Sunday, 18 December 2011

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town

To start this week we have Mike's favourite Christmas song.





Christmas was always my favourite time of year.  I would start planning and saving for the next one as soon as the previous one was over.  I've never been much for going away on holiday and we don't socialise a great deal so all my energies were put into making Christmas special.  That was until 2007.

That year we were going to see Bruce at the O2 in London. That year the 19th December was more important than the 25th.  That year, for the first time, something was more exciting than Christmas and since then Santa has taken a back seat. He still 'came to town' but with a bit less vim and vigour than previously.

That gig was the start of two years of, almost continuous, Bruce shows to plan for and look forward to all over the world. My hard earned cash was put aside for tours rather than Christmas and I would have happily swapped 25th December for a Bruce gig.

This year I seemed to have got my festive mojo back a little so I'm really ready for Christmas. We are going to eat, drink and be merry. Then... we are going to look forward to 2012, to a new album, and of course the tour!

Hope you all have a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS 
and
 a Bruce filled 2012.


Sunday, 11 December 2011

It's Unusual



Thought I'd start with this video although it's from a week ago, partly because Mike introduced me to Bob Seger's music many years ago - before we got into Bruce and partly because Bob was interviewed backstage and told us more about Bruce's new album than we have learned from the man himself. There is a bit about it in Rolling Stone.

Apparently Bruce says his new album is really unusual.  OK - among other things "unusual" can mean amazing, remarkable, outstanding BUT it can also mean strange, bizarre, abnormal. This could go either way!!

The 'Rolling Stone' article also talks about a USA leg of the tour in spring next year. Unless I've missed something these dates haven't been announced yet.  I'm hoping for autumn dates.  We'll try for something then.  Not sure where though.  I fell in love with New York City when we went in 2009 but I quite fancy a trip to Boston, and my brother, who has travelled a lot around the States, says Chicago is a wonderful city.

Talking of my brother (Ian) - we are taking him and his wife (Irene) to Sunderland next year to their first Bruce show.   Some of you might remember that Ian is a keen amateur musician and still plays in a band from time to time. He will be a hard man to please.  I'm especially worried about the sound given that loads of peeps on the forums often say how bad this is.

To help them to make the most of the gig we have been trying to get together a CD of songs Bruce is most likely to play.  Obviously we have no idea what is going to happen on the new tour especially now Clarence is no longer with us.  We have decided to go with past experience and have chosen all the old staples - Born To Run, Badlands and the like.  I'll tell them to learn the first verse of Hungry Heart too.  It's as well to be prepared!!

The same goes for our best friends Jacquie and Mike who are coming to Manchester with us and are  Bruce virgins, and Mike's work colleague Allyson and her husband Bruce - yes Bruce! They will be with us in Sunderland.

This week there has been one of the regular discussions on Greasy Lake about 'Human Touch' (the album).  Got me to thinking he may play some of the tracks off this together with Lucky Town next tour.   After all they were played without a saxophonist first time round.  We can't be sure he'll play a lot of new stuff judging by the last tour.

I couldn't let this week go by without including this.  I know you will have all seen it already but it's worth another look.




Finally I'll finish with a Bruce Christmas song.  I only discovered it a couple of years ago and it's my favourite - well for the moment anyway.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Great Ticket Rush

Well the title of my blog has never been more appropriate than on Thursday evening when we were sat in Sheffield Arena waiting for... Bryan Adams. More of him later but first to one of the most important weeks in recent Bruce history - especially for Europeans I suspect.  I speak, of course, about ticket sales.

Does anyone else get really stressed out over buying tickets?  Silly question really I know you do.  Over here in Europe we had pre-sales.  So if you had bought from Ticketmaster or Live Nation previously and have an account with them you could get in a couple of days early.  If you are an O2 phone customer you could apply through their 'rewards' site also a couple of days in advance.  Then I think Vodaphone customers could get tickets early. There's probably more that I don't know about. So although tickets for the UK and Ireland went on general sale on Saturday 3rd December the pre-sales were selling on Thursday 1st.  So a day off work it had to be.

Before that, though, we were trying for Paris tickets on the Tuesday.  Paris seemed a good bet for two reasons.  Firstly there are back to back shows - two nights for the price of one air or train fare and secondly they are indoor shows.

Monday morning started well with Working on a Dream waking me up on the radio alarm.  Not my favourite track but any Bruce song is good for a cold dark Monday and maybe it was appropriate, as that night, we started working on our own dream of tickets for next year's tour.

On my way home from work I heard Born to Run coming out of the open door of a little boutique.  A good omen?

Paris turned out to be a bit of a mess all around really as we couldn't decide what time the tickets went on sale.  There was much panic around the net as we all tried to get the information together and the site was impossible to get onto on Monday night.  On our way to bed we weren't hopeful.

We were up 8.00am Tuesday, but to cut a long story short, neither Mike (on the desk top) or me (on the lap top) could get any further than the home page of Gerard Drouot.  I had to leave for work at 9.50am - without tickets and feeling very miserable.  By the time I arrived at the office I had a phone call from Mike telling me that our Bruce Buddy - Ceinwen had managed to get us seats for both nights.  So, in the space of half an hour or so, despair had changed to elation.  Thank you once again Cein.

Mike carried on his efforts out of curiosity and managed to secure tickets at 11.55am.  Of course he didn't need to actually buy them.

Thursday presented another problem.  We wanted tickets for three shows but they all went on sale at the same time.  We have a soft spot for Dublin as this is where we met the first in a growing group of Bruce friends and where our touring became about more than just the two of us.  Realistically and economically it made more sense to try for Sunderland and Manchester.  Mike managed to get us tickets for both

Despite our best efforts together with those of another Bruce Buddy - Sinead - we couldn't get Dublin tickets.  Thanks for trying Sinead.  The money we have saved by not going to Dublin will be put towards a trip to the USA in the autumn, assuming our man is still touring then.

