Monday, July 30, 2012

Springsteen Video of the Week - Walk Like a Man (Cincinnati, 2005)

Last week’s article in The New Yorker has given renewed interest to Bruce’s troubled relationship with his father, Doug Springsteen. The article notes how the two had a very difficult time talking with each other and presents songs like “Independence Day” and “Adam Raised a Cain” as Bruce’s attempts to address their strained relationship in place of direct communication. If these songs were Bruce’s attempts to reach out to a distant father, then “Walk Like a Man” can be seen as a peace offering.

When I first heard this song on the Tunnel of Love album, I focused mainly on the wedding lyrics and thought the song was about a nervous groom praying for the courage to be a good husband. It wasn’t until I heard the solo piano version from this live performance in 2005, that I realized the song was about a son trying to live up to the example set by his father.

This ode to the positive influence of fathers is in stark contrast to the other songs mentioned above and all the more poignant in light of last week’s article.

For this and more of Bruce’s songs about fathers, The New Yorker has a great collection of videos online.

Friday, July 27, 2012


More tour dates have been added to the Wrecking Ball Tour! Hope Bruce is coming to a town near you!

October 19: Ottawa, ON - Scotiabank Place
October 21: Hamilton, ON - Copps Coliseum
October 23: Charlottesville, VA - John Paul Jones Arena
October 25: Hartford, CT - XL Center
October 27: Pittsburgh, PA - CONSOL Energy Center
November 1: State College, PA - Bryce Jordan Center
November 3: Louisville, KY - KFC Yum! Center
November 11: St. Paul, MN - Xcel Energy Center
November 15: Omaha, NE - CenturyLink Arena
November 17: Kansas City, MO - Sprint Center
November 19: Denver, CO - Pepsi Center
November 26: Vancouver, BC - Rogers Arena
November 28: Portland, OR - The Rose Garden
November 30: Oakland, CA - Oracle Arena
December 4: Anaheim, CA - Honda Center
December 6: Glendale, AZ - Arena

Springsteen Links - The New Yorker

David Remnick's profile of Bruce Springsteen in The New Yorker is a must read. It could take about an hour to get through it but it's well worth the time.

The piece offers a more frank description of Bruce's relationship with his father, Doug Springsteen, than we're used to reading and this aspect of the piece has grabbed a lot of headlines - along with Bruce's battles with depression.

But there's a lot more to the piece, including candid insights to the band's dynamic (Max Weinberg refers to himself and the band members as 'employees' and Patti Scialfa says her place in the band is more figurative than musical) as well as a transcendental description of Bruce's stage performances that brings you about as close to the real thing as possible. There's also the less told story of original drummer Vini Lopez along with more familiar tales of Bruce's original manager Mike Appel and Bruce writing "Dancing in the Dark."

I was happy to see that the piece bolsters two of my long standing suspicions: that Bruce has had cosmetic surgery and that he's never done drugs. But more than anything, Remnick articulates my appreciation for Bruce in a way that I've never been able to...

Thousands of fans, many of whom had been waiting outside since morning, were allowed to enter the stadium grounds at six o’clock for a show that would not begin until ten. I noticed a few young Spaniards carrying a sign, in English, reading, “Bruce, Thanks for Making Our Lives Better.” I tried to imagine a sign like that for—whom? Lou Reed? AC/DC? Bon Jovi? (“Richie Sambora, Thanks for making our lives better.” Doubtful.) The ultra-sincere interchange between Springsteen and his fans, which looks treacly to the uninitiated and the uninterested, is what distinguishes him and his performances.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Springsteen Lyrics of the Week: I'll Work For Your Love

"Now our city of peace has crumbled
Our book of faith's been tossed
And I'm just out here searchin'
For my own piece of the cross" - "I'll Work For Your Love", Magic

"I'll Work For Your Love" is easily one of my top 5 songs Bruce put out in the new millennium.  It's catchy, with a great chorus and fantastic imagery in the lyrics.  The song makes references and nods to Christianity, specifically the Roman Catholic Faith.  Bruce has made many references to being raised Catholic, but it isn't something he talks about that he currently practices.  But as a Catholic, I can tell you it's not something you can just take and pick up when you feel like it.  It's ingrained you.  Even people who leave the Catholic Church, have a hard time leaving the messages and teachings.

