Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Boss rehearsals, Little Stevie sheds some light on rock and roll

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band kicked off the first of their two rehearsal shows at New Jersey's Asbury Park Convention Hall last night (March 23rd). According to fan reports, the band was augmented with two backup singers, Curtis King and Cindy Mizelle, who both toured with Springsteen in 2006 as part of the Seeger Sessions Band. Springsteen played a total of 24 songs, premiering six tracks from his new Working On A Dream album. Last night's gig also featured the E Street Band's debut performance of Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally."

Last night's Asbury Park setlist: "Outlaw Pete," "My Lucky Day,"
"Night," "Out In The Street," "Working On A Dream," "Johnny 99," "I Ain't Got No Home" (Woody Guthrie song); "Good Eye," "Radio Nowhere," "Candy's Room," "Because The Night," "Mary's Place," "The Wrestler," "This Life," "Long Walk Home," "Surprise, Surprise," "Badlands," and "No Surrender."

ENCORES: "Hard Times Come Again No More Again" (Stephen Foster song), "Mustang Sally" (Wilson Pickett song); "Thunder Road," "Born To Run," "American Land," and "Seven Nights To Rock" (Moon Mullican song)

Springsteen performs again tonight (March 24th) at the Convention Hall for the second E Street Band rehearsal show.

Backstreets.com reported that Springsteen hopped onstage Saturday night (March 21st) in Long Branch, New Jersey at the Ocean Palace Resort at a fundraiser for the Ranney School -- where his youngest children Jessica and Sam both attend.

Playing an off-white Fender Telecaster, "The Boss" joined house band the Panther Club and tore through a three-song set consisting of Wilson Pickett's "634-5789," and "Mustang Sally" before wrapping things up with the Isley Brothers' "Twist And Shout."

Steven Van Zandt was a guest speaker on Friday (March 20th) at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas and delivered a powerful lecture on the state of rock and roll.

Van Zandt spelled out the key problems regarding the continued growth of rock, saying in part: "Rock n' roll is the working class art form. Real rock n' roll . . . is equal opportunity, regardless of race, education or how much money you got, since the working class don't think too much about what is art and what is not. Mostly because they're too busy working. They spend their time on their craft, the practical useful stuff. So let's get back to basics for a moment, what is our craft?"

Van Zandt went on to say: "Rock n' roll had always been a two-part craft, performance and record-making, and that turned into a three-part craft for bands, when songwriting was added after the Beatles changed the world."

He went on to say, "The crisis in performance is, I believe, based on one simple fact. When it started, rock n' roll was dance music. One day we stopped dancing to it and started listening to it and it's been downhill ever since. We had a purpose . . . we made people dance or we did not work, we didn't not get paid, we were fired, we were homeless. That requires a very different energy. To compel people to get out of their chairs and dance, it's a working-class energy, not an artistic, intellectual, waiting-around-for-inspiration energy. It's a get-up, go-to-work-and-kill energy. Rip it up, or die trying."

To read Van Zandt's chat in full, log on to: blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/2009/03/22/sxsw-day-three-little-steven-and-rocks-crisis-in-craft/

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