The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Entries for 'John Ford'

Eddie Vedder (live in San Diego)
Eddie Veder, Copely Symphony Hall, San Diego (July 5, 2011) Review Snapshot: Eddie Vedder is touring solo across North America with a brave and beautiful show, crossing musical generations an...

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Bruce Springsteen (live in Los Angeles)

Bruce Springsteen live in LAReview Snapshot: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street are on a roll and have gotten more intense and passionate as their tour has progressed. They continue to examine our bleak recent past, but are heralding some light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel hope for the future. Dublin is in for a rock and roll revival beyond compare.

The Cluas Verdict? 9.5 out of 10

Full Review:
This is a follow up to a review of Springsteen’s show in October 2007. I was lucky enough to see the E Street band again, on their second go-round through the LA area. The show has changed a bit and is worthy of an update, as it is headed your way.

Springsteen has (mostly) kept the key sequences in the show, i.e. the "5 pack" that ends the main set (Devil's Arcade/The Rising/Last To Die/Long Walk Home/Badlands), but has hugely mixed up the rest of the set, adding songs of joy and songs of anger with a renewed vigor. It has been suggested that he is "on fire" these days because Ms. Scialfa is at home keeping their teenagers from burning down the house.

Springsteen is definitely more loose and provocative on this leg of the tour, but also even more passionate (if that’s possible). At my show, after a scathing performance of Murder Incorporated he screamed into the mic, "We’re out for blood!" He is adding "tour premier" songs just about every night.

Part of the change is that we in the U.S. are closer to the November election, and our long national nightmare will be ending soon (though with much devastation to repair). Springsteen speaks of the trauma of the last seven years but also talks more now about hope for the future. He has thrown in his lot with Senator Obama. "He speaks to the America I've envisioned in my music for the past 35 years, a generous nation with a citizenry willing to tackle nuanced and complex problems, a country that's interested in its collective destiny and in the potential of its gathered spirit."

Springsteen and the E Street Band are on fire, out for blood, and are inspired by the "Great American reclamation project" ahead that will heal wounds at home and abroad. Bruce is our truest ambassador.

John Ford

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Bruce Springsteen & the E Street band (Sports Arena, Los Angeles)

Bruce Springsteen liveReview Snapshot: Springsteen and the E Street band are full of rage and despair and hope and faith. Their tour is a call to meeting for people who aren't ready to give up yet.

The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 (10 being reserved for the 4 hour Springsteen shows of yesteryear)

Full Review:
The night after Ronald Reagan was elected, in 1980, Bruce Springsteen opened his show with an especially roaring, impassioned performance of Badlands. He saw it coming: the rape and pillage that would be the Reagan years.

Springsteen's still at it, though with a new group of pillagers to confront. His defense against the Reactionary tide in America has long been to shout about where we are going wrong, but also to present an alternative view of what "America" means. It's not support of Salvadoran death squads and Nicaraguan contras, nor Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and torture.

His "America" is more about hope and decency and girls in their summer clothes (or barefoot, sitting on the hood of a Dodge, drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain).

In his current shows Springsteen is still on his mission for the soul of America. This show has a beautiful emotional arc from frustration to longing for a better life to despair and anger to resistance to celebration of what is good in us.

The show is built around two sequences that remain, night to night. Early in the show comes Lonesome Day/Gypsy Biker/Magic/Reason To Believe. Springsteen ends this bleak run with an un-cynical ray of hope. Reason To Believe is transformed into a harmonica swamp blues that would make Sonny Boy Williamson proud.

The second big statement is the sequence that closes the main set: Devil's Arcade/The Rising/Last To Die/Long Walk Home/Badlands. Springsteen says, "That thing has to come down like the world's falling on you, that first chord [Last to Die]. It's got to screech at the end of 'The Rising', and then it's got to crack, rumble. The whole night is going to turn on that segue. That's what we're up there for right now, that 30 seconds."

He ends the main set with the challenge of Badlands, again standing up and taking on what's ahead and asking us to join him.

The show is also filled with songs that compliment his themes of commitment to community (Ties That Bind, Promised Land, No Surrender, Two Hearts) and the decency of "real" people (Working On The Highway, Racing In The Streets, Night).

The show ends with American Land, the Irish-styled romp about the dream of the promised land. Complete with two accordions, Clarence Clemons on the penny whistle, and sing-along lyrics up on the screens, B.S. & band send us off inspired about what is at stake and, hopefully, motivated to bring back the real "America".

I don't know how this show will come across outside the U.S., but it sure reminds us here that we are better than our "leaders" have made us out to be.

John Ford

Springsteen's set list, Los Angeles Sports Arena

Radio Nowhere
The Ties That Bind
Lonesome Day
Gypsy Biker
Reason To Believe
She's The One
Livin' In The Future
The Promised Land
Town Called Heartbreak
Tunnel Of Love
Working On The Highway
Devil's Arcade
The Rising
Last To Die
Long Walk Home

Girls In Their Summer Clothes
Kitty's Back
Born To Run
Dancing In The Dark
American Land

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Nuggets from our archive

2007 - REM live in the Olympia, by Michael O'Hara. Possibly the definitive review of any of REM's performances during their 2007 Olympia residency. Even the official REM website linked to it.