So back to Bryan Adams.  We had never seen him before so had no idea what to expect.  This was a tour celebrating the 20 year anniversary of Waking Up The Neighbors. The album which featured Everything I do I do It For You among other songs you will know.  Apart from the tracks on this album he played all the hits.

Because it was, in a way, a greatest hits show it may not have been a typical Bryan Adams gig.  I don't know whether die hard fans go wanting to hear some obscure album track. If so I think they would have been disappointed.  On the other hand I've no idea whether there is any New York City Serenade or Wild Billy's Circus Story in Bryan Adams' repertoire.  I suspect not.  Having said that his kind of up tempo rock/pop or classic rock ballad is very easy on the ear and we really enjoyed the night.

There were no signs and no children in the audience to sing along but he did pick out a girl from the audience to sing the Mel C part of When You're Gone. I gather this is a constant on the tour.

Incidentally he was on for two and a quarter hours and didn't use an autocue.  Leaving the stage after playing three acoustic numbers, as a sort of encore, he remarked that he didn't know any more songs.

I was hoping to entertain you with a video from YouTube but they have all been taken down already!

My final thought on the matter is Bryan's hair which I could barely take my eyes off throughout the show because it did not move at all - I was reminded of Shania Twain's line from That Don't Impress Me Much - 'That extra hold gel in your hair ought to lock it'.

Lastly back to the main man

I hope you all got the tickets you wanted and don't have much longer to wait for confirmation of USA dates.  Looking forward to seeing you next year.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

YIpee! Yipee! Yipee!

A New Tour





Bruce's last tour ended in Buffalo on 22nd November 2009.

I started this blog on 9th January 2010 so it doesn't take a genius to figure out that I haven't written about a tour as it happens.  Not that it is actually happening yet but you know what I mean.

I thought this week's post would be easy, but at the moment, my head is so full of hotel bookings, flight times, dates and times of tickets sales etc that I'm not sure I can write coherently!

I ended last weeks post about 9.00pm on Sunday night with a link to a forum discussing The Isle of Wight Festival in 2012.  A poster was predicting that Bruce would be the headline act but I, along with most of you who read my musings, took this with a pinch of salt.

Monday morning at 6.00am is not normally a time I would go onto the internet but I had a bit of time to kill so I nipped onto Facebook to see whether anything was happening and there it was ... a link to brucespringsteen.net giving a short statement and a few dates.  The same few dates that are there now even though dozens more have been added to the itinerary!!   (but that's another story).

Now - do we think that Bruce's management was forced into some sort of announcement because the UK festivals wanted to announce their lineups this week?  It's a possibility but then why didn't they just confirm he would be at Hard Rock Calling and Isle of Wight then announce all the other dates when they had them all.  I don't know the answer of course but anyway it meant that my newly purchased iPhone was buzzing all day as fresh information came to light - Facebook alerts and texts together with emails from Mike kept me rather too busy all day and perhaps my work suffered a little.

We have been going to Springsteen gigs since 1993.  In the early days organising ourselves was easy - just one show a tour and only the two of us. As the years have gone on more shows have been added,  more friends have been made and more countries have been visited.  This time there is absolutely no question of only one show or one country and as well as seeing Bruce we want to catch up with friends. It became a logistical nightmare at one point especially when we weren't sure whether all the dates had been announced.  In fact we are still not sure as there are still strong rumours that there will be extra dates in Barcelona and Dublin.

Anyway I'm not sure whether all our little Tramp Troupe are going to get together at one gig.  I think there is at least someone missing from every night.  Manchester might be nearly a full house but family and work commitments means that we are all attending different gigs around Europe.  Perhaps we can all get together in New York City again and I am hoping for some shows here in the fall.

It goes without saying that I am really excited about this tour - or does it?  Not everyone is so thrilled.  There are already negative threads on Greasy Lake : - no signs this tour: songs you don't want to hear etc.  Come on guys just be grateful for a tour.  He can sing what he bloody well likes as far as I am concerned and as for the signs - well I can see they may be annoying if they block your view but we will be sitting 50 yards away!  I am not complaining about this you understand - if you choose to sit you accept you will not be near the stage.

...and what about the album??????  Are there fans of many other artists who, given the announcement of a new album and tour, barely care about the album?  Does this happen to all bands/artists who have been around a long time? The Rolling Stones for instance or Bob Dylan.

Rolling Stone have a few questions here about the album and tour.

Finally I understand that Nils is just as surprised as we were  - here's a quote from Backstreets

Up until a couple of days ago I could honestly say there were no plans that I knew of. Rumors are just that — I learned that as a kid working with Neil Young. Everyone talks about ideas, but they are just ideas until they are made a reality; until then you have to ignore them and get on with your own life. At the end of every tour, inlcuding two years ago, you think is this the last show I'm ever going to play with this great band.... At least I know by summer I'll be playing with some dear friends and as great a band as has ever been. That is a blessing. The fact that I've got a good record out now, thank God I did it when I did.


 Good old Bruce - keeping us all on out toes as usual.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Early Years

So I bought this last Wednesday.


I have listened to it only once so far.  First impressions?  Well... it's interesting.   Here is a customer review from Amazon which pretty much sums up how I feel.

I didn't really know what to expect from this release and it certainly isn't for newbies to E Street, but for existing fans there is a lot to be gleaned and enjoyed.

I recommend this to anyone with a true interest in the origins of the Springsteen sound, the recordings are fine and listenable given their source and the sleeve notes are interesting. I hope there are more to this series of radio shows in the future.


I understand there is some legal loophole that is allowing this sort of recording to be released and the same reviewer also covers this topic :-

These are not bootleg releases either. Because of a legal loophole live recordings over 25 years old can be released without the artists permission. If this had been included in a box set of rarities to support Greetings from Asbury Park, people may see it in a different way.

Anyway the recordings are taken from way back in 1973.  Bruce, bless him, sounds really nervous and shy.

