S is still for Bruce Springsteen, now for the final two categories of favourites from The Boss.
Songwriting Genius – Often forgotten amid the anthems, Bruce is a great writer!
(1) You’re Missing – Never found another song that better captures how it feels to lose someone you love. That sense that life is carrying on everywhere while you struggle to come to terms with the absence of somebody. One of the most moving songs I have ever heard – and not just me, at one of the London concerts in 2003, Clarence Clemons was in tears on stage during this one.
(2) Independence Day – Brilliant song about a father/son relationship, all it means, and the regrets that it can bring. Also features another of Clarence’s very best solos, which sends shivers down my spine.
(3) Racing In The Street – Many people would probably put this down as “another Springsteen car song”, but it is much more than that, dealing with themes of male self-esteem and pride, disillusionment, and the struggle to maintain our relationships.
(4) One Step Up – Very understated (and under-rated) song from “Tunnel of Love”. It is Bruce’s most personal album, reflecting his own marital difficulties at the time, and this song, more than any other, captures the feelings of frustration that tough times in relationships can bring. All over a superb acoustic/electric guitar track!
(5) The River – A classic, it could fit easily into any category here. Simple but hugely effective storytelling about how your youthful dreams get overtaken by the realities of life.
Great Live Moments – Seen Bruce live 10 times now, each time has been superb, but some moments stand out, especially when he “plays one for me” – pulls out an unexpected song that I particularly like!
(1) Trapped (Hyde Park, London 2009) -The song is a cover, which does not appear on any album, but is a legendary live song from the early 80s. I always hoped I would get to hear it live myself, but never really expected to, but on that day he pulled it out of the bag.
(2) The Rising (Bercy Arena, Paris 2002) – I have loved Bruce Springsteen’s music since 1988, but never saw him live until 2002. The 90s was not one of his golden eras anyway, and his tours back then found me in a position unable to afford tickets (student or early working times). The Rising Tour, I was determined to change that. However, I thought I was thwarted when unable to get a ticket for the show in London. In stepped my then girlfriend (now wife) Sally-Jayne, who bought me a coach/hotel and concert package for the show in Paris as a birthday present. Finally, I was at a Springsteen concert and this was the very first song I heard him play live.
(3) Santa Claus is Coming To Town (O2 Arena, London 2007) – This song has long been a regular on Christmas radio and compilation albums and, despite my general distaste for seasonal records (well, Christmas in general if truth be told), I love it. Heading down to the O2 in London during the “Magic” tour a few days before Christmas 2007, I was secretly hoping this one might make an appearance and, to my delight, Bruce obliged.
(4) Long Walk Home (Millennium Stadium, Cardiff 2008) – The show at the Millennium Stadium in the summer of 2008 was the best I have seen. The setlist was full of favourites and it was the best I have ever heard the E Street Band play. Somewhere in the middle of the concert was a series of songs that all featured fantastic guitar solos by the three guitarists on stage – Bruce, Nils Lofgren and Little Steven. This song was the culmination of that sequence and is the one that has really stayed with me from that amazing night.
(5) Land Of Hope And Dreams (Various) – Another that has never been on a studio album, it is a song I think is great and a highlight of a number of the shows I have seen. The song itself and the way it is performed somehow capture the essence of a concert by Bruce and the E Street Band.
Wow, it has been a long Music Monday this week! But fitting to devote more blog space to a man whose music has been such a big part of my life for so long. I hope the music will continue for years to come, although the future of the E Street Band must be in some doubt with two original members now having passed away. We live in hope.