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You can call Bruce Springsteen "King B"...
March 2, 2014 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Touring Australia and New Zealand, Springsteen has been opening his sets with special treats for local audiences.

Bruce covers Lorde in her hometown, Auckland.
Bruce covers AC/DC in Bon Scott's hometown, Perth.
Bruce covers INXS in their hometown, Sydney.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch (53 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bruce has started selling live downloads of complete shows from his current tour. Now if he'd only dig back and make that Winterland show available...
posted by ogooglebar at 9:19 AM on March 2 [4 favorites]


Wow, he's aging gracefully - that's cool. For somebody who donned "the Boss" as a moniker so early in life, he projects a surprising amount of humility and empathy. Being from Oregon, Bruce has been my ambassador of New Jersey for these past 40 years or so. May it always be so.
posted by dylanjames at 9:30 AM on March 2 [5 favorites]


In Cape Town, he did The Specials Free Nelson Mandela.
posted by cazoo at 9:30 AM on March 2 [8 favorites]


Bruce has started selling live downloads of complete shows from his current tour.

Considering how fast his shows are selling out, that's a good thing. /bitter about missing seats to the Houston show that went on sale Friday even though I was on the site at 10 AM.
posted by immlass at 9:33 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Lorde's lyrics and Bruce's Nebraska style aren't too far apart, are they?

And yeah, as for aging gracefully, Bruce and Bowie are making Dylan and Sir Paul look kinda sad.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 9:38 AM on March 2


For somebody who donned "the Boss" as a moniker so early in life, he projects a surprising amount of humility and empathy.

He didn't don that moniker, and is said to dislike it, just for the record.
posted by Etrigan at 9:38 AM on March 2 [5 favorites]


I see no evidence for this idea that Bruce is aging....
posted by chavenet at 9:46 AM on March 2 [6 favorites]


aw, I LOVE This. As someone who has attended several concerts on a bands tour, I would love if more people ran with this idea. If only to remind e what city I'm in.
posted by dabitch at 9:49 AM on March 2


they came through oklahoma a couple years ago and i got to go - and let me tell you, no matter what you think about big shows and old acts and even bruce springsteen himself - if you like to watch live music, you owe it to yourself to see them. 2 1/2 hours into the set the man did a straight up, full fledged stage slide. it's balls to the wall energy the whole way through - even on the intense quiet songs. also, when i saw him, he donned an ill fitting, beat up cowboy hat for parts and that visual will make me giggle for the rest of my life.
posted by nadawi at 9:50 AM on March 2 [5 favorites]


He did Stephen Foster's "Hard Times Come Again No More" when I saw him in Pittsburgh a few years ago as a tribute to our city's most famous songwriter.
posted by octothorpe at 9:56 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


I suppose these are better options than "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport."
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:56 AM on March 2 [7 favorites]


Friday on My Mind
posted by stevil at 9:56 AM on March 2


In Brisbane, he did The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive".
posted by gladly at 9:57 AM on March 2 [10 favorites]


Still one of the best acts in rock and roll. Any and all "indie rock" bands owe it to themselves to see this man and his band in action.
posted by ReeMonster at 10:00 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


This is a real thing? I saw this the other day and figured it was part of Fallon's big first week. I love Bruce, but this is self-parody more than anything else.
posted by cedar at 10:01 AM on March 2


I'm seeing Lorde Tuesday, and I hope she plays Tenth Avenue Freeze Out.
posted by cmoj at 10:01 AM on March 2 [26 favorites]


Word on the street is he still puts on an amazing show.

Also, with regards to him selling downloads of his performances this tour, all bands should do that if they are able. Pearl Jam does it and it's awesome.
posted by tnecniv at 10:04 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Bruce is a top man in my humble. Americans should (and do) feel proud to have such a son of their sod. He sings a beautiful vision of his country, I'm glad to know about and listen to him. Full marks to New Jersey.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:14 AM on March 2 [6 favorites]


tom morello discusses the tour, the new album, and working/recording with bruce.
posted by nadawi at 10:24 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]


Also, with regards to him selling downloads of his performances this tour, all bands should do that if they are able. Pearl Jam does it and it's awesome.

