Showing posts with label Bruce Springsteen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bruce Springsteen. Show all posts

Thursday, April 02, 2020

The records that made me (some of 'em):
Darkness on the Edge of Town

If I somehow had never heard of John Prine, this would be No. 1 in my (actually) no-particular-order list of record albums that had the most influence on me: "Darkness on the Edge of Town" by Bruce Springsteen -- channeler of the young man's angst in 1978.

I was turned on to The Boss by Loose Radio (God rest its amazing FM soul) and an old friend back at Baton Rouge High School. I was a megafan on contact, and "Badlands" became my personal anthem for a long, long time.

John Prine was the consummate chronicler of the universal human condition, but Scooter and the Big Man had the key to my restless teenage American heart and gut (which I had a hell of a lot less of back in the day). In short order after buying "Darkness," I acquired "Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J." and "The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle" and "Born to Run."

And I pounced on "The River" as soon as it hit Kadair's (or was it Leisure Landing?) in 1980, my sophomore year at Louisiana State. Then I was in the crowd when The Boss played the LSU Assembly Center on Nov. 11, 1980. Still have the ticket stub somewhere.

I SAW The Who earlier that year (they blew up the stage, and I still have the tinnitus to prove it -- I had great seats), but Bruce and the band was better. That's saying something.

Another thing I have to say: Another high-school friend somehow got onto the stage -- and to Bruce. Or, as (God rest its newspaper soul) the State-Times' Laurie Smith reported in the next day's review "one girl got through to Springsteen before she was pulled away."

My friend obviously had somewhat better seats than my girlfriend and I did.

It was the best concert I'd ever seen . . . until I saw John Prine a couple of years later at the LSU Union Theater. It was a damned close concert competition -- maybe it was the Union Theater's relative intimacy that gave Prine the edge.

Who cares? It was all GREAT.

I cannot remember if I cried when Springsteen sang "Independence Day" at the show. Probably not -- I was with a date, don't you know?

I sure as shit cried when I first heard that song on "The River," in the privacy of my bedroom. Bruce had the same relationship with his old man that I had with mine -- complicated. Real complicated.

I SUPPOSE it says something about LSU and the Gret Stet that the Springsteen lyric I set in headline type and posted on my bulletin-board space at The Daily Reveille kept getting taken down:

I wanna find one place, I wanna spit in the face of these
Badlands you gotta live it every day
Let the broken hearts stand
As the price you've gotta pay
Well keep pushin' till it's understood
And these badlands start treating us good
Well, if Bruce taught us all anything, it's that shit happens. Often.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Boss, a soap box & 'that f***ing Obama'

In case you were wondering, this is where Mrs. Favog and I were for several glorious hours last night.

As is the norm for The Boss, it was a hell of a show at the CenturyLink Center Omaha. He hasn't lost a thing performing live since I saw him at the LSU Assembly Center on Nov. 11, 1980. Funny how you remember the actual dates you saw Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, isn't it?

Anyway . . .  ever seen a 62-year-old man crowd surf? I have now. Complete awesomeness.

And I totally got teary eyed when Jake Clemons, the late Clarence Clemons' nephew, did The Big Man's solo on "Thunder Road" and struck The Pose. He even looks a lot like the young saxophone god -- except for Jake's big hair.

That said. . . .

DURING the course of the show, we had to endure Mr. Obama Lover getting up on his damn political soap box.

Can you believe he made an impassioned pitch for us to give to the local food bank?! My Bible says if you don't work, you don't eat. It's somewhere in the back. Maybe the front. Whatever.

I was so outraged about all this political crap that I almost got up and walked out right there. I would have, too, if I hadn't thought that some layabout 47-percenter was waiting to take my seat. Concert welfare, don't you know?

Dammit, it's time to TAKE BACK AMERICA from the socialists . . . one rock concert at a time!

No retreat, baby, no surrender!

Cue Jonathan Swift.

It used to be that you didn't necessarily have to tell people you were being a sarcastic smart ass. We live, however, in an era that has killed satire, being that there's no more ceiling for bat-s*** craziness in politics or the greater culture.

So. . . .

Just so you know. . . .

Bruce's only soap-box moment in the entire show was a pitch for the Food Bank for the Heartland, of which I am fully supportive. What did put me off, though, was some a-hole in the men's room proclaiming "If he says anything about that f***in' Obama, he's gonna get booed off the stage!"

