Click here to see Springsteen’s Highway to Hell!
And now the transition is complete, from the era of recordings to live performance, from you need to own it to you need to be there.
As bad as this audience video is, I’m sure the experience of being there was absolutely delicious. Like the surfers in Malibu always say…YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE YESTERDAY!
You watch the shenanigans of Pink and the dancing fools.
You feel the work of Springsteen here.
How can he get it so wrong on wax, but so right live? How can he break out of the stultification of playing the same hits to adoring fans to throwing a curve ball so wide, yet over the plate, that he’s got our jaws dropping?
This rock and roll is a curious thing. It’s a thread that runs through us that is in danger of dying because those playing it today are too often shoegazers so obscure, with tinny guitars and poor vocals, that only the indoctrinated get it.
But in the days of yore, a band started off just left field enough that they earned an initial fan base and the rest of us caught up when they cut their definitive hit.
For Bruce it was “Born To Run.”
For AC/DC it was “You Shook Me All Night Long.”
And as great as “Rosalita” is, there’s a veritable classic on AC/DC’s second album, “It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll).”
Ain’t that the truth.
I tell you folks
It’s harder than it looks”
Every band was unique. Not only did every picture tell a story, but everybody’s scrapbook was different. Unlike school, unlike the straight and narrow path, rock and roll was a sui generis adventure wherein you learned how to play, got some gigs, went on the road, and listened to the radio and bought records all the while.
To know Bruce Springsteen knows “Highway To Hell” is even more refreshing than knowing he was aware of all those Mitch Ryder killers he used to cover three decades past.
Because once upon a time we were all students of the game.
And we were all in it together.
And the road we were on…WAS THE HIGHWAY TO HELL!
We didn’t know where we were going, only that we had to put the pedal to the metal to get there faster. We weren’t planning for our future like Generation Y, worried about our retirement and credit scores, we were into feeding the beast and feeling good.
And that’s what you do at the show.
It’s not a movie.
It’s not the same thing every night.
It’s a living, breathing, enterprise full of surprises.
More like this please.
P.S. The highlight, other than the riff, is when Morello and then Lofgren and then Bruce and then Little Steven solo on this rock classic. Because like that old Kiki Dee nugget, they’ve got the music in them, you can feel it, you just want to get closer, and isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?
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