Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spectacular Springsteen!

Saw a concert last night. Some bloke called Bruce. Sounded like he might have a future in the music business. He had this house band with him, E Street or something. They were pretty good too. I think they should take their show on the road, see a bit of the world - who knows, they might even catch on.

For all I know, maybe that's what people in bars around New Jersey were saying in 1972, shortly before the release of Bruce Springsteen's first album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. What I do know for sure is that 40 years later, last night we saw one of rock's greats deliver one of the greatest rock shows of all time.

Peter Knobler was there in 1972. He was editor-in-chief of the first magazine to profile Springsteen, well before he became The Boss. Knobler warns of the dangers in writing about Bruce - that because "Springsteen is an inspiring performer, writers have forever tried to capture in words the feeling of his concerts", and the result is generally florid and overwrought.

So you've been warned!

Last night was the second of Springsteen's three Sydney shows at Allphones Arena. It's a terrific venue for an act like his - big enough to feel like a stadium with a sea of waving hands, small enough to see the man and his band without the aid of the big screens.

I know much less about Bruce than my good mate who joined me, along with our partners. But it doesn't matter. Once you 'get' Springsteen, he hooks you deep.

It's because he writes about things that matter to us. He writes simply, but his words and songwriting have real power.

He talks about big things to ordinary people - things that we might not have the words to articulate ourselves, or even if we can find the right words, we lack the courage to say them.

I am told there are still people who don't quite 'get' Bruce Springsteen's brilliance. To them I say....
  • If you've ever had a lost love, especially when you were young, listen to Bobby Jean, and you'll change your mind about Bruce Springsteen.
  • Dreamed of escaping your everyday life? Listen to Thunder Road, and you'll change your mind about Bruce Springsteen.
  • Life hasn't turned out as you hoped? Listen to The River - Springsteen has written your story.
  • Hankering for high rock opera and drama? Nothing surpasses Jungleland. I'll never forget hearing it live last night.
Spectacular, in every sense of the word - that's how I'd describe a concert by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. It was a bucket list moment, and I'm glad I got to share it with Sherrie, Graeme and Kate.

Very few rock musicians sustain their creativity, power and passion into their 40s, let alone their 60s. Yet at age 63, Springsteen's latest album Wrecking Ball is as full of hits and heart and soul as any of his earlier work.

There are those lucky few who got to see Springsteen in the 1970s when he was touted as the future of rock'n'roll.

There are now many more of us who can say they've seen The Boss at his best, still surfing the crest of the wave all these years later.
He was no flash in the pan. He was the genuine article. If anything, that perhaps makes this tour even more special. Thank you Bruce Springsteen, and thank you E Street Band.