Now in 1973 some of my Bruce buddies were barely old enough to talk so whether or not they would've liked this at the time isn't an issue. I was 14 years old and into music in a big way.  Not this sort of music though. I really wouldn't have liked it at all.  In fact to be honest I'm not even sure if I like it now!  I'm pleased I've heard it and I will listen to it again, but really, if it wasn't a Bruce recording it would be filed at the back of the cupboard never to surface again.

When I listen to Bruce's early stuff I can understand why he was likened to Bob Dylan.  I didn't do Dylan back in the seventies although I like some of his more familiar songs now - Just Like A Woman, Lay Lady Lay, Like a Rolling Stone etc.  Chimes of Freedom is one of my favourite Bruce covers.  I didn't know it was a Dylan song when I first heard it.



A few months ago I bought Live at the Main Point .  This is a recording from a couple of years later and the songs on this are obviously more familiar than those on 'Bound for Glory' but I'm still not sure about the early stuff.

My final recent purchase is Live on Air

I thought it sounded somewhat familiar and - well - I was right.  It's highlights from The Main Point! Anyway all is not lost. There is a bonus DVD featuring some of Bruce's appearances on the TV. You can get the DVD on it's own. The reviews aren't great but this, from the same reviewer I quoted above, is a fair summing up



As a Springsteen collector the criticism regarding the quality of this product is, I beleive, unfair. How many Springsteen fans have bought bootleg recordings of very dubious quality without complaint, and at extortionate prices, and in many ways this DVD should be seen in the same way. For the European market these are rare recordings and a little dated but should be seen as such. The price is reasonable and I enjoyed watching it given the limitations. This DVD is not trying to be something it isn't and at the end of the day you get what you pay for. If you want top quality live footage there is plenty available and as a greatest video hits the Springsteen Video Anthology is hard to beat. Like they say you pays your money and makes your choice.

I assumed that unless you lived in the USA and saw/taped them at the time this release is the only chance you would have to see them but I've found Lucky Town on the good old internet.  You will see that the picture quality is, indeed, awful and so is Bruce's shirt!!



Lucky town (live 92 snl) bruce springsteen by runawaydream

Some of you may know that we take a keen interest in Joe Grushecky.  We have several of his albums and Mike, in particular, likes his music. He will be uppermost in your minds lately following the fantastic shows in Pittsburg the other week.  There is a great interview with Joe in Rolling Stone Magazine.  Amazingly he has a day job as a special education teacher because he can't make a living as a musician.

Joe met Bruce in 1980 when Stevie was playing on the recordings of The River and Grushecky's album of the time.  They had a lot in common so became friends.

There's a funny little piece in The Daily Express in which Nils tells us about Bruce's secret band.  Apparently they get together and jam round the kitchen table.

Finally as I've been rummaging around the internet I may have stumbled upon some more rumours about a tour next year.  This time it's about the Isle of Wight Festival and is discussed on this forum.  Although it's headed 'Isle of Wight Festival 2011' they are discussing headliners for 2012.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

lest we forget

Here's a tricky question for you.  If you had to lose one sense - your hearing or your sight - which would you choose?

I suspect most people would say they would rather be deaf.  On the face of it managing without your hearing would seem to be so much easier than being blind. From a purely practical point of view, that may be true but I'm sure I would find it so much harder emotionally to be without sound.  Think of it another way.  Would you rather see Bruce and not hear him or hear him but not see him?

I've told you previously how much music means to me.  Not only Bruce, but music, any music is a central part of my life.  Music evokes such memories.  I can't listen to Homeward Bound without thinking about my late mum and although my dad died over 30 years ago I'm immediately transported back to my teenage years with him when I hear Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.

Talking to my brother a few weeks after my mum died we found that, quite independently, we had bought a CD of Michael Holliday's greatest hits.  Our parents played an old album of his over and over again when we were young.

I say when we were young but actually my brother is eleven years older than me so when he was 16 and playing music a lot in his bedroom I was only five.  He had an LP record carrying case which I wasn't allowed to touch. I had a sneaky peak from time to time, though, when Ian wasn't around. When I opened the lid there was an amazing smell - I'm not sure if it was the case itself, the LP covers or the vinyl but I loved that smell.

 Maybe it was because they were off limits that these bits of plastic seemed so intriguing to me. I can still remember many of the covers and the songs will always
take me back to a particular time in my life.

This Rolling Stones cover was particularly fascinating 
It had a real zip.  I had no idea at the time that there was anything untoward about undoing a man's trousers!

Mike's favourite song is Thunderclap Newman's Something in the Air.



This featured on a cassette of Mike's I have talked about before.  He had made this cassette of his favourite songs long before I met him. Well they weren't all his favourites - in those days you couldn't just download any track you fancied - you were limited to the records you owned, so although some tracks were favourites, some were just fillers.  All the songs take me back to the early days of our relationship, bring back such amazing memories and remind me how much I love my husband....because sometimes in the drudge of day to day life I forget.

This week during the run up to Remembrance Day Radio 2 featured a series in which mother's talk about their sons who were killed in action.  They told their very moving stories partly through the music  their son's loved.  Here is a link. If you have time to listen to only one it's worth it - all the stories are so moving and set me off thinking what music might be a reflection of my life and what tracks I would chose myself - hence the reminiscing.

Bruce has been doing his bit this week too.  His annual joke always makes me chuckle - he's no stand up comedian that's for sure.  The start of this clip is quite funny.  You can hear someone complaining about the shirt!



This made me laugh too


And finally the story of Andrew Kinard who was given Bruce's guitar by the person who won the auction.  More about this where else but at Blogness on the Edge of Town


Sunday, 6 November 2011

Now and Then

I feel excitement in the air this week!

There is many a time when I sit down on a Sunday evening and have no idea what I am going to write about. I decided to be a bit more organised this week and started on something last Monday but now, six days later, important events have superseded my musings. I say important because somehow Bruce's shows with Joe Grushecky feel that way.  They feel as if they are a build up to something and that's why I am excited or ...   maybe it's just me clutching at straws.

I haven't had a chance to watch all the videos that have come out of the Pittsburg nights. There is a lot of great stuff - almost as good as being there - I said almost.  Blogness on the Edge of Town has a great selection of clips.

