Photo courtesy of Flickr's Nigulat:
October 25, 2007
Better than: John Mellencamp
Download: John Stewart Dancing with Springsteen
Truly the biggest sign that arena rock is long dead and gone is the fact that you can no longer find lighters with adjustable flame control. Yes, this means that when the encore begins, you cannot set that sucker on "concert length" while you whoop for Skynnyrd to come back out.
There was a pathetic smattering of lil lights when Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band went backstage before his encore, probably because this guy is known for his marathon concerts, and we all knew he was damn sure gonna come back to the stage. He did, and lit into "Badlands," "Thunder Road," and "Dancing in the Dark," all with the
full arena lights on. In a place as big as the Oracle, seeing the band play with all the lights on has a strange, equalizing effect. He was just another guy up there, playing his blue-collar heart out, and we were all his honored guests. It was the closest thing to a Christian revival that Godless heathens like ourselves will ever find, and more than enough reason to revive arena rock for this soul-searcher.
Bruce is getting older, which, by the way, can be said of about 90% of the audience. Is his brand of rock truly as dead as the concert length lighter? Sure, there was a smattering of Nebraska-lovin' hipsters, but beyond that, it was an over 50 demographic. Bruce is allowed to get older, though. This ain't the Strokes. He'll be going strong 'til he's 100.
But here's the real magic of Bruce Springsteen: He makes you proud to be an American; no easy feat for a liberal these days. He is a true Democrat on a Republican's salary, speaking up for the little guy and decrying the effects of the Bush years. He introduced many of his songs by talking about the death of Habeus Corpus, lies that have gotten us into intractable situations, and the soldiers on the front lines. He reminded us that America was still here, the ideas behind our nation are still here, somewhere. I was proud of my countryman and my country. It also helps that his music is epic and soaring; I suppose it brings up those same feelings that Sean Hannity gets when
he hears "God Bless The USA."
Well, God bless Bruce Springsteen. And god-fucking-bless arena rock!
--Katy St. Clair