Irish doctor with too many thoughts, too little time and a blog that's supposed to check in on reality.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Bruce Heaven

Came home last night on such a high I couldn't even contemplate getting my laptop out of its cosy bag and posting on the concert - absolutely superb.
Went with my sister and 2 massive Bruce fans who have seen him about 50 times between the 2 of them....
My sister complained about the "lack of fast songs" where I love Bruce at his slowest most soulful from-the-heart falsetto and roots genius - so I entered heaven on earth the second Reason to Believe started (around 825pm in the Point)
With all due respect Chris from alt tag - but she is plain wrong on this. She described it as foot stomping, distorted vocals version was truly frightening! Like something out of a horror movie. I was beginning to regret my money spent - did not need to see genius finally tipping over the edge of sanity!
I love my music and love evocative lyrics that I can really relate to and my emotional involvement in a song reached its zenith with Reason to Believe. Using Tom Waits type vocal distortion and harsh mouth organ accompaniment, Bruce transported my soul to a Depression era Mississippi church with a wizened preacher demanding relief from the dead dogs and hard earned days (not that I've ever been to Mississippi and at 22 years of age didn't get must Depression action!) His shiny worn cowboy boots raising dust from the plank of wood as he stomped in perfect time was just amazing. I felt like I was involved in some American Gothic Flannery O'Connor novel.....I had a reason to believe after this song and could have left the Point fully sated.....but I didn’t!
The other highlights for me were The River with his “almost a love song” introduction followed by Real World from Human touch which I have unearthed again this evening - re-record this version Bruce please! (And include Reason to Believe version too)
Part Man, Part Monkey got into my head the first time I listened to Tracks and then I got sick of it – this version has resurrected it for me. Intro funny but evolution is a non-issue in this country. We got the humour but he didn’t need to go on and on about it.
Nebraska was amazing – I was a-twirling my baton in my head for this one praying it wouldn’t end (or least that he would play some Youngstown/Ghost of Tom Joad which he didn’t). Spaced out a little for certain bits of Reno before Racing in the Streets - got a 69 Chevy – I was in bits – it was fantastic.
Jesus was an Only Son was accompanied by a brief synopsis of Bruce’s lapsed Catholic spiritual journey. I really identify with this song – the natural impulses of Mary’s maternal protective spirit, the moments of atheism in Jesus’ life . Loved the bit where Bruce talked about how mourning for the choices you didn’t make gives weight to the actions you take – I find this message very counter-cultural. We are led to believe that choice is the ultimate value, the most important freedom in our lives – so much so that we coast along cushy materialism choosing “lifestyles” afraid to choose the option of substance and sacrifice. Making 1 choice and sticking to it with integrity is considered restrictive and oppressive. Between that and the last verse “Now there's a loss that can never be replaced,
A destination that can never be reached,
A light you'll never find in another's face,
A sea whose distance cannot be breached
Well Jesus kissed his mother's hands
Whispered, "Mother, still your tears,
For remember the soul of the universe
Willed a world and it appeared."”
I was ready to sign up for the world according to Bruce church!
My sister’s fast song fetish was fed with Ramrod, a Bruce song that I don’t like. But this version, toned down with full acoustic guitar was great.
Land of Hope and Dreams is such a horrible song – I really hate it – so what, we’re all on train going to a land of hope and dreams. The E Street Band weren’t there so I don’t see why he felt the need to play it. I’m On Fire complete with slightly off key whistling provided my girly song portion of the night (I class 3 Bruce songs as “girly” – Tougher than the Rest, A Good Man is Hard to Find and Sad Eyes for no reason other than I find them incredibly romantic – don’t ask me why!)
But any anger at wasted setlist spots was dispelled by the Promised Land. Amazing – he used the guitar as a drum while playing the chord on the beat – it was fantastic – the Utah desert never seemed so close!
He finished with a cover of Suicide’s Dream. Don’t ask who Suicide are - some 70s band. My sister had tears in her eyes at this stage. I just had a list of possibilities for that spot…..but that’s Bruce and I would pay any money to see that concert again.
The 2 Bruce fans didn’t even have criticisms except for Reason to Believe – but I’ll gladly carry that torch alone!
I didn’t mean for this post to be this long but I just got carried away!



Blogger Eagle said...

I really liked Reason to Believe. I actually think he should have opened the show with it. I think it would make a great bookend to Dream.

Of all the songs on D & D the one that's really growing on me is Jesus was an Only Son. My initial reaction was that Bruce was missing something there, but I think it was me who was missing something.

May 26, 2005 10:46 a.m.  
Blogger Eagle said...

If I have any serious complaint it is that the tickets should be sold with some form of warning that the show contains adult content. I did feel for all those people who had children with them (4 year olds are not a problem, but an 11 or 12 year old would be) when he played Reno.

I know there were quite a few people there who were not familiar with Reno yet.

May 26, 2005 10:48 a.m.  
Blogger Chris said...

Great review! :) I'd love to see it all again too. It went by so quickly. I'd love to see/hear Reason to Believe again, to see would it grow on me - quite possible. It was just such a shock (even though I had read about it on the discussion boards beforehand).

How far back were you? I was sorry I wasn't closer to the stage.

Got my new CD at last. Looking forward to getting more familiar with the new songs.

May 26, 2005 1:52 p.m.  
Blogger Auds said...

Chris I was right at the back in the tiered seating - back a few rows. Was a good spot as we had an obstructed (albeit distant) view of the stage. The set was lovely - the candles and the curtains. (Very female response I know - the curtains!)

Eagle - Jesus was an Only Son is heavy stuff.
There were a lot of young children there - was quite surprised with number. Reno is gritty and explicit. Not something I would want my (yet to exist) children to hear nor something I would like to listen to live as a child with my parents - one of those cringy "do I really want to listen to some old guy sing about prostitutes and anal sex while sitting with my parents?" moments.
All I can say now is forget Reno and start hoping for the next E Street Band album - Patti sorted her album last year (recommend it btw!) and Bruce's ready now as he's not doing that many dates.....I'm salivating at the thought of the full tour!!

May 26, 2005 11:04 p.m.  
Blogger Chris said...

You're right, the curtains were fabulous. :-) The lighting effects were great.

That's interesting you have Mrs Bruce's album. I finally got around to picking it up on eBay, about a week ago. The reviews sounded pretty good. Will see how I get on with it...

May 27, 2005 11:19 a.m.  
Blogger Eagle said...

Good God, will you two stop talking about curtains? I don't even remember seeing them.

"Leap of Faith" is about as sexually explicit as I want my children to listen to, although the oldest one is getting to an age where I'll have to cut her a little slack.

The more I listen to "Jesus was an Only Son" the more I like it. Not only is a great song about faith and love, but has some usefulness for anyone trying to understand the concept of "opportunity cost", which is part of any MBA program.

May 27, 2005 3:56 p.m.  
Blogger Auds said...

Curtains and Mrs Bruce - Chris let me know how you get on with it! I think Rumble Doll her first one is kinda better.

Leap of Faith is fairly earthy alright but A Red Headed Woman and her dirty job is up there with it! Bruce is an adult performer. So maybe we shouldn't be surprised we he gives us adult content - we should be well able to handle it!

May 27, 2005 4:28 p.m.  

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