Cape Town Night Two – 28 January 2014

Met Pete Seeger 1Last night I felt like an experienced fan. Gone were the anxiousness, the jitters and the fear of the unknown of Sunday night. In was the heady feeling of something great drawing near. I knew the venue, how the process of entering is handled (although they made some changes), where I like to stand, what to expect of the audience.

Of course I knew what to expect of Bruce. Has he ever had a bad show Continue reading

Cape Town Day One – 26 January 2014

Belville-VelodromeNabyWhen I was privileged to see Bruce Springsteen in the UK (Sunderland and Manchester) in 2012, I never thought for one moment that he would ever come to South Africa. Well, for that matter, when I became a fan in late 2009 I never thought I would see him live.

Bruce his proved me wrong again and again. He taught me to dream and to work for my dreams. This enhanced my writing career, but most of all my personal life. So I, not an adventurous traveler, in 2012 managed to find a dear friend to guide me through the terrors of the level of public transport we only dream about here. Aged only a few years younger than Bruce, I made it to the pit in Sunderland – and survived to tell Continue reading

Reasons I admire Bruce Springsteen (3): Unique combination of music and lyrics

Vooroor by fans in pitI am constantly amazed at Bruce’s talent to marry the depth and scope of his lyrics to the wonderful tunes that make them accessible to thousands (millions?!) of people. Three of the best examples (in my opinion) are Badlands, The promised land, Dancing in the dark and Better days. All of them songs with a profound meaning, but also a whole stadium of people can dance on that music.

I have once read somebody describing one of the shows as bipolar. This person found the distance between the often sad lyrics and the exuberant music too much. Personally I have often wondered how Bruce himself can handle it. Maybe the answer lies in the question: He can handle the sadness in the lyrics through the joy of the music.

Of course there are many songs where the music is just as sad as the lyrics. I often find these difficult to handle. The whole of the Nebraska album is certainly the best example, with Tom Joad not far behind. I admire those fans who can really enjoy these songs. I certainly need the music to lift me up.

Why I admire Bruce Springsteen (2): Lyrics, lyrics, lyrics

Skryf atmosfeer 1This is the most important reason to me, the one that defines the man: his lyrics.
I am a person who love words and whose greatest challenge is to use words in new ways to create something new. It follows that I will have great admiration for someone who can do this well, and of course there are thousands of wonderful writers in many languages. But I have never found another singer/songwriter whose lyrics come near those of Mr Springsteen. Yes, he has a great musical talent (and I know some people would disagree!) and many, many other wonderful qualities.  But his writing is what he first and foremost is about. I would rather not start listing examples, because the list will be virtually never-ending.
For hours of happy reading, go to http://search.brucespringsteen.net/

Be my Valentine …

Top ten Springsteen love songs … some interesting choices. 

Skets kyk oor skouer jonkAnd so few of them are really ordinary love songs … there’s always a different perspective … from Reno to Candy to If I should fall behind …

Only Bruce can do this. 

http://ultimateclassicrock.com/bruce-springsteen-love-songs/

Great thanks to the unknown artist! I just love this pic  and the way Clarence and Stevie are just behind him.     It says such a lot.

 

Countdown Kid # 96: Livin’ in the future

The E Street Band reunited for The Rising in 2002, but I would argue that the classic E Street Band sound didn’t return until 5 years later with this track off Magic. The groove is lifted straight from “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out,” with Clarence’s burly sax still blowing Bruce down the street just as it did 30 years earlier. 

The lyrics are a study in denial. Even with all of the walls of his life crumbling down upon him, the narrator tricks himself into believing everything is fine in the chorus with his own little imaginary time machine: “We’re livin’ in the future and none of this has happened yet.”

Even the band is in on the ruse, negating the dire lyrics with a good-time assault that even features some happy-go-lucky “sha-na-nas” at the end. Only Danny Federici’s organ solo lets some anguish Continue reading

Countdown Kid # 98: Two Hearts

I absolutely love this song. This is what Countdown Kid has to say about it:

It rips by at such a hyperspeed pace, goosed by Max Weinberg’s rapid beat and the fast-fingered keyboard work of Roy Bittan and Danny Federici, that it’s easy to miss the depth of this peppy number off The River. Springsteen was taking a page from the Lennon/McCartney playbook by couching some of his deeply personal lyrics in a high-tempo number. In fact, if this song has a drawback, it’s that it takes that strategy too far to the extreme. If your ears pop, you could miss the message.

