Image Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.comLast night was not the first time a live performance from a musician has brought me to tears, but it was certainly the most unanticipated.
I went to the 4th Annual Stand Up for Heroes event, presented by the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the New York Comedy Festival, at the Beacon Theatre in New York anticipating a certain amount of emotional response. (Most event organizers are well versed in the art of heartstring tugging.) But I managed to keep myself in check through the personal stories of triumph and the inspiring videos about veterans’ courageous recovery. I was there for work, after all, which meant I had to wear my (p-p-p-)poker face. Well, I tried.
Image Credit: Lynn Goldsmith/CorbisBruce Springsteen fans are already awaiting the deluxe reissue his 1978 album Darkness on the Edge of Town this fall, but even better news may be the documentary about the making of the album that will premiere on HBO in October. Called The Promise, it will screen at the Toronto Film Festival in September. Rolling Stone reported some details about the doc after speaking to Thom Powers, the Toronto fest’s documentary programmer. Powers told the magazine, “The strength of this movie is that it just concentrates on the making of just one album. There’s not even much concert footage.”
What it does have, it seems, is plenty of rare vintage studio footage, original studio recordings, and extensive new interviews with, among others, the Boss himself, Patti Smith (who co-wrote “Because the Night”), and members of the E Street Band, including the late organist Danny Federici. After reading the news, I scrolled through Life.com’s gallery of vintage Springsteen shots and was reminded again just how much I love looking at pictures from ’70s-era E Street Band. A whole movie about that time sounds like just the ticket for me. Are you tuning in? And do you agree — as many do — that Darkness is Springsteen at his best?
Tonight’s George Clooney-organized, multi-network Hope For Haiti Now telethon was a subdued, classy affair, thankfully free of any awkward “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” moments. In all, the two-hour telecast included 19 musical performances, most of which were terrific. I could name two female artists who were a bit out of their league, but since they were singing for charity, I won’t. Instead, I’ll run down what were, in my humble opinion, the 10 best numbers of the night. (You can download them all, by the way, on iTunes.)
10. Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris I confess I’d never heard of Matt Morris before. But after his and Timberlake’s sensitive, almost half-tempo duet performance of Leonard Cohen’s oft-covered “Hallelujah,” I’m a convert. READ FULL STORY »
I generally don’t get into telethons. I mean, if I’m going to give, I’m just going to give—I don’t need a cheesy Regis Philbin or whoever trying to cajole me into donating dollars while Howie Mandel demonstrates how many different ways he can wash his hands and Goldie Hawn revives a forgettable sketch from Laugh-In.
In case you were wondering, those already slated to perform tonight at 8 p.m. on nearly ever network include Christina Aguilera, Taylor Swift, Stevie Wonder, Justin Timberlake, Mary J., J-Hud, and Bruce Springsteen. Pretty A-list, clearly.
But what about you, PopWatchers? Does the prospect of Beyoncé and Madonna on screen entice you to tune in tonight? Will it entice you to give more money — or just enjoy the performances without forking over any dough? Were there other artists that immediately made tonight’s telethon a must watch/must give?
The Newark Star-Ledger has revealed that although upwards of 38,000 seats were available for Bruce Springsteen’s two shows at East Rutherford, N.J.’s Izod Center this week, only a paltry 6,000 fans actually succeeded in buying tickets from Ticketmaster. The rest seem to have gone to sponsors, label people, and various other cronies. According to the New York Times‘ sophisticated mathematical analysis, this means that "you may have a better chance of becoming a member of Mr. Springsteen’s E Street Band than buying tickets to one of his shows." It so happens that I was lucky enough to attend the first of Springsteen’s Izod shows last night, so… lemme just crunch a few numbers here… carry the 38,000… does this mean that I am the newest member of the E Street Band? Aww-right!
All kidding aside, Ticketmaster makes it insanely difficult to see the Boss. In order to get my tickets for last night, I had to take part in a coordinated three-pronged plan of attack involving myself, my girlfriend, and my girlfriend’s dad all logging onto Ticketmaster at the same instant back in February — and we still almost got shut out because of some computer glitch. It’s a shame, because seeing the E Street Band is one of the most reliably awesome live music experiences in the world. They were in fantastic form last night, from the unstoppable opening one-two punch of "Badlands" into "Adam Raised a Cain" on out. Extra kudos are in order for someone who actually is the newest member of the E Street Band: 18-year-old Jay Weinberg, son of Max, who’s filling in on this tour while his old man is busy preparing for Conan O’Brien’s new gig. The kid can really play. (Is it sacrilege for me to hope he becomes a semi-permanent E Street member going forward?)
No fan should have to miss out on seeing that, and I can’t help but think that Bruce himself would be unhappy to realize how many regular folks are getting shut out. Anybody have any Springsteen ticket-buying horror stories you’d like to share? Or have you been among the lucky few who manage to snag a ticket for this tour?
