Get the Flash Player to see this content.

Everyone is so everyone, so separate and so together.  Some of the interaction is a bit spirited.  It reminds me of contrapuntal music.  Doesn’t it you?  Here is English musicologist Wilfred Mellers.  “Concord is the basis of 16th century harmony; discord is a momentary disturbance before the concord’s repose; we never consider any discord in isolation but only in relation to the context which it appears in, for it is not a self-contained entity but part of the progressive evolution of a number of equally important lines.”

Monday, May 29 2000:

We go with the Gallups to the Bruce Springsteen concert.  We start with an Australian themed restaurant (?).  We get to the Delta Centre.  These are our seats?  We’re at the bottom of the blues, and all the way at the other end.  This made a difference—there was a substantial, even unprecedented sense of community established between performer and audience.  It’s not that I’m a particular participator, but at that distance, we could only really spectate.

The concert starts an hour late, which ends up fine.  I’m sure glad I brought those binocs!  The entire band’s there, Lofgren included.  What a catalogue!  Apparently there’s a vastly different set every night.  I think of songs unheard, but what a bunch here.  Shall I?  A question, Prove It All Night, Two Hearts/It Takes Two, Darkness…, Promised Land (!), Mansion on the Hill (Nebraska, Hank Williams style), a long, dark, even cinematic The River.  Youngstown (Nils!), Murder Incorporated, Badlands (!), Out on the Street (that’s audience participation!), 10th Avenue Freeze Out/Take Me To the River, Candy’s Room, uncertain, The Ghost of Tom Joad, an acoustic Born in the USA that none of my companions—are they enjoying themselves?—recognized, Backstreets, Light of Day.

This is one of the most carefully staged, theatrically mounted concerts I’ve ever seen.  We’ve got Stevie Wonder segues.  We’ve got palpable maleness—yeehah elements, but also honour, integrity, responsibility, camaraderie.  This woman doesn’t belong here!  I wonder what the women in the audience are thinking?

Bobbie Jean, Born to Run (!)

Is that the greatest song ever?  All the lights go up, and it’s as if we’re at a Mexican dance.  Not so much artifice, ideology or commerce.  Instead, community.  Mind you, not only are we too far (binoculars help, but only partly), but it’s too loud.  Everything verges on the indistinguishable, and rolls up into a mass of great grumbling thunderclouds of sound, underneath the Delta Centre roof.

Thunder Road (“show a little faith…” by everyone), If I Should Fall Behind (!!).  So stunningly lit and staged, a mature love song becoming a pilgrim’s declaration).  The last two I didn’t even know.

I was interested to see all this revivalist form and content.  Mr. Springsteen is not a gospel-like guy, and Christianity’s clearly not the object of his devotion.  And yet it’s so sincere.  “I cant’ give you life eternal, but I can give you life right now.”  It sounds like, it could be a hedonist’s manifesto, but all this craft and conviction and affection really takes us into a realm of activist existential agency, and then pretty far into some shimmering, faintly transcendental place.

Videos in this Cluster:

Posted on October 31, 2012. Category: photographs · Cluster: ·