Yeah, that pissed me off. That and a whole world of hair-on-fire partisans who can't even let a man be entitled to his own political proclivities lest he be vilified, demonized and ostracized for them.

Bruce campaigned for Barack Obama. I didn't vote for the man (though, to be fair, neither did I vote for Mitt Romney). So what?

If you ask me, you don't have to be a communist to be quite Stalinist nowadays. Such is life in a country where we hate us, we really hate us.

Cue Jefferson Davis. Oh, wait. . . .

Monday, July 16, 2012

Noise nazis mind the bollocks

The sun not only has set on the British Empire, but now it's set on what's left of British civilization as well.

Never mind the lads and ladettes, skirmishing with the bobbies in the street . . . or on the street, prostrate in their own vomit.

Never mind last year's mindless riots all across England.

Never mind Hackgate . . . or Rupertgate, if you will.

Never mind austerity, either.

AND NEVER MIND Sarah Ferguson, for God's sake. All that could happen anywhere, and probably will. Hell, even Fergie -- the British one -- is kinda like if Snooki and Britney had gone to finishing school.

No, you know a great nation is finished well and good when it pulls the plug on Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney. Together.

In concert.

For the first time ever.

Why? All because a bunch of Westminster Council noise nazis dared not to, in the name of history, turn back the hands of time in the face of a 10:30 p.m. Hyde Park "noise curfew." How twee . . . in a vaguely fascist kind of way.

When Britain's contributions to music begin to equal its achievements in dentistry, it's just time for 'em to hang it up and let the French run the joint. Again.

Monday, September 12, 2011

All that heaven will allow

It is now 9/12. After all the 9/11 hype, after all the ceremonies, after all the memories and all the tears and all the politicians' words that already have been forgotten, all the 9/11 tribute that was needed was all that heaven would allow.

Thousands have spent millions trying to memorialize that which befell us a decade ago -- those lives taken from us, the death of what we were and the difficult birth of what we now are -- and have fallen short. Still, we seem somehow out of tune.

After everything, amid all the unending promotion
(and, indeed, way too much unseemly wallowing and sad pandering) we basically had nothing. Or at least not nearly enough amid much too much.

But it was a year ago last night that a Spanish musician, photographer and Twitterer who mightily loves New York looked up. He took the shot. And John de Guzmán thus captured what all the politicians' speeches and all the media's stories could not. In the blink of an eye -- the click of a camera's shutter.

They needn't have bothered. What was needed was already done.

The photo, unsurprisingly, has gone viral. I just thought the man behind it deserved a little credit for capturing what all the rest of us could not -- or would not.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

3 Chords & the Truth: Beyond the badlands

Badlands, we all live it every day.

The broken hearts have stood as the price we had to pay.

All we wanted was to keep pushin' till it was understood, and these badlands started treating us good.

Sometimes, it worked out. Other times, not. But always, The Boss and The Big Man were there to cheer us on.

To let the restless youth of what seems like a lifetime ago know they weren't alone. That they weren't freaks to want something better than the badlands.

THE MUSIC of my life was the music of my discontent . . . and of my hopes and dreams. It was the music that kept me sane when I wanted to spit in the face of those badlands.

The Big Man is gone; Scooter survives him. And many of our dreams linger on life support.

The badlands refuse to treat us good.

But this edition of 3 Chords & the Truth is all about holding on to hope. It's about spitting in the face of these badlands. It's about looking for how God is with us, not for declaring that He ain't.

This episode of the Big Show is devoted to finding joy amid our grief. It's about keeping the dream alive despite the lure of low expectations and lower estate. These are favorite haunts of the badlands.

In honor of Clarence Clemons, the Big Man, I spit in the face of these badlands. We'll have some fine spitting music on the Big Show this week, I guarantee.
Poor man wanna be rich,
rich man wanna be king
And a king ain't satisfied
till he rules everything
I wanna go out tonight,
I wanna find out what I got
Well I believe in the love that you gave me

I believe in the love that you gave me
I believe in the faith that could save me
I believe in the hope
and I pray that some day
It may raise me above these

Badlands, you gotta live it everyday
Let the broken hearts stand
As the price you've gotta pay
We'll keep pushin' till it's understood
and these badlands start treating us good
IT'S 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Our loss is Gabriel's competition

When this week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth got put in the proverbial can Friday night, the last thing we had heard about Clarence Clemons was he was -- thus far -- making a remarkable recovery from his serious stroke last week.

