Continued review of the April 7, 2008 concert in Anaheim, CA:
Bruce opened the show with a spirited version of “Light of Day”, stopped to say hello to Anaheim, California, then immediately asked “Is there anybody alive out there?” This is has been his signature for starting each show on the Magic Tour.
The room filled with cheers, clapping and the familiar sound of “Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce” being chanted by an amped up crowd. It seemed that it took longer than usual for the show to get started, but when it did, time stood still for the next 2 and a half hours.
I’ve purposely avoided reading any reviews by music critics today. There are two types of Springsteen reviews: Critics who know he has a reputation for putting on one of (if not the) best rock and roll shows ever; and loyal fans that see him as perfect no matter what he does. Guess what – I think the show was perfect! It WAS perfect and I challenge any critic to come up with a reason it wasn’t.
There’s a reason we love Bruce. If I had to describe it one word I’d say “sincerity”. His passion is real, his views are his own, he means what he says and says what he means. He has no false humility on or off stage, but neither does he have a deluded image of himself as being “better” than anyone else because of who he is. He’s one of us. Bruce doesn’t perform to say “look at me I am here to entertain you” he says “Let’s Rock out together, I’ll provide the music!” Bruce is 100% present at his shows – he connects with his audience, he sweats like crazy giving his heart, soul and amazing amounts of energy to his performance. He and the band are a tight knit unit but there is no question to who “the boss” is, they follow his lead and are on their toes, knowing he could change up the set list spontaneously at any time.
Bruce is a poet, a writer, a master of storytelling. He paints a picture with his words and puts it to music then places his message within it. Never too obvious, the listener deciphers the meanings only if they pay attention to what he is really saying (i.e. does anyone remember the misinterpretation Ronald Reagan mad of "Born in the USA??).
As loyal Springsteen fans we don’t just love the music or the performance – I’ll dare say it, we love the man. We deeply admire him and are not embarrassed to show our alliance even if we don’t always agree with his politics or even like some of the music he’s done.
At age 58, Bruce’s performance indeed has slowed a bit. Just a bit. Considering he still bends over backwards at the mic and is playing guitar and moving all over the stage for over two hours non-stop night after night while on tour, I think he’s in better shape than many men half his age.
Last night was no exception. The other band members seemed to struggle to keep up (I thought poor Max was going to have a heart attack a few times – I don’t think he gets much of a work out on the Conan O’Brien show). But Bruce seemed aware of that and sponged him off several times. Nils did some outstanding solos and was more animated than his usual shy self. Steven was Steven. Clarence had to sit down a few times but considering he recently had two hip replacement surgeries it amazing he stood as long as he did. I love his deep voice and would have liked to have more of it. Danny was not there because he’s in the midst of treatment for cancer. The rest of the guys and Soozie were great. Unfortunately Patti was not there, she was back in Jersey doing “homeland security” (they have three teenagers now!)
Obviously I am not so great at reviewing the specifics of the show, but I could go on and on about the man himself. I will leave you with these two quotes that summarize very well what Bruce is all about and how we feel about him. I’m already feeling a bit blue knowing it will most likely be two years or more till I get to hang out with him again.
Here are a few quotes about Bruce:
From an article by Cornel Boca:
“Springsteen's genuineness and conviction, not to mention his command, embodiment, and extension of rock mythology, feels atavistic. It's also disarmingly heroic: the critics in his corner can hardly believe their own -- and rock's -- good fortune to still have him around.”
“It's a little embarrassing how naked a love we have for him.” (I know what he means, but I still proclaim it to whoever will listen – some of you are shaking your heads thinking I am a fanatical nut and others are nodding your heads in agreement).
This rock critic, Marshall Berman, gets it right.
“It is extraordinary how Bruce Springsteen has worked his way into so many people's lives. Ask them to think of their peak experiences over the past decade: Alongside the intimate private moments with their lovers, spouses, and kids, in deepest privacy, they'll remember moments in immense public spaces with Bruce and 20,000 others.”
(here is an "okay" video from last night of ROSALITA!)