Welcome to my asylum for ideas and thoughts on movies, politics, culture, and all things Bruce Springsteen.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

It's Been A While, i Know

shift key's still broken but school's out. I haven't posted in a very long time as things have been wicked busy. Lots to say. However much is important is up to others to figure out.
I caught Bruce last Tuesday night at the Concord Pavilion with my friend Chris. Check out his post from last week about the show. In a nutshell, the performance was so amazing that I've decided this band is who I want to meet me when I die. Never before have I laughed, danced, clapped, sung and cheered so much to. Bruce's energy was intoxicating and yet his only personality was that of ringleader, not rockstar. Eighteen musicians pouring their hearts and souls into songs that are older and bigger than they are. Bruce appeared in his element: surrounded by others making music, louder noise than him and yet harmonious, beautiful music for the soul written and performed by countless, often unknown people who tell tales with music. Just an amazing night.
About forty-five or so minutes of the performance was dedicated to political statements and protest songs, Bruce's included. An old Irish anti-war song, a protest to the Vietnam war, a re-written Depression-era song reinvented to depict the suffering of Katrina victims and Devils and Dust. The latter performed as a funeral dirge, Bruce may have just created yet another anthem for yet another age.

John Henry/O Mary Don't You Weep/Johnny 99/Old Dan Tucker/Eyes on the Prize/Jesse James/Atlantic City/Erie Canal/My Oklahoma Home/Devils & Dust/Mrs. McGrath/How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?/Jacob's Ladder/We Shall Overcome/Open All Night/Pay Me My Money Down (w/ Joan Baez and "Cousin Nicky")

Encore: Bring Them Home (If You Love Your Uncle Sam)/Ramrod/Rag Mama Rag/You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)/Froggie Went A Courtin'/When the Saints Go Marching In

I was tired and sore the next morning as I went to school to administer a disasterous round of final examinations but still can not stop myself from singing or remembering moments of Bruce's most electric, most satisfying performance yet. No intricate memories this time, I think I'll keep those for me.

This morning on NPR's Fresh Air, Teri Gross was interviewing Mary Cheney, whose new book about assisting her father's 2004 election seems to have already been forgotten just two weeks after its release. The interview, for which I caught about ten minutes of, was telling, however, in his summer-before-midterms climate that captures everything shallow about the Bush message and its substance. Cheney, of course, had her keywords and lingo ready to use when describing both her father and his boss as well as John Kerry, the Democratic challenger who probably would have won the election had it been executed democratically in the state of Ohio. Cheney carefully guarded her tongue when discussing Republican members of Congress who have recently been unabashed in their homophobia, as this is an issue that may very well split the party in the November election. What has most telling and sad was this woman who showed clear signs of strain from serving two masters: her father and his party and her own politics and beliefs on issues that matter to her. Here was Mary, defending Bush/Cheney's positions on gay marriage in a tone of respect while discussing her fourteen year relationship with her partner to whom she considered being married. The sad aspect of this is that she must remain torn if she is to still remain in the public eye a dutiful daughter to a family and party that thrives only when dividing families and citizens of this country on the bigotry and prejudice and religion of less than half this country. Cheney went on to disclaim that the Bush administration was "beholden" to the religious right; she claimed that it had governed freely and hoped that no administration would cowtow to such a small, splintered group. How said that candor and honesty were absent from these statements as the historical record of the last five years completely counters and disproves Cheney's words. If any president has been beholden to anti-science, anti-modernity, anti-education, anti-acceptance anti-tolerance, it's George W. Bush. I can only imagine his father (not one to be received kindly as a good leader himself) who felt it necessary to try driving Donald Rumsfeld out of his job in order to save his son's presidency and mark on history thinking that his son's biggest problem has been wrapping himself around such a flag of fasco-religionists. It will be the death-knell of any modern president to side with such a group of people. However, it is ironic that what we call religious extremism in other countries we call down-home patriotism in ours.