Monday Morning Music: Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town

922853_10153794330701303_7844604813520770486_nAfter Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band finished their second performance on SNL this past Saturday I was fairly disappointed.

Don’t get me wronged – The Boss and the band put on a couple of great performances of songs from their new box set celebrating the 35th anniversary of “The River” (a great Christmas present for the Bruce Springsteen fan and blog writer in your life).

On any other night I would have been elated to hear performances of “Meet Me In The City” and “The Ties That Bind” live on Saturday night.

The only problem was this was the Christmas show. Continue reading

3 Steps To A Successful Halftime Show

I’m kind of done with football at this point.

Between deflated footballs and ridiculous press conferences and domestic violence and post-concussion syndrome, I’m honestly ready for this season to all be over with.

Yes, I’ll be watching the game on Sunday, just for the grand spectacle of it all. But I don’t really have the heart to write anything football related right now. (If you’d like to read something like that I have done it before.)

katy-perry-nfl-650So instead of writing a piece on the big game, I’m going to focus on something far less upsetting: the Super Bowl Halftime show.

This year Katy Perry will perform in front of the biggest crowd of her life. Between the 70,000 or so in attendance at University of Phoenix stadium and what will likely be a record audience watching on television and online, the “Roar” singer will be placed on an incredible platform for arguably the most important 12 minutes of her career.

You might think it’s a pretty special award for Perry to be able to perform on the halftime stage. After all, she is one of the most recognizable pop stars in the world just 7 years after her breakthrough hit “I Kissed A Girl” placed her in the public eye.

But you would be wrong.

Performing the Super Bowl Halftime Show is not an award. It’s an audition. Continue reading

You May Be Wrong

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I got rid of my first Bruce Springsteen CD. 

When I was in high school I purchased a copy of Born In The USA. I knew the songs everybody knew – the title track, “Glory Days”, “Dancing In The Dark”. I was all into exploring classic rock artists at the time and so I gave Bruce a shot.

I gave the CD one listen. I just couldn’t get into it. For some reasons Bruce’s brand of tunes didn’t connect to me at age 17.

So I took Born In The USA to the pawn shop and got some terrible trade-in value for it. The Boss and I went our separate ways.

I used to think I simply wasn’t a Bruce Springsteen fan. Then my tune dramatically changed.  Continue reading

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

Merry Christmas From Conan and The Boss

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

You thought I’d go all Christmas season without writing about Bruce Springsteen?

Did someone ring your Jingle Bells too hard?

Here’s “Merry Christmas Baby” from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band with an assist from Conan O’Brien on guitar.

Yes. Conan O’Brien playing guitar with the E Street Band. If that doesn’t say Christmas, I don’t know what does.

Christmas is a time of celebration. It’s a time of gathering and singing together with everyone around. It’s about inviting people who wouldn’t normally be there into the joy.

Think about it – it wasn’t just Jesus, Mary and Joseph who made the Christmas story possible. God invited three wise men to come out of the East and play a part. He invited an ordinary innkeeper to play a role. He invited the manager of a lowly manger to provide a home for the newborn king.

Ordinary people invited into the extraordinary celebration of the newborn king. Now that’s something to sing about.

If you’re having a humbug kind of day – stop. Breathe. Watch the video. Or find your favorite Christmas song.

Sing along. Take a few minutes to take it all in and consider all the reasons you have to celebrate. Remember God is inviting you to come off the sidelines today and join an incredible story.

Happy Friday.

Merry Friday.

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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.