That didn't work out.

Clemons, the Big Man, the irreplaceable sax man of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, died Saturday at 69. With him, one would think, went the E Street Band. With him, too, went a piece of an American generation's heart.

You can't replace the Big Man.

Bruce can't replace the Big Man any more than a widowed spouse can "replace" the one who, suddenly, no longer shares a home . . . shares a life. You strike out on a new path, with new dreams and a heart that always will be missing a piece.

FOR A GENERATION of us, restless Americans of a certain age now, Clarence Clemons' tenor saxophone -- sometimes joy-filled, sometimes mournful, always soulful -- filled our hearts as Springsteen's words filled our minds and gave voice, a soaring, wondrous musical voice, to our joys, our hopes, our struggles and our fears.

Decades down the highway, they still do. Sometimes more than we could have imagined in 1978.
Or 1980. Or 1984.

Only now those hopes, dreams, struggles and fears are quieter now. A little less joyful. A little less expressively mournful.

They now will be told with a lot less soul.

BUT WE REMEMBER a time when we were young, and when our proxies roared and wailed like a mighty beast. Before our advocates grew old, as did we, and the voice began to falter and fade.

In our memories, though, we still roar, and our heroes are still as young as our spirit, lurking as it is behind graying hair and expanding waistlines.

Hand me that old LP, will you. I damn time as I drink of the fountain of youth.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas from the E Street Band

If you don't have time for the whole concert, go to the 23:00 mark.

Bruce Springsteen.


A couple of weeks ago.

In Asbury Park.

"Blue Christmas."

As the Bear would have said:
My limited vocabulary doesn't permit me to say how damn awesome this is.

I'll just say this: The King is dead; long live the Boss.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

3 Chords & the Truth: It's summer!

This week, 3 Chords & the Truth sounds like summer.

There's a good reason for that -- it's summer (at least unofficially), and we're ready to bust out and celebrate summertime, summertime sum-sum-summertime.

So, given all that, this episode of the Big Show might be a good one to load onto the iPod and take to the pool. Or maybe you could plug it into a boom box and kick it "old school" at the campsite or at a picnic.

ALL YOUR NEIGHBORS will want to know what the cool show is on the radio. Except it's not the radio exactly. It's better than the radio . . . it's freeform, and HAL 9000 at MegaCorp Broadcasting don't know nothin' 'bout no freeform programming.

Really . . . does HAL 9000 know who Mose Allison is, even? Ella Fitzgerald? Dale Hawkins? Matthew Sweet? BillyBraggWarParliamentMarshallCrenshawDanleers ZacharyRichard?

We do. We play 'em all this week.

And we're having more fun than is legal in 27 states.

OK, here's our guarantee for this week's episode of 3 Chords & the Truth: If we don't blow your mind outright, we'll at least expand it. And if you don't like it, we'll give you your money back.

OF COURSE, the Big Show is free, but that's not important now. The important thing is it's summertime, and we're livin' large. It's the only way to go.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Glory days, well they'll pass you by

It kills me to say this as a 30-plus-year Bruce Springsteen fanatic, but "Glory Days" was a highly ironic song to close his uberhyped Super Bowl halftime show.

I am old enough to remember how the Boss used to do "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" and "Born to Run." I saw Bruce and the E Street Band live when we all were in our prime.

AFTER WATCHING the Boss live -- via television cameras that neither blink nor filter a performance through wistful admiration before pronouncing a verdict -- a couple of things are pretty damned clear:

* The Boss is almost 60 years old.

* He can jump and run, or he can sing, but he can't do both anymore.

The Associated Press story is kind in its cheerful recitation of just the hype:

The 59-year-old Springsteen and his E Street Band opened with "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," then without pause ripped through "Born To Run" and "Working on a Dream," before winding up the set with "Glory Days."

Springsteen, dressed all in black, came out Sunday night with the considerable challenge of packing the bombastic energy of one of his rollicking, three-hour concerts into an abbreviated Super Bowl halftime set.

That turned out to be no problem. He had fireworks, an expansive stage, about 1,000 people on the field and help from a Raymond James Stadium crowd equipped with small flashlights.

