Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Later The Same Day ...

As I was saying: Unfathomable talent ...

The show was outstanding. Bruce. Just Bruce. And his guitars. And his piano. And his harmonicas. Simple set. Moody lighting. Bruce, in his own time, just walked out on stage. Took the mic, made two announcements: 1) Please turn off your cell phones. "If I hear one of those idiotic jingles, I'm gonna go homicidal." 2) "Please don't clap along." He said his sense of rhythm alone up there is pretty delicate, and he needed us to stay quiet. Most of us obeyed.

The first tune wasn't so much a tune as it was art. The man sings with his soul. Using the heel of his boot to stomp on the stage and create a rhythm, he cupped a harmonica in his hands and played and sang "Reason to Believe" from "Nebraska." If you've heard "Reason to Believe" from "Nebraska," let me tell you: You haven't heard this song. I didn't recognize it. My musician friends will have to explain to me the effect he was using on his mic to create -- words fail me here, but let's call it a haunting echo. It was mesmerizing. His image was on the screens flanking the stage, but he didn't look somehow real. As I've said before, he doesn't look like a man. He looks like a legend.

He used his mic to extremely good effect (Jeff, my host, longtime pal and the most rabid Springsteen fan I know, commented, once we got home, that Bruce uses his microphone as another instrument), singing off mic to echo himself and otherwise create moods in the songs.

"Devils & Dust" didn't hit the stores until today, but we had a preview last night: He played nearly every song on the album. Given that it was all new material for us, he spent a lot of time talking about the songs, what motivated him, what gave him the idea, what he was doing when it was written, anecdotes from him life. I can't tell you, adequately, how endearing it is to hear Bruce Springsteen, "rock poet," as Time magazine calls him, tell you how much he wanted a pony when he was a little boy. But given that he and his family lived in the middle of a New Jersey town, he had to be satisfied with a man who would come down the street with a pony and a cowboy costume. Bruce put on the costume and sat on the pony with his sister and had his picture taken. And held onto that picture for years.

I bought a copy of the album before I got on the road to come home. "Devils & Dust" is indeed a great tune (I've been listening for a couple weeks not, having grabbed it from iTunes), but my favorite cut is shaping up to be "Long Time Comin'." "Reno," you may have heard, is the song that necessitated a label: "This song contains some adult imagery." That's for sure. It's not as graphic as I expected it to be. Still, as Bruce said last night before he played it: "For those of you who brought children, now would be a good time for them to check out the fine T-shirts in the lobby." It's not for little ears.

The CD is DualDisc, CD on one side, DVD on the other. For those who weren't able to score tickets to one of his shows, consider the DVD a five-song concert.

I'll see him again in Chicago on May 11, my fifth Springsteen show in two and a half years. I am a lucky girl.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

question his taste in presidential material preferences. almost hysterical. out of control.

10:19 PM  

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