You may find this hard to believe, but I am a BruceSpringsteen fan. I may not come across as someone who would enjoy his music,but from "For You," "Backstreets," "Darkness On TheEdge of Town," "The Promise" to "The River," "Nebraska,""Tougher Than The Rest," "I Wish I Were Blind" and "RadioNowhere," I can find plenty to recommend of the man'smusic. His new album Working On A Dream, the stillborn title track and "OutlawPete" aside, is the best thing he'scut in years.
But that half-time show at the Super Bowl--12 excruciatingminutes--puts me in an indefensible position to the people who I've been trying to convert for all these years. Nowthey'll never listen to me.
Since this is LIST OF THE DAY, I will present to you in listform my reasons for why this was an abomination.
10) Bruce addresses the TV camera and tells everyone todrop the guacamole dip and chicken fingers to join him. No need to cajoleus Bruce, we're in our comfy chairsand ready to rock. Don't tell mewhat to do and don't slide into thecamera. That's hokey!
9) He opens with "Tenth Avenue Freezeout." Theonly version of this song I've everadmired is the incredibly funky one that struts out from the Hammersmith OdeonConcert available on the DVD of Born To Run: 30th Anniversary Edition. TheE Street Band has never been a funky outfit and with as many people on stage asthey had on Super Bowl Sunday, it was bound to sound stilted and as corny asever.
8) There were too many people on the stage. Afterfive members in a band most rock 'n' roll groups get noticeably worse with eachadditional member. Van Morrison is the exception to this rule and Bruce hasskirted it by employing top notch guys like Miami Steve and Nils Lofgren.However, he had at least six guitar players onstage. All playing the sameparts. Add on the horn section and we'retalking chaos.
7) Bruce had to sneak in the title track to his newalbum. OK, Bruce is going to use the limited time he has to sneak in alittle plug for his new album. Can'tblame him for trying. Can't blame usfor not wanting to hear it.
6) Bruce sneaks in a gospel choir for two minutes. Throwin the gospel choir and it's rightback to that sanctimonious vibe that always creeps me out.
5) Bruce changes the reference from baseball to footballin "Glory Days." It'salways been obvious that Bruce is no sports fan. No big deal. Neither am I, forthe most part. But even I know it'scalled a "fastball" and not a "speedball" (that's what you do when you hang out with John Belushi)and to change the reference to a "Hail Mary" pass in football andmake the arm gesture that you'rethrowing the ball is pretty over-obvious.
4) Bruce has a referee come out and declare it "BossTime." I admit I don't whathappened here. I was pacing the floor and telling myself this wasn't happening around this point. But suddenly I see aguy in a ref outfit come out and I hear somebody call it "Boss Time."Why not have MC Hammer come out and declare it "Hammer Time"? Itmight as well be.
3) Bruce has apparently joined "Up With People."Everything else aside, Bruce was simply too corny for his own good. It wasembarrassing. It was the sight of a guy trying too hard and overcompensating forhis ill-ease. It's always been saidthat Bruce shows more restraint than Billy Joel or Meat Loaf but here he's just killing us with show biz overkill. Rock 'n' Roll,as antiquated a notion as it is these days, is supposed to stay apart from ShowBiz. This was pure Cheeze-Whiz.
2) He sticks poor Clarence on COWBELL. For "GloryDays," suddenly Clarence is shuttled off his beloved saxophone, a hornsection is bought out front and Clarence is given the lowly COWBELL. Now, theCowbell has always been an in-joke for all rock bands ever since SaturdayNight Live and Blue Oyster Cult deemed "more cowbell" a worthyepithet. Do you think anyone in that stadium heard that cowbell? I bet evenClarence couldn't hear the damnthing.
1) Bruce makes me wish there had been a wardrobemalfunction. Janet Jackson exposes a breast. Mick Jagger gets bleeped during"Start Me Up." Bruce comes with the Good Housekeeping Seal ofApproval. C'mon, Bruce, be a littlemore edgy. At least do something controversial beyond just being so damnedhappy and people-pleasing. It's likeyou're Paul McCartney all of asudden.