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

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Bruce Springsteen – This is NOT an Objective Review

There are at least 2 things that this blog simply can not be objective about.
The first is Cillit Bang, cleaner extraordinaire that actually works (I know it sounds like I’ve been sucked in by those happy people on the ad saying “Cillit Bang it really works” but it does, honest).
The second is Bruce Springsteen’s music. Just his music – I will always say it’s brilliant, even the songs I don’t like are brilliant in their own indomitable Springsteen way (Born in the USA and Dancing in the Dark). I’m not a big fan of the Bruce-as-John-Kerry’s-supporter-numero-uno nor the posting entire 3 million word Al Gore screeds on his website phase, but other than that everything the man does can be classified as perfect in my book.
Last year I thoroughly enjoyed my Springsteen in the Point evening, which is becoming a delightful annual event.
Therefore, the 2 and half hours I spent in the Point listening to him tonight was perfect. Made more perfect by the presence of both Dr Cox from Scrubs and John Kelly in the balcony to my right (well, they didn’t actually improve my listening enjoyment at all, but a girl’s gotta do some name dropping)
We Shall Overcome is an amazing album – the kind of album that you just want to keep listening to. Every song is uplifting, multi-layered and thoughtfully arranged and fantastically compelling. It still doesn’t reach the lofty heights of “Auds’ Favourite Springsteen Album” which remains The Ghost of Tom Joad but it’s catching up.
I listened to We Shall Overcome before each of my clinical exams last week and was inspired by lines like “Keep your eyes on the prize / Hold on”; “We shall overcome”; “Brothers and sisters don’t you cry / There’ll be good times by and by”; “we’re climbing higher and higher”; “My Oklahoma woman blowed away / Mister as I bent to kiss her / She was picked up by a twister” (giggle); “Pay me my money down” (after 6 years of unpaid undergrad-ism that should be self-explanatory) ; “Low bridge everybody down” (it’s not inspirational as such – I just like it).
There were moments of lyric-induced panic – mainly to do with Old Dan Tucker’s unfortunate demise – I was afraid I would diagnose an ulcer or something as a “toothache in his heel”.
Anyway, the album’s great. And the Boss is the boss live. He owns the stage, strutting, swinging, singing, strumming. The man’s a genius.
Bruce is the sort of man that pleases a woman early on and keeps her there for the rest of the evening – last year I said 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!
Well, this year, a stunning arrangement of Johnny 99 from Nebraska left me similarly fulfilled, only this time the Mississippi church was home to a foot stompin’, heart pounding, hand clapping revival where the congregation was high on the Lord (or something stronger). And the night was only getting started.
All the new songs were played roughly the same as the album (all except Shendadoah and Froggie which weren’t played). And it was the oldies that got me going – along with Johnny 99, Adam Raised a Cain was superb. Also from Nebraska, Open All Night was unrecognisable save for the lyrics – it became an Ooby Dooby, jivin’ rock n’roll extravaganza. From the Rising, City of Ruins got a good spin (I cried when he played this in the RDS, so my emotional involvement in the song had peaked a few years earlier) My sister was particularly chuffed with “You can Look, but you better not touch”.
Patti Scialfa (Mrs Springsteen) got a few lines at the mic for John Henry’s “red headed wife” and Bruce also acknowledged his fairly crap prounuication of “Mrs McGrath” – the only complaint I have is that he didn’t banter more.
“Erie Canal” is probably my favourite song from the album and it was done superbly, as was “When the Saints go marching in” – last song, wow.
Last year’s review had a dedicated curtain discussion – multicoloured with blue chandeliers and a movable scene thing which got a moon for “Buffalo Gals”.
I’m going to stop gushing now, it’s not very ladylike. I love Bruce. And it wasn’t me you saw til the wee hours standing outside the Merrion hoping to catch a glimpse of the great man. No, it just looked like me.

Check out my blog-twin Chris at alt tag, who like me enjoyed Springsteen@the Point and blogged about it late Friday night AND is in New York this week. And we're probably the only 2 Irish blogging gals who would have voted for Bush.....



Blogger Chris said...

Glad you loved the concert too. Great review! :) It was a fantastic show.

Haha, auds, you are definitely unique and without twin. - Ghost of Tom Joad your favourite album! Good God, that one is hard work for sure. I do LOVE Youngstown on it though - one of my top fav songs. My conclusion about that album overall is that any one track is OK or nice, but the whole lot together is a bit exhausting.

C'mon - Born to Run or The Rising Vs Ghost of Tom Joad??? ...Pleeeease!!!!

PS. Enjoy New York. I am missing it already! ;)

May 15, 2006 1:08 p.m.  

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