Tuesday, 26 June 2012


I had the time of my life seeing Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium on Friday. 27 storming songs in three and a half hours of pure, unadulterated rock n roll! I challenge anyone not to say he isn’t the greatest live act around. I think many of the unconverted think Bruce is going to be a quite earnest act, with his songs of broken dreams and promises populated by often lost and desperate characters, but they couldn’t be further from the truth. A concert by Bruce is such good fun! The way he swings his guitar around his neck like a teenage rocker, hangs upside down from his mike stand, climbs on Professor Roy Bittan’s piano to dance, and feigns exhaustion collapsed on the stage only to be revived by Little Steven’s magic sponge is all so hammy, yet just so great. So uncool it’s totally cool. And he’s 62! 

He also has the ability to make playing in enormous stadiums feel like he is playing in your front room just for you. How does he do that? It’s an art he has perfected for over 40 years, and he is often quoted as saying that when fans come up to him, many years later after witnessing the live spectacle that is Bruce, that it was the best night of their lives, how great that makes him feel because that’s want he wanted it to be. That may be the only concert you ever go to, or something you have spent all your wages on, it needs to count. I can’t think of any other rock star that has such respect for his fans, but also for his own craft and music. I think that’s why he is held in such high regard by those fans, including me. This is how I felt after only fairly recently being converted to him in 2004, by a friend who encouraged me to go see him on ‘The Rising’ tour. I had never seen an act like it, and felt like I never would again. I was basking in a Boss like glow for months, as I bought all the records one by one and followed the story of his development as an artist. I recommend you do the same!

It would be good to write an extended piece about Bruce and his relationship to my painting (I kid you not!). My ‘Stolen Car’ drawings are titled after one of his bleaker songs, and his presence lurks behind many of my recent nocturnal motorway paintings….

Here’s a link to a recent terrific and moving interview with him where he talks about his music, craft and current (brilliant) ‘Wrecking Ball’ album, his website, and another blog I found that discusses why Bruce’s music is so great better than I could hope to articulate….


No comments: