Monday, November 22, 2010

Warning: This Clip May Contain the Key to the Universe

You know, I was pretty much a lapsed Springsteen fan for the longest time. Since...oh, I dunno, The River, actually. And I didn't really come around till recently, i.e. Magic, which I think is some of his best work ever.

But even now -- there are times when I think, "yeah, yeah, Bruce is great, but it's old and I've seen it all before" and like that.

And then, he goes and does something like this -- on the Jimmy Fallon show Tuesday night -- and once again I'm, you should pardon the expression, a believer.

This guy is 60 and rocking out like that? Sweet mother of fuck, as Dexter's sister might say.

Seriously -- if that performance doesn't give you chills down to the cellular level, then you just don't like the form, if you know what I mean.


Dave said...

My favorite song of Springsteen's. That was great.

Anonymous said...

A third of the way through I was tapping my foot. By the first guitar solos I was bopping along and by the end I was bouncing.

Yea, I'd say he stills got it!


Faze said...

All my favorite Bruce Springsteen songs start with that solo piano. His worst albums are the ones where he eschews keyboard all together. (Also the ones where he just chews keyboards. That can't be good for your teeth.)

steve simels said...

I always forget what a cool guitarist he is. That duel at the end verges on Television territory.

DB said...

Rocking like that is the response to "Hope I die before I get old." It's a big, fat fuck you to kids with guitars.

"Stand back, son, and let a man show you how to play that thing."

steve simels said...

Seriously -- that kind of energy level and intensity is what endeared the guy to me in the first place.

Just wow.

David said...

A-fucking men. What a great way to start the day.

mister muleboy said...

I'm in a weird minority -- a long-time, long-time Springsteen detractor who is very slowly coming around, just within the last two years or so.

My reasons: I perceived all of Bruce's ballyhooed "energy" and "showmanship" [and I should withdraw those quotation marks -- they were, in fact, real]from about 1975 - 2007 to be representational -- he put on a show for the folks, in a modernized burlesque, that was big and self-conscious and

designed to reinforce the love of those who already believed, at the expense of attracting new believeres.

I found it to be the well-executed Carol Burnett Show of rock and roll.

The records would occasionally transcend the problem, for a song or two, but he would then hit the road and get right back to it.

Put simply, I found him to present the best performance of a passionate, committed, personal rocker. But always thought it was a performance.

Maybe it's because he's old and beloved. Maybe it's because he's wisened up. Maybe he doesn't give a shit. Or maybe he finally does.

But this isn't a guy showing you what a hypnotized, oblivious, lost-in-the-song, lost-in-the-moment player looks like.

It's just a hypnotized, oblivious, lost-in-the-song, lost-in-the-moment, passionate, obsessed, transcendent musician looks like.

This is what real rock and roll is. I swear that if you took away the cameras and the audience and the idea that he was on TV, for those five minutes, you would have seen the same performance.

I defy anyone to tell me that 1979-1999 Bruce would have done that. . . .

I love this clip

Brooklyn Girl said...

Rocking like that is the response to "Hope I die before I get old." It's a big, fat fuck you to kids with guitars.

"This is my generashun
My generashun, baybee ..."

The Who are still performing, too. :-)

Edward said...

We recently ran the Live From Hyde Park Concert at my theatre. Even cut down for DVD it brought back everything that attracted me to Bruce 35 years ago. I felt like a damn teenager again.

And he IS the hardest working in showbiz.

The frist time I saw him in concert I wrote to a friend, this guy is going to have a heart attack and die on stage. Watching him perform at 60 I am still shocked that he hasn't (and I'm pretty sure he is also).


Word Verification: allobi

DB said...

I shared this video and post with a friend of mine who is a music fanatic and a Springsteen devotee.

He shared back the link to the other Springsteen tune on the Fallon show:

...and an observation that Springsteen, in an earlier era, might have been as good a Brill Building pop songwriter as any of them.