The second verse ranks with any of Springsteen’s all-time best, as he was beginning at that time to explore what it meant to be a man and what was really important in life. He sings: “Once I spent my time Continue reading

Countdown Kid # 99: Lucky Town

The title track off the more effective album of Bruce’s double-release in 1992,Lucky Townis a solid grinder that benefits from an excellent driving chorus and an overall tight performance. Not a lot of wasted energy here, and it’s also one of Springsteen’s strongest vocals of that time period. He really sounds like a man who has followed the hard road the lyrics depict, even as a grizzled optimism still shines through.

Springsteen also pulls off the neat trick of making what is essentially a one-man performance (with the exception of Gary Mallabar on drums) sound like the work of a cohesive combo. His guitar work is fine, restrained but still clearly expressing powerful emotions.

The lyrics actually travel a similar path as “Better Days” off the same album, but the Continue reading

A fine example!

Here is theSpringsteen  applicable part of a fine discussion of the work of three icons in the music world: Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen and (of course!) Bruce Springsteen. It makes some interesing and very valid points about what makes Bruce so special. And why he is such an inspiration for so many people, musicians, fans or anybody trying to do anything creative.

“And then by far the weirdest release of the three: Springsteen’s post-recession bitchslap Wrecking Ball.  I’ve been mildly obsessed with The Boss for years, and spent most of Continue reading

Wrecking ball lyrics: Swallowed up

This song surprised me in more than one way. Firstly because I have not expected it to turn up on the internet before the official release of Wrecking Ball, as I got the feeling the bonus tracks are not out there yet. As if I have not had more than enough opportunity to realize  the immense power of the virtual community! So there it was, with the beautiful visuals from  Bruce fan Gina Giambone.
Somehow I had the idea it would be a kind of throwaway, being tucked in at the end of the album. (I still do not really understand the concept of bonus or hidden tracks. Would appreciate any insights into the reasoning behind it.) Which was also stupid, as The Way (hidden track on The Promise) is a great favourite of mine. Also, I find the singing on this track absolutely Continue reading

Wrecking ball lyrics: You’ve got it

You’ve got it certainly sounds a little out of place on the album at first. But of course, if your mind is open, it grows on you. I am at the moment listening to Tracks, and I think it would have fitted perfectly there. A nice song, nothing wrong with it, but not with the same power as the previous songs on Wrecking Ball. And maybe that is the reason for its inclusion, just to break the tension.
As a writer of romantic novels, I assume the it to be that elusive something that attracts a person to another, that something that you cannot really explain. The quality that makes you fall in love with this person and not the other, although the latter might be Continue reading

Wrecking ball lyrics: The title track

Even though I know nothing about the stadium or about American football, this song has resonated with me from the first time I heard it in 2009. To me it is a defiant shout to all things trying to take away the quality of our lives. It could be all kinds of trouble, but especially old age. And ultimately death.

No, we cannot stop these things. But we can give them a hell of a time while we have breath in our lungs and fire in our hearts. We can look them in the face even if we cannot change them or make them go away. This song is at once sad in that it admits the difficulties in life, but exuberant as well, as it pours out a great love Continue reading

Wrecking ball lyrics: Jack of all trades

This song came as a bit of a surprise after Easy Money and Schackled and drawn,  as it brings a complete change of pace. Which I later realized, fits perfectly into the bigger picture of the album as a whole. Personally I think one of Bruce’s many talents is to fit heartbreaking lyrics to feet-stomping melodies, and in doing so he makes it more accessible for ordinary folks (like me) who are no music pros, but just enjoy a nice, catching melody. Of course then the lyrics creeps up on you and before you know, they have you by the throat.

This song made me cry the very first time I heard it. It seems to be a beautiful pledge of love and commitment, something a groom Continue reading

Wrecking ball lyrics: This depression

This seems to be one of the saddest songs I have ever heard Bruce sing. But also a hopeful (Now the morning sun, the morning sun is breaking) and brave song. Brave because here is somebody in deep anguish, but who knows what he needs. If all of us could consciously reach out for love and connection when we are in trouble (any kind of trouble), the world probably would have been a better place. But instead we are all too inclined to cut ourselves off from the human touch Continue reading

Wrecking ball lyrics: Shackled and drawn

I can see an old workhorse patiently trudging along. Or an old man with a solid work ethic handling a hard life the only way he knows to – by hard, honest work. He has never learned about working smarter instead of harder. And would probably despise the idea. He takes immense pride in his work and probably despises guys with soft hands and desk jobs (the bankers?) But if hard work does not solve all his problems, he is at a lose Continue reading

Wrecking ball lyrics: Easy money

In my head I can see the couple on their way to go out, just like any of us would. See to the pets, put on something nice to wear, prepare for a nice evening out. But of course there is no fun in this song, only heartbreak.

