Friday, August 7, 2015

Song Spotlight - "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out"

Key Live Performance


As an amateur blogger, I have found little reason to try to disguise my biases.  Therefore, I might as well admit that, since I was an impressionable high schooler in 2000, I will forever lean towards the performances I heard on Live In New York City.  While actual clips from the MSG concert are hard to find on YouTube, here we have a performance from the same tour (in nearby Hartford, CT).

That being said, this performance has it all.  It has a dramatic build, a "Take Me To The River" interlude, Springsteen getting possessed by the Holy Spirit, classic Springsteen speechification, and a spotlight on every E Street member (including the late Clarence Clemons and Dan Federici).  This performance takes me back to my youth, where I only knew a handful of Springsteen songs.  Little did I know that it would spark this life-long (and unhealthy?  disturbing?) obsession.

Key Lyrics

"When the change was made uptown
And the Big Man joined the band
From the coastline to the city
All the little pretties raise their hands
I'm gonna sit back right easy and laugh
When Scooter and the Big Man bust this city in half"

Seriously, how can I pick any lyrics besides this final verse?  No lyrics better sum up the camaraderie of the E Street Band.  With Bruce (Scooter) and Clarence (Big Man), the band set off to rock from the Jersey Shore (the coastline) to New York City (the city).  As time passes, these lyrics become a time capsule, as they show us the band's humble roots, setting out to conquer New Jersey and ending up as global phenomenons.  Additionally, during live shows, this verse is given a music break, as the band (and crowd) pay tribute to the late Clarence Clemons.  While they may be just talking about the E Street Band, these lyrics can apply to us all, as we take a moment to reflect on the innocence of our youth and loved ones we have lost along the way.

Overall

I've been writing about this song since, literally, day two of this blog, so I'm not sure how much more I can say about it.  While I prefer the live version for its tremendous build-up, the album version provides a bridge between the raucous energy that was on Springsteen's previous two albums and the somber, serious ton that would take over in his next few albums.