Throughout the song, an unnamed 1st person character sings to the object of his affection, Theresa.  It's no surprise Bruce used the name Theresa, as it is one of the most important female names in the Catholic Faith.  At times I've wondered if Theresa might be Terry from "Backstreets".  30 years later, all grown up, maybe a little worse for the wear.  Theresa definitely seems to have hardships of her life.  When describing her he makes reference to The Stations of The Cross and crown of thorns.  But there's something more to her than just sorrow and pain, she also has redemption.  Redemption and salvation are the cornerstones of Christianity.  Finally he refers to their possible future, as a book of faith (The Bible) and more specifically the Book of Revelations.  The character swears he will not take her love for granted, he's ready to work for it.  He has a great faith in their future together. 

Bruce has often mixed the faith of love and religion together, but never so much as he has in this song.  The concept faith, is used interchangeably between a faith in their love together, and a faith in God, perhaps who brought these two together.  Faith that no matter what obstacles are placed in front of him, he can overcome them with Faith.  

Monday, July 23, 2012

Springsteen Video of the Week - Hyde Park with Paul McCartney

There has been plenty of media brouhaha over the past week regarding the infamous microphone cut-off during the Paul McCartney finale of the Hyde Park concert in London. While it was definitely a bureaucratic affront and somewhat humiliating to leave Bruce screaming into a dead mic (even though he's done much sillier things on stage before), these stories do gloss over the fact that we still got 13 glorious minutes of Bruce and McCartney singing "I Saw Her Standing There" and "Twist and Shout" (with a sampling of "La Bamba"). The above video is pretty shaky but it gives a flavor of what it would have been like for the lucky crowd in London.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Springsteen Lyrics of the Week- "Magic"

"Trust none of what you hear
And less of what you see
This is what will be" - "Magic", Magic

Truth be told this is one of my least favorite Bruce songs. But lyrically, I think it's some of Bruce's best work. With this being an election year, it's definitely important to keep these lyrics in the back of your head when you hear politicians make promises. No matter which side of the aisle your political and social beliefs fall under I think just about everyone can agree that they've felt bamboozled on some level when it comes to politicians. And that's what Bruce is warning of us in this song: the danger that comes with blind faith in our leaders.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Springsteen Video of the Week - The Rising at MTV's Video Music Awards

As mentioned a couple weeks ago on this blog, this video received much replay on MTV back in the days when they still dedicated some time to play music videos.  Well, a little bit of time.  OK, let's face it, they haven't played music videos for most of the last decade.  I don't recall seeing the video that much, but I do remember seeing this performance live before the start of the 2002 VMAs.  Unfortunately, Bruce's performance ended up being overshadowed by such notable brouhahas as Triump the Insult Comic Dog getting into an altercation with Eminiem and the "return" of Guns 'N Roses.  While Jimmy Fallon on MTV asking viewers to put a tape in their VCRs screams 2002, Bruce's performance remains timeless.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Encore ruined in London

I cannot put into words how annoyed I am by this.  I don't know who I feel worse for, the fans for being robbed of such a historical moment in music history, or for Bruce for being embarrassed and denied his moment with one of his heroes.  Pardon my French, but this bullshit to an infinite degree.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Roy Nelson: Born In The USA

It may come as shock to know that we actually do have hobbies outside of Bruce Springsteen.  I swear.  Not many, but hey at least we have some variety.  One of those hobbies for me is the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC.

I am a huge fan of almost every sport, and have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone who can compete at the top level of their respected sport.  But UFC fighters take it that extra mile.  Some people have called it barbaric, but I doubt those people have ever watched an actual match.  To watch 2 fighters trade strikes, look for takedowns and basically play mental chess with one another is truly an art.  These are, in my opinion, the best athletes in the world.  They're conditioning, both mental and physical, is second to none.

...And then there's Roy Nelson.  Remember all those things I just said about them being superior athletes and in phenomenal condition?  Yeah, that doesn't apply to Roy "Big Country" Nelson.  Standing at 6 foot tall, and 254 lbs (and at least 20 of the lbs comes from his beard and mullet alone), Roy Nelson does not have any style or fineness.  He simply fights.  He's taken some of the worst beatings the UFC has ever seen, and also dished them out.

So why am I writing about Roy Nelson?  Because Roy Nelson's entrance song is none other than "Born In The USA".  It really might be the most fitting entrance music I've ever heard.  Even though the song is anti-war, government-questioning song lyrically, most people just know it for its thematic intro, and anthem chorus.  And that's basically what Roy Nelson is.  No fuss, no frills, just a "Born In The USA" fighter, who's ready to kick some ass.  Is he the best fighter out there?  Absolutely not.  Does he always put on a great show?  Hell yes.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Springsteen Lyrics of the Week - Blinded by the Light

He said, "Take a right at the light, keep goin' straight until night, and then, boy, you're on your own"
- "Blinded by the Light," Greetings from Asbury Park

The version of “Blinded by the Light” released by Manfred Mann's Earth Band has long been a favorite song of mine. I vividly remember the first time I heard it. I was fifteen and listening to the car radio while my Dad picked up groceries from Publix during a vacation in Florida. I was instantly captivated by its energetic intro, distinct synthesizer, drastic tempo changes... and baffling lyrics.