My reservations about acoustic versions of band songs have been somewhat quashed and I'm thinking an acoustic tour might be no bad thing.  Great version of Land of Hope and Dreams here




For two people like Mike and I who usually sit at gigs, or at least we are in the seated section even if we are actually standing, acoustic sort of suits us.

One thing we must all be sure of, after seeing these videos, is that this man cannot give up doing live shows - he is just amazing.   His voice is sounding better than ever to me.  He looks happy and fit and ready to go. It would seem from this quote that bruce knows folks all around the world want to see him.


"People have flown to Pittsburgh from all across the world! That's almost as crazy as flying to Asbury Park! It's insane! People come from perfectly wonderful places, and they leave them! I met some people from Sweden, and Spain's here too. Even Italy. It's crazy, and the obligation weighs very heavy on my head." 

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/bruce-springsteen-plays-three-and-a-half-hour-show-in-pittsburgh-20111105#ixzz1cxyoYR17


The end of this clip is fab when Bruce gets the crowd to join in. It's about 3.40 in if you don't want to listen to all of Thunder Road - What! you don't want to listen to it all?



He sings that last line with as much gusto as the audience.  It's as if he is one of them rather on the stage -a great illustration of the skill he has as a live performer.  He includes the crowd in the gig rather than performing for them.  The whole thing almost has a sitting-round-the-campfire feel about it.  Now -  wouldn't that be a dream come true?  - sitting round a campfire with Bruce strumming his guitar, all singing along to Thunder Road.

Whilst we are talking about a new tour and Thunder Road a word to our best mates Jacquie and Mike.  They have never been to a Bruce show and we have promised to take them next time round.  Hey! you two! start learning the words.

It's been a long time since our last gig ... two years to be exact.  On the equivalent Sunday in 2009 a bunch of us were preparing to go to MSG night 2.  What a night - I talk about it here.  It seems like a lifetime ago yet it seems like yesterday but reading that blog post back now brings a lump to my throat.  It was an incredible few days which will never be repeated.

It goes without saying that we would be gutted if Bruce never toured again but if that was the last show I ever saw it would certainly be a very fitting finale.

I can't end on such a negative thought so here is a picture from Pittsburg courtesy of Matt Orel.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Trick or Treat?

This week I have been reading some tips on writing an effective blog.  Now, I write my blog purely for pleasure so the money making side doesn't interest me.  In fact most of the hints and tips aren't really appropriate but the thing that comes up time and again in blog writing advice is that you need to be passionate about your subject.

Of course, for the most part, your readers have to be as passionate about your subject as you are.  No one is going to be interested in the weekly musings of an ordinary woman from Leeds unless she is writing about a subject they are interested in.  So, I am passionate about my subject and I assume you are too.  Lets be honest, if you weren't passionate about Bruce you would think I was just a little odd!!  Well, I am a little odd but that's another story.

Every time I go into HMV (and that can be quite often as it is a handy little short cut from one side of town to the other)  I have a compulsion to have just a quick look at the Springsteen CDs.  I don't flick through them or anything but I just like to know that there is still a full compliment on display!

This holds good for other shops too.  In Waterstones I usually check the biographies and in W H Smiths I browse through the music magazines.  I was in one of those bargain book shops this week looking for stationery when I spied a book about rock T shirts.  I couldn't help myself - I just had to have a little peek at the index to see if Bruce was included.  He was... but I didn't recognised the t shirt.

In a music shop that I pass on a regular basis I can see, through the window, a guitar that looks like Bruce's famous Telecaster.  I say looks like because from the price it is obvious it's not... I'm so tempted to buy it.

So... I have a question for you - Is this a passion, an obsession or just an eccentricity?


Although The (Bruce) world and his wife have shared this with you over the past few days I can't let this weekend go by without including it here




The Springsteen rumour mill usually runs smooth but I don't remember any mention of this in advance of it appearing.  It was a great surprise to me at the time and I absolutely love the video.

Finally this week I've stolen this picture from Angela Cotena's Facebook page



Happy Halloween Everyone!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Let's Hear It For The Banjo Player

If I am still in the kitchen at 7.00pm I usually catch the beginning of the show that comes on to Radio 2 at that time.  The hour between 7.00pm and 8.00pm is, what can best be described as, the specialist hour. Monday is jazz, Tuesday blues and Thursday Bob Harris' country.  Those of you who know me well won't be surprised that I often listen to the country show. 


Wednesday is folk with Mike Harding (yes that's Mike Harding the comedian). Some of the music he plays is OK.  He featured a couple of Seeger Sessions tracks when the album was released.  This week he played Crooked Still.  Bruce poached Greg Lizst from Crooked Still to play the banjo in The Seeger Sessions Band. Here he is doing his stuff.





It reminded me of a story, which I don't think I've told you before, about the time we went to see Crooked Still.  I think it would have been in 2007.  Now Mike and I aren't particular fans off folk but it's reasonably inoffensive stuff and we are quite open minded when it comes to trying new genres of music.  Nevertheless I don't think we would have found ourselves sitting in The National Centre For Early Music in York waiting for Crooked Still if it hadn't been for the Bruce connection. The National Centre For Early music is a lovely place which I assume was once a church but it doesn't hold many people and we aren't familiar with the folky crowd.  We applauded politely along with everyone else after each song.  It was pleasant enough but nothing too exciting.  


Anyway part way through the show the lead singer introduces the band members...and on the banjo Greg Lizst who has recently been playing with Bruce Springsteen.  Well Mike and I cheered - I think it's an instinctive sort of thing when Bruce's name is mentioned - and there was deathly silence.  I could feel eyes boring into the back of my head. It was obviously NOT the thing to do when you are sat in the middle of an audience who are obviously rather serious about their music!  


We did meet a Laker there though who approached us afterwards to say 'Hi'.  He had the good sense to keep his mouth shut during the gig.


