Thursday, July 29, 2010

Why we love Bruce

In the spirit of Bruce Springsteen performing "No Surrender" with Gaslight Anthem's Brian Fallon at the London Calling: Live in Hyde Park concert (I have still yet to see this concert in its entirety somehow), Springsteen made a surprise appearance at The Stone Pony, in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

He joined Alejandro Escovedo for a three-song encore, including a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Beast of Burden."

Since his Working on a Dream tour ended, I've seen a lot of articles like this one, and I love 'em. He's gotta be the most down to earth and generous performer there is, because I rarely see instances like this with others. I'm reminded of his impromptu Thunder Road performance for a throng of Italian fans that gathered under his hotel balcony in Rome ... spontaneously performing The River with a street musician in Copenhagen unbeknownst to anyone except a group of passersby ... and what seems to be a myriad of other similar tales.

So keep playin', Bruce, whether it's bringing tens of thousands into delirium, or in front of a handful of shocked spectators ... rockin' with the up and comers or in front of nobody at all! The genuine love of music, performing and connecting with other people is inspiring and most appreciated.

While I'm on the subject, also wanted to share a gem "Backstreets" published recently. Eric Meola, who designed the Born to Run cover, did some extensive photography work with Bruce from 1977-78, and he will have a live gallery of these rare works in London during August.

I was particularly grabbed by the promotional poster and Meola's reflection on a trip West he took with Springsteen, which includes the spine-tingling roots of one of my absolute favorite tunes:


We left the road at Unionville, and grabbed a bite to eat at a nearby roadside cafe. And then we went back. And by then the sky had gone black and the wind had come up. I shot some more, including a shot of Bruce in front of the car, leaning on the hood -- a long, thin dusty dirt road going off in the distance behind him, disappearing over Battle Mountain, as it began to rain and flashes of lightning filled the valley floor. It was one of those days and moments that will stay with you to the grave. There was that strong, fresh ozone smell after lightning has cleared the air, and the feel of the moisture mixed with the dry desert wind was something I had only felt once before.

A few weeks later I would be haunted when I heard the lyrics to "The Promised Land":

There's a dark cloud rising from the desert floor
I packed my bags and I'm heading straight into the storm
Gonna be a twister to blow everything down
That ain't got the faith to stand its ground


Excellent ...

For more of "Backstreets" splendid reporting, click here.

I'll also throw in a photo gallery of the Springsteen concert I attended in Nashville last year.

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