One thing that always got me real crazy in Bruce’s career are the covers.
I mean, I understand some obscure singer trying to emerge on the scene who goes on stage on his first shows and switches between his songs and some covers to give the audience a better set list. But Bruce on his first years had already composed many songs, in fact more than some groups on their entire career, and still he remained a believer in the covers of great rock’n’roll songs.
Therefore, as a fan, I’ve always been interested and passionate about his covers, and he really opened an entire world of music to me: I heard Who’ll stop the rain and off to buy records from The Creedence Clearwater Revival and John Fogerty; he played Let the four winds blow and I ran to the record shop to buy everything on Fats Domino; and on and on and on.
I really had an obsession, I made myself some cassettes (C90) with just covers from bootlegs of various shows, some had such a poor sound that were almost all whispers and far far cries and constant crackle… they were more a sèance, you had to rely on the Bootleg title track to understand which song you were actually listening to.
But anyway, I often decided to buy one bootleg or another depending on which covers he had played on that show: Oh shit here he played You can’t sit down, Oh God here I have Run through the jungle and so on. I really became an expert, I studied all the cover performances, and still now if you say “I’d like to hear The Ballad of Easy Rider” BANG! here I come with “1981, Los Angeles, CA, A night for the Vietnam Veterans” (Ok that’s an easy one, I know, just sayin’…).
But that’s me. What is really important is that he showed me an open road of great rock’n’roll music, and rythm’n’blues. And I have to say that some Bruce’s versions with the E Street are more powerful of the originals, stronger, and more overheated. The original are often nice songs, but sometimes old, weak, in a way. But with Bruce’s touch they come alive again, they become real knockouts, and more important, he puts a trademark on the song, so HIS version is sometimes THE version you really want to hear.
My top five live covers:
1) Boom, boom, boom, 1988. I didn’t know it actually was a cover of a cover (the Animals playing John Lee Hooker) but when he played I was there, overwhelmed and totally crushed.
2) I saw her standing there, London 2012. Paul McCartney e Bruce onstage together, that was a dream come true, I had goosebumps all over my body. Plus my little boy was in a Beatles-mania period, it was one of those moments in which Bruce enters your life so naturally, as if he actually knows what you’re doing.
3) When you walk in the room – Kilkenny 2013. This one, together with “Then she kissed me”, was one song I continuously blasted away on my tape recorder when I was young, it was on all of my famous cassettes, I really did not believe I would have listened to it live one day.
4) Detroit Medley 2003, that was another piece that I loved from the No Nukes period. Real essence of rock’n’roll, so glad it crossed the ocean and he began to play it in Europe too.
5) Twist and shout Amnesty tour, 1988. That was a great great version, an epic way to end a show.
My dream cover, first one in My wish list is I want you, Bob Dylan’s, as he played it in 1975.
Then Drift away, It’s my life, and Jole Blon.
Gotta keep on dreaming!