Trying To Get To You

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Bruce Tribute At Carnegie Hall

I did not attend tonight's tribute to Bruce Springsteen at Carnegie Hall. Why? Well, the lineup didn't hold too much interest for me (had I known Patti Smith was going to be there in advance, I might have attended - she got subbed in for Jewel today) and I'm usually not into hearing people do Bruce other than Bruce.

Fortunately, we have a special guest contributor to A Deeper Shade Of Soul who attended the show tonight. His name is Scott Black, and there could be no one more fitting to do this blog entry, as he is one of my oldest friends - I've known him for about thirty years, and he, more than pretty much anyone else, is responsible for turning me onto Springsteen when we were nice little Jewish boys attending Solomon Schecter Day School together in the late 70's and early 80's. (He's still, not so much.) I returned the favor by turning him on to the Beatles and "Gimme Shelter." Overall, it was probably an even trade.

In the interest of posting this immediately, the text is going up as Scott sent it to me with no edits. Scott is an Ivy League graduate, so please understand that he does know how to use proper punctuation. Enjoy!

Early highlight was clearly patti smith doing an acoustic "because the night" with a heartfelt introduction explaining how bruce's song has pulled her numerous times during her life from the doldrums of despair. She's heads and shoulders above the rest of the talent so far present.

 Another highlight was the elysian fields' rocking (and haunting) version of "streets of fire". Interesting to hear this track (not one of my favorites) song by an indie female.

8:56: frankie vallie's younger brother, bobby, his band ("some jersey boys", and a "soparanos" guest cast member (who's really up there just for show, as he apparently can't sing), perform, what else, "jersey girl.". The whole set is cheese incarnate (down to frankie jr's slicked back hair, and "sha-la-las" with audience clap-alongs, but I still can't help but smile: I love this song, and it's hard to ruin it, even though these guys are way off key.

9:10: uri cane performs an all musical piano rendition of "new york city serenade.". Great song, but Bruce is not best appreciated in non vocal renditions.

9:14: juliana hatfield performs a solo guitar country-tinged version of "cover me". Not bad, but not particularly interesting either. Like many of the other performances, the artist's apparent belief that she has to tone down the song to accommodate the prestige of the venue detract from the force of the song.

9:26: badly drawn boy, a huge bruce fan, takes the stage to perfrom "thunder road.". "I'm scared to death, but fearless at the same time," he begins. The version is good: he sings with a sense of reverence, almost afraid to come across as ever trying to match the original. Plus, it's cool to hear bruce sung in a british accent.

9:34: joseph arthur dedicates a guitar and piano driven "born in the usa" to "our troops.". Ok, we get it already, this is no rah rah patriotic anthem. But the words are so haunting every time.

9:39: pete yorn introduces "dancing in the dark" as a "dark song.". The acoustic, aching version he delivers certainly is: and it works.

9:45: jesse malin and ronnie spector team up for "hungry heart," dedicated to joey ramone. I've heard malin do this cover before, and he sounds like a frog to me. I'm not crazy about the song either, and ronnie botches the lyrics midway through. This is pretty much a disappointment.

9:55: the crowd breaks into "bruuuce calls" as the stage is being prepared for odetta who takes the stage in a wheelchair to perform... "57 channels".?? She's a poet and talks her way through the song, and the song long joke draws ample chuckles and one of the few standing ovations thus far.

10:00: the much heralded hold steady nail
 "Atlantic City." After a soft and melodic intro they ROCK THE HOUSE. A clear highlight.

10:07: THE MOMENT WE ALL HOPED FOR: bruce takes the stage: "I'm wounded, but still alive"...

Solo acoustic "promised land": bruce is in full-bodied woody guthrie mode here.
The version emphasizes the chain of tradition that has always linked bruce to the great folk artists of our nation's past. Next up: acoustic Rosalita.

Bruce interrupts Rosalita to say it's too long to see the whole thing, and proceeds to say, you know the rest of the story... Man grows up to be a rock star, finds a woman he loves happily ever after (despite the rumors), write about being happy (but no one likes it), the country becomes a kingdom, kids buy music out of the air... It's hysterical and ends with a full audience sing along to the song's conclusion. This man is simply a master performer.

Show's over: hold steady, badly drawn boy, jesse malin and bruce took turns on rosie verses for the full band finale. A great time! And bruce was hysterical.


Kelly said...

You don't have the video or mp3 of Odetta's performance do you? I would love to get it if someone does. Thanks.

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