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Rmz76 12-15-2018 08:38 AM

Listening to Springsteen on Broadway this morning...
Bruce Springsteen's Broadway show has been released to CD and to music streaming services as of yesterday. If you are a fan of Springsteen as a writer this is a must listen! If you're more a fan of the total package that is Springsteen with E Street then you may be a bit let down. There is no fancy guitar work on this release. The songs are performed solo. Alternated on piano and acoustic guitar. All solo performance aside from a vocal duo (as you may have guessed). The play style rough, mostly hammered out open chords. Played under Springsteen's aging, raspy voice; belting out his tales of his life and of American life through his eyes.

It's beautiful. I couldn't even make it through the second song introduction (My Hometown) without tearing up and that continued because so much of what he was saying resonated and because I realize what an incredible gift he has to be able to absorb so much and give it back in lyric and melody.

Music's first purpose is to entertain us. To make our hearts pump faster and or toes tap. To pull us into somewhere else for a few minutes and give us that escape. When artist want to try and take their music beyond that the audience defenses tend to go up. If they preach too hard, get too specific or make a shallow case for whatever point they are trying to get across in this sacred time we're allowing them to entertain us, it falls apart and they are labeled as too preachy, a pretender, etc... The ones who can do it well usually carve out a niche for themselves as the political folk singer in the vein of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. A certain group of people love that music and no one else ever wants to hear it.

The difference with Springsteen is that he has done it all. From the intentfully fun and shallow pop hit to the deep introspective songs that just might make a dent in your world view. Songs like My Hometown, The Rising and The Ghost of Tom Joad (all featured on this album) are examples. They don't preach or get over the top political. There is no pretension in the lyrics. The perspective is from a humble observer and in that perspective and through glimpses sprinkled through his entire catalog of work, I think we find the heart of the man.

I have a long list of favorite Singer-Songwriters, some of them I really love and could listen to for hours, but I also realize their body of work boils down to a collection of heart break love stories. Craftily written to keep me coming back for more, but also perhaps revealing an incredibly one dimensional, self-centered artist. Springsteen's work reveals the opposite. Through the years he has absorbed all the joy and pain of his environments. His songs often document that history not just from his perspective but also lyrics that take us behind the eyes of his family and friends to important points in history. I believe this is what separates literature from great fiction. One leaves its mark that future generations a hundred years from now can look back on and gain a little understanding of what was being felt. I don't think an artist can have a bigger accomplishment than that.

akwingnut 12-15-2018 08:58 AM

Nice review. Thanks for taking the time to share. It sounds like something I might need to stuff in my own stocking! :D

rokdog49 12-15-2018 08:59 AM

Well stated Rmz76.
Not everything Bruce wrote and sang about strikes a chord (pun unintended) with everyone, but everyone can certainly find something in some of his songs they can relate to.
It also depends on how deeply you want to go. As an example, "Born To Run" would mean nothing to somebody living in Des Moines, Iowa unless they connect the dots to the desire of youth trying to break free of convention and repression.
It is very poetic but very dramatic. A little too dramatic for me. I get it though, it was coming from inside him with a lot of angst and he was young.
Like I said, you have to dig deep.

Blueser100 12-15-2018 09:09 AM

I received an email last night from Apple Music announcing the audio version of it and I listened to it. It's wondrous. Yesterday I listened to a repeat of an NPR interview that Terry Gross did with Springsteen some time back after the release of his memoir. There are aspects of hearing him recount the stories he commits to text and song that are truly poignant.

For those of you who have Netflix (or will soon), they will be releasing "Springsteen On Broadway" tomorrow. Tonight is the closing night but as this NTY article states, they filmed the show on a couple of nights previously.

BT55 12-15-2018 09:12 AM

My wife and I saw the show on Broadway. We also saw him at the Meadowlands. It was a good show not as good as his concert. Heís a really good live performer and story teller. There were people at the play for the third time. I didnít get it, once was more than enough for me.

Blueser100 12-15-2018 09:20 AM

I saw him once, at the Los Angeles Forum, after the release of ďThe Rising.Ē 9/11 was still very raw at the time and the show and Springsteen provided some much needed healing.

ManyMartinMan 12-15-2018 09:32 AM


Originally Posted by akwingnut (Post 5919780)
Nice review. Thanks for taking the time to share. It sounds like something I might need to stuff in my own stocking! :D



Originally Posted by Rmz76 (Post 5919767)
...Music's first purpose is to entertain us. To make our hearts pump faster and or toes tap. .....

Thanks for your post. To me, music's first purpose (from a writer's perspective) is to move others. Sometimes that is the increased pulse and toe-tapping you described. Other times it's one's brain listening to the passionate call for your attention to something that is important to the writer. Bruce has always done both. His music has always been written from the heart. It is indeed a great "total package".

Ludere 12-15-2018 09:48 AM

Thanks for the heads-up and the review.

I am a big fan of both the E-Street Broooce, and the folk singer Bruce.

I have seen him in concert a dozen times - during The Rising tour as well as back in the day.

It's interesting that you mention his lack of imparting his political views into this work; I personally noted that during his later tours, between songs he seemed to feel the need to impress his political views on the audience. That disappointed me greatly each time it happened, as it kinda felt like being held hostage, but I tended to overlook it because, well ... it's Bruce.

Thanks again for sharing.

~ Paul


Mr. Paul 12-15-2018 09:51 AM

I advise bypassing the music only release and go straight to the full boat including his "introductions" which are stand alone works of art.

Blueser100 12-15-2018 10:18 AM


Originally Posted by Mr. Paul (Post 5919839)
I advise bypassing the music only release and go straight to the full boat including his "introductions" which are stand alone works of art.

Yes. Itís the monologue component of the performance that sets this apart.

billyboy1962 12-15-2018 11:04 AM

Thanks for taking the time to post this Rmz76. A great review of a great artist. One of my favourites too. Springsteen is so honest and humble. His autobiography made me tear up more than once

jonfields45 12-15-2018 01:37 PM

I saw him on Broadway and had the good luck to be in the third row right in line with his piano bench. I have also seen him live with the E-Street band. What impressed me with the Broadway show was how professional his vocals sounded. There was no screaming and every word was easily understood and perfectly in-tune. His guitar playing (strumming) had a sophistication and percussive strength that reminded me a little of Richie Havens at Woodstock. He never made the slightest error in his singing, guitar playing, piano playing, or spoken word. To listen to him play piano on songs from his first few albums it made it clear to me he wrote those piano parts himself. It was the most memorable musical experience of my life. At the end of the show he greeted people in the first couple of rows. As he was talking to a pre-teenager seated in front of me I could have rustled his hair. My wife was slightly disappointed in how old he seemed. I guess his appeal to her had other characteristics I don't appreciate...

FrankHudson 12-15-2018 02:38 PM

That was eloquently expressed, RMZ.

Beakybird 12-15-2018 02:48 PM

I love the Boss. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Pura Vida 12-15-2018 04:56 PM

And the video performance is coming to Netflix later this month, right?

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