I listened to it nonstop that summer. The more I listened to it, the more I decided that the only explanation for the lyrics were that they were hastily scribbled down by a psychedelic rocker in the throes of mind-altering drugs. I couldn’t fathom any other explanation for the flat out bizarre lyrics.

Years later I discovered the song was written by Bruce Springsteen and I realized, “Oh it's just Bruce being Bruce.” Few rock stars have as squeaky clean a history as Bruce. To my knowledge there is no evidence or even conjecture that he's ever had any drug usage in his life. It’s tempting to posit the lyrics to “Blinded by the Light” (or “Bishop Danced”) as indication that Bruce at least tried drugs in his youth, but upon reading the lyrics closely and listening to Bruce’s original version from Greetings from Asbury Park, they seem to reflect Bruce’s observation of a surfeit of oddball characters on the Jersey Shore boardwalk and his attempt to cram them all into one song.

The lyrics above are omitted from Manfred Mann's epic toe-tapper. In a certain respect they are quintessential Bruce lyrics – they involve literal and metaphorical driving and the existentialist undercurrent that if you want to make it out of this town, you have to do it yourself. This is too deep for the Manfred Mann version – which in many respects is a superior song – but they reflect the care and precision that Bruce puts into what otherwise seems like haphazard song writing in the hands of another performer.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Video: Bruce Dances with his Daughter on Stage

As Blogness on the Edge of Town put it, Bruce broke the Internet this past week with a video of him bringing his daughter, Jessica Springsteen, on stage for the signature “Dancing in the Dark” routine during his second Paris concert on July 5th. The video is appearing on everything from Rolling Stone to The Celebrity CafĂ©. Upon first reading I wondered what could make it so special to gain this kind of attention. Then I watched it and my heart instantly melted. The conspiracy theorist in me thought, "how does everyone know it's his daughter?" suspecting the video was carefully seeded to the media from his publicist. Then I saw Bruce introducer her as his daughter on stange in the kind of endearingly goofy way that Bruce does so well.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Springsteen Video of the Week - Independence Day (Paris 2012)

It may seem a bit late to put up a post on "Independence Day" but this solo performance from the Wrecking Ball tour is too powerful to pass up. Thanks to for posting the high quality video of Bruce's July 4th performance at Bercy in Paris, France.

Be sure to keep checking for more great live performances from the Wrecking Ball tour.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Springsteen Links - Dancing in the Dark Analysis

Thanks to a faithful reader for passing on this link from Grantland analyzing the "Dancing in the Dark" music video; one in a series of close analyses of popular music videos from the 1980s on the website.

"Dancing in the Dark" is regarded as Bruce's most pop music friendly song which can be a burden. It's easy to dismiss it as pop 40 froth but that's a disservice to the rich lyrics -- some of his best in my opinion. Fortunately, Bruce has embraced the song's popularity and turned it into a signature closer at his live performances that is even better than the studio version but still satisfying in its familiarity.

The music video is often maligned, parodied or dismissed as a 1980s curio. This Grantland writer does all of the above while simultaneously praising the video. Even though much of it is tongue-in-cheek, there is some genuine affection for what Bruce accomplishes in the video. Giving close attention to the way Bruce rolls his sleeves to the way Courtney Cox fixes her hair, this is a very entertaining read:

Grantland: Rembert Explains the 80's: Bruce Springsteen's 'Dancing in the Dark' Video

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Springsteen Lyrics of the Week - 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)

The fireworks are hailin' over Little Eden tonight...
- "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" from The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle

Well, the choice was obvious, but in keeping with the theme of this week, I'll spotlight Bruce's classic summer song, "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)".  While the lyrics are very sad, yearning for a more innocent time, the song's imagery and tone creates an aged photograph of the perfect summer day.  So, go out there, check out the girls in their summer clothes, drink warm beer in the soft summer rain, and dance with your shirt open!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Springsteen Video of The Week- "This Land is Your Land"

With 4th of July coming up this week, I thought this would be a good video.  It's ironically patriotic in it's questioning of blind patriotism.  And really only Bruce Springsteen can take a song I used to sing as kid in 1st grade and make it cool.