(Official Pencilstorm Disclaimer: We have no definitive way to prove it - other than the fact that Ricki C. sent out previews to a couple of his close friends - but Ricki penned this piece in late August. On September 27th Jon Pareles published a story entitled Bruce Springsteen On Broadway: The Boss On His 'First Real Job.' in the New York Times. This either proves that great minds think alike, or that the Pencilstorm editors should run Ricki's blogs right when he finishes them, rather than a month later.)
On October 3rd, 2017 Bruce Springsteen will commence a series of shows at the intimate (960 seats) Walter Kerr Theater on Broadway in New York City, with the residency concluding February 3rd, 2018. Right, that’s five shows a week, for FOUR MONTHS STRAIGHT! In one way, I view this as insanity on Bruce’s part, in another way I think it’s admirable that Mr. Springsteen – who will turn 68 years old September 23rd – has finally decided to get a steady job.
Bruce Springsteen – as regular patrons of Pencilstorm and my earlier solo blog, Growing Old With Rock & Roll are well aware – is my Number One rock & roll hero of all time, replacing Pete Townshend in that role sometime around September 1978, when Keith Moon died and The Who ran off the rails for good. (But that’s a whole other blog for a whole ‘nother day.)
However, I find it mind-boggling that in his sixth decade on the planet Bruce would think it’s a good idea to play for four months straight in the same theater, night in, night out, night in, night out, etc. etc., ad nauseum. I think Colin would agree that much of the attraction of playing rock & roll shows is traveling around the country with your best friends in a van or a bus or a plane (depending on your level of success in the Rock & Roll Sweepstakes), staying in hotels and eating in different restaurants/fast food places every day. Why Springsteen would choose now to embark on a real job where he’ll carry his lunch bucket & thermos to work every day, punch a clock and play his guitar eludes me.
Even given that Number One Rock & Roll hero business detailed above and taking in the fact I’ve seen every Springsteen tour since Born To Run in 1976, I won’t be attending the shows on Broadway, for a number of reasons:
1) The ticket process was/is incredibly complicated, and I didn’t want to get involved. (Truthfully, I’m just lazy and so damn technologically disempowered that I couldn’t be bothered. I know it’s wrong, and Luddite-like, but I LONG for the days I could just walk into Sears and buy a Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band ticket for the Darkness On The Edge of Town tour. Or camp out overnight at Buzzard’s Nest Records on Morse Road to get a ticket for the Born In The U.S.A. tour. Without one of those campout lines, I would never have met my second-best Bruce Springsteen friend Chris Clinton, and a beautiful friendship in my life would never have happened. And that fact was FAR more important than whatever ticket I got for that tour.)
2) The tickets range in price from $75 to $750 (or thereabouts). I cannot, with a clear conscience, purchase a ticket – even for Bruce Springsteen, my blah-blah-blah Number One Rock & Roll Hero of All Time – for more than I paid for my first Fender Stratocaster back in 1973. And make no mistake, I’m not begrudging my millionaire-many-times-over Rock Hero his cash, more power to him if individuals are willing to pony up that kinda dough, but I cannot – financially or philosophically – participate in that enterprise.
3) If I WERE going to attend the Broadway residency, I would have a hard time deciding WHEN to attend. There’s going to have to be some kind of weird law-of-diminishing-returns arc to the Broadway run, i.e. the first few weeks in October and November, I figure Bruce is going to be easing into the process, refining the show, making it up as he goes along, even within the exacting parameters he has planned his sets by since the very beginnings of his career. Then, by December, I figure things are gonna be HUMMING along: Bruce is gonna have his legs under him, having discerned how to play that 900-seat theater like Chuck Berry ringin’ a bell, things are gonna be cool, life is gonna be good. But then I’m wonderin’ about mid-to-late January: is Springsteen gonna start burnin’ out on going to that Real Job every night, every night, every night? I’d like to think at that tedium-tipping point Bruce might start coming up with Theme Nights: all Wilson Pickett covers one night; all Rolling Stones non-LP b-sides another night; bringing Patti along another night and doing all Steve Lawrence & Edie Gorme, Sonny & Cher, and Serge Gainsboug & Francoise Hardy covers.
Now THAT'S a show I would pay $75 and drive to New York City to see. – Ricki C. / Labor Day, 2017.