A five-piece horn section helped saxophonist Clarence Clemons blast out "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," and a gospel choir came on stage to back Springsteen, his wife and bandmate, Patti Scialfa, and guitarist Steven Van Zandt during "Working on a Dream," the title song from his 24th album.
I GUESS SUPER SUNDAY'S overhyped miniextravaganza could have just been an instance where Springsteen's charm and enthusiasm were there, but his voice and execution weren't. But then again, let's face it, there's not a spring chicken anywhere in the band.

Clarence Clemons -- the Big Man -- just turned 67, for Pete's sake. That makes him old enough to be this middle-aged killjoy's father.

Hell, he could be in the Rolling Stones . . . another group well past its prime.

WE ALL, at some point, have to reinvent ourselves. Bruce has done it more than once, then unreinvented, then reinvented the reinvention. Big-ass bands are so '70s, and the members of this big-ass band are heading toward 70.

And unless it's Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, or maybe Benny Goodman or Duke Ellington, supersized sounds don't strike me as the soundtrack to a depression. What we need now is a Woody Guthrie for our national postmodern funk.

That's a bill the Boss can still fill . . . without resorting to taking hits of herbal tea or oxygen. And without subjecting his adoring fans to unintentionally ironic performances of "Glory Days."

I had a friend was a big baseball player
back in high school
He could throw that speedball by you
Make you look like a fool boy
Saw him the other night at this roadside bar
I was walking in, he was walking out
We went back inside sat down had a few drinks
but all he kept talking about was

Glory days well they'll pass you by
Glory days in the wink of a young girl's eye
Glory days, glory days

Well there's a girl that lives up the block
back in school she could turn all the boy's heads
Sometimes on a Friday I'll stop by
and have a few drinks after she put her kids to bed
Her and her husband Bobby well they split up
I guess it's two years gone by now
We just sit around talking about the old times,
she says when she feels like crying
she starts laughing thinking about

Glory days well they'll pass you by
Glory days in the wink of a young girl's eye
Glory days, glory days

Now I think I'm going down to the well tonight
and I'm going to drink till I get my fill
And I hope when I get old I don't sit around thinking about it
but I probably will
Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture
a little of the glory of, well time slips away
and leaves you with nothing mister but
boring stories of glory days
THE BOSS had a hell of a lot longer run of glory days than most of us ever could dream of. They passed me by God knows how long ago. And they pass legends by, too.

Maybe it's time for Bruce to enter his Wisdom Days. With a little luck and a lot of grace, those never pass you by.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go off somewhere, kick a garbage can and cry. My youth is dead, and the rest of me is getting there.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

3 Chords & the Truth: This one's for Danny

This episode of 3 Chords & the Truth is for Danny -- Danny Federici, longtime sideman for Bruce Springsteen who lost his battle against melanoma Thursday. He was 58.

FEDERICI HAD BEEN a member of the E Street Band, playing keyboards and accordion, since 1973's "The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle" LP -- and he'd played in various bands with the Boss since the late '60s. If you've heard his accordion solo on "4th of July Asbury Park (Sandy)," you know you'll never forget it.

This episode of the Big Show, which will feature the music of Springsteen and the band, also is for the people -- the country -- he lovingly writes about. This episode of 3C&T is for the people who bust their butts chasing the promise America makes -- a promise that is looking more and more like mere national mythology -- but too often can't deliver on.

This episode is for the folks with piles of broken dreams, who wonder what went wrong as they soldier on against the odds.

This episode is for the E Street Band's America. God help us, every one.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Danny Federici, RIP

Terrible, terrible news this morning for those of us who, for all these years, have counted on Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band to get us through.

Danny Federici, the longtime keyboard player for Bruce Springsteen whose stylish work helped define the E Street Band’s sound on hits from “Hungry Heart” through “The Rising,” died Thursday. He was 58.

Federici, who had battled melanoma for three years, died at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. News of his death was posted late Thursday on Springsteen’s official Web site.

He last performed with Springsteen and the band last month, appearing during portions of a March 20 show in Indianapolis.

“Danny and I worked together for 40 years — he was the most wonderfully fluid keyboard player and a pure natural musician. I loved him very much ... we grew up together,” Springsteen said in a statement posted on his Web site.

Springsteen concerts scheduled for Friday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Saturday in Orlando were postponed.
AND GO to the Springsteen site and watch this video (scroll down a bit).