. First time I saw him was in 1984 on the "Born in the USA" tour. Didn't see him again until 2002, I believe it was, after "The Rising." Seen him twice since, including in a little 8,000-seat arena that was all acoustic.
    What amazes me is how he sounds no different now than he did nearly four decades ago. Same drive, same voice, same energy.
    So hell yeah. To me, Bruce is the true King of Rock and Roll.
     
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    Re: Bruce Springsteen - Yeah, Nah, or Blah?

    Bruce's voice is still in great shape considering his age and the hundreds of 3-hour shows he has put on it over the years.  And his overall physical stamina is impressive to say the less.

    One thing that was different about this show from previous ones I've seen was that there were no stories-preambles between songs, it was bang-bang, here comes the next song.

    One thing that surprised me was that he dropped a few f-bombs.  I've never heard him do that before. 
     
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  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from polar123. Show polar123's posts

    Re: Bruce Springsteen - Yeah, Nah, or Blah?

    The River, Atlantic City, Jungelland, are songs I never get tired of hearing. I lost track of him after Tunnel of Love, and have not seen him live since since 83, so may be time to revist that. The thing that amazes me about Springsteen is that he has been on the music scene for over four decades now, yet never seems old.
     
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    Re: Bruce Springsteen - Yeah, Nah, or Blah?

    Never been a huge fan, but never a detractor, either.  Put me in the "Yeah" category.  

    I've always considered Springsteen's personal qualities along with the delivery to his music, to be genuine and authentic.  I used to take it for granted that I'd keep hearing his music on the radio, and never felt the need to purchase an album.  Maybe I'll re-visit that 'need' now that radio is vanishing, and I rarely hear a Bruce song on any of my regular stations (including classic rock).   I'm a good candidate for a compilation / greatest hits album or two.  

    There are too many songs to begin to list as favorites (now that I'm thinking about it), but a standout for me, and a song that garnered him many deserved awards is, "The Streets of Philadelphia" -- obviously not one of his kick-a$$ rockin' songs; the emotional impact of that song amazes me.  

    He's the quintessential American rock folk-hero, and from that standpoint, what's not to love?  One of Obama's greatest lines in tribute to Springsteen: "I'm the President; he is The Boss."  Got it. 
     
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    Re: Bruce Springsteen - Yeah, Nah, or Blah?

    First, I've never seen Bruce and his band live.  So there's that.

    But I view the man first and foremost as a songwriter in the vein of Bob Dylan, Neil Young and back a little further to folkies like Baez and Seeger.  For me, his best songs work as spare arrangements before they may or may not work as full-on epic rock n' roll songs.

    Darkness, Nebraska and The Ghost Of Tom Joad are highlights among the albums for me, and the first two LPs have some great moments as does The River.  'Stolen Car' is a personal favorite.

    I'm not smitten with most of the classic radio tracks; I'm not against bombast per se, but I have my limits, melodically and metaphorically.  I largely regard him as a folk singer who moonlights in a rock band as opposed to the other way around. 

    Overall, his body of work, attention to craft and relative consistency over the years are to be admired.  He is an important American artist, with a resounding legacy and the goods and mileage to back it all up. 

    Lastly, he's one of the only artists I know of (also Gram Parsons) who demonstrates patriotism without nationalism, which is not easy, and really puts to shame some of the ticky-tack shmaltz from a lot of country artists.  Odd that a working class kid from NJ knows more about country music than the majority of "country" acts out there today.

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from ZILLAGOD. Show ZILLAGOD's posts

    Re: Bruce Springsteen - Yeah, Nah, or Blah?

    The first I recall of Bruce Springsteen, back in my High School days, was one song played to death ( 'Born To Run') and his picture on the cover of Time magazine ( or was it Newsweek?).

    Now I was already a pretty big fan of various rock'n'roll acts. I was nowhere near as well as well schooled on all of the acts , major , minor or in-between. But, this I did know: NO WAY WAS BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN BETTER THAN SANTANA, CLAPTON, DYLAN, NEIL YOUNG, DEEP PURPLE OR ANY NUMBER OF EXTREMELY TALENTED AND INNOVATIVE ACTS.

    It was because of Bruce being splashed on the cover of a major news magazine as "the next big thing"...( well, while these newshounds wer sleeping , we already had some pretty BIG things going on in Rock music.....the ones I named, and many, many more ...Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, anyone?) ...and because rock radio chose to overplay 'Born To Run' to the point where I almost couldn't stand it anymore...it was becuse of this that I ignored Bruce Springsteen and didn't really listen to him much at all. I figured if he's that popular with top-40 types and news media....well, I would say he's a bit over-hyped.

