Category Archives: Springsteen

This is Definitely Not a Review of ‘Springsteen on Broadway’ (via Backstreets)

Backstreets — We’re bound by decades of theater-media tradition not to review Springsteen on Broadway while it’s in previews, making the October 5 performance I was lucky enough to witness off-limits for setlists, spoilers or critical interpretation.

For instance, I can’t say “Holy (redacted)-ing (redacted)”; I can’t tell you how many times my hair stood on end, how many tears fell, or how many times I had to stuff a Playbill in mouth to stop from screaming “HE’S PLAYING (REDACTED) ON (BLANK)” and getting booted right into Dear Evan Hansen. On the other hand, for hours after after I left the Walter Kerr, the best I could come up with is “Gah,” and I’m pretty sure that doesn’t need to be redacted.

So instead of reviewing a show I can’t review, or listing a setlist I can’t list, I’ll instead share these few key pieces of safe, functional, non-review information for those Backstreets readers who may consider attending Springsteen on Broadway.

Can I bring a backpack?
The nice people at Jujamcyn Theaters, which is a word I cannot say (every time I try, it comes out “calvary”), ask in a pre-show email to “Please avoid bringing large bags or backpacks” and later to “Please refrain from bringing large bags and backpacks.” As you may have determined, these are less “hard restrictions” and more “polite requests.” I brought in a backpack containing a portable charger, a notebook, my wife’s backup shoes and a bag of airline almonds I’d totally forgotten about. But the seats are a tight enough squeeze that Jujamcyn probably has the right idea.

The answers to all your burning questions here. 

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Springsteen’s Record-Breaking Night in New Jersey: There is Something Wrong With This Man (via Live Nation TV)

City = busted in half

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Live Nation TV — Something is wrong with Bruce Springsteen. On Tuesday night, to open a three-night series at MetLife Stadium in his home state of New Jersey, he played three hours and 52 minutes–his longest-ever show on U.S. soil and a demonstration of terrifying fitness for a 66-year-old. On Thursday night, at the same stadium, he ambled right out and promptly beat his record by eight minutes. His TWO-DAY-OLD RECORD. If you’re seeing him on Sunday night, bring protein bars.

Whatever your count, Thursday’s show is easily the speediest-feeling four-hour anything I’ve attended. It’s important to note that in the mythological Legends of Springsteen passed down through the generations, the marathon shows he performed on the Darkness and River tours often included an intermission, or a long speech about how he met Clarence, at the very least an encore break. The MetLife shows had zero of these. For the second night in Jersey, Bruce eschewed the full-River construct that was the basis for the River Tour in the first place, but dug up a bunch of the album’s high spots, including “I’m a Rocker,” “Cadillac Ranch,” and “Hungry Heart,” which he sang, naturally, strolling around the floor. Here’s what else he did.

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How I Destroyed a Bruce Springsteen-Related Guinness World Record in 60 Seconds Flat (via Success Magazine)

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 10.21.52 AM August 8

Success — Jumping right into the book of Guinness World Records with the mission of finding one to break is daunting. You’re not simply trying to decide how to order your eggs or which project to launch, you’re trying to be remembered for something incredible—something that will etch your name into a metaphorical mountain that will endure time, memory and erosion. Have you ever sat down and said, “All right, at what thing should I become the best in the world?” It’s scary. Big ambition can be. So I went with the only thing I knew I was really good at.

The full story at Success magazine.

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The Mayan Apocalypse is coming. It’s probably time to call Britney.

mayan-calendar

This image contains coded patterns which mystically herald the coming of the Apocalypse or some crap.

Island Packet (Stolen Hastily From November 2009) — ‘What do you think about this 2012 madness?” Paul Mitchell asks me via the newsroom’s instant-message system earlier this week. Paul Mitchell is a line of high-end hair care products, but he also is an actual human person who works in the newsroom. At one time Paul, being of a considerably younger vintage, failed to correctly identify Bruce Springsteen on the television. Illogically, we’re friends anyway.