Excitement this week as Bruce played The Stone Pony.  There's a great detailed article at NJ.com.  I had a little chuckle at the story Bruce apparently told about meeting the fans from Sweden who had travelled to see Asbury Park and him.  Surely he wasn't surprised to find that fans did this sort of thing.  You've go to think that almost every day there is somebody walking down that boardwalk because of Bruce.


We spent a day there - almost two years ago now - and I loved it.  I know it used to be a bit run down. Here's a post on a forum I've just read:-

'Asbury Park has a great infrastructure, it's a pretty town especially east of main st., but the inhabitants are what will kill any renaissance. Too many gangstas, crack heads and transvestite prostitutes make for a very ugly urban scene that only the hardiest of pioneers and boosters would tolerate'

Hmmmm well we didn't see any gangstas or crack heads and as for transvestite prostitutes? I do wonder whether, as Springsteen fans, we see Asbury Park through rose tinted spectacles.  A place where the sun constantly shines, where we can sit on the boardwalk sipping wine or walk along the beach: a place where there's always good music to listen to and a chance of hearing Bruce play or, better still, meeting him.  


I'd go back again in a heartbeat.  I'd certainly be there for the Light of Day concerts in 2012 if I could afford it but we need all the money we can muster for a Bruce tour next year.  


In the mean time if no album materialises in November how about an album of new songs next year and a Christmas album in December!  I love a good Christmas song.










Sunday, 16 October 2011

Talk To Me

We first saw Southside Johnny at The Leadmill in Sheffield in November 2005.  That night he only sang a couple of songs we knew.  One was The Fever.  I can't remember the other but I suspect it was another Bruce song. This was also the first time we encountered Bernie. For those of you who don't know Bernie is a little chap with long grey hair and a unique way of dancing.  He can be seen at Bruce gigs all over the world.

Last night The Picturedrome in Holmfirth was our 5th show, and although Johnny sang a lot more songs which I know, I'm still at that stage where I often don't recognise them until we get to the chorus! The Fever was in the set list again. This is a bit of a sing-a-long for the audience and any Springsteen fan would recognise the song straight away. Talk To Me is taken at quite a lick. The crowd like to sing along to this too, as can be heard from the rather out of tune audience participation from Holmfirth a couple of years ago! - skip to about 3.40. There aren't many folks who are worse singers than me but this could be one of them.





Mike and I knew Southside's version of this before it became familiar to all of us when it was featured on 'The Promise'.  Hearts Of Stone is also a Southside classic and I prefer his version of All The Way Home to Bruce's. We are still waiting to hear this live.

Here they are doing that version together.



A Southside show doesn't give me the collywobbles in the same way as a Springsteen gig does. I'm so excited before a Bruce show I can hardly eat. The first show of a new tour is always the worst. Will it be as good as the last tour? How will the new songs sound? How will Bruce sound? How many of the classics will we hear? Will we get any of the songs from the more recent albums?  Once that first show is out of the way I relax a little but there is a special frisson of excitement before any Bruce show that nothing else can match...nothing else at all!

Don't get me wrong I was really looking forward to Saturday but whether it was a good or bad show wasn't so important to me. Actually I've never seen either Bruce or Johnny put on a bad show.  There are some I've enjoyed more than others but that's down to the set list. Can't fault the effort they both put in night after night.

Anyway I took my trusty little note book with me to try to piece together the set list. I knew I would have to be creative with my notes as the titles of most songs would elude me.  I popped down a line or two if I had no clue but it was surprisingly easy to work out the title once I had heard the chorus through a couple of times.

Here's the (almost) full list

Cross That Line
I Played The Fool
Baby Don't Lie
All Night Long
Gin Soaked Boy
Without Love
Lead Me On
?
Why Is Love Such A Sacrifice
Forever
I Remember Last Night
Harder Than It Looks
Walk Away Renee
Number One Son
Love On The Wrong Side Of Town
This Time It's For Real
Talk To Me
Happy


A couple sung by the keyboard player
A Song For You (The Carpenters)
I'm A Man(The Spencer Davis Group)


I Don't Wanna Go Home
Trapped Again
The Fever
One More Night To Rock
Hearts Of Stone

Oh and Bernie was there.

The latest rumour on the Bruce album front is a release date of February 2012.  I love a good bout of speculation but even I am getting a bit cheesed off with all this now.  Lets hope that the next time we hear anything it's a bit more concrete.

Bruce is planning to get himself up on stage though.  He's going to be in Pittsburgh with Joe Grushecky on 3rd and 4th of November.  For anyone who wants to see some earlier performances check out Blogness on the Edge of Town.

That's all for this week.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

I'm Going Down To Lucky Town

Music is always in my life.  If you are a regular reader you will know I have my iPod with me wherever I go: I listen to the radio quite a lot, mostly, but not always BBC radio 2: my colleagues and I can often be heard humming along to ourselves whilst tapping away on the keyboard and sometimes I even wake up with a song already in my head.  Yes music is with me all the time but usually in the background.

The only time we really settle down to listen to an album is when a new Bruce album comes out.  This is an event in our house.  We sit down together probably with a glass of something and really pay attention.  We might not speak at all during the first play through but then discuss our initial impressions before listening again.  The album will then follow us around for a week or two. It'll be on in the kitchen whilst I'm cooking, it'll be on in the car, it'll get loaded up to iTunes and the iPods.  It will be played in isolation and in order.  Then it's likely to be put away on the shelf and I'll only hear a track if it comes up during my IPod shuffle.

Someone on Greasy Lake said they like to be in control of their music so shuffle isn't an option for them.  I'm the opposite.  I don't like to know what is coming up next.  I think that's why I still find the radio so interesting.  I like to hear new songs, artists I've never heard of and I like to hear an old song that I'd forgotten about.  If a Springsteen song comes on the radio it absolutely makes my day!

We have a radio or CD player in every room in our house but only two TVs. Perhaps if we had a TV in the kitchen I might watch that but as it is we have a radio/CD player. The radio goes on as soon as I get downstairs in the morning and often at night whilst I'm cooking tea. The exception to this might be if we have a new album by somebody other than Bruce.  This, of course, doesn't require as much attention as a new Springsteen release so it's usually a background thing.

