SPRINGSTEEN IS STILL THE BOSS AROUND HERE
and Norman Warwick has seen that in writing
Senior editor of Paste on-line, Garrett Martin, writes about videogames, comedy, travel, theme parks, wrestling, and anything else that gets in his way. He’s also on Twitter. He is, then, an opionated and eclectic writer who sprinkles his work with a seasoned wisdom. So, when I noted he was discussing Bruce Springsteen (ostensibly, at least) I looked forward to an interesting read. I wasn´t disappointed. Come follow your art down sidetracks & detours to see what more we can learn any more about the man who is still ¨The Boss´around here.!
Bruce Springsteen (left) is in his mid 70s, Garrett Martin immediately reminded us, and is currently capable of greater physical feats than any I have ever been able to accomplish. He’s got 30 years on me and yet I’m positive I was more tired out by standing through his amazing three-hour show than he was performing it. What he and the E Street Band do at their age, in the year 2023, is unfathomable. Their recent show at State Farm Arena in Atlanta was just as great as the last show I saw them play 23 years ago. It was just as long, just as energetic, just as triumphant, and despite the loss of a couple of iconic E Street members in the decades since, probably even better in pure musical terms. It’s inexplicable, and we are all better off for it—or at least the people who can afford to get tickets.
Music must keep us young. What was it Steve Goodman said about ´these wise old gents grey and bent´ who played everyone else under the table that night?
Bruce and the band pull out all the expected cheeseball arena rock moves, and it’s all completely awesome. Do you want to see elder statesmen of rock leaning back to back while shredding on their guitars? See this show. Do you want to see a five-piece horn section march in unison to the front of the stage and flank their lead singer like a brass phalanx? Get to that arena. Do you want to see Bruce Springsteen do little toot toots with his right arm, yanking it down like he’s trying to get a trucker to blow his horn, while marching in place? Of course you do. Do you want to see 18 people on stage for almost three hours, blasting through 50 years of iconic hits, each getting their own little spotlight moment at the front of the stage (except for sunglasses-sporting bass player Garry Tallent, who’s too fucking cool for that jive)? You know what to do.
Wikipedia describes Garry Tallent (right) as having grown up in Neptune City around the Jersey shore, Tallent took up first the tuba and then the bass. Tallent attended Neptune High School, together with future bandmate Vini Lopez.
He was influenced, they say, by James Jamerson, Donald “Duck” Dunn, and Paul McCartney. He started playing with Springsteen in 1971 in two earlier bands and then was an original member of the E Street Band, who formed in 1972His bass plays a key role in Springsteen’s music (both live and in-studio). Notable Tallent bass parts can be heard on “Fire“, “Prove It All Night“, “Kitty’s Back“, and “Incident on 57th Street“. During the E Street Band’s early years, he occasionally played the tuba in concert and on record (most notably in “Wild Billy’s Circus Story“).
In addition to his work with Springsteen, Tallent has recorded with numerous other artists. In 1987 Tallent produced the song “Crying, Waiting, Hoping” for Marshall Crenshaw on La Bamba soundtrack. During the long time the E Street Band was inactive in the 1990s, Tallent moved to Nashville, having an affinity for country and western and rockabilly music. (By this point, Tallent had already long been referred to by the nickname “The Tennessee Terror”, a name given to him after once driving through Tennessee briefly on a roadtrip). There he opened the MoonDog recording studio and helped start the D’Ville Record Group label. Tallent has produced such artists as Jim Lauderdale, Kevin Gordon, and Steve Forbert, one of my favourite writers
Springsteen and the E Street Band performed on Saturday Night Live on December 12, 2020 however Tallent opted out of the performance due to COVID-19 travel concerns. This marked the first time that Tallent had missed a show with the E Street Band. Jack Daly of the Disciples of Soul filled in for him.
Mr. Martin alos reflected that Bruce Springsteen is a 73-year-old man who gets paid obscene amounts of money to act like a total cornball with his lifelong buddies, and if that isn’t the best life possible I don’t know what could be. I’ve been told that Bruce himself has said something almost exactly like that, and that points out a huge part of the appeal of his shows: despite being one of the biggest bands in the world for 40 years, despite accomplishing everything any band could ever hope to accomplish, despite making millions upon millions of dollars, they’ve never taken any of it for granted. They still work harder than pretty much every other band while making it look like the most fun they’ve ever had in their lives. (Again, except Tallent. He’s all business, and business is good.) They still give the fans the kind of marathon, hours-long shows they’ve always been known for, even though they could easily get away with sets half as long at this point. They give it their all not because they have to, but because they want to—because they still enjoy giving it their all. And I don’t think there was a single person in that basketball arena last week who didn’t appreciate it.
