Sunday, 19 December 2010

My Bruce Journey - Part 50

'And babe I tried to make the latest scene.  Hitting cool just like Jimmy Iovine'

So running a bit late this week but Bruce is my excuse - who else?

I could get the Carousel Webcast and watch it on Quicktime but I needed - yes needed - to have a DVD.  It may be old fashioned of me but just to have it floating around there in the ether doesn’t seem very safe or permanent.  I wanted to hold something physical and put it on the shelf with my other Bruce stuff.

Anyway I am semi - literate on the computer.  I can do things but often don’t know how I’ve done it or why it has worked. That’s OK when it does work but if anything goes wrong I don’t know why.  If I don’t know why it’s gone wrong I don’t know how to put it right.

I started trying to burn a DVD on Friday morning instead of writing this post and I was finally successful Saturday night - phew!

Watched the gig now both from the stream sat in front of my lap top at the kitchen table and on the TV snuggled up in a cuddly throw on the sofa - I know which I prefer on a cold December night.

I see David Lindley was guesting - playing the fiddle.  Mike and I saw this guy earlier in the year when he was touring with Jackson Browne.  David is a virtuoso musician but I’m not sure if virtuosity is my thing.  I’m a fan of the simple little pop song and, to paraphrase Little Steven, Bruce can write a stonking little pop song. The two up beat numbers in the set show this off to perfection together with the rapport Bruce has with the audience.  Didn’t you just love the chuckle when the audience fluffed the Jimmy Iovine line?  Who thinks ‘Aint Good Enough…‘ is going to be the new ‘Sunny Day’?

Don‘t get me wrong I love the story songs too. ‘Racing In The Street’ and ’The Promise’ show off Bruce’s ability to compose a song that can make you cry although, if I’m honest, I prefer the other version of ’Racing‘.  I don’t dislike this version - just like the other one better.  'Blue Christmas’ is fab.  Reminiscent of Seeger in the way the horns come in do you think?

Anyway I’ve made a copy of the DVD for my brother.  He’s yet to be convinced - maybe because he has never had the chance to see Bruce live.  Expecting a non-fan to sit through a full set is a bit much.  Three hours pass by in the blink of an eye when you are actually there but, even I struggle to sit through a full concert at home, when there are a dozen other things vying for my attention.

This half hour set represents typical Bruce - a couple of fun songs, two songs to tug at your heart and a great cover version.  Short enough for Ian to sit through.   I hope he will enjoy.

Have to apologise to sister-in-law Irene, though. She’s a big big big Elvis fan.  Don’t know what she will make of ‘Blue Christmas’ !!

So in some ways 2010 has been a quiet Bruce year … but for us we’ve made more new Bruce friends and loved keeping in touch with the tramps we met last year.  The Gaslight Anthem kept us on tour.

I started blogging and, with lots of encouragement from you all, managed to keep going for a year - don’t think I will be able to give it up now - it’s become part of my weekly routine.

As it’s Christmas next weekend I will take a break.  I might not have time to write and I’m sure you won’t have time to read.  The following week might be the time to wonder about 2011.

So have a very happy Christmas period and all the best for 2011.  Hope to see many of you then.

Finally a message from our man as, after all is said and done, he is the reason why we are here.

Friday, 10 December 2010

My Bruce Journey - Part 49

'I tried to change, I got a job in sales.  I bought a shirt uptown in Bloomingdales'

So I am still listening to The Promise.

I copied the CDs from the box onto blanks so we didn’t have to keep taking the originals out.  These have been on in the kitchen pretty much on a loop for two weeks - even the cat looks a bit fed up when I switch on now! 

My resolve over the stand alone CDs crumbled when a friend of ours asked if we wanted to buy their spare copy.  Only £5.99 - a bargain. It’s a great little package on it’s own. This is now the kitchen copy complete with lyric booklet - ahhh bliss - and the other copy is in the car.  The Promise wherever we go.

I understand from Badlands that you can’t buy the box anywhere on the High Street in the UK.  They don’t anticipate more stocks until February.  Someone on GL said they thought it was a limited edition but I haven’t heard anything.  Mike’s boss’s partner (who you might remember is a manager at HMV) said they didn’t get any promotional material which is a shame as I was hoping for a poster.  Of course this time around Bruce did the promoting himself but I won’t mention The Promise Premier in London (sob!)

