Showing posts with label Bruce Springsteen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bruce Springsteen. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fans Write A Love Letter To The Boss In Springsteen And I


            There are few artists who possess as devoted a following as Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, but perhaps none have created quite the same emotional connection over such a long period together. This relationship is closely examined by the documentary Springsteen And I, a film which was shown in several select theaters on Monday evening and made almost exclusively of bootleg footage and fan video.
The fans whose videos were chosen and stories were told had anecdotes ranging from bonding with Springsteen from youth through adulthood, working class people who felt a unity with the music, and women who worshiped the front cover of the Born In The U.S.A. album. The only thing this global connection of people had in common was a relationship with a man that was both exclusive to their fandom as they attend a show and a bond of brotherhood with a total stranger at a gig in Copenhagen.
            There are many singular moments in Springsteen and I, but perhaps the most uniquely Bruce story came from a Philadelphia man who attended a Springsteen show in full Elvis costume. It was his life’s dream to bring The King and The Boss together. He reached that dream, even if it meant pulling a hammy at the Spectrum.
This motif of heightened moments and fulfilled dreams through Springsteen is continued as different facets of their lives are brought to surface. Whether through breakups, time spent on the street, or one couple’s journey from England and nosebleed seats to the front row of Madison Square Garden, the film underscored how many people have been affected by one band’s music.
Even the relationship of a man who was brought in tow to too many Springsteen shows was brought into the story before being blessed by The Boss as the film wrapped when Springsteen met several fans featured in the film. The small meeting allowed Springsteen to say thank you to people who were thanking him, bringing the film full circle and appropriately sealing a well-constructed documentation of one of the most entrusting relationships in music: The E-Street Band and their fans.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Stars Align For 12-12-12 Sandy Relief Benefit

            A dazzling number of music’s biggest stars gathered in New York City’s Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night to raise money for the Robin Hood Relief Fund, a non-profit charity geared to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Broadcast online and on 37 different networks, the 12-12-12 Concert featured some of the biggest names in music, including Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, Paul McCartney, Alicia Keys, and Dave Grohl.
            The evening began with Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band setting a tone that was a twofold blend of adrenaline and New Jersey, performing “Land of Hope and Dreams,” “Wrecking Ball,” and “My City of Ruins.” To provide the quintessential dose of Jersey, Springsteen brought out singer Jon Bon Jovi for “Born To Run.” Bon Jovi made his return later in the concert with his own band for a suite of his usual staples that are seemingly made for events like this and jammed mid-set with his Asbury Park cohort on “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.”   
            Over eleven years after the Concert for New York provided a healing touch for the same area, The Who reprised their amazing performance from that evening and trumped a roster of their fellow Englishmen with yet another killer set as a band that has embraced these moments as well as any other. Brits Roger Waters, The Rolling Stones, and Eric Clapton also matched their effort with memorable stints as well, including Waters’ set-capping collaboration with Eddie Vedder on “Comfortably Numb.”
            Several younger stars joined the 12-12-12 Concert as well, with New Yorkers Alicia Keys and a leather kilt-clad Kanye West providing a change of pace to the primarily rock-heavy lineup. Coldplay’s Chris Martin also played a brief acoustic set where his time on stage brought another surprise guest, with Michael Stipe coming on for an acoustic cut of R.E.M.’s seminal song “Losing My Religion.” Long Islander Billy Joel also took the stage towards the end of the evening, playing a handful of songs that were rooted in his New York anthems “New York State of Mind” and “Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway).”  
             As is custom in most charity events, Paul McCartney closed out the concert, but doing so in a very uncommon way. Amidst a collection of Beatles and Wings songs that included “Blackbird,” McCartney broke out another surprise appearance of the evening in the form of Diana Krall for his recent number “My Valentine.” To add a new wrinkle to his performance, McCartney brought Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear on stage. It was the first time that the surviving members of Nirvana had appeared onstage together since a Foo Fighters show at the Izod Center in 2011 to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of their album Nevermind. Grohl, et. al played “Cut Me Some Slack,” a track that had permeated during a jam session the three musicians had held with McCartney. A risky move considering the stage, the quartet delivered on the track, which sounded a bit like Them Crooked Vultures meeting Wings and clearly planted the seeds of wanting more. Shortly after the concert, Foo Fighters poster a link on twitter leading to the song.

      After the new track, McCartney closed out the 12-12-12 Concert with the surprising move of handing the mic back to Keys during a slot normally reserved for his “Let It Be” or “Hey Jude.” Keys delivered a powerful performance of her broken-down version of “Empire State of Mind,” closing out the amazing show to a loud response from Madison Square Garden.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Aguillera Gather For NBC's Hurricane Sandy Benefit

       Some of the biggest and most influential stars from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania gathered at NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza on Friday evening to headline fundraising efforts for their own communities following the devastating blows dealt by Hurricane Sandy earlier in the week. Hosted by the Today Show’s Matt Lauer, Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together was broadcast from the studios where Doctor Oz is normally taped.
       The evening began with a brief, yet direct speech from Staten Island native Christina Aguillera, who sang a broken down version of her hit 2002 single, “Beautiful.” The program followed by showing film of Bon Jovi front man Jon Bon Jovi as he toured heavily impacted areas of New Jersey. The 50-year-old Sayerville, New Jersey native appropriately followed the video with acoustic cuts of “Can’t Go Home” and the anthemic “It’s My Life.”
      Bronx piano man Billy Joel followed with an eerily significant, “Miami 2017 (I’ve Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)” before he, Steven Tyler, Bruce Springsteen, and Jimmy Fallon stumbled through the song which has defined the Jersey shore for generations: The Drifters’ classic “Under The Boardwalk.” Despite the karaoked nature of the performance, Daily Show host Jon Stewart may have rescued the moment after he immediately made light of Fallon stealing the microphone from three of the most storied frontmen in the history of rock ‘n roll.
     Three members of Aerosmith then took the stage for a piano-driven version of “Dream On,” a song which they struggled to make work acoustically, but nonetheless saw Tyler throw himself into the track. New York resident Sting followed Aerosmith with an acoustic version of career staple “Message In A Bottle” and Bronx native Mary J. Blige graced 30 Rock with her own “The Living Proof.”
         Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band capped the telethon with “Land of Hope and Dreams,” a song from his 2012 album Wrecking Ball. After a night where most of the musicians had relied upon acoustic versions of their songs, The Boss completely threw himself into the performance as he underscored the purpose of the event with the lyric, “this train is coming.”
In addition to Fallon and Stewart, New York personalities Brian Williams, Danny DeVito, Al Roker, Whoopi Goldberg, and Philadelphia-area natives Kevin Bacon and Tina Fey joined the telecast. Donations to the American Red Cross can be made through iTunes, texting “Red Cross” to 90999, or calling 1-800-435-7669. 

Fallon, Springsteen, Joel, and Tyler on "Under the Boardwalk"