    He was "over-hyped'....BUT STUPIDLY, I confused "over-hyped" with "over-rated" or "not very good." I was wrong. I rediscovered Bruce in the 90's. I bought all his CDs. I discovered all the great songs that I had never heard.

    He'll never be one of my top 25 artists, I don't love his music that much!...but I can accept that he's a class act, a great songwriter and a worrior of rock'n'roll. THAT BEING SAID, I have to say there are a few others that didn't get on the cover of a national news magazine that deserved it just as much, Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, Ton Petty and John Mellenacanp are some pretty major acts in American Rock music that do not get as much respect as Springsteen , and overall I like them all much better. Graham Parker, Elvis Costello and The Clash are 3 British acts that I'd say are more worthy of being over-hyped than Springsteen ever was, but they were pigeonholed as "cult" artists or subgenered into "Punk/New Wave" and so made less relevant to the masses and media.
     
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    Re: Bruce Springsteen - Yeah, Nah, or Blah?

    Man, I miss thst "edit post" tab!!!

    Sorry for the typos!!! I counted at least 5.

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from Hfxsoxnut. Show Hfxsoxnut's posts

    Re: Bruce Springsteen - Yeah, Nah, or Blah?

    In response to ZILLAGOD's comment:

    Man, I miss thst "edit post" tab!!!

    Sorry for the typos!!! I counted at least 5.



    I know, this new format is remarkably bad.  Look at my second and third posts-the copied and pasted parts are hideous.  And in my reply to Lloyd I wrote 'to say the less' instead of 'to say the least' and couldn't fix it.  Crazy.
     
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  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from ZILLAGOD. Show ZILLAGOD's posts

    Re: Bruce Springsteen - Yeah, Nah, or Blah?

    It was either apologize or have everyone think I am an idiot.

    Rule 7: better to show weakness than be considered a simpleton or a dope.*

    * I made up this rule.

    I am a bad typist, I could have taken this course in High School, but there were no PCs back then. I did not ever foresee a career in journalism or writing. I wanted to be an artist back then....that didn't work out as I planned, but I am not dead yet, either!

     
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    Re: Bruce Springsteen - Yeah, Nah, or Blah?

    The diversity of Springsteen's output is certainly one of the things that defines him as an artist.  Up to The River, his fifth studio album, there was something of a natural progression in his work.  But with the Nebraska album he threw his fans a big curveball with a stripped-down sound, country flavoring and gloomy content.  Then it was back to the big sound with a vengeance for Born In The USA.  Then yet another curveball with Tunnel of Love.  And so on from there.

    Within his fandom there have been mixed opinions on the success of the diversification.  Some fans wanted him to stay with the big E Street Band sound all the way.  On another thread here we had a funny quote from Pete Townshend about how he loves Springsteen but isn't a fan of the 'Hee Haw on the Hudson' stuff.  I can relate to that view.  I love the E Street Band.  I'm a sucker for that wall of sound.  Guitars, keyboards, brass.  I also love the complex arrangements and changes on songs like Rosalita and Jungleland. 

    Born in the USA is an album that provokes a mixed response.  Some fans were turned off by the apparent commercialism in tracks like Dancing in the Dark and Glory Days.  I think it's a great album, but not so much because of those songs.  I love Cover Me and Darlington County and Downbound Train and No Surrender and Bobby Jean.
     
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    Re: Bruce Springsteen - Yeah, Nah, or Blah?

    Springsteen is a Yeah...though I have never seen him live I understand his show's offer a lot of value for the buck.  If offered a ticket I would go in a minute! Good, diverse music, not a one trick pony! A big list of hit's to pull from.  Another aspect I like is that he doesn't need to your at this point in his life, he doesn't have to prove himself in the music industry and he's a RNRHOF Alum...yet he still puts out good music and tour's more to satisfy his fan's than for his own ego (IMHO)
     
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    Re: Bruce Springsteen - Yeah, Nah, or Blah?

    In response to Hfxsoxnut's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to ZILLAGOD's comment:

    Man, I miss thst "edit post" tab!!!

    Sorry for the typos!!! I counted at least 5.



    I know, this new format is remarkably bad.  Look at my second and third posts-the copied and pasted parts are hideous.  And in my reply to Lloyd I wrote 'to say the less' instead of 'to say the least' and couldn't fix it.  Crazy.

     

    [/QUOTE]

    No spell check, either, wihch really sucks.

     

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