I mention all this because this week I suddenly deviated from the norm and got an old Bruce album out of the CD rack to play in the kitchen. This really is unusual and what's even stranger is that I chose Lucky Town.  Now I have a soft spot for both Lucky Town and Human Touch.  They weren't the first albums we bought - that predictably was BITUSA - but significantly the HT/LT tour was the first live show we saw.  As we all know once you see the man live you are hooked for life.

Well I bopped around and sang along and really enjoyed hearing this for the first time in it's entirety  since... well it must be fifteen years!  I gave myself a telling off for bowing to what I perceive to be pressure from the Bruce community to dislike this album.  OK so it's not the E Street Band - in fact according to the sleeve it's mainly Bruce.  It's a great, uplifting, hopeful album and - yes - I like it.

I haven't played Human Touch but Man's Job is a guilty pleasure and Human Touch (the track itself) includes one of my favourite lines - You can't shut off the risk and the pain without losin' the love that remains.

There aren't many songs from these albums that we hear live nowadays.  Human Touch pops up from time to time and I think Bruce gives us Living Proof on occasion.  If I Should Fall Behind crops up a fair bit and I was surprised to find that the recorded version sounded sort of unfamiliar.  Bruce has obviously changed the rhythm and emphasis of the song over the years.  I've probably become accustomed to The Live in NYC version.

I remember someone saying once that their favourite version of Thunder Road was the original recording because they didn't like the way Bruce changed the emphasis of the words.  Is it called the cadence?  I had the same problem with the acoustic version of The Rising. I couldn't get to grips with the melody at all.

Last week Sting was 60 and we all know that our man did a bit of a turn.



Now his voice is great and I must say I really like it but he's certainly changed the lilting melody of the original.  Here's Sting's version for comparison.




Here in the UK we have had a bit of excitement this week because Jessica Springsteen is riding at The Horse Of The Year Show.  Sadly we have felt compelled to watch the TV coverage on the off chance we might catch a glimpse of dad and to cheer on Jessica - not very patriotic of us!

I have an excuse as I used to follow show jumping when I was younger.  I've actually enjoyed catching up with the sport and I think Mike is getting quite into it now.

... So off to watch Jessica in The Leading Show Jumper Of The Year competition.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Rumours...

...No NOT the Fleetwood Mac Album

Is anyone else checking Shorefire Media every few hours just on the off chance there's a press release? 


Does anyone really believe the information that comes out from any other source?  Well - no - but we all so WANT to believe.  This is why the rumour about 'Arcade at Night' took off so spectacularly.  Some peeps thought there might be a grain of truth in the rumour so, to put it politely, others called them idiots. Heated arguments ensued on some of the threads I've seen this week.  Come on guys we have a common passion - music we love - so why do we have to be so hateful to each other.  Argue, discuss, disagree but there's no need to get personal is there?


The person who runs a FB page called 'Bruce Springsteen News' is seriously thinking of giving up because of the abuse she receives in personal emails.  Now all this woman does is post up news that has appeared on the internet elsewhere.  She doesn't claim to agree or disagree with it, or filter it in any way, she just copies it for peeps to see. Why would anyone give her grief?  Fortunately she has now received a whole load of messages in support. Perhaps that will redress the balance.

You might say that the person who started the album rumour deserves some abuse but let's be honest a lot of the sites that reported the news were sceptical - here's Blogness - and if professional journalists chose to report stuff that hasn't been ratified well that's pure laziness on their part.  I suppose it depends on the individual but I can't get angry about this.  I'm as passionate about Bruce and his music as the next man but it isn't life and death.  So someone had a joke at our expense. It kept the message boards buzzing for a day or two and perhaps taught us a bit of a lesson.  Just to be sure here's today's post from Blogness

So I say again... is anyone checking Shorefire Media every few hours just on the off chance there's a press release?  Lets stick to the official source.


Another rumour surfaced in the local Florence paper.  This is the Google translation which reads a bit strangely in places:-

(01 October 2011)


Bruce Springsteen in Florence
The Boss returns to the stage

At eight years of extraordinary concert at the American rocker Franks on the verge of signing the contract


FLORENCE closer to Bruce Springsteen: We are on the verge of signing contracts that could bring the great American rocker live in our city, next summer at the Franchi stadium. Exactly nine years after a memorable concert in front of thirty-five thousand spectators, the largest mass live event in our city in these two thousand years. 


Insufficient signatures, they said, and in the running are two other Italian cities, Udine and Bari, but Florence is a clear advantage because the management of Springsteen and the artist remain a beautiful memory of that night. What's more, it would, at least for the moment, the only Italian date European tour.


Yeah, just turned 62 Springsteen back on tour in Europe.The occasion is the release of highly anticipated new album of unreleased, whose exact date is still under debate among specialists (who says this year, another in spring). It is certain that this is also the first tour without Clarence Clemons, who died June 18 last year, the saxophonist who has left a void in the blackest estreet Band. The idea of ​​the "Boss" in this sense is all'assetto return of the Seventies, with the same horn section at that time, a solution that would be more welcome to fans as well as the new producer Ron Aniello.


In fact, on websites and blogs of fans from two or three days, talking about it, and if Florence was able to really grab an exclusive event like this would be a blow that can revive the fortunes of a Summer Fiorentina rather stingy of great names, returning at once on an international stage.

(01 October 2011)© All rights reserved


This may also be a load of rubbish but as I quite fancy a trip to Italy I've checked out the local airport and we can fly to Pisa which is OK for Florence.  Hey, It's hopes and dreams that keep us going in this life!


Anyway thinking of Florence I thought I'd check out YouTube for some earlier Bruce shows in the city and a search brought up this:-



In case that disappointed you there's also this:-







It's the anniversary of the release of Magic today. Now I love Magic. It has been suggested by someone very close to me that I 'love' things a bit too much but I really DO love Magic. There are only a couple of tracks that I don't really care for. The 2007 December show at the O2 has to be one of my favourites not least because we got to wear our Santa Hats!


