August 14, 2005
The Solo Boss

Last night, Bruce Springsteen performed his acoustic concert in Vancouver. I had fantastic seats...Row 1, Balcony dead center from the stage. And they were expensive - $115 a ticket. It was a small venue - they had arranged the arena to make it almost intimate with only 7,000 tickets sold. And this concert marked the final venue for his 4 month world tour.

I took my niece's husband so it actually was very expensive - $257 for the evening as they can't really afford such a luxury and I wanted to do something for Tom.

I had been very much looking forward to this concert. While I am not a rabid fan or anything, I love his voice and have many of his cds.

It was difficult to get to, considering I'm negotiating the world on crutches but Tom was a great help, offering his arm when I'd falter and we took it slow.

Bruce Springsteen was 45 minutes late taking to the stage, and while I am still solidly impressed by his talent, the concert as a whole was very disappointing.

It was an opportunity for him to perform sans the E-Street Band, but the whole set made me feel very dark and depressed. It was like an entire 2 1/2 hours of the same melancholy song, just sung slightly differently.

I only recognized a handful of songs - "The Rising" (which I will say was done very effectively, with no lights save a spotlight behind him), and covers of other songs - "Blinded By The Light" and "Because The Night". As the local paper described it, he performed songs about characters who feel alone, underscoring them with a lonesome wail. I found it rather disturbing, frankly.

There were none of his mega 'Secret Garden', 'Hungry Heart', no 'My Hometown' - not even 'Born In the USA'. Maybe I'm not deep enough or something, but when I go to a concert, I want to see performances of my favourites. Even if I don't sing along out loud, I want to follow the words in my head and at least get into the music a bit. There was none of that. Looking around at the crowd, there were no smiles. No clapping, save some polite applause after each song. Only minimal swaying. It was like looking at a vast array of zombies in the cold, blue light.

The highlight, though, was when his son Evan came to the stage briefly. He brought his Dad his guitar and looked thoroughly nervous standing there in front of everyone. At 15, he gave off the teenage 'Leave me alone, Dad!' vibe that only that age can. Bruce laughed and said 'Yeah, every time I have him do that it costs me $100. Having to take him away from his Playstation and DVD's backstage to something for me.' Had to matter what, relationships between kids and parents are the same.

I did enjoy the far too brief times that Bruce stopped to talk about certain songs or stories. I would have like to have heard more. He's led an interesting life.

However, song after song of dark depressing music made it quite a mellow night. Songs with lines like 'turtles eating the dead skin off the eyes' when singing about a Mexican person who tried to cross the river into the US but drowned in the process did not fill me with light. The last encore was a song with what seemed like just three words. 8 minutes of 'Dream Baby Dream' was like that nightmare that you cannot wake up from.

I wish I could say it was worth the money, but frankly, if that's what he has to offer, I'll stick to the CDs.

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer, who looks forward to a better Canada. I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.
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