My favourite lines:
There’s nothing to it mister, you won’t hear a sound
When your whole world Continue reading

Book: Darkness on the edge

The second book about Springsteen that I read on Kindle, is Darkness on the edge: Tales inspired by the songs of Bruce Springsteen, edited (2008) by Harrison Howe.

The idea to have short stories written on the base of Springsteen songs is of course brilliant. And very logical, seeing that most of his songs are just perfect little short stories with (often) a great beat. And those who do not tell a story, usually paint such a clear picture that Continue reading

An amazing tribute!

Bruce: From Thunder Road to 62 by Ron Wells

On Sept. 23, 1949 there was a darkness all over the land, a darkness rising from the desert floor, and a deathly darkness on the edge of town. There was blackness and sorrow, a sky of longing and emptiness. The poets weren’t writing nothin’ at all, they just stood back and let it all be. Everyone hid on the backstreets, even the river was dry, containing nothing but memory and shadow. In one town , a man was taking a knife to cut the pain from his heart. So many were bruised and battered, it was like a living hell of devils and dust. There was just a meanness in this world, and a father sighed, “Sorry son it’s Continue reading

Ten years after the horror

After a wonderful week in nature, out of reach of cell phones or internet (thank heavens for my MP3 player!), I came back to the stark reality of what happened ten years ago and still feels impossible to believe (never mind understand). In 2001 I was struggling with life in general and depression specifically, so I protected myself by trying to avoid most news about what happened. But of course that was impossible. Today I remember three specific articles I read in the aftermath of 9/11. Each of them carried so much of the goodness that can come out of evil, that I was lifted up Continue reading

Can you recognize this song?

One soft infested summer me and Terry became friends
Trying in vain to breathe the fire we was born in
Catching rides to the outskirts tying faith between our teeth
Sleeping in that old abandoned beach house getting wasted in the heat
And hiding on the backstreets,
hiding on the backstreets
With a love so hard and filled with defeat
Running for our lives at night on them backstreets

OK, let’s see …

… how long I will be able to stand this theme, without my beloved images from the BTR album at the top! But the rays of the sun (well, that’s what it looks like to me) above kind of fits with the idea of Better Days, is’n it? Although it is not seen as one of the great songs, and comes from the time when Bruce worked without the ESB, Better Days became a strong symbol in my life. Together with Badlands and The Promised Land, of course.

Inspired by Bruce Springsteen

All my readers will by now know that Bruce’s work and the way he conducts his professional life is a huge inspiration for me while I am trying for excellence in my little corner of the creative world. Mostly I was just inspired by his work ethics, his quest for constant renewal and a lot of other qualities. All Springsteen fans will understand what I am going on about. But recently I have deliberately used him as inspiration for two of my romance novels.
In Liedjie vir jou (Song for you) the romantic hero is a scientist and singer who composes in Afrikaans, but is inspired by The Boss and loves his music. He has a particular aversion to Afrikaans commercial music. (Which is in reality quite awful.) He meets his dream girl in Continue reading

Looking back: The ties that bind …

This was posted a year ago. Thinking of Bruce and Clarence as I prepare to travel to Sunderland for my very first Springsteen show …

I have decided to allow myself one more post concentrating on Clarence’s death. Which brings me to the very real danger of allowing oneself to concentrate on death – and to forget about life. And as we all know, he was a man who really enjoyed living.
One of my recurring thoughts during the week since his death was Continue reading

The River: A selection of pure joy and utter heartbreak

I have recently acquired this album for the first time. I did not realize beforehand how many of the songs I already know from other sources (meaning various DVD’s and from YouTube, of course). I’ve not only known them, but got to love them already. Independence Day and Fade away I first saw on the album of early shows included in The Promise. And I think Fade away, too. I find Independence Day  an absolutely heartbreaking and hauntingly beautiful song. Stolen car and The price Continue reading

A song to break your heart: Independence Day

Well Papa go to bed now it’s getting late
Nothing we can say is gonna change anything now …
I grew up without a father and with a mother who meant well, but there was no real communication, no real deeper contact. I know the feeling of having things (a whole lot of them!) to say, and not being able to say them.
There was just no way this house could hold the two of us
I guess that we were just too much of the same kind …
In every child’s life there comes the time to leave. But hopefully not Continue reading

The Bruce of the Eighties

Hilarious excerpt from a wonderful post at this link: http://jameskillough.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/i-monster/
I check my look in the mirror
I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face.
— Bruce Springsteen, Dancing in the Dark

The caption for this photo on the site I poached it from said, “Springsteen made it acceptable for men to Continue reading