We agreed that some Springsteen tunes, such as Hungry Heart and Girls in Their Summer Clothes, sneak up to the edge of the power pop line without going over it and that it would be a fun project to have some top power poppers reinterpret some of Bruce's material.

Anonymous said...

Springsteen, in an earlier era, might have been as good a Brill Building pop songwriter as any of them.

I totally agree. It comes across in Springsteen's interviews about the new documentary. As a 1970s songwriter, so it sounds his interview with Ed Norton, Springsteen wanted to be everywhere that pop music was happening, 1964 - 1968. What discipline it took to set aside dozens of some of the greatest pop songs ever written, just to avoid diluting his creative message. I confess in the 1980s I saw Springsteen as Sha-Na-Na meets Highway 61 with a Fonzie story line. Who knew that he was also his own Maxwell Perkins.

... and a seriously good and humble guitarist. Steve's comparing of the solos on the Fallon show to Television now make me wonder whether Verlaine and Lloyd tore up their copies of Born to Run trying to learn to play like that.


Mike said...

I don't know what kind of photos or dirt Fallon has on people, but he's had some amazing music performances lately. Elvis Costello was on a few weeks ago and pulled out this gem from my official 4th favorite album ever:

TMink said...

Great rock and roll.

And I think Magic is mostly Power Pop. I like that.

Springsteen certainly brings it.

It reminds me of him doing a guitar solo for Warren Zevon's last record. He cut the solo in the booth in front of an obviously impressed Warren. "You ARE him" he said at the end.

Oh heck, here is the address, watch it your own self.


zombie rotten mcdonald said...

He really reclaimed that song from Patti Smith.

pete said...

I'm in no rush to complain about Bruce-detractors, having been one myself much of the past 20 years. Others in this forum have mentioned the portentiousness, the humorless quality, even the faint whiff of hypocrisy, in the post-Landau era. Where he used to work his butt off taking us to a new place now he seemed to be working his butt off to convince us that he really, really cares about people who make less money than him.

But exploring the back catalogue has a way of reminding an artist what's important. And while I doubt he'll ever reclaim that show I saw in Meadville, PA in 1978, this clip at least convinces me that my memories of that show are not just an old man's complaint.

Noam Sane said...

That performance benefits from Max Weinberg's absence.


cthulhu said...

I still don't really care for Springsteen except for the "Nebraska" and "Tunnel of Love" albums. And I will hold "Born in the USA" up as the consummate sellout. But, hey, we all get at least one free pass, and even though I dislike it when he decides that he has Something Important To Say, at least he can do it with verve.

Put another way: I can have respect for big Springsteen fans, but can't muster up any real respect for, say, big David Bowie fans :-/.

geor3ge said...

That performance benefits from Max Weinberg's absence.


Put less snarkily, he really feeds off the Roots' energy, and they from his.

TMink said...

I saw Bruce and the guys for the first time last year. I was really struck (heh) by how propulsive Max's drumming was at that show. I had never really noticed him on records, but live, he seemed to really enegize the band that concert.

Of course, while I can play a lot of instruments, I cannot do the drum thing to save my life, so I may be easily amused by people who can.


jackd said...

A couple of observations, made only because no one else has:

I can easily believe that if that had been a concert rather than a network TV appearance, they would have worked that song for another three minutes. And they would have been good minutes, too.

Off in the back someone who I presume is one of the Roots was rockin' a sousaphone. I choose to believe he was actually playing and that somewhere out there is a remix of that recording with that big fat horn brought way up.

Anonymous said...

He reclaimed it from Natalie Merchant - not that she ever claimed it in the first place - but not from Patti Smith. I'll still take her over this.

word verification: goadem. How appropriate.

Charlie said...

Pleased to say shivers and goosebumps all correct. Can't help thinking that the presence of Mr Vee Zee inspires the man like no one else do.

And yep The River is right.