Friday, December 12, 2014

Drift Away

Why should Scott have all the fun?

All his recent great talk here about "Bruce Springsteen: Master Cover Artist" is inspired indeed. I've only seen a small sampling of his vast canon of covers in the times I've seen him live over the years. But those ones I have seen? Priceless. And usually as enjoyable as seeing any number of his greatest original songs done live.

I've been lucky enough to see him do "Mountain of Love" and "Sha La La" in "Stump the Band" moments, not to mention "I'm Bad I'm Nationwide" and "The Way You Do The Things You Do." And a whole bunch of others as well, like "Chimes of Freedom" and "War" and "Hard Times Come Again No More."

But whether he's seizing Tom Waits' "Jersey Girl" for his own or performing a mind-bending version of Bob Dylan's "I Want You" on that same epochal night at The Main Point in 1975 where this happened, it's the way Bruce does the covers that just separates him from the pack. It's how devout these renditions are, how reverent. And it's about Bruce offering that same connection to someone else's work as he offers to his own. That's the intangible factor here; every corner of these songs has meaning to Bruce Springsteen. And he wants the audience to feel that meaning, just as he does.

(Isn't this the case with every performer? I've actually seen Michael Bolton perform "Dock of the Bay" live and, well, trust me. Just no.)

So here another personal favorite, largely because I was there with my son and two buddies when it happened two summers ago in Foxboro. What's fascinating here is "Drift Away," Dobie Gray's sensual, loping soul standard from 1972, not only comes on a whim following a request from an audience member, but it comes well past the 3-hour mark in this concert. At the end of a long, wonderful night of music. This came after a stunning encore version of "Jungleland." After "Born to Run" and "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out" and after an extended "Dancing in the Dark" in which a worn down Bruce pretended to go to sleep on stage. Still he had more to give, and breathed just a little more life into an audience that had to be as exhausted as he was. And he nailed it. Because of course he did.

Talk about getting lost in rock-n-roll.

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