Definitely cool. Punk stalwarts Fugazi have done the same and then some releasing some 750 of the 1000 or so concerts they ever played for (naturally, them being them) $5 a piece.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:24 AM on March 2


I was going to make a comment about what, no "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport?" but then I came across Rolf Harris's Wikipedia page and discovered he was going on trial for twelve accounts of indecent assault and child pornography and now I just feel depressed.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:27 AM on March 2


I love the idea but with Royals he seemed to be struggling with the range, and I feel like if you're not going to learn the words you shouldn't bother.
posted by bleep at 10:53 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


aww, it's sweet
posted by dreamling at 11:09 AM on March 2


He sings a beautiful vision of his country
Down in the shadow of penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I'm ten years burning down the road
Nowhere to run ain't got nowhere to go
Born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
I'm a long gone daddy in the U.S.A.
I'd say "accurate" more than "beautiful" but I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
posted by Talez at 11:54 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]


It is sweet. I don't interpret this as Bruce joking around. I think the Royals cover is completely sincere, and I think it's actually touching that he'd do it in Aukland.

I read this as him sending a message, legitimizing Lorde very intentionally. Lorde gets a lot of shit, and most of it is because she has class conscious lyrics and she doesn't conform to what people want a female teen pop star to be. So "Royals" gets written off as naive teen idealism. But as lyrics written by seventeen year olds go, it's top notch work, and the fact that Bruce could tweak it a little and make it work in his voice, totally sincerely, says a lot.

"I drive a Cadillac in my dreams" is a line that Bruce would've written in his twenties. And all those lyrics referencing contemporary trappings of wealth, substitute trappings of wealth from the late 70s, and again, you're not far from a Bruce song from that era.

I'm convinced he did this because he meant it. This is as much a tribute to Lorde as Johny Cash's "Hurt" was a tribute to Trent Reznor.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 12:04 PM on March 2 [28 favorites]


Springsteen covering Dave Dobbyn in NZ seems like a lost opportunity.
posted by kariebookish at 12:40 PM on March 2


Neil Finn was at the gig, had mused on Twitter beforehand whether 3½ hours was too long of a set, and very happily ate his words afterwards. No Finn covers though, apparently.
posted by holgate at 12:45 PM on March 2


I'd say "accurate" more than "beautiful" but I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Actually I was thinking of "we take care of our own", although even that is tinged (or soaked) with irony. But really I meant that his attitude to his country, or what it could or should be, is something I find particularly compassionate and compelling. I don't mean "Born in the USA" is a happy song about how nice it is to be born in the USA.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 12:52 PM on March 2


I'm an INXS super-fan and was moved to tears by Bruce's version of "Don't Change." The song had always had something profoundly moving at its core to my way of hearing it. Musically, it the sound of a perfect day - the opening chords indicating sunrise and that last glorious chord being sunset. In between, the lyrics address somebody the writer loves. There's been darkness, there's been bitterness and there's been evil, but right now everything is perfect. When he sings the words "Don't Change" its with the knowledge that when the sun rises tomorrow, everything will have changed. Those final few soaring "Don't Change" vocals are both s celebration and a kind of keening.

Furthermore, when sung, the song is a recollection of that day, so everyday that passes is one more sad day since that perfect day. INXS covered a bunch of their own songs on their 2011 Original Sins album with a variety of lead singers. On "Don't Change," keyboardist and songwriter Andrew Farriss and Kirk Pengilly capture a little bit of the song's elegiac quality. I feel like Bruce finds it too. What a remarkable performer.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:55 PM on March 2 [5 favorites]


Springsteen covering Dave Dobbyn in NZ seems like a lost opportunity.

Yeah, 'Loyal' would have been perfect. Failing that, some Crowded House. Or go a bit more left-field like Pearl Jam did and do a Flying Nun cover.

For those interested, setlist.fm lists all his recent shows - I see covers of Aussie bands the Saints and the Easybeats, as well as those mentioned already.

My friend on FB after the first Auckland show:
"I think the moment my night went from spectacular to life-changing was when The Boss said "We're going to play the Born in the USA album -- beginning to end"
posted by Pink Frost at 12:57 PM on March 2 [4 favorites]


I normally am completely dismissive of seeing aging rocker "arena shows" but would totally make an exception for Bruce. The man seems generous and genuine, and his talent is epic.
posted by maxwelton at 1:18 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


By no means miss his Hope Estate cover of "Spill the Wine."
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:49 PM on March 2 [3 favorites]


Apparently he does local covers a lot: In Brazil.

I wonder if some fan already has a list somewhere.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 2:34 PM on March 2


Also, after you watch this, read this.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 2:50 PM on March 2 [4 favorites]


Hrm, I was trying to think of an excuse to post the Royals cover (after seeing it linked on Caryn Rose's Springsteen blog/show diary but couldn't think of one, so this makes me happy.

I find the big picture here just fascinating. These covers are all, afaict, as credible as hell- he sings his heart out, as though he loved the songs. Staying Alive? Hey, why the hell not. But how plausible is it that he even knows any Victor Jara songs? Did he learn that one from Tom Morello? I guess I'm saying I'd love to know how these happen, who picks the songs, and works out the arrangements, etc.

