Our first post this week is about one of the best concerts I have ever been lucky enough to attend. Last Thursday, Gia and I went to go see the latest in the Music for Youth concert series at Carnegie Hall. This time it was celebrating the music of Bruce Springsteen. Da Boss.
I've never been a huge fan, but Gia...well, let's just say she's a true fan. There are stories, believe me, stories from her past about Mr. Springsteen that are truly something. Let's just leave it at that. We had awesome tickets as well. Just about center in a private box with six other folks. Hi-back comfy, velvet seats. Aaargh! I don't think I can ever see a show in a regular seat again!
Great lineup of stars showed up to pay tribute with their rendering of a Springsteen classic. The lineup included the Bacon Brothers (with an uber-skinny Kevin Bacon. Dude, eat a sandwich!), Elysian Fields (who acted as the house band for many of the solo stars), Josh Ritter, Marah (Gia's favorite band...she and I were sooo excited), The Holmes Brothers w/ Young People's Chorus, Robin Holcomb, Jersey Guys featuring Bobby Valli, North Mississippi All-Stars, Uri Cane, Juliana Hatfield, Low Stars, Badly Drawn Boy, Joseph Arthur, Jesse Malin & Ronnie Spector, and M. Ward.
But the highlights of the show, for me and many, many others in attendance, were as follows:
- Steve Earle "Nebraska" - He walks solo onto the stage, looks around and says "Nice joint." Perfect! Great way to start the show. With my favorite song off of my favorite album of the same name.
- Patti Smith "Because the Night" - the first surprise guest of the night, and it gave me goosebumps. I've never seen this legend in concert before and she rocked the house. She even spit on the stage halfway through the song. A clear sign that this rebel still won't act like a lady, even though her deceased husband asked her to if she ever got voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Just amazing!
- Pete Yorn "Dancing in the Dark" - He came out talking about the first time he ever heard Bruce, back in the 80's. He was watching MTV and this dude in a white t-shirt and jeans was dancing around to the "feel-good" hit of the summer. Even pulled up a young Courtney Cox on stage. And he thought "What the hell is this?" Because when you listen to the lyrics, it's really a pretty dark song. And that's how he played it.
- Odetta "57 Channels and Nothing On" - I don't know much about this wonderful woman, but she was escorted onto the stage in a wheelchair and she did a funny, beautiful, spoken verse version of this song. It brought the house down.
- The Hold Steady "Atlantic City" - Another surprise guest, and no one was happier than Gia and I. We are huge fans! I really wanted to hear them do "Rosalita" (and we'll get to that later on), but I love this song as well. And they did a kick-ass version of it. Not at all like the Bruce version. Folks all around us were scrambling for their programs to find out just who they were. Too bad they weren't actually on the program, but we tried to inform as many people as possible. This, my friends, is one damn fine rock and roll band.
But let's get to the clear highlight of the show. Midway through the night, someone in the next box over poked me and said that he just spotted Bruce himself. He was in a private box around 10 doors down from us. We all just knew that he was going to play. I mean, he had to!
And he didn't disappoint. After The Hold Steady rocked the house, he came out and played two acoustic versions of his songs. "Promised Land" and "Rosalita". Towards the end of the latter, he stopped and started talking to the audience. He talked about everything that had happened to our hero from the song until the present day. He and Rosie got married, lived pretty much happily ever after (despite what the tabloids said), the hero became a big star with his band then he got happy and broke up the band, then he started singing happy songs...and nobody like that, so he got the band back together he wrote some sad songs...and everybody liked him again, he put on a few pounds, touched up his hair, and wound up in the greatest city on Earth at the greatest concert hall where all sorts of folks showed up to celebrate his music.
It was awesome!
Then he invited all the artists who performed already to join him on stage for a raucous version of "Rosalita" once again. He asked for volunteers to sing verses, and damn if Craig Finn from The Hold Steady didn't start things off. So I kinda got my wish. That dude is a maniac on stage! He was joined by Badly Drawn Boy, Jesse Malin and Steve Earle. It was a sprawling, crazy time...and a great way to end the show.
I have to say that I am now a fan of Bruce Springsteen. Thanks, Gia!