When director Bruce Hendricks told MTV that he’d like to follow up his 3-D Miley Cyrus and Jonas Brothers concert films with a similar Bruce Springsteen flick, he was just thinking out loud — working on a dream, if you will. For the record, Springsteen’s camp declined to comment when I asked if he would ever be interested in such a project. But hey, that’s no reason not to think about how cool this hypothetical movie would be!
If the Boss ever did decide to make a 3-D concert film, I would be buying my tickets faster than you can say Nebraska. As most anyone who’s seen the E Street Band in person, or even on TV at the Super Bowl, can attest, they put on a show like no other. It’s practically a religious experience. I don’t think there’s any way a strip of projected celluloid could do justice to the experience of witnessing Bruce play without using all three dimensions — hell, they might have to look into manufacturing some 4-D or 5-D glasses to truly capture the magic.
In all seriousness, Bruce has enough dedicated fans out there that I bet this theoretical movie could bring in some serious box office coin. Maybe it would even be enough to single-handedly revive the concert-film genre…or not, considering how that JoBros movie did. You tell me: If the Boss showed up on a 3-D screen near you, would you not be tempted to put those special specs back on? How about if the movie was guaranteed to re-create his infamous crotch-into-camera slam from the Super Bowl (embedded below to refresh your memory) in lifelike 3-D?
If you’re still laughing and/or wincing at the epic crotch-into-camera encounter Bruce Springsteen inadvertently experienced during this year’s Super Bowl halftime set, you can finally rest easy. None other than the Boss himself has stepped up to uncover just what happened there. According to a lengthy journal entry he just posted on his official site, it was all a matter of timing: "Too much adrenalin, a latedrop, too much speed, here I come Mike…BOOM! And I’m onto his camera…."
Whether or not you ever cared about the crotch-slam moment, though, Springsteen’s journal entry is well worth reading for fans. It’s a revealing look at why he decided to take the Super Bowl gig, how he felt before, during, and after the big set, and what makes him keep going these days. The eloquent, literary prose style Springsteen uses is a reminder that the guy would probably be one of America’s finest writers if he wasn’t one of its finest rockers. And the Boss really doesn’t have to give away that level of detail about his emotions and thought processes — hell, he’s already opening up to us more in his music than many celebrities do with all the MySpace blogs and press junkets in the world. It’s a token of how much he respects us that he’s willing to publish such an honest piece, wouldn’t you say? Click here to read the whole thing — or, if you must, just keep reliving that crotch slam, below. We won’t tell.
You’ve gotta work extra hard these days to convince music fans to pull out their wallets for festival tickets, and Bonnaroo’s organizers aren’t taking any chances with the lineup they unveiled this morning. You’ve got your classic-rock powerhouses (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Elvis Costello), your reunited jam-band institution (Phish), your ’90s-survivor cult act (Nine Inch Nails), your rap elders (Snoop Dogg, the Beastie Boys), your old soul legend (Al Green), your new funk goddess (Erykah Badu), your country icons (Merle Haggard, Lucinda Williams) — and, of course, dozens of your top-tier indie rockers (Animal Collective, the Decemberists, TV on the Radio, Grizzly Bear). There are also tons more performers who don’t fit into any of those categories; check out the full list here.
The one thing all these artists have in common? They put on a great live show. I’ve never made the trek down to Manchester, Tenn., myself, but a lineup this varied definitely has me thinking about it. How about you? The festival runs June 11-14, and tickets go on sale this Saturday.
I dunno about you guys, but when Bruce Springsteen asks me to ”put thechicken fingers down,” I put those things DOWN. Good thing, too: The Super Bowl halftime show thatfollowed was a 12-minute musical feast, no snack food necessary. The set kicked off on just the right note with ”Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” the great E Street Band creation myth. Bruce even fit in one of his trademark across-the-stage knee slides there; it might have taken a little out of him, judging by the tired note that crept into his voice when the band transitioned into "Born to Run." But man, those two songs are still exactly what stadium rock is supposed to sound like, almost 35 years after they were recorded. Next up was a very nice "Working on a Dream," backed by a choir. It’s a mellow number, and a new one, so of course the energy in the arena died down just a tiny bit. Still, it shot right back up when the band segued into "Glory Days" — complete with occasion-appropriate lyrical changeups. (Bruce’s old high school buddy was "a big football player" tonight, not "baseball," and he liked to throw a "Hail Mary" instead of a "speedball.") Some fireworks, some very funny shtick with Steven Van Zandt ("Steve, what time is it?" "IT’S BOSS TIME!"), a quick spin of Bruce’s guitar around his body, and then — over, already? Whew!
In case you can’t tell, I thought that was one kick-ass halftime show. But how’d you like it? Chime in below, and check back here for video of the performance as soon as it’s available online.
UPDATE: Here’s some decent-quality video of Springsteen’s halftime show, in two overlapping parts. Part one is below, part two after the jump.