Not that it matters. Maybe it's just that I've been drinking the Springsteen-aid for 30+ years, but I feel like he's either always been, or evolved into, just a lovely interpretative vocalist. I mean he's no Sinatra but the way he works within his limitations, and brings the emotion, really does it for me. The Royals cover slays me, I couldn't say why I suppose but I'm glad to live in a world where he's doing stuff like this, and we all get to know about it.
posted by hap_hazard at 4:16 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


I'm in Australia, and know quite a few people scattered across the country who saw his concerts. Every single one absolutely raved about him; even thise who weren't massive fans to start with.

He is a class act.
posted by Salamander at 5:06 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


In Brisbane, he did The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" yt .

That's hilarious.
posted by homunculus at 5:21 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Is it hilarious? The lyrics, upon examination, are dark and evoke clashes between masculine bravado and the alienation and aimlessness of the modern human condition.

I mean, yeah, it's disco, but there is also a connection to the themes Springsteen uses in his own lyrics.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 5:33 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


Well the Bee Gees are probably best understood as a British Invasion rock band who- like virtually everybody fucking else- experimented a bit with disco in the 70's. In their case - unlike mostly everybody else who tried it - it really really worked out for them, to the point where everybody forgot they were actually, you know, basically a rock band.

I wouldnt have brought up Stayin' Alive as an example of their 70's badassitude- my go-to is Jive Talking- but Springsteen's brass-band-esque arrangement really brings out the bones of it, and yeah, it kicks some ass here.

In conclusion, I have no idea what the word 'hilarious' is even supposed to fucking mean any more.

posted by hap_hazard at 6:34 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


No Midnight Oil? Also, Eddie Vedder doesn't know the words to Highway to Hell? FAIL!
posted by stargell at 8:45 PM on March 2


Oh, I'd pay good money to hear Springsteen cover "Warakurna."
posted by Chrysostom at 7:05 AM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Or Sell My Soul. Or Woah.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 8:31 AM on March 3 [1 favorite]


Holy shit, did all of you see the same video I did? That cover of "Royals" was cringingly, hysterically horrible. I'm embarrassed watching it.
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:16 AM on March 3 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I saw the horrible, embarrassing, David Brent-style version too. I really do like the idea of these performances so I'm just not going to watch the other videos.
posted by Zetetics at 12:07 PM on March 3


in my opinion the covers of ac/dc and the specials are the best linked here. the lorde one was sweet, nice, i'd like to hear him do it in a studio, but not the best live cover i've ever heard.
posted by nadawi at 1:40 PM on March 3


Holy shit, did all of you see the same video I did? That cover of "Royals" was cringingly, hysterically horrible. I'm embarrassed watching it.

Confused. What didn't you like about it?
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 6:27 PM on March 3


Bruce is very talented, but when it comes to Lorde covers, he's no Puddles.
posted by homunculus at 5:44 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


The thing about shows in Houston, immlass, is that almost all shows "sell out" from the original box office, but it's nearly always possible to get seats.

Right now, stubhub has lawn seats at $92, and in the Woodlands those aren't bad at all. It's a markup, but in a city with legal ticket brokers it's just what happens.
posted by uberchet at 7:39 AM on March 5


uberchet: I'm in Austin but I'm a native Houstonian, so I'm familiar with the secondary market. I could have had lawn seats as face value after missing covered seats but I'm too damn old to drive 2 1/2 hours to sit on the lawn. I'll wait until he adds another date or swings through Austin on another leg of the tour. Thanks, though.
posted by immlass at 9:01 AM on March 5


Good point about the lawn. I ponied up for seats in the seated section.

Realistically, the Woodlands pavilion is probably even more than 2.5 hours from Austin. It's an hour north of my Montrose home, and I assume you'd still come in via I-10.
posted by uberchet at 9:40 AM on March 7


Google Maps says cut across from 290 on 1488 at Hempstead for 2:41. I believe it because I think that's about what we did when we went home from Depeche Mode last year. It's really better done as an overnight trip, though. (And Bruce would have been worth it--just not for the lawn. I think if I weren't visually impaired due to eye problems and had a bunch of trouble with the captcha I would have gotten seats, too.)
posted by immlass at 5:31 PM on March 7


I saw Bruce in Coventry. It was amazing. But he didn't do a Specials cover, and now I've seen that I feel a little cheated, so I'm just going to pretend that was us rocking out, not Cape Town.
posted by Helga-woo at 3:18 AM on March 8


For the record, I did see Lorde. It was a fun show, but she didn't play any Springsteen at all.
posted by cmoj at 9:20 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


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