This is what an E Street Band show is like in 2023. At the start of the show the core members come out one by one through a stairwell at the back of the stage, and that alone lasts as long as some punk sets I’ve seen. Like every show so far this tour, the Atlanta show opened with “No Surrender” from Born in the U.S.A., kicking it all off with a triumphant rocker from what’s still his best-selling album. They quickly jumped forward 35 years while looking back several decades by playing 2020’s “Ghosts,” which was a highlight of the night, and which began the show’s recurring motif of Bruce thinking back on the friends and bandmates he’s lost over the years. Whatever you might think about his more recent albums, the best of those songs land with all the power and majesty of the classics once the band puts ‘em through the paces, and “Ghosts” is a rousing start to the show.
From there the band cycles through classics from almost every major Springsteen album. Expect to hear “Candy’s Room,” “The Promised Land,” “Prove It All Night,” and “The E Street Shuffle”—all in just the first hour or so. A lengthy cover of “Nightshift” by the Commodores glides effortlessly into the Ben E. King song “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied),” both of which appear on Springsteen’s 2022 covers album Only the Strong Survive; none of the E Street Band play on that album, and after seeing them crush these songs live it makes me wonder how that record would’ve sounded with them backing up the Boss. “Backstreets” remains a high water mark for American music, and is still somehow even better live than on record. They plough through the decades at the end of the set, moving from “She’s the One” to “Wrecking Ball” to “The Rising” to show-closer “Badlands,” still as righteous an anthem as you’ll ever hear.
The journalist tells us that Springsteen and his men (right) are now about a couple of hours into their gig, so from what we now know of him, he must be about as tired as his old granny.
At this point the band’s about two hours in, and nobody could blame them for wrapping it up and heading home. Again: they aren’t young these days. When my grandmother was their age I’m pretty sure she went to bed at 6 p.m. every single night. But after a barely there gap of 60 seconds or so, they’re right back into the encore without ever leaving the stage. Most shows on this tour they’ve played “Thunder Road” somewhere around here, either at the end of the main set or at the start of the encore. If somebody made a law forcing Bruce and the band to play their three best songs at every concert they ever played, “Thunder Road” would be one of the three; I feel terrible for everybody who was at the tour-opening Tampa show, not just because they live in Tampa, but because the band somehow didn’t play this song. The rest of the encore reliably includes “Born to Run,” “Glory Days,” “Dancing in the Dark,” “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)”—every song a banger—before ending with the twofer of “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” and “I’ll See You in My Dreams.”
Those last two songs express the two ends of the Springsteen spectrum. “Tenth Avenue” is a good-time rocker about friendship and the nature of being in a band (among other things). It was recorded when Springsteen was 25, an ascendant young man unaffected by the weight of an additional 50 years of life and loss. During “Tenth Avenue” Bruce leaves the stage and walks down to a thin walkway between the general admission section and the floor seats, where he spends the rest of the song shimmying and posing for photos while singing. It’s all about rock music as an affirmation of life and an ironclad form of friendship, the kind of things you want to sing about when you’re young and invincible. When it’s over, the rest of the band exits after Springsteen returns to the main stage and plays one last song alone. Released in 2020, “I’ll See You in My Dreams” is a somber (but not maudlin) address to everybody Springsteen has lost over the years—friends, family, bandmates, industry connections, and others who have meant something to Springsteen and his career. It might sound like a depressing way to end the show, but it’s a crucial dose of truth preparing us for the return to the real world once we step outside that arena.
Springsteen has combined melancholy and majesty for much of his career, but early story songs like “The River” and the Nebraska record weren’t necessarily grounded in lived experience. “I’ll See You in My Dreams” is unmistakably personal, and it follows other songs from earlier in Springsteen´s set that strike the same tone. One of them, “Last Man Standing,” is a sad but sure-eyed ode to one of Springsteen’s earliest bandmates, a high school friend who passed away in 2018, leaving Bruce as the last survivor from their garage band. As enriching and rejuvenating as this show is, there’s still an aching sense of loss at its core, a recognition of how improbable it is that Springsteen and his band are still out here doing this in their 70s, and a reminder that we need to make the most of our time here while we can. For Bruce and his band and so many others, that means grabbing a guitar and bashing out jams with his buddies; it probably means something else entirely for you, but the lesson still resonates. We’re all here for a relatively short period of time, no matter how many decades we collect, so let’s make the most of it while we can. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band certainly are.
Paste on line is stuck full of excellent writers and contributors and is my favourite place for reading about my kind of music, Americana, and you will see from our acknowledgements below a whole raft of reading, listening and even writing real and virtual venues. that we gather together to which you can follow sidetracks and detours to an even more expansive and informed view of the arts than we can offer.
please note logo The primary sources for this piece were written by Garrett Martin for Paste on line magazine and some contents of Wikiepedia- Wherever possible the original writers have been attributed,
Images employed have been taken from on line sites only where categorised as images free to use.
for a more comprehensive detail of our attribution policy see our for reference only post on 7th April entitled Aspirations And Attributions.
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