Monday, February 02, 2009
It's Boss Time!
The people at Best Week Ever put together this highlights reel of the awesomest/corniest moments of Springsteen's transcendent/cheeseball halftime show.
I thought it was kind of perfect-- I like Bruce much better as the consummate showman rock and roller, rather than the ultra-earnest savior of the working man (or in the case of The Rising, savior of the entire country) persona he busts out every few years. And the mini-set brought out everything I love (and used to hate) about the E Street Band.
On one hand, you had Bruce's almost Cosby-esque intro ("Put DOWN the chicken fingers!") and the gimmick where he and multiple E Streeters grimace while shout-singing into the same mic (which culminated in the exclamation by Lil' Silvio Dante Van Zandt that gives this post its title). It was crap like that which prevented me from listening to or enjoying Bruce Springsteen for most of my life. But now that I'm into the Boss, I love that shit.
But more importantly, you had
1) Them creating the iconic silhouette image of Bruce leaning against the Big Man to open the set (Awesome).
2) The power slide into the cameraman (Awesome, hilarious).
3) The spinning his guitar around his neck part (Awesome).
And most importantly, that bit at the beginning of Tenth Avenue Freeze Out where he falls to his knees as the song kicks in. I saw Bruce for the first time on the last tour and he opened with that song (after a warmup with Summertime Blues). He stretched that intro out (with the capacity Giants Stadium crowd chanting along with that horn line from the beginning) for what seemed like forever. And then finally, FINALLY, the song kicks in with a loud smack of Max's drums, the whole band explodes and Bruce falls to his knees making love to the mic stand. One of the better rock and roll moments out there.
It was interesting -- and telling -- that they chose to open with that song. It set the tone for what he did with the set. He could have easily played "Born in the USA" (thereby embracing the collective misunderstanding of the song) and "The Rising," with pictures of Barack Obama behind him-- y'know, went for the universal sentiments, like U2 did post-9/11. But instead he played what is actually a really insular song that is all about the mythology of the E Street Band (with the key moment being Clarence's brief sax solo after the line "A change was made uptown and the Big Man joined the band..."). With that song as the context, I didn't mind the cheesy Steve Van Zandt stuff, and actually kind of loved it.
The referee gag was a bit much though.