Monday, February 2, 2009

Bruce slides into the camera guy... priceless

After years of turning the NFL down flat, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed an electrifying four-song medley during the half-time show at last night's (February 1st) Super Bowl in Tampa. Springsteen and the band -- who unlike nearly all the half-time acts in recent memory actually looked as though they were enjoying themselves -- were augmented by the Miami Horns on loan from their roadwork with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.

Bruce and the band tore through abbreviated versions of "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out," which in one of the many comical moments in the short set, saw Springsteen's signature knee slide across the stage land him straight into the cameraman who caught it all on tape -- including Springsteen cracking up at the bang-up; "Born To Run" which dropped the "Wendy let me in..." verse; the new "Working On A Dream" backed by the Inaugural Celebration Chorus, who first backed "The Boss" last month in Washington, D.C. at the Lincoln Memorial; and finally "Glory Days" with the baseball lyrics replaced with football terms including the no-brainer switch from "speedball" to "Hail Mary." Springsteen and right-hand man Steve Van Zandt had fun vamping as they brought the song to a close.

The highpoint for diehard fans was seeing Springsteen play his retired Fender hybrid Telecaster-Esquire guitar which has been completely absent from his live shows over the past few years. The guitar -- which has a Telecaster body and an Esquire neck -- was Springsteen's primary instrument from 1972 to 2000 and is pictured on the album covers of Born To Run, Live 1975-1985, Human Touch, Plugged, and Greatest Hits.

Nils Lofgren prior to the game explained the pros and cons of the band signing on for the half-time gig: "It goes way beyond a gig. First of all, TV is always never your favorite thing to do in a great band -- because it removes the three hour sweat fast, the day of prep, the whole ease into this incredible environment. But that being said -- it's... after 40 years on the road, it's without a doubt gonna be the best and greatest TV show opportunity any of us will ever have."

Springsteen spoke to The New York Times about his decision to finally play the Super Bowl, explaining, "It was sort of, well, if we don't do it now, what are we waiting for? I want to do it while I'm alive. At my age, it is tough to get word of your music out. If we weren't doing these big things, there's no middle things."

He added: "It was very challenging to try and get (the set to fit into) that exact 12 minutes. I found that in a funny way it was very freeing. OK, these are your boundaries, so put everything that you have into just this box. If you do it right, you should feel the tension of it wanting to spread beyond that time frame. But it can't."

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