As I started to write this post we were still waiting for some You Tube footage from Sting's birthday bash.  I've just checked again and here we are!





If you are interested in reading about it too, here's a report from Rolling Stone  and checkout this piece from The Mail  a UK newspaper which is more about the fashion than the music.


Finally I got a surprise text from my husband during the week.  He in turn had received it from his boss (not The Boss) who had got it via Twitter.   I've heard of couples texting risque photos of each other but this!  













Sunday, 25 September 2011

Songs from my iPod - Track 2

I listen to my iPod most days on my bus journey to and from work. 
 Always on shuffle - sometimes the whole library, sometimes just Bruce.
 This is a series of posts inspired by one of the songs I have heard during the previous week.

Some tracks bring back memories of particular shows and when Incident popped up this week as I was walking along it immediately took me back to Wembley Arena 2002.



I've talked about this before but I've remembered it before too, and of course, it doesn't stop me remembering again so I figured I could talk about it again.  This might be a strange logic but I'm sure you know what I mean?

It was only our third Bruce show and although by this time I think we had most of the back catalogue to be honest the older stuff didn't really interest us.  We both loved The Rising and were looking forward to hearing a lot of the songs from the new album.  Being relative novices we didn't know a rarity or two might turn up that would possibly make several people in the crowd cry with joy.

I think by this time I had done a little preparation and learned the words to Born To Run.  I listened over and over with the lyric booklet until I got it right. The toughest bit was the last verse where, let's be honest, it doesn't quite scan - 'Someday girl I don't know when we're going to get to that place where we really want to go and we'll walk in the sun'.

I also had a little note book with me to write down the set list.  In those days we didn't know that we could find the details later on the internet and anyway sometimes you want to discuss it straight after the gig.  Although now we could probably remember everything Bruce played during our walk back to the car or hotel in those days with our sketchy knowledge we weren't even sure of the title of each song.

I carried the tickets to that show and the note book around with me for ages but I don't have them any more. I didn't start keeping that sort of stuff until later - shame. Anyway I had no idea of the title of Incident and no idea that it was a rarity so it was lost on me.  A few bars in I looked at Mike who was obviously no wiser and I think he suggested I listed it as 'Spanish Johnny'.  

When we got home I trawled through our CDs, and yes, there it was. I put this track, along with all the others I could find, on a cassette - my way of reliving a show before we discovered the world of the bootleg! I don't have the cassette any more either but I do have a bootleg - a very good one.

So we've only heard Incident on 57th Street once since - at MSG on 7th November 2009.  It wasn't a surprise that night, of course, as Bruce was playing WIESS in it's entirety.

I can't let this week go by without wishing Bruce  happy birthday.

We might have been hoping for some good news to go along with this instead we hear from Steven that the band members are meeting up within the next few weeks to discuss their future. My first thought was a break up but Mike pointed out they might decide to carry on. Perhaps they already know they are continuing and are just chatting about how to go about this. In any event at least we might know one way or the other soon.

This week was my birthday too and to celebrate Sinead, one of my Bruce buddies sent me a YouTube clip of... Incident on 57th Street.  I like the song although it might not be in my top ten. Mind you it's pretty cool to hear Bruce sing 'Goodnight it's alright Jane'

See you all next week

Jayne
x








Sunday, 18 September 2011

Album this Autumn - Do I Still Believe?

I listened to 'Bruce Brunch' today for the first time for ages.  When I first discovered this I would get very grumpy - and I mean VERY grumpy if we got visitors when it was on.  My Sundays revolved around these two hours.  After a while though, and I never thought I would say this, I got a bit bored with it!

Listening again today, for the first time in a while, I really enjoyed it.  We don't own a big selection of boots so one of the good things about 'Bruce Brunch' for me is the live stuff which I've never heard before.  I love the long drawn out stories Bruce used to tell.  Mike, on the other hand, just wants Bruce to sing.





The lack of news on the new album front is becoming a bit disheartening.  I'm not so sure about a release this year any more.  If my memory serves me, and I can't be sure it does, when a release is imminent we usually have leaks and much more speculation, discussion and excitement than there is at the moment.  Also don't we get a couple of tracks for radio play a few weeks before the release date to whet the appetite?  Unless... it's a Christmas Album of course!

I'm pleased to say that Blogness on the Edge of Town disagrees with me and I bow to Pete Chianca's better judgement on this.

Anyway to fill the gap I bought Elsie a couple of weeks ago and I like it.  Don't know if there is a stand out track for me but there isn't a song I don't like either. Some of it is very like 'Gaslight Anthem', perhaps because of Brian Fallon's distinctive voice, but other tracks are quite different.

The 59 Sound might possibly be my favourite album in the last five years (certainly my favourite non Springsteen album) so Brian has a hard act to follow as far as I am concerned.  


Not much Bruce news this week just a bit from NJ.Com saying he is going to be playing at the Stand Up For Heros benefit on 9th November. This isn't a surprise as he has appeared for the last five years. We usually get a couple of clips on YouTube so, and this is really clutching at straws, there's something to look forward to.

Bruce is also turning up for Sting's birthday on 1st October. Wonder what he is doing for his own special day? Announcing a new album perhaps??

Finally to round off this week Ten things you need for a great Springsteen tribute band.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Postponed

For reasons that I won't bore you with there will be no blog this week.  

However I can't let the day pass without marking it's significance. 

In memory of all those who lost their lives 10 years ago today:-

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Remembering The First Time (Again)

When my old laptop died we lost the spreadsheet listing the gigs we have been to and the set list for each. This week I began to prepare a new one starting with the set for Sheffield 1993. I don't remember much about that first show except that at some point during the concert I was hooked.

Having spent the 18 years since, getting to know Bruce's back catalogue, collecting boots, reading biographies and keeping up with discussions on message boards it's hard to imagine what I felt like that virginal night.  I know the crowd around us stood up the moment Bruce walked onto the stage and never sat down all the way through.  I know we thought they were booing.  I know we went on the first night of two because I can remember quite clearly wishing I was going back the next night.

