Archive for October, 2008

BORN TO ROCK

October 16, 2008

I was very happy to see one of my musical favorites, Bruce Springsteen, was chosen as the halftime entertainment for the upcoming Super Bowl, especially since it will give me another chance to enjoy the band just months after I saw them play live!

Although I grew up in an area known for its early embrace of Springsteen’s music, I never paid attention until “Born To Run” made it to the radio in 1975 (can you believe that such a great anthem only made it to # 23?). After buying the album, it soon became one of my favorites, which drove my college roommate nuts because he hated Springsteen (or anyone with gravelly vocals like Bruce or Rod Stewart). While I had nothing to do with the endless streets Springsteen described (I had yet to even learn to drive), I loved his majestic music and propulsive rock. As the years went by, I continued to buy Springsteen’s albums and read every concert review in “Rolling Stone,” sad that I would never get a chance to see my hero because the tickets for Bruce’s stops in nearby Philly always disappeared so fast.

But I finally got a chance to see what all the fuss was about soon after I moved to California. Thanks to my job at dick clark productions, Sony Music offered me a ticket to Bruce’s show at the L.A. Sports Arena in 1984. Part of the “Born In The U.S.A.” tour, it was of course an excellent concert that went on and on, with a encore that included such rockers as “Do You Love Me, “Twist And Shout” and the band’s Detroit Medley. It was a show so good that when I went back to my car and found my radio had been stolen from the dashboard, I didn’t even care!

After seeing Bruce live, I pretty much said to myself I had seen it all, and in recent years, I’ve hardly gone to any concerts. But when I was visiting Pennsylvania in August, it turned out that Springsteen and the E Street Band was playing a stadium show in Hershey. It was a few days after my birthday and I couldn’t think of a better birthday treat. Amazingly, Bruce and the band hadn’t lost a step since 1984! Springsteen himself was a paragon of non-stop energy, spinning on the floor and dancing in the crowd, but what really amazed me was the performance of drummer Max Weinberg. The band played for three hours and ten minutes without an intermission, and since it was a summertime stadium show, the focus was on rockers. How hard was it for the Mighty Max to keep up a pounding beat for all that time? Rock and roll must truly keep you young!

One of the most interesting things about this tour was that fans brought¬† signs to request songs, the more obscure the better. That included covers the band hadn’t performed since their days on the Jersey shore and songs that had never even made it onto an album. Bruce pulled some signs from the crowd and ended up taking five of the suggestions. One song, “Part Man Part Monkey,” was a reggae track that Springsteen said the band didn’t even know! But that didn’t stop them from sounding just like the record, found on Springsteen’s box set of unreleased material, “Tracks.”

But the real highlight for me were the many songs from “Born To Run,” the album that first ignited my love affair with the music of Bruce Springsteen. In the encore alone, he played “Thunder Road, “Jungleland,” “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” and of course “Born To Run.”¬† I’m sure that come Super Bowl Sunday, 95 million people will feel the same way and sing “Tramps like us, baby, we were born to run”…

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