You Should Expect More

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I’ve never had the chance to be disappointed by a Bruce Springsteen album.

As a relatively new Springsteen obsessive – I’ve only been on board this train for about 5 years – I still feel privileged for any new E Street release in my lifetime.

After all, the wrecking ball will find it’s mark at one point or another on every life. Even Bruce Springsteen will succumb to time. So I’m usually giddy with any news of new Springsteen music.

So, as Bruce’s latest album High Hopes is released worldwide today, why am I so underwhelmed? Continue reading

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We All Tell The Story

Last night I watched a wonderfully fun and intimate new documentary called “Springsteen and I”. The film is comprised entirely of video footage and testimonials submitted by Bruce Springsteen’s biggest fans.

These aren’t scripted, ‘reality-show’ type testimonials. These are raw, honest, personal tellings of each person’s Springsteen story. Some are shot on cell-phone cameras (some even flipped on the wrong side of the iPhone). All of them are unique in the way they relate to The Boss.

There’s the blue-collar couple who’ve never been at the right place or time to see Springsteen in person but hold their own concerts dancing in the dark in their kitchen. There’s the young female truck driver who wouldn’t seem to fit into Bruce’s demographic but connects to the working life he sings so soulfully of. There are children. There are seniors. Citizens all over the world who share how much one man’s music means to them.

None of the people in “Springsteen and I” are storytellers for living. They’re not actors or performers. Their stories aren’t rehearsed or well-polished. Perhaps this is why they resonate so well – they’re just real. Continue reading

Expand Your Setlist

For the bulk of the past 16 months, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band have been on the road supporting their latest album “Wrecking Ball”.

Bruce Springsteen has never been the type of artist to stick to one setlist throughout a tour. Every night is a different experience.

But you wouldn’t fault him and the band for taking things easy in their 16th month on the road. Most in the band are in their 50s and 60s. A year and half on the road takes a toll on even a young man. Plus they’re hitting up fans in Europe who might not know the difference if the band played the same setlist the night before in a different country.

That’s just not what Bruce Springsteen does. In fact the setlists and videos from this leg of the tour show Bruce and the Band are digging deeper into their catalog than ever, adding in songs to these shows like “Lucky Town” that haven’t been played in years.

(Click here if you can’t see the video above.)

Why bother changing up the setlist? Why bust these songs out of storage? Bruce could get by like so many other nostalgia acts and play the same 25 songs each night. He doesn’t have to make each performance into a 3 hour plus epic pulling requests from his expansive catalog at random from fan signs in the crowd. What does he have to prove?

Nothing, of course. But who wants to be stuck singing the same song every night for a year and a half? You’ll drive yourself crazy. To keep living and not just existing, you have to expand the setlist time and time again.

It’s Friday. Time to expand your setlist. Try something totally different today. Go to that restaurant you’ve been wanting to try. Skip work after lunch. Go to a trampoline park and jump around. Play a song you’d rarely hear and make this day a memorable one.

Happy Friday.

Everything Counts

darkness on the edge of town“Springsteen aims for moon and stars; hits and moon and stars.” – Rolling Stone review of Darkness On The Edge Of Town, 1978

At the age of 29, Bruce Springsteen was receiving incredible praise like the quote above on a regular basis for his latest album, Darkness On The Edge Of Town. 

Amidst all the accolades though something is missing. What the reviews don’t say is that before reaching for the moon and stars, Bruce Springsteen was nearly dropped from his record label on a couple of occasions because his first three albums failed to light up the charts.

Before he encountered those problems Bruce Springsteen paid his dues for years serving as an opening act for of-the-moment bands who rode a quick wave of success before falling by the wayside. Bands like Sha Na Na (Yes, really – these guys).

Before those problems Bruce Springsteen struggled to find his voice in a number of local New Jersey bands like Steel Mill, Earth, and Dr. Zoom and The Sonic Boom (Yes, really).

Before that Bruce Springsteen got kicked out of one of his first teenage attempts at a band after two days because he just wasn’t good enough.

Success that hits the moon and stars never comes without pain and failure along the way. In fact success only happens because of the opportunities our failues allow us. Continue reading