Bruce Springsteen’s SXSW 2012 Keynote
Click here to listen as the player doesn’t work.
I have a mixed Bruce Springsteen fandom. He was my older brothers & sister artist in the 70s while I was transfixed by punk & new wave. I respected him and you couldn’t deny the sheer pop greatness of “Born To Run” (still can’t). That song is a beautiful wall of sound rock pop greatness. I didn’t get “Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.” or “The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle” or “Darkness on the Edge of Town.” “The River”, “Nebraska”, and “Born In The USA” I got.
I sat 2nd row center at a show in Kansas City during the 80s Born In The USA mega tour-alopolis. It was a transcendent show (although I don’t think it’s regarded as a particularly noteworthy show by hardcore Bruce aficionados).
Fast forward to the oughts and I reluctantly saw him at Shea Stadium. I thought it sucked. It was partly Shea (which sucked), partly the audience (seeing old boomers dance to the “Detroit Medley” was disturbing), partly I couldn’t listen to anything on “The Rising” for a minute without being reduced to tears (it was too soon & still raw). In the end, the show/band seemed clichéd. I left early during an encore…
Then Bruce released “We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions.” It made me pick up and learn guitar all over. It was/is that good. I went back and listened to the early stuff and suddenly it clicked (it was the years). Seeing him sing “This Land Is Your Land” with Pete Seeger in D.C. outdoors at the Lincoln Mall is a moment of joy I’ll never forget.
So I’m a fan. And now I can even listen to a couple of songs off “The Rising” but I still avoid it.
Which is a long way of saying you should really listen to his SXSW keynote. He talks about his inspirations. His early life. About being an artist. It’s that good. Enjoy.