The movie looks like silliness, I reply, but on the other hand, “Independence Day” was a pretty great movie in which many objects were indiscriminately exploded, such as the White House and Lone Star from “Spaceballs,” so it might be fun.

“Not the movie,” Paul says, an icy fear creeping noticeably into his online voice. “All I gotta say is I’m panicking if that mess comes my way in three years.”

Paul was, I surmised, referring to the Mayan prophecy that says the end of times will take place in the year 2012. It’s also the hook of “2012,” a new movie by destroyed-landmark fetishist and director Roland Emmerich (“Independence Day,” “The Day After Tomorrow”) that stars John Cusack, both of whom, it turns out, appear in a strong percentage of Mayan prophecies. In their lore, Cusack is actually immortal.

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Live on brucespringsteen.net: Bios and blurbs for Springsteen’s official site

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Thrilled and honored to contribute to the relaunched — and slick-looking! — official site of Bruce Springsteen, as part of a team that includes such Bruce luminaries as Chris Phillips, editor of the legendary Backstreets magazine, Caryn Rose and Glenn Radecki. The site’s a treasure box for Bruce fans and features blurbs for albums, tours and videos, which feature my contributions throughout. If you’re interested, I also wrote a handful of band bios, including those for Springsteen, Stevie Van Zandt, Nils Lofgren and Soozie Tyrell. Check it out!

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Onstage and backstage with Springsteen at “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon”

springsteen fallon backstage

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Twice now, through no appreciable talent or skill of my own, I’ve been lucky enough to fly to New York City— at not very many moments’ notice — to stalk Bruce Springsteen. I did it last year when he performed on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,” thanks to the success and unprovoked generosity of an old friend who books the musical talent and is inexplicably gracious to inveterate obsessives. On that first trip a buddy and I found ourselves, suddenly and without adequate warning, in a conversation with Bruce Springsteen about children, parenting and the community of siblings, a three-minute galactic improbability that sort of resulted in the birth of my second son. (Long story.)

I did the same last week (fly to New York, not have a son), due to a second lightning strike of luck and babysitting, and found myself once again in the lobby at 30 Rock swarmed by a buzzing mass of Bruce people and happily dazed tourists. As it turned out, one of the swarming people in our ticket line looked a lot like Seth Avett of the Avett Brothers, a band that I’ve stalked a fair amount as well (my Billboard review of “I And Love And You,” and me interviewing them at Bonnaroo in 2010). You know that thing where you stare at somebody like an idiot, trying to see if it’s really that guy, but you can’t tell, and the wifi doesn’t work so you can’t Google image him so you stand there like a hopeless yokel until someone else confirms the identity for you? You do? Great.

The show, of course, was a delirious joy. Springsteen made a babushka joke, which, as a dutiful Slovak, I’m pretty sure was written just for me (thanks, Boss). The ’80s-bandanna/LMFAO sketch was a perfect sequel. There was a bit during a commercial break in which the zipper on Springsteen’s black leather jacket got stuck, and the short version is for three minutes off-air two women struggled to free a fake-panicking Bruce Springsteen from his clothes while Jimmy Fallon impersonated Bruce’s preacher-man persona and the Roots laid down what I think was polka music. I very much enjoyed writing that sentence.

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Inappropriate Music My Second-Grader Likes, Vol. 1: Dropkick Murphys

GateHouse — For about five years, I’ve struggled in vain to understand why my now-second-grader likes the random, totally disconnected assortment of songs he does. (I have also struggled to understand why he doesn’t like milk in his cereal and how the sentence “JUST GO GET DRESSED” can be so apparently difficult to process.)

In his early years, my Kid Playlist consisted of age-appropriate-enough fare — Bob Marley, Springsteen’s Seeger Sessions record and pleasing old-timey stuff like “Beans and Cornbread” — music suited mostly to circumnavigating the southeastern United States in preposterous and doomed attempts to get him to engage in one of these “naps” we kept hearing other parents rave about. (“Wait, these weird leaking marshmallowpuffs SLEEP?” my wife and I would think, in rare moments of lucidity buried deep within months-long clouds of Folgers-powered hallucinations, “In the DAYTIME?”)

