Song du jour: “Pink Cadillac”

Since I was good and skipped Springsteen yesterday I can come back to another Springsteen song today. What’s hilarious is that he only played the song because a fan handed him a cardboard pink Cadillac — with the lyrics on the back. And he has to read them… ha.

A Warning Letter to Grandparents of College Students

Apparently, the administration of Miskatonic University has seen fit to warn the grandparents of their students of the dangers of college attendance…


Song du jour: “Communication Breakdown”

I’m going to keep my promise and not post another Springsteen song today, but man, I don’t want to keep that promise. “She’s the One” from Born to Run is playing on my iPod this very minute (okay…it’s over…now). I’m posting a Led Zeppelin song today because I had a conversation recently with a pretty, young salesgirl who told me all about how much she loved Led Zeppelin. She’s 17 and she loves Led Zeppelin. Okay, that’s cool. It’s been 45 years to the year since the release of Zeppelin’s first album and this girl wants to get Zep symbols tattooed all over her arms (if you happen to ever read this — O Please Don’t Do That To Your Skin. I would say the same thing to all my daughters. Not that they listen: they’re my daughters). If you’re tempted to think she’s just unusual, click on the YouTube video below and read the comments: “Oh my god. Is it weird that I’m 23 and totally in love with Jimmy Page? :).” No, it’s not, and this fan’s screen name is “Beatlemaniac”… ha.

And Zep’s popularity among younger fans has been going on for decades now. I remember sitting in the sound booth at a church I was attending in the 90s and noticing that the teenage boys on stage all dressed like Kurt Cobain and warmed up with Zeppelin. By that time Zep’s first album was over 20 years old, and it’d been more than ten years since their last album. It occurred to me at the time that there’s no Nirvana without Led Zeppelin — the musical continuity between the two is almost perfect. Bands like Whitesnake and Great White imitated Zeppelin in the early 80s. Nirvana reinvented Zeppelin’s sound and made it their own, which is why Nirvana is still worth listening to. So long as the guitar is the main instrument of rock and roll, something the 80s couldn’t even kill, I think Zeppelin will keep finding fans.

What brought me back to Zep recently was the BBC Sessions album. It was a Zep I’d never really heard before: these live performances from 1969-70 aren’t arena rock and they aren’t heavy metal — which is the type of music you find on The Song Remains the SameHow the West Was Won, or Celebration Day. This is Zeppelin live in a small venue, so it can’t be arena rock. It’s more like early punk. And it rocks. The video is footage of a 1969 concert in Denmark. The first song is “Communication Breakdown” — that’s all you need to hear to know what I’m talking about, but if you stick with it until “Dazed and Confused” really kicks in you’ll get what I’m talking about. You’ll get an image of the cover of Zep’s first album at first but then concert footage will start streaming. Just stick with it a few seconds.

Now I want Zeppelin to get back together and record some stripped down, punked out rock and roll.

Song list for this 31 minute set:

“Communication Breakdown”
“Dazed and Confused”
“Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”
“How Many More Times”

Song du jour: “Born to Run”

Yep, been listening to Springsteen’s discography from 1973 to the present, in order. Once the video gets past the opening hype and settles into the song it’s great…

Bruce Springsteen, Columbus, OH

I was lucky enough to see Springsteen perform at the Nationwide Arena. The ticket said the show starts at 7:30: Springsteen’s band took the stage right at 8:00, no opening act, and then played 26 songs back to back, non-stop, ending right about 11:00. I kept track of the set list and can confirm that Springsteen’s website has an accurate one. Three straight hours of music starting out with “High Hopes” — here’s a clip:

I’ve seen Springsteen once before, in Detroit — where he forgot that he was in Detroit and welcomed everyone from Ohio to the show, a gaffe that he remembered and joked about at last night’s concert. Everything I’ve said about this show so far was true of the last one, except this time he had Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave on guitar, and the band blew my doors off just that much more.

Morello looked like he was having fun. A lot of it. He’s never seemed to me to be the type who has fun on stage, like he’s more the serious musician type, so that was good to see.

Springsteen’s set list was interesting, to say the least. He played “Badlands” and “Born to Run,” as we’d expect, and I might be tempted to say that he performed “Hungry Heart,” but he didn’t — the audience sang it while he walked around getting hugs and singing the filler parts. And yes, people had signs with songs on them, which he’d grab, take up front, and then flash to the audience when the band started playing it. But he wasn’t hitting his top ten hits by any means: maybe 1/3 of his set list fit that category. He pulled up three teenage girls on stage to dance along and then brought up a very old woman — she had to be in her 80s — to play guitar along with him, and she did, and she jammed. She sang a bit too and sounded good. When his performance of “Born to Run” hit the part where the band was playing staccato, he just held his guitar out to the people up by the stage and let them beat on it with their hands.

He’s 64 this year, but I can’t tell. I’m not sure how the sound quality is on this clip, but he’s always been a touring performer, and every time he performs he wants to blow the audience’s doors off. He cut his chops touring around NJ and the Midwest, and he’s never gotten away from that. He loves what he’s doing, and he shares that love every minute that he’s on stage. I miss Clarence Clemons, but I loved that during the line “When the big man joined the band” came around during “10th Avenue Freeze Out” the big screen over the stage showed footage of the big man himself. I also missed Stevie Van Zandt for some unknown reason: seeing Bruce, Morello, and Nils Lofgren jamming together was great. Add Van Zandt to that mix and I can’t imagine what that would be live.

As a father, I try to teach my children right. One day, maybe four or five years ago, when my son Penn was a much smaller boy, I sat him down to teach him the Basic Facts of Life:

1. Elvis Presley is the King of Rock and Roll.
2. Aretha Franklin is the Queen of Soul.
3. Michael Jackson is the King of Pop.


4. Bruce Springsteen is the Boss.

My son wrinkled up his face and said, “No, Mommy’s the boss.”

Okay, maybe she’s done a better job on him than I have, but I’m still going to set him straight some day.

And speaking of setting people straight, my friend Terrie guffawed when she saw that Springsteen was still the number one performer in New Jersey. I had to ask…why is that a problem? She said, “Because he’s old.” I told her, remembering the Detroit show, that when Springsteen plays “Born to Run” live, God gets up and dances.

She said that’s because he’s the same age.

Just watch that clip, and you tell me if that’s an old man performing.

See Springsteen if you can. He doesn’t play shows. He has a party with his friends. Just, he brings the music. And if you don’t have the new album, get it.


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