Man's work

By GARY SUSMAN  |  May 23, 2006

Despite the professed minimalism of the new band, they had 11 pieces (two guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, and six backing vocalists), making up in raw force what they lacked in richness of color. The one holdover from the E Street Band was Roy Bittan's cinematic keyboard work, but my ear missed that band's tonal diversity only during "Badlands," which was lacking Clarence Clemons's saxophone break.

The new band did free up Springsteen for guitar heroics, whether he was dueling with new guitarist Shane Fontayne (whose batter of distortion pedals complemented his Hendrix-like attack) or replacing an old Clemons solo with the sort of stinging feedback-laden breaks he had eschewed since Darkness on the Edge of Town. The band had more of a gospel/R&B feel, thanks to two secret weapons: soul veteran Bobby King and multi-instrumentalist Crystal Taliefero (who even appeared beneath a hulking alto sax during "Born To  Run"). Already, the band seem loose and comfortable, giving such new ravers as "Man's job" and "Roll of the Dice" the same feel as old favorites like "Hungry Heart" and "Glory Days."

"I'm a big daddy now," Springsteen beamed between songs. "A lot more work than these records." Indeed, his vitality and acrobatics on stage (and into the audience) seemed as effortless as ever. He pushed each song as far as it could go, then pushed farther. Near midnight, when the show seemed to have reached its conclusion (seven songs into the encore, with the pensive ballad "My Beautiful Reward," which had been the final number at the New Jersey shows), he asked, "Anybody gotta get up early tomorrow?" Then he launched into a jackhammering "Workin on the Highway," miming shoveling as be skipped across the stage, as if to say, "This ain't work!" It seemed he could have played another four hours. At any rate, Springsteen left no doubt that he's a real man.

< prev  1  |  2  | 
Related: He's the Boss, Bruce Springsteen’s rock dream: Little Big Man as Hot Rod hero, Springsteen comes of age, More more >
  Topics: Music Features , Celebrity News, Entertainment, Music Stars,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY GARY SUSMAN
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   REVIEW: SALT  |  February 24, 2011
    "Who is Salt?" ask the promos for this movie. Doesn't really matter — all you need to know is that she's the latest Angelina Jolie heroine.
  •   FANBOYS  |  February 19, 2009
    Bonus points to director Kyle Newman for upping Kristen Bell's already solid geek cred (and for squeezing her into Princess Leia's gold bikini).
  •   ‘HELL’ YEAH!  |  November 11, 2008
    The richness of Guillermo del Toro's vision as a filmmaker is even more visible in Hellboy II: The Golden Army than it was in 2004’s Hellboy , the last movie he made before Pan's Labyrinth .
  •   DARJEELING UNLIMITED  |  October 03, 2007
    Movie miniaturist Wes Anderson ( The Royal Tenenbaums , Rushmore ) expands his horizons in The Darjeeling Limited.
  •   BECOMING JANE  |  August 01, 2007
    Anne Hathaway is game enough as Jane, though she has to spend an awful lot of time on the verge of tears.

 See all articles by: GARY SUSMAN