Friday, April 4, 2008

Bruce Springsteen still plays to the audience


by Elysa Gardner, USA Today

ASBURY PARK, N.J. — Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band begin a new trek through North America tonight with a concert in Hartford, Conn. If you score tickets to one of the shows, be forewarned: The Boss may be watching you.

"The first thing that I do when I come out every night is to look at the faces in front of me, very individually," Springsteen says. "I may find a certain person and play to that single person all night. I'm playing to everyone, but I could see one or two people and decide, 'You're the reason that I'm out here right now, and that I'm going to push myself till it feels like my heart's going to explode.' "

Certainly, anyone who has caught Springsteen live might assume that he or she was that lucky fan.

The singer/songwriter, who added three Grammy Awards to his collection this month, is famous for throwing house parties in arenas and stadiums, channeling his charisma and camaraderie with his longtime bandmates into performances that seem at once intimate and majestic.
Sitting in his dressing room during a rehearsal break at Asbury Park Convention Hall — just a stone's throw from the Stone Pony, the decidedly smaller venue that the 58-year-old Jersey boy helped make a national landmark — Springsteen is true to his persona: a regular guy with a larger-than-life presence (and an endearingly goofy laugh).

Tour keeps going

After releasing last fall's critically acclaimed Magic, his first album with the E Street Band since 2002's The Rising, he and the group played dates in the USA and Europe. The current leg of their tour will wrap April 30 in Charlottesville, Va.; then they head back overseas, returning for three homecoming gigs at Jersey's Giants Stadium in late July. (Sessions Band keyboardist Charles Giordano, who played on Springsteen's Pete Seeger albums, fills in while E Street's Danny Federici undergoes treatment for melanoma.)

"On any given night, what allows me to get to that higher ground is the audience," Springsteen says. "I look for an audience that's as serious about the experience as we are, which, after all these years, continues to be pretty serious."

The rest of the article (including what's on his iPod) at

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