Tuesday, May 1, 2012



It seemed only fitting that Elmer Bernstein's rousing theme from "The Magnificent Seven" came blasting from the speakers, as the ol' Jersey "guitarslinger" Bruce Springsteen and his veteran partners in crime, The E Street Band (Nil Lofgren, Little Steven Van Zandt, Mighty Max Weinberg, Garry Tallent, Roy Bittan and Patti Sciaifa, "Mrs. Boss") strode out on stage. In typical "old school" fashion, Bruce chose to play his old favorite LA haunt, the venerable Los Angeles  Memorial Sports Arena (the largest dive bar in town, but with excellent acoustics... and crappy restrooms, which gave Bruce much comedic fodder for the night.)

The Boss, dressed in his usual; black from head to toe, came out to do  a job; rock the crowd and leave a message. Supporting his terrific new album; "Wrecking Ball", the show I saw was nothing less than... well, magnificent! (I was lucky enough to go to the show, thanks to a good friend of mine... and to that I am truly grateful! And the photos you see in this blog, where taken with  my little point and shoot, after much jocking around. I just in my nature to try and capture some of the moments.)

For those who don't know; you see Bruce (yeah, we're on a first name basis with him) it's more than a concert, or a greatest hits show, it's more like a great family reunion  (and with this show; maybe even more so?) and for three hours, you're someone from "Jersey" (and damn proud of it, I might add!) And he's got so much material, half the fun is seeing what songs he's gonna pull out on any given night (the only bummer for me is, Bruce didn't play Rosalita this particular night.)

Bruce, after all these years, still keeps it real, he's an artist who does his damnedest to speak to the people, for the people. Especially now, where times are still pretty dicey. Yeah, he can still sing out a rock anthem out like nobodies business. But, as a person, he's always been more than about that. Like his relevant depression era song, "The Ghost of Tom Joad," based on John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath." He carries the torch, perhaps passed on by the late Johnny Cash, as the singer who's got the back, in his words and music of the average Jane or Joe. In fact, one of his best cuts on the new album is aptly titled; "We Take Care of Our Own." At this show, Bruce gave shout-outs to guests in the audience from various Los Angeles food banks, and reminded the crowd to support their effort.
In concert Bruce, keep an ongoing dialogue with his audience, one that (if you've seen him before) seems to pick where you left off, the last time you where in the same arena with him. He takes his audience
to heart... and with age (amazingly 62!!) he's like an old outlaw who's seemed to have found religion... but he preaches the only way he knows how, with him music... and what he preaches, is simply do unto others, and watch out for your fellow man. Not to say the he didn't rock the house with his classics like; "Born to Run" (an incredible experience to behold, and not to be missed, in a sold-out arena... trust me!) And the man truly knows how to have fun with his audience, you never know when he's gonna decide to jump into the crowd  (and be brought back to the stage on his back, as if  being carried by an enormous colony of human ants.)   Yeah, he's still The Boss! 

Not surprising Bruce, dedicated the night (and I'm sure the running theme of this tour) to "who's here, and who's not... with the caveat that if those are remembered, they're indeed still here with us. No absence being more resonant than the missing void of E Street's one man horn section, Clarence Clemons. This is his first tour after the passing of "The Big Man" (who passed away last year, also passed on is original E Street keyboardist Danny Federici) and it was a pretty strange feeling for the audience, so one could image how that amplified feeling would transfer to Bruce and the band. Befitting though, with great zeal Jake Clemons (Clarence's nephew) stepped in with his sax, and did a sterling job with his uncle's famous solo's. In tribute to Clarence, Bruce and company closed the night with "Tenth Avenue Freezeout." If you've never seen Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, just go (especially the new generation, Bruce loves seeing your fresh faces in the audiences.) Yeah, Bruce is about rock n' roll and more importantly "friendship"... great friendship. To watch Bruce still giving 100% after all these years, as I mentioned to my friend (after some post concert beers) inspires one across the board: artistically, physically and spiritually...that's why; Bruce and his music continues to endure... and he continues to be "The Boss."