black girl (ousmane sembène, 1966)
film fatales #203: the beguiled (sofia coppola, 2017)

bruce springsteen #37

It had been so long since we'd seen Bruce that he was only 66 years old at the time. We didn't miss any tours ... this was his first tour since we saw him in '16. But there was COVID, and then he did his Broadway show, which played off an on between 2017 and 2021. He stayed busy. There were three studio albums, one of which, Western Stars, later was released in theaters as a full performance of the album. He released an album of soul covers. The Broadway shows were released as an album, as were his performances at the No Nukes concerts in 1979. He also continued his release of live concerts from the archives, almost 100 of them since that last show we saw in 2016. These are properly mastered, and basically replace all those decades where we collected bootlegs. Four of those were of shows we attended. So yeah, the old geezer kept busy.

It's impossible to attend a Bruce Springsteen show in 2024 without bringing your past along. I couldn't help but compare what I was seeing to what I had seen in the past. Sure, nothing is likely to match the shows from 1978, but he's put on so many great shows since ... the 1999 E Street Reunion return was tremendous, and I was especially taken by a couple of 2008 shows from the Magic Tour. But now it's 2024 ... the E Streeters who have died were replaced more than a decade ago, what you see now is what you get. The musicianship remains top notch, and Bruce's voice is still powerful. If you'd never seen him before, you might not have noticed how little he moved around, but really, he didn't look all that different from other acts, it's just that when we were all young, Bruce would run around and climb on stuff and go into the crowd, and that's in the past. The band had fun with it ... during "Rosalita", always one of the most physically active songs in the show, Bruce and buddies danced in little circles. It was charming.

In the old days, it was always fun to see what new songs Bruce would perform, and that's not as true now, but then, he's got 50+ years of tunes to get through. He played a song each from the two albums he released in 1973, he played four songs from 2020's Letter to You, he played a song from the 2022 album of soul covers. With someone whose back catalog is so huge, there are always going to be songs people in the audience missed (I'm still waiting to hear "Back in Your Arms" for the first time). But, as I said at one point to my wife, he has a lot of songs, and while his peak was, what 1975-1988?, his output since then has not been insubstantial.

On to the setlist junkie info ... he opened with "Something in the Night" from 1978 ... it was the tour debut for this one. Another tour debut was "Atlantic City", which was inspired by a sign in the crowd. Finally, there was a tour debut for "Land of Hope and Dreams". They played five songs we'd never seen live (because they were recorded after 2016). He played seven songs that he had played at our first show in 1975. "Born to Run" is "our song" (us and every other Bruce fan ... some day girl, I don't know when, we're gonna get to that place where we really want to go and we'll walk in the sun ... has meant something different from when we were 22 to now when we're 70). "Rosalita" has always been my favorite Bruce song, and I'm glad to hear it, but it really was better in the olden days. "Backstreets" probably hits closest to home for me ... I choke up the second the piano starts up.

Here are a few videos, not necessarily the best songs of the night, but the best videos ... a tip of the cap to some of these people who do such a great thing under tough conditions. This is so far the best video I have seen:

And the timeless "Backstreets":

Over the course of 50 years, some songs rise to the top of your personal pantheon, others slip away only to return down the road. But of all the words Bruce Springsteen has written, these resonate the most for me to this day:

Remember all the movies, Terry, we’d go see
Trying to learn how to walk like the heroes we thought we had to be
And after all this time to find we’re just like all the rest
Stranded in the park and forced to confess
To hiding on the backstreets, hiding on the backstreets
We swore forever friends on the backstreets until the end
Hiding on the backstreets, hiding on the backstreets

Here we are at the show:

At bruce 2024




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