These days, however, it’s a little easier. I can tell if he’s going to like a song if it’s by the Dropkick Murphys.

The Murphys, for the benefit of any non-music-nerd readers (Hi, Mom! He’s fine, please stop worrying), are a group of Boston-based Irish punks that looks like it makes records in the rare moments when it’s not smashing Sam Adams bottles over the heads of bespectacled stick-figures like yours truly and shouting unprintable things at Jeter (pausing now, to cross two things off of my List Of Exceedingly Obvious Boston References). Singer Ken Casey has a voice that sounds like it’s being dragged down a gravel driveway. “This band makes me want to run fast,” my son says. I’m listening to them now in the coffee shop, and it’s taking a considerable amount of discipline to not smash my laptop on the tile floor and pick a fight with a neighbor, which is good, as many of them are old, and this is my wife’s computer.

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKgM68MzXpg]

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The Top 13 Musician/Comedian Combos (Intentional or Otherwise)

Do it, do it with your hair.

Metromix — Usually, it goes like this: An actor has a hit movie, gets famous, surrounds himself with parasitic hangers-on who can’t say no, eventually asks one of them, “Hey, so I should start a band, right?” and waits for that person to not say no.

The results, of course, are usually pretty funny, and yes we mean you Scarlett Costner Willis Bridges Crowe God We Could Just Do This All Day Couldn’t We. But what about the other side; the side when musicians team up with legitimate funny people in order to create actual hilarious, out-of-nowhere and occasionally once-in-a-lifetime moments of crossover comic absurdity? Here is Metromix’s guide to the 13 funniest (intentional or otherwise) musician/comic pairings—proof that it’s often best to just go along with the joke. Read more.

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Clarence Clemons: “In this corner! Weighing in at 260 lbs.! The master of disaster! Emperor of the world! King of the universe!”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEIXx31jGmk] [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PTJHhUeAfc]

OK, Self, you’re talking to Bruce Springsteen. NO FAINTING.

Swarm of the Plaid People. From left: myself, Ben French, Bruce and Jonathan Cohen.

On about a dozen occasions in just under five minutes, it becomes clear that the person talking to me is Bruce Springsteen. This, in case you are wondering, never stops feeling like getting walloped by a large rolling boulder, or shoved into an above-ground pool filled with half-melted ice cubes. You would think that after some time your brain would become used to realizing it’s maintaining eye contact with Actual Bruce Springsteen while simultaneously attempting to convince your hands to stop shaking like that, but curiously this never occurs. The net effect is that every few minutes I realize, for what seems like the first time, that I’m engaged in a real conversation with Bruce Springsteen and it would be best for everybody if I didn’t throw up or try to hug him.

Currently, Bruce Springsteen is talking to my friend Ben and I about parenting. I was introduced as having come to New York City from South Carolina, and Springsteen mentions how he just moved his daughter to Duke, and as someone who has equated Duke with cartoonish supervillainy since the early ’90s, I note that in talking to Bruce Springsteen for 14 seconds we’ve stumbled into the only topic on which I’ve ever really disagreed with him.

Ben (who is executive producer at RollingStone.com) mentions the pocket-sized baby girl his wife delivered two weeks prior, and this redirects the conversation into the kind of small talk you might have at the play gym, about how one day they’re newborns and the next day you’re moving them into a dorm and sweet weeping Jesus I’m talking to Bruce Springsteen about children and family units and how he and Patti — it’s strange the conventional role she plays in this particular narrative — enjoyed and facilitated their kids’ closeness. I should make clear that I’m completely paraphrasing this part, as obviously I have zero recall of the words Bruce Springsteen actually used when he was talking to me — for all I know he could have been reciting detailed schematics of the Starship Enterprise in Farsi — but I got the gist of it, or at least more than I would have thought I could while concentrating on not babbling like a drugged maniac.

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