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Tuesday, April 03, 2012


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You make me very happy.


I've listened to this concert more times than I count, and to this four-song suite in particular more times than I can count as well. I posses it thanks to a friend who provided me with a copy of it a few years ago, and who - for the purposes of protecting his fragile, terminal shyness - will have to remain nameless.

If "Born To Run" was Bruce's pre-lawsuit statement of purpose - the song that defined him as a rocker, a performer, a writer and a romantic - I have always contended that "The Promised Land" is his post-lawsuit statement of purpose. The romance is gone, the dream of hitting the road is no longer bathed in starry eyed adventure and magic, but rather has been replaced with the task of simply getting to work. The song is harder and wearier, like a man who has been unwittingly zapped back to reality.

But still, the hope is still there, the belief in something better. The song contains the line that I think encapsulates who Bruce was then and who he is now - "I've done by best to live the right way. I get up in the morning and go to work each day." And interesting how his hope is not buoyed to one place and one place only - while the song is called "The Promised Land," he sings that he still believes in "A Promised Land." That always struck me as fascinating - if there's one out there, he'll take it. He doesn't care where it is.

And this version from the Passaic show perfectly shows where Bruce was at the moment, and almost serves as a roadmap for the decades to come. He is defiant, a little angry, somewhat beaten down, tired, hopeful, and willing to still believe. And it comes through in his voice and in the sounds the band makes behind him. And it all works because it is one of the great artists of the last century, singing in a voice all his own and singing a song that few have ever topped in quality.

Love this, BTW. Looking forward to reading all four. :-)


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