Sometimes in the blessed name of Elvis, you just let it blast!

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I think we all agree on the low musical judgement, regarding the 92/93 world tour with the band of misfits en route. But I have to say that I was 16 at the time, it was my first show ever, and I have fond memories of the concert per se.
I remember me and my friend arriving at the big queue, two mommy’s sweethearts in jeans and bandana on the wrists meandering at the half of the queue, a guy from the security telling us to go back at the end of the line and one girl in queue saying Well if it’s just the two of them… Imagine something like this happening to one of us today? bahahah.
And so we entered, and waited, and waited.
I barely knew he had a new Band, that was not THE Band. But I onestly thought I would never see the E Street on stage, and that was the first time in my life I was going to see Bruce, and I was beyond excited. I remember the crowd in the parterre waiting for the show began to sing the Glory Days chorus, I’ve never heard that on the next tours.
I liked the opening with Better Days, to me it was one of the best opening ever (not beating Tenth Avenue, ok). Bruce soo young, smiling, lively, bouncing all over the stage. We think now he has energy on stage, and he does, but those days… well, younger crowd, younger band, and younger Bruce. With a black shirt with paramecium, long hair, and big big smiles, just happy to be onstage again.
And me, well, I was already on nirvana, I was so happy!
Born in the USA, that was the second song I was waiting for (ok, again, I was sixteen!), but when it happened I thought it strange, the drums not quite beating the right “beat”, Roy overflowing at the synth, it was too weak, too…blah.
I really liked Local Hero and Darkness, not so much If I should fall behind, I thought it lame, at the time. Nothing compared to the ’99 version, anyway.
57th Channels was good, with that intro “No justice No peace”, but besides that I thought it was a song with a meaning, with the video on Rodney King riots in LA, and all those channels and nothing worth watching, and our inability to be satisfied no matter what abundance we have. And how about if we shut it down and talk to each other, what a concept! I thought it had a strong message, but after that tour it simply vanished… he only got it back a little in Livin’ in a future, I think. And anyway that line: sometimes in the blessed name of Elvis, you just let it blast! is a really good one.
I really don’t remember a single moment of The river, my first The river, I want to kill myself right now.
Living proof was a really powerful one, I think because Bruce really felt for it.
My hometown was great, and Badlands was a blast: the crowd was goin’ crazy, beer flying everywhere, fists rising at the sky, jumping and shouting. A great one, with any band.
Leap of faith, that’s another of which I don’t have any recollection at all: and it’s one of those few songs for I’ll offer a relative to the altar of the Gods of Rock just to have a chance to hear it live, now.
Man’s job. Ok, that was my favourite of the two albums: at that time I was dating a girl older than me, and I listened to that song thinking it was about the work a real man has to do to be with an older woman. I know I was just deluding myself, but you read in a song what you want to read in it, sometimes.
Roll of the dice, too long, really, did not care for it.
Lucky town, a nice one, I really like this one. I think it’s a great rock song, very underrated in Bruce’s career.
Gloria’s eyes. Cover me, Brilliant Disguise, Real man, I don’t have any memories, complete fog.
Tougher than the rest, Patti on stage with a miniskirt, ended the song with a kiss.
Thunder road, I don’t remember it, not a second. How patetic is this?
Light of day, WOW, just WOWZA. That was the first time I hear of this song, but such energy, Bruce unleashed on stage…Great rock’n’roll moment.
Human touch, I honestly have to say that is not such a bad song as many fans think, in my opinion. Maybe it’s also because it’s the title track of one of the weakest albums of his career, but the song alone is good, for me.
Then Glory Days, Working on the highway -choosing a girl to dance onstage with him- and Bobby Jean (not a bad triptych, considering, ehn?): a lot of singing, and sweating, and rock’n’roll in full blast.
Hungry heart. I know there had been timid signs from Bruce’s side to try and sing it in a soul version, but as far as I can remember we anticipated the chorus, and it ended with him givin’up the choisters and he sang the old version. It’s funny because I think in general he does onstage what he actually wants… but in that tour, with Hungry Heart, it was like the crowd said: Ok new band, 4 years without a show, no Clarence, and you want to change H.H. too? No way! You sing it how WE want it!!! bahahah.
My beautiful reward, that was strange, ending a show with a slow piece, but it was actually beautiful. And anyways he didn’t end it: he remained onstage to annouce Born to run, and the crowd went crazy: people crying, shouting, girls tossed in the air, hats flying, my backpack opened while I was jumping spilling everywhere the contents, and I did not stop to collect any of them, someone even estinguished his cigarette on my pack! (at those medieval times you could smoke in a sports arena!). I am fully aware of the fact that really, today, that Born to run version would be easily classified as ugly, to be kind. But we were completely happy at that time, I went home on a perfect cloud of happiness and joy.
And so, what can I say… I know, that was not a great band, nor a great tour, in the history of Bruce’s tour. But I have really great great concert memories, and, well, let’s say that sometimes I wish it was ’92 all over again.
 it

