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Playin' in a Travelin' Band
September 13, 2012 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Springsteen in the USA: 40 years of Touring as a Study in Spatial Diffusion "As a geographer, 1500+ shows over 40 years is an opportunity to map...how phenomenons such as innovation, fashion, or disease spread geographically. Except in this case the contagion is rock ‘n roll."
posted by Miko (21 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Of course, "They say you’ve never really seen a Bruce Springsteen concert until you’ve seen one in Europe..."
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:44 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sucks to be a Springsteen fan in Montana, evidently.
posted by yoink at 11:55 AM on September 13, 2012


Sucks to be a Springsteen fan in Montana, evidently.

FTFY.

(Seriously, Montana is sparsely populated and not on the way to anywhere.)
posted by madcaptenor at 11:58 AM on September 13, 2012


A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.
posted by chavenet at 12:00 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ironic lack of heat signature in Nebraska in 1982-83.
posted by MoonOrb at 12:02 PM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


I enjoyed this post very much. And felt bad for New Mexico.
posted by latkes at 12:07 PM on September 13, 2012


Because I'm from this area, I found this really interesting:

From strictly a population geography standpoint, in the early 1970s you couldn’t do better than being equidistant between New York City (largest city) and Philadelphia (#4): over 20 million souls within a two-hour drive.

I have read a lot of Springsteen-iana, including interviews with the band themselves, and often the credit for the early 70s scene and success goes to the nature of the band itself and of ethnic and cultural factors within the community and region - the black music and doo-wop scene that preceded rock'n'roll there, the mix of Italian/Irish/Eastern European etc immigrants, etc. But the nuts and bolts geographical aspect of this is undeniable, too. There was a big, complicated cultural mixture because this was a big metro area with a giant youth culture and the reason that immigrant/racial mix was there in the first place was because of the cities' economies and surrounding manufacturing and service complex.
posted by Miko at 12:10 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I was in university, I found a way to combine my favourite two subjects (U2 and Geography) into an independent study term paper by analyzing the way U2's ZOO TV tour inverted traditional constructs of "front space" and "back space". Best paper ever. (okay, favourite is a better word then best)

So this is, as they say, relevant to my interests. Awesome.
posted by dry white toast at 1:12 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


i used to be a huge Bruce fan, and passed on a chance to see him back in the club touring days. (Well, I say it was a chance, I might not have gotten in or gotten my parents to drive me, but I had the free tix.)

I still really like Bruce's music, but nowadays I don't think I'd even consider it unless the tix were free. There are just too many Springsteen fans at those things...
posted by lodurr at 1:52 PM on September 13, 2012


dry white toast, you tease -- tell us more. no, seriously, tell us more. put it in small type if you're self-conscious.
posted by lodurr at 1:53 PM on September 13, 2012


I saw one of those shows in Fargo ND. It was a night that Patti was sick so it was just the boys on the loose onstage. "Badlands" hit with the fury of one of God's fists. The red dot on that map should have burned like an atomic bomb.
posted by Ber at 8:44 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Awesome maps are awesome. I feel obliged to say that this is not snark.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 11:57 PM on September 13, 2012


I still really like Bruce's music, but nowadays I don't think I'd even consider it unless the tix were free.

You are doing yourself a grave disservice.
posted by Optamystic at 4:39 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


optamystic, maybe -- but if i drop $120 on concert tix i feel a strong pressure to have a good time, and that's hard enough to do under pressure when not surrounded by people who think "Born in the USA" is an optimistic song. (funny you should say this, though -- my wife was just saying the other day 'springsteen is coming to town, why don't you go?')

mind, I hope bruce goes on until he's all gray and has to take a cane on stage with him, and I have to suspect he will. i have some serious respect for a guy who can keep a band that good going for that long (even with a long hiatus) and still work as hard at playing as he does. that he so clearly loves every minute of it just ices the thing. so yeah, you may be right, but...
posted by lodurr at 6:16 AM on September 14, 2012


Having seen him a few weeks ago at Hyde Park, I'd say that $120 would be money very well spent.
posted by Optamystic at 7:44 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


lodurr, why do you have this caricature of Springsteen fans if you've never been to a Springsteen show?

I saw him as recently as 2008, and I was left with the impression that the arena was filled with, well, fans, who actually love and appreciate his music. He's probably 25 years past the point where people turn out to his show in droves because it's the cool thing for him to do.

So, while the tickets aren't cheap, if concerts are something you ordinarily spend money on anyway, you might enjoy yourself a lot more than you think.

And, just my opinion, but it will be a lot cooler to tell people "Yeah, I saw Springsteen and he was pretty great even in 2012" than "I passed up a chance to see Springsteen before he was cool."
posted by MoonOrb at 8:37 AM on September 14, 2012


So...during release/tour of "Nebraska", he doesn't he even go to Nebraska..??
posted by foxhat10 at 10:15 AM on September 14, 2012


Sitting next to us this past April at the HP Pavilion show were a father and (adult) stepson who flew up from Phoenix because there was no Phoenix stop (at that point, there is on the current leg) and the dad absolutely had to see Badlands with a full horn section. When the first notes of that song came through the speakers early in the show, well, I'm not sure of the last time I saw someone so happy without naked people in the room.

I miss Clarence and Danny but this year's show was as much fun for me as the ones I saw in '80/81 in LA. All those horns add unbelievable power to an already powerful sound!

As it happens someone recorded the Helsinki show audio from (what is claimed to be) the soundboard and posted it to YouTube.
posted by billsaysthis at 10:23 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


if i drop $120 on concert tix i feel a strong pressure to have a good time, and that's hard enough to do under pressure when not surrounded by people who think "Born in the USA" is an optimistic song.

I've seen him twice on this tour, 5 times in the past 10 years. This isn't the experience. The "born in the USA" days are long past; the majority of the people in the audience are true fans who know every word to every song, understand what's being said, and relate emotionally to it. They're salt of the earth people, and I always enjoy meeting and singing along with my seat neighbors. We all remember the type of fair-weather idiot fan you mean, but they haven't been to a Springsteen show for a long, long time. Everything changed with The Rising and now it's a pretty great community. Also, he puts such emphasis on the live show as an opportunity to leave the world behind and escape into a communal, transcendent musical experience that it's pretty damn hard not to want to contribute to that.

The shows are better than ever. You should go.
posted by Miko at 1:31 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


lodurr, why do you have this caricature of Springsteen fans if you've never been to a Springsteen show?

Mostly from meeting them.
posted by lodurr at 11:45 AM on September 18, 2012


Fair enough, I guess our experiences have differed greatly. I'd nevertheless encourage you to be openminded about his shows since if you're a fan you might be pleasantly surprised--especially if your expectations are so low!
posted by MoonOrb at 1:35 PM on September 18, 2012


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