Saturday, May 3, 2014

Bruce Springsteen Concert Columbus, OH 4-15-14

Teenagers love music.  My parents were young when I was born, 19 & 20.  That put's their teen years in the 70's.  I believe their teen and young adult attachment to music is the reason I have vast knowledge and appreciation of music. 

The 70's produced some pretty amazing music.  Among those were Bruce Springsteen's albums Born to Run & Darkness on the Edge of Town.  Rolling Stone named Born to Run 18th in their Greatest Albums of All Time. I tell you this, because when I start talking Springsteen to an audience that is not equally fanatical, I sound a little crazy.  And I am, but the does not mean the music is not worthy.

I grew up listening to Born to Run and Darkness On The Edge of Town on the record player and Live 75-85 in the car's cassette player.  The gritty world of Springsteen was the soundtrack to my childhood, the theme to teenage years, and the solace of my adulthood.

When Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band began actively touring again my parents and I were thrilled.  My dad I usually go together and sometimes my mom comes along as well.  They are spiritual, cathartic, physical and FUN.  Here are sections from Amanda Palmer's blog about her first Springsteen show.

i expected it to be a run-of-the-mill okay rock show. but the guy is an entertainer of the highest order: he’s heartfelt royalty. he and the e street band played to 25,000 australians and the soccer arena felt like a church. he carried himself with such…i dunno: STATELINESS.... just…all around, mind blown. it also made me want to throw the entire idea of this fucking book out the fucking window.
he made me want to write. i wanted to get back to the piano, i missed my band, i missed being on stage, i wanted to write a whole musical about my experience growing up in the psycho-superficial dark-light suburban yards and alleys of lexington massachusetts and i wanted to tell stories as simple and honest as bruce springsteen and mine that part of my soul. "

That is what he does to you.

Springsteen shows, collectively, are among the best experiences of my life.  His latest tour was no exception.  These were the most notable moments for me.

Adam Raised the Cain 

The song has this heavy base line in it that sets the dark tone and tells you were it's headed.  This is the first time I had heard it in concert and that line being played live with trombones and tenor saxophones drilled right into my soul.  A reminder that you were at a Springsteen concert, and that even listening becomes a physical, soulful act.

The River

This song left me terrified of teen pregnancy as a kid.  It lays out the consequences both from a socio economic stand point and the emotional repercussions.  It has always been one of my favorites.  Springsteen has very few ballads but The river is definitely a ballad.  His rendition that night was absolutely beautiful.  It's a song that I have head hundreds, if not thousands of times.  By the end of The River on that night I was crying.  The key he was singing in the emotion he was put into it created a beautiful moment.

Johnny 99 

Remember back when I was listing out my top two favorite Springsteen songs, and I didn't list Johnny 99?  I lied.  Springsteen has hundreds of songs.  I love the anthems, I love the folk, I even like the pop.  As a born and raised Springsteen fan, I feel like it's my duty to drop the names of the big anthems that people might not know but would love if they would check it out.  So I do, even when I don't realize it.

When I am being completely honest with myself, Johnny 99 is probably very nearly my favorite Springsteen song.  It's off the Nebraska Album, but the version I grew up with is from the live recordings 75-85.  I remember asking my dad if Johnny killed the night clerk or if he just shot him.  My dad said that was for me to figure out.  As you can tell, it's not a happy song.

Imagine my surprise when E Street band completely lit into it with a jazzed up dance hall vibe.  I fell in love with the song all over again.  My dad and leaned across my mom at the same moment to yell at each other above the blaring horns and piano  "This is awesome!"  I will never forget the magic of it.

Upon research when I got home it appears he's been playing that version live for at least 4 years, I had just never heard it or seen it live.  I am so glad I did.

Tenth Avenue Freeze Out

There is a line in Tenth Avenue Freeze Out that say's " A change was made up town and the Big Man joined the band" that was followed by a Clarence saxophone solo.  The last time Bruce Springsteen and E- Street band went on tour, it was right after Clarence Clemmons ( the Big Man), the saxophone player and main Springsteen stage foil, died.  I took the death hard, and it was hard to imagine a Springsteen show with out him.  When they got to this song last year, the arena went silent.  As I and hundreds of others cried, pictures of Clarence were flashed on the screens.  I was impressed b the amount of love and Grace that took Springsteen and the band.  This was their friend whom they knew and loved.  Every night they went out and played they held this memorial for Clarence and Danny Federici  letting us mourn and share their grief with them.  That's a lot emotion to face down, but they did it anyway.

I wondered then, if that's how the song would go forever after.  Even with Clarence's nephew standing in his old spot, would that song and solo ever feel right again?

I shouldn't have worried.  Once again showing a charity of spirit that I don't think I could muster, the band stopped playing.  A recording of the Big Man playing his solo blared over the speakers along with pictures of him on the screen.  The band came back in, and the pictures kept going until the end of the song.  It was very tasteful, very well done, and honored the Big Man very well.

The rest of the three hour show included: 


Born to Run
Bad Lands
Hungry Heart
Dancing in the Dark
Back Streets
Darlington County
Bobbie Jean
41 Shots
The Rising
Sunny Day
Blinded by the Light
Prove it all Night
Lonesome Day
Wrecking Ball
Ghost of Tom Joad 
Death to my Home Town
Dream Baby Dream
Shackled and Drawn

Rock, folk, pop and jigs.  Whatever your musical tastes are, Springsteen has an album for it.  I love all of them, and I will keep going to shows as long as he has them.

Photo time!

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