Re: Philly Rally Random Notes
- From: jon ross <jonmross@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 6 Oct 2008 07:29:38 -0700 (PDT)
Fine review of the show here:
Set is short, but Springsteen still long on emotion
By Dan DeLuca
Inquirer Music Critic
Bruce Springsteen showed up on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway yesterday
with sleeves rolled up and a harmonica rack around his neck.
With Billy Penn over one shoulder and the Cathedral Basilica of SS.
Peter and Paul over the other, the rock star as agit-pop troubadour
took, as he put it, to "exploring the distance between American
promise and American reality" in a 40-minute solo set that surveyed
his career through a Woody Guthrie lens, and did its inspirational
best to boost his preferred candidate for president of the United
"I'm not Barack Obama, but I'll do my best," Springsteen said, stoking
his own base while telling the crowd, which included Obama volunteers
and non-rowdy Bruce fans, that "it's good to be back in my home away
With that, he went into a "Promised Land" that was dusty and spry,
quick-strummed on acoustic guitar. He sang in a cracked country voice,
folksy and intimate without the thunder of the E Street Band, but full
of belief and itching for a fight.
That and the six songs that followed - including Guthrie's "This Land
Is Your Land," complete with oft-omitted Depression-era lyrics about
"some are grumbling, and some are wondering, if this land is still
made for you and me" - all adhered to the Springsteen strategy of
cataloging dreams on the verge of being crushed, bucked up by a faith
that refuses to die.
"The Ghost of Tom Joad" kept up the Dust Bowl theme, taking a page out
of John Steinbeck with its "Wherever somebody's strugglin' to be free,
look in their eyes, Mom, you'll see me."
But this wasn't the dour acoustic Springsteen of the mid-1990s Tom
Joad tour, weighed down by despair. In 31/2 decades, the guy has
learned a trick or two about holding an oversize audience's attention.
"I've played to some crowds in big stadiums," he said, laughing. "Just
like Sen. Obama."
And yesterday he kept the tempo moving, letting the crowd handle the
"show a little faith" line in "Thunder Road." The songs were delivered
with cheer and combativeness, their confidence unwavering.
"We tried this four years ago," he said, alluding to the Vote for
Change tour of 2004. "This time, we're winning."
The matching of material to occasion extended to the oldie for the
hard-core fans: "Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?" from 1973's
Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. Two birds were killed with one
manically verbose stone with a song Springsteen remembered "playing
many, many times at the Main Point" in Bryn Mawr. It has two prominent
lines that could have been written for the Obama campaign: "The Daily
News asks me for the dope. I said, 'Man, the dope's that there's still
Springsteen referred to America as "a repository of hope" and "a house
of dreams" in an impressively articulate speech that preceded "The
That dream house, he declared, "can't be pulled down by a thousand
George Bushes or a thousand Dick Cheneys." And it provided Springsteen
with a reclamation metaphor he artfully meshed with the 9/11-inspired
"The Rising" and "This Land Is Your Land," the latter infused with a
Bo Diddley-beat-powered "Yes we can" chant.
"I want my house back," Springsteen declared. "I want my America back,
and I want my country back."
- Philly Rally Random Notes
- From: jon ross
- Philly Rally Random Notes
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