I also remember regretting that I didn't buy a programme. We knew someone who was going the following night and toyed with asking him to get one but I reasoned that it would just get stuck in a drawer and eventually be thrown away.  I have never bought a programme since - there's no point starting now - but I wish I had them to look back through.  I did buy a T shirt and I have one from every tour we've been to except Devils and Dust. (It was a very hot night, time was short and a drink was more important).

I've talked about this first gig before, but I bring it up again now because when I went back over the set list it struck me that it wasn't great. Bruce opened with three acoustic numbers - Seeds, Adam Raised A Cain and This Hard Land.  Mike especially doesn't care for Seeds or Adam.  Now, I have no problem with the 'other' band or Human Touch and Lucky Town. I think we all have a soft spot for our first tour and I am no exception.  It's these albums (bad or not) that really got me into Bruce.  I have to say though that listening to the boot again today 57 Channels was just awful, Atlantic City wasn't so good and Badlands just plodded along.

It's kind of a surprise that we ever went to another show!  I know many of you would say that the only way was up from here.

Anyway, although the band wasn't so good and the set list wasn't great there was a point during that night when I knew that this couldn't be the only time we would experience the magic of a Springsteen gig. Could it be the charisma of the man himself? Or the enthusiasm of the crowd? Or just the fun everyone had, including Bruce.  Most fans who can't bear this part of Bruce's career will, at least, concede that he looked like he was enjoying himself.

The other thing I've been doing this week is trying to decide what is wrong with our Blu-ray player.  We bought it when The Promise boxed set came out so, not so long ago.  We can be happily watching something and poof! the sound goes: the picture goes: the picture comes back: the picture goes snowy - we give up.

So to test it I popped in The Paramount Darkness DVD.  It gave up during Adam Raised A Cain.  I wiggled the HDMI lead but no joy.  Got out those other leads - you know the ones - they are red and yellow and white.  Plugged these in and... success saw Darkness from beginning to end.  Plugged the HDMI cable back and watched it through again!  It was a chore, you know, but had to be done just to make sure.  The upshot of this is I think it's a dodgy HDMI cable - only works sometimes - a bit like me!

Why am I boring you with this tale?  Well seeing Darkness all the way through got me thinking about set lists again. Do I need to get a life?

Obviously as we were lucky enough to be at MSG in November 2009 we have heard all the tracks from The River and The Wild The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle but have we heard ALL the tracks from any other album?  From memory I'm pretty sure we are missing Factory and Something In The Night from Darkness.  Well, when I get the spreadsheet back up to date I'll know for certain.

There was one of those great little Bruce stories this week. He was in Boston and stopped to chat to a busker  - he can't resist a guitar can he?  Here's a picture from the story which is here

And the You Tube clip 


The other story doing the rounds at the moment is this about a teacher using The Rising to help his students,who were only five six and seven in 2001, understand the impact of 9/11. 

Finally that up coming album?  Nothing really new on this but the rumour is that Shore Fire Media will make an announcement sometime around Labor Day and that's tomorrow.  

In the mean time you could go out and buy Brian Fallon's new album which is out tomorrow. 

A taster for you




PS: -  Still listening to the Sheffield boot - hadn't realised how different that sound was. Hmmm - not sure I would like it now.  



Sunday, 28 August 2011

So much hate

Last week when I was trying to find any evidence that Bruce actually dislikes The Way I came across several threads on a number of forums simply discussing how much they hate Bruce.  I Googled 'Bruce Springsteen dislike' by the way.  Dislike I can understand.  Not everyone cares for Bruce's voice and some people don't like his politics.  There are folks who say his music is a bit overblown and any number of people who think he is overrated.   

This guy has actually written a whole blog post telling us how much he hates our hero and he's not the only one.  I see his post is dated a few years ago.  Perhaps, by now, he has turned his vitriol to someone else - U2, maybe, as I see they seem to inspire a lot of hatred too.

This post written only last month is a good read, though, by someone who previously didn't like Bruce and has recently changed their mind.  I quote ...

I have just finished listening to Darkness on the Edge of Town in its entirety for the first time (via the awesome recent box set The Promise), and it was glorious.

I don't understand why someone would suddenly announce to the world that they hate a person, I don't understand how someone can carry around such negative feelings and I certainly don't understand how someone could hate Bruce!  There are even Facebook pages for people who hate him.  They don't have many friends admittedly but what possesses people to set up 'I hate' pages anyway.

This exchange on one message board made me smile though.

Original post
I Hate Bruce Springsteen
Does that make me un-American? Not only has the blasting of “Born to Run” here at the cafe made it impossible for me to concentrate. Now one of the boys at the table next to me is singing along! Save me! 
Reply
I LOVE BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN. It doesn't make you un-American to hate Bruce Springsteen, it just makes you a little sad to not have that joy in your life.

For an artist of any kind - musician, painter, author or actor the worst thing must be indifference: for the public not to care about you.  I found an article about indifference.  Quite highbrow but it sums it up like this :- 'there is no hope for the one who does not care but all the hope in the world for one who is connected albeit in denial and rebellion'.  So is there hope for our haters?

I think that as long as Bruce can excite such high emotion, positive or negative, he must be doing something right.  At least people are aware enough of him to offer an opinion.

And talking about negative feelings Mark Wright started a thread on Greasy Lake about the 1995 Sony Studio Show. Now I'm not familiar with this, but to put it kindly, Mark says it's not Bruce's best work. Most other peeps agree with him... in some fashion.

Here's a clip see what you think.




I can't, of course, let this week go by without mentioning Stan Goldstein's tweet of 23rd August:-

Hear we're getting a new Bruce Springsteen (non E Street) album this Fall and a tour with E Street Band in 2012. Stay tuned... 


I don't know how close Stan is to those in the know but can't think he would say anything publicly if he wasn't fairly certain.