I’m a little concerned. I’m a long time fan. We’ve been in concert together since 1978 and your shows set the bar pretty damn high. You’re one of my most enduring relationships. I know it must seem weird to look out on your stage and start up a new song like “Jack of all Trades” and see some folks making a beeline for beer or bathrooms. Me? I take care of both before the show as it’s a long way from the $6 I paid at Shea’s Buffalo in 78.
But the complete album shows of late? I know the European audiences are better at being at the show than American ones are. We sometimes get a little too caught up at the idea of being at the event, instead of actually being there. Playing the hits isn’t a bad thing by any measure. The Rolling Stones haven’t done anything else in twenty years easy. I’m not a fan of the complete album play. Born to Run and Darkness are one thing as they are sort of suites to a degree, but the Born in the USA recitations just feel like a good hits medley. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I dislike the record. It’s that you are still saying new things too.
The output over the past decade has been great. While I’m a little tired of Lonesome Day and it’s a little troubling watching parents force some terrified kids to sing “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day, I move past that as Magic album has some great moments, and the “lost arguments” of the Promise have a few moments that might spice things up in concert.
You’re responsible for many of my favorite in-concert moments and I know you are playing to the folks who go, that this is their one night, but you have a great catalog and reaching all through that library continues to create some special shows even this summer. I read some setlists and thought “dayam, to be there” and I’ve read a few others that made me wonder what was in the water.
I cringed a little when the signs were a regular thing as you can program this thing of ours better than we can. I just hope it isn’t a case of being out of ideas or bored, don’t be afraid to play to some more of the recent stuff . “What to be afraid of, they’re not gonna clap as much?” You said that when making 14 out of 29 songs from the new record in 1980. I still have the bootleg, it was that good. Most recently when I watched Incident on 57 th Street dovetail into Rosalita, just like on the record, I got a chill as you indeed still got it.
Don’t get me wrong. Love Born to Run, Darkness and Born in the USA, all fine albums, but you got others and as recent shows have shown, like in San Siro and Gajin, you have a repetoire that can thrill. I recently became reacquainted with “New York City Serenade” and it currently is a favorite, not leaving the car cd player for very long.
You can still make the audience “earn their keep.”
And we’re still up for the challenge. You once directly told me from the stage that “You da man” for seeing that a tossed harmonica made it to the actual intended recipient. I bragged about that for days. The same four people got a little tired of hearing. My daughter told me she gets picked on for liking “Thunder Road.” I told her, “me, too.”
You add a few dates in the states in the fall, I’ll probably be there, hoping to hear Gypsy Biker right along with Racing in the Street.
In the meantime, thanks (but don’t be jukebox)