I DON'T KNOW WHY THE BLOG LOOKS LIKE THIS TODAY!I CAN'T FIX IT!
An interview with Nils Lofgren ran on Rolling Stone.com about a month ago. I only just read it last night, thanks to a conversation I had with my friend Harry about concerts, crowds, Bruce, Dylan and things in general.
I asked him if he had any plans on seeing Bob Dylan up in Port Chester or any of the Bruce shows in September, and though his answer didn't only consist of this, it was this that I focused on:
"Don't expect any 4 hour show from Bruce like he's been doing in Europe."
Nils Lofgren explains why-
"Bruce's intent isn't to play a four-hour show. His intent is to make the best of the night. Honestly, and I don't mean this in a bad way, I don't know if American audiences can take a three-and-a-half hour show. They're exhausted. In Europe there's a rat race too, but they take six-week vacations. They have siestas. They take naps in the afternoon where everything shuts down. In general, people move at a slower pace and a concert is just a concert. In America, everyone is so driven and rat-raced out."
"Even my buddies that come, it's their high school reunion, it's their college graduation, it's the bachelor party they never had. Every night, Bruce's shows represent three parties in one night. Every slow song, every guy is rushing for a beer and a pee. In Europe, most of the audience just sits there and listens."
I jokingly asked Harry, after he paraphrased this part of the interview, if Nils mentioned me by name. I am very guilty of the beer and the pee, though not during slow songs, and worse, if I know that the last two songs of the night are going to be "Glory Days" and "Dancing In The Dark," I'll admit, I'd rather be in a taxi.
Lofgren goes on to talk about touring, Bruce's audibles, and the possibility of playing without (Not so) Little Steven. It's worth the read. The full interview is HERE.
I do have mixed feelings about the comments made regarding American audiences versus European audiences. While I totally understand Bruce feeding off the crowd--I know I wouldn't like it if someone walked away while I was offering up something that was important to me--it's a bit disheartening to think that the fans who sit or stand at full attention, totally immersed in every note and move, might be punished with a shortened set and fewer audibles thanks to the few jagoffs who can't be bothered to listen to "Jack Of All Trades" or "Meeting Across The River" because "they don't rock."
That said, here are my Top 10 Bruce "Go get a beer and pee" songs and my Top 5 by other artists.
1. Waitin' On A Sunny Day
2. Outlaw Pete (Thankfully, that was just the one tour)
3. Bobby Jean
6. The Ghost Of Tom Joad (Sorry, Nils)
7. Cadillac Ranch
8. Seven Nights To Rock
9. Johnny 99
10. Any song where Tom Morello shows up
As for some other artists who I've seen countless times:
1. God's Comic- Elvis Costello
(There is no artist whose in concert banter is as painfully unfunny and clumsy as Costello's, and "God's Comic," an already too long song, is usually filled with it.)
2. Hammer In My Heart- Utopia
A minor hit for Todd Rundgren in 1982, this song shifts gears 3 times, and all 3 are incredibly cheesy and ham-handed. It was okay in the 80s, when Utopia pounded out a full band version. But Todd, inexplicably kept this driving "dance" tune in his acoustic set for years. Just horrible.
3. China Girl- David Bowie
A terrible song by Iggy, even worse by Bowie. Why this was a hit, I'll never know.
4. TIE: Can't You Hear Me Knockin/Midnight Rambler- Rolling Stones
The Stones are a rock and roll band. And of course, they can play the blues. But their chops are just not made for extended jamming.
5. Non Fiction- The Black Crowes
This tune is a sweet, 4 minute acoustic ballad that becomes a 15 minute showcase for the band to pretty much not do anything. I've said this before, the Black Crowes are my favorite band to see live, but their extended jamming rarely amounts to much, and this song, when performed live, is the best example of wasted time.