Sep 28, 2007

Bruce on the Today Show

Bruce Springsteen has a new album coming out next week. He's given one song away for free already, and I'd be surprised if he didn't do other interesting promotions with the album. But what's even more amazing is that he played for a NYC crowd for the Today Show this morning, a typical venue for commercial acts, but not heavyweights like Bruce. We wondered what he was thinking - was he selling out too much in his old age?

He started the set with "The Promised Land" - an old song with oodles more depth than you can imagine a twenty-something mustering nowadays. And then he talked for a little while, making what seemed to be small talk with Matt Lauer and company. He said that the feel he was going for with the album was a throwback in musical style to the great pop singles of the 50s and 60s - he name checked California and Pet Sounds in particular. But then he said that the album was also about subverting the music with lyrics that come at the audience on topics they weren't expecting - more current things about what's happening now.

And then, before he intro'd a song, when he had his own mic, he proceeded to say (I'm paraphrasing here): "This album is about things we love about America - you know, cheeseburgers, french fries, the Yankees beating the Red Sox, the Bill of Rights..." Wait a minute, say what?! Yeah, he said the Bill of Rights. And the crowd didn't cheer as much for that as they did for cheeseburgers, but he didn't seem to skip a beat.

He said then, "in the past six years, we've had illegal wiretaps, suspension of habeas corpus, the abandonment of the great city of New Orleans, and thousands of our young men and women dying in this war." It was unreal. He basically listed out a whole set of reasons why this administration and the status quo have to go. The crowd didn't get it, but he wasn't talking only to his die-hard fans in the audience or watching at home. He was talking to the largest audience he'll ever get to speak to directly. I don't know what the viewership of the Today show is, but if people kept it on and didn't just say "oh this guy" and switch the channel, maybe some of them said "hell yeah!" and will get involved or plug into his message. There was a reason for this move, and I'm incredibly impressed that he used his cache as a rockstar to get a microphone in a way most politicians wouldn't.

Magic drops on Tuesday, and we're seeing him for two nights on the tour. We couldn't be happier. Unless you have more tickets to share.

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