Factory

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I went to my first Bruce’s show with my father, who at that time worked driving around as a boiler maintenance man. I did not know the song Factory yet, and my father did not work in a factory anymore. Still, I knew he raised from bed early in the morning, way before me, and that he came back in the evening when I was already showered at the end of my school day and the table was already set.

Later on in my life, during one of those nights out we used to have together sometimes, he would have asked me How are you? and how’s grandma? Are you studying? girlfriend, is she still that girl you used to date? and then You are not that young anymore, you have to get your head together, understand?

And then he would have asked me about music, “Did you see some good show? But, you know… was it good like the Springsteen’s one we saw together? remember? Jesus, that was amazing, the best”.

Some other years passed by, and I’m watching Springsteen and I, the part where the English guy after years of night shifts and hard work was able to afford a “Springsteen vacation” in New York for the Madison Square Garden shows in 2000. And while he speaks there’s Factory as a soundtrack, and he begins to tell how he won the lottery with the Men in black who gave him a front row ticket, and meanwhile those words are flowing, through the mansions of fear, through the mansions of pain, I see my daddy walking through them factory gates in the rain; factory takes his hearing, factory gives him life. It’s the working, the working, just the working life.

And here you have Bruce talking about his old man, and my old man, and he doesn’t even know me, but he gets it. The struggles, and the respect, and what their life had been, this morning drive to the factory, every morning, for another gloomy day, trying not to bring home to your kids your rage, your angst. He understands what was that kept our fathers going through all the painful days and nights of hard work in the factory, what kept that English man goin’ on, what will keep me going on, eventually. We’re just all trying to find our way through it, already knowing that some of us will not come to a successful end. But you still do, because that’s what’s life is all about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tonight we got style

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Last night I was surfing YouTube videos and ran into two songs that played together are really outstanding in my personal preference scale. Meeting across the river running into Jungleland, Madison Square Garden, June 2000. It was a pre-digital video recording, a pre-digital era. Still, fantastic audio, and images that anyway managed to express the beauty and warmth of the songs.

You know, maybe it’s just the memory. Maybe it’s just because a week after that video I would have landed in America for my first, incredible time in New York City, to be at the MSG myself. Even now after all these years, I can clearly remember all the arena shouting together DOWN IN JUN…GLE…LAND at the first refrain. There in that moment I understood how some songs really belong to their hometown, where they were born. And Clarence’s saxophone solo right there to bring everyone and everything away. Danny on the organ accordion, the E Street still complete. THE band.

June 2000, college graduation still fresh in my hands, life opened in front of me with an infinite series of possibilities, old roads to leave, new roads to travel. Pre-digital era, and maybe yes, it’s just the memory.

But I think that thanks to Eddie with his need for a ride and to the Rat gunned down by his own dreams, some bands will always explode into rock’n’roll.

 

 

I double dare you

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So there’s this pleasant game in which you choose 3 words to describe what Bruce means to you, and well, you have a whole bunch of Love-Faith-Happiness or Family-Life-Hope selection, and it’s all very good, and true. Then you remember Bruce at the Madison Square Garden, Reunion Tour, hand in hand with all the E Street, singing Blood Brothers and trying hard not to cry, and well… I fucking dare you to explain in 3 words what Springsteen means to you, in that moment.