micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
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Tuesday, March 04, 2003
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, the CBS television special that aired this past Friday, comes across as the Casino (Martin Scorsese, 1995) to the Goodfellas (Scorsese, 1990) that was Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: Live in New York City (Chris Hilson, 2001). The settings and stories are different but the theme is the same, although dulled by the repetition. The Scorsese films tell the story of the corporatization and suburbanization of the U.S., while these music programs are a celebration of the magical state presence possessed by Bruce Springsteen. The compelling nature of Springsteen as a stage performer is undeniable in this program. Through what appears to be a combination of innate talent, loads of practice and force of will, Springsteen is able to take audiences on a trip through the intersections of the happier and rougher sides of life that would seem cliched with any other guide. The call-and-response that Springsteen engages with the audience in seems to reflect a connection that does not extend to the real world but is real and true within the fantasy concert universe.
Unlike Live in New York City, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band does not even attempt to come across as a full concert or to reflect the changes and pacing that the live performances entail. Working with a little less than 60 minutes, the presentation is rather just a few snapshots of Springsteen and the band practicing their trade. If and when this special comes out on DVD, I would like to see a full concert constructed but there is little reason to think that is actually going to happen. Despite the presentation's disjointed nature in relation to a live show, I find it hard to pick out any one section that stands out. If I had to make a choice, it would be "Waiting On A Sunny Day," but perhaps only because that performance can be viewed on the web via Quick Time, Real and Windows Media.
By far the most disappointing aspect of this special does not have to do with the program as a text but rather with the public's reaction to it. Airing at 9 p.m. in most of the United States, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band placed fourth in its timeslot behind a "news" magazine, a "reality" t.v. show and a Baywatch special.