‘Aint Good Enough For You’ is the new single off the albums - if you still refer to them as singles these days. It’s straight onto Radio Two’s A play list which roughly translates to around three plays a day.  Good old BBC - they seem to really love Bruce.

The first independent radio station in the UK didn’t go on air until 1973.  Until then if you wanted to listen to the radio it had to be The BBC, unless you were prepared to go offshore to the likes of Radio Caroline or overseas to Radio Luxemburg.  I listened to Radio North Sea International. particularly Tony Allen but the reception after 7.00pm for any station was really bad.  I lived out in the wilds of rural Lincolnshire and I don’t think there was a radio mast nearby!

Anyway those of us who were around in the sixties were brought up on the easy listening of The Light Programme (later to become Radio 2) until The Beeb decided that us youngsters should have a station of our own.  Radio 1 was born and I vowed never again to listen to Radio 2.

But there comes a time in everyone’s life when you have to give in and admit that a lot of the new music just doesn’t do it for you any more.  As an experiment I am listening to Radio 1 now - Tinie Tempah/Kelly Rowland ‘Invincible’ has just been on - I know this only because my digital radio had this information scrolling across the display!  Now it’s Coldplay ‘Christmas Lights’ which Radio 2 is also playing lately.  Being a bit of a sucker for a Christmas song I like this.

At the moment as well as Bruce the A Play list consists of

Caro Emerald- Riviera Life
Cee-Lo Green- It’s OK
Ellie Goulding- Your Song
Katherine Jenkins- Tell Me I’m Not Dreaming
KT Tunstall- Fade Like A Shadow
Kylie- Better Than Today
Manic Street Preachers- Some Kind Of Nothingness
Michael Jackson- Hold My Hand (featuring Akon)
The Plain White T’s… Rhythm Of Love

Can’t say I recognise all of these but there seems to be quite a wide range of styles here.  It might not be cutting edge but middle aged music lovers still have a big influence on the pop charts in the UK.  We still buy music and, yes, we know how to download.

I talk about this because, recently, I have been surprised to find that Aled Jones - one of the Radio 2 DJs is a Bruce fan.  Aled first came to our attention when he was a choirboy and is probably best known for ‘Walking in the Air‘ although he wasn't the choirboy who sang the on the original soundtrack..


He now presents Songs of Praise - a Sunday night TV programme featuring hymns and Good Morning Sunday a faith based radio show.

He played a few tracks from The Seeger Sessions on his radio show but, of course, these songs had religious overtones so no surprise there.  I fell into the trap of thinking this chap sat at home listening to classical music, went to church on Sunday and frowned upon rock and roll but a few weeks ago he mentioned that he can‘t get enough of Bruce Springsteen.  I gave myself a talking to for pigeon holing him and needless to say I give him a lot more credibility now.

Not so sure about Richard Allinson’s allegiance though.  Whilst he has never said he doesn’t like Bruce he doesn’t rave about him either - unlike Chris Evans, Simon Mayo, Dermot O’Leary and to a lesser extent Stuart Maconie and Mark Radcliffe

Richard played ‘Aint Good Enough…’ the other morning and made a remark (which I think he intended as a slur) about it sounding like Gary US Bonds ‘This Little Girl’ I am assuming he didn’t realise that this song was also written by our man.

This week saw Bruce play a gig in front of an invited audience at The Carousel in Asbury Park.

Oh! - where was this building then?  Having spent at least a couple of hours in AP we are, of course, experts on the place!  A bit of research reveals this bulidnig is attached to the Casino.  We scoured our photos and, yes, we have a picture depicting the top of the roof… and... yet another excuse to go again to get a photo of the full thing.

It's on the right!

Anyway there's going to be a webcast. of this show.  'Blue Christmas' was on the set list.  Possibly a Christmas present for us then?

Saturday, 4 December 2010

My Bruce Journey - Part 48

'Now don't let our love slip into this darkness don't leave me to the brokenhearted'

So it’s been a slow week this week compared with the last two although we have had a ‘new’ release.

I am still playing The Promise to death both at home and on the trusty iPod. Still love it.  Can’t pick an absolute favourite but Mike’s top tune at the moment is ‘The Brokenhearted’

I popped in to HMV on Monday and had a look at the new box. They had two on display.

