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 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:

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.