Product Details A sweet little thing - I picked it up, put it down, picked it up again and put it down again telling myself it was silly.  I didn’t need these albums again.  We already have BTR and Darkness twice…

So Tuesday and Wednesday went by but by Thursday I couldn‘t help myself.  Instead of walking past HMV I had to go and look to see if they were still there.  They were and … yes you guessed it - there is now only one!  We’ve taken off the cellophane, looked at the album sleeves and found a place for it on the shelf with the rest of our Bruce CDs.  There I expect it to stay as I doubt if we will ever play it.

Now I’m wondering if I should buy the two CD set of The Promise.  I thought it looked a different size to the one in the box.  I’m not sure where this compulsion has come from. We don’t have everything that has ever been issued.  I thought about the Japanese thingies but only for a moment so, as our library isn’t complete, there is no point starting now - there I’ve convinced myself - for the time being.

So apart from listening to The Promise, now December has arrived, Mike and I have started watching all the awful Christmas films on the TV.  You know the ones I mean.  At the start there is always a scrooge like bod, a lonely person or someone who has fallen on hard times.  By the end scrooge has turned into generosity personified, lonely person has found love and hard up person has found out that money isn’t everything.  It’s the spirit of Christmas that counts and … of course it’s snowing on Christmas Day! Although they are so naff I can’t help but be uplifted by the Christmas message.

Some films I love. ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is a favourite.  The way George Bailey wants so desperately to escape from his home town, reminds me of many a Bruce song. I always blub at the end.  ‘White Christmas’ is a favourite too - guaranteed to make me cry and ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ always convinces me there is a Santa Claus.

Anyway I mention this so I can tell you we watched ‘Home Alone 2’ last night.  Mike likes the Home Alone films and to be fair they aren’t bad.  I find Macaulay Culkin difficult to warm to.  Anyway an excuse to include here a song from the soundtrack…

Following on from that I got the Christmas CDs out.  Much as I love ‘Santa Claus is coming to town‘ I think this must be my favourite Bruce Christmas song. 

I played my Holiday Show boot yesterday - really like it but today I’m back to The Promise - just can’t get enough of it at the moment.

And finally ... I got this email from Backstreets today - don't you just wish you lived near Asbury Park?

It's all cold down along the beach...

The wind's whippin' down the boardwalk...

And if you don't mind braving that kind of weather, we want to give you a chance to be there when Bruce Springsteen does a video shoot on the Jersey Shore next week!
Extra! Extra!

On Tuesday, December 7, Bruce will be convening the E Street Band on the Jersey Shore to play tracks from The Promise for a special future webcast. And unlike the Darkness '09 film, they don't want to play to nobody... so we've got the chance to send a small number of fans to be extras for the filming.

Bear in mind, this won't be a concert, exactly -- it's a shoot, with all the stops and starts that usually entails. And it's likely gonna be a cold, windy December afternoon, not in the cozy confines of previous Shore venues like the Paramount Theatre or Convention Hall. But it'll also be a unique opportunity to see Bruce and the Band in action and up close, working up performance debuts of songs from The Promise, and to be part of the small crowd in an intimate space when they capture it on film.

We'll be selecting a handful of fans by random drawing to be part of the audience, each able to bring one guest. To enter the drawing, all you need to do is send us an email (see details below). Please only enter IF:

· You're able to get yourself and your guest to the Jersey Shore on Tuesday, December 7, in the mid-afternoon.

· You're sure you can be there -- we want to get as many fans in as possible and may not be able to adjust for no-shows.

· You can make it on short notice -- all winners may not be notified until late Monday evening.

· You can stand the weather!

If that's you and you'd like to enter for a chance to be there, please send an email to with the following information.

For the subject line, type the name of the musician (a longtime Jackson Browne associate) who played violin on The Promise's version of "Racing in the Street."

In the body of the email, include your name and address (as it appears on your picture ID), as well as your cell phone (or other contact number) and preferred email address, for any and all notifications about Tuesday.

Entries must be received by Sunday, December 5, at 2 p.m. ET to be eligible for the drawing. One entry per email address, please. Those selected to attend (plus one guest) will be contacted by email as soon as possible (but again, it could be up to Monday night) with full details. We'll post a notice on the News page to let you know when all notifications have gone out.

Good luck, we'll hope to see you there!