Sunday, October 29, 2006

Bruce Springsteen & the Seeger Sessions Band


Sunflower Woman and I got a couple of tickets to see Bruce Springsteen with the Seeger Sessions Band in concert here in Copenhagen at the "Parken".

Not only did we get tickets, we got free tickets along with which came a nice meal. That's kind of hard to say no to!

The firm I work for had a block of ten tickets for the concert which were offered to the employees on a first-come, first-serve basis. As it turned out, they only sold six of them, so they pulled a little lottery and I got two of them!

I might as well say up front what was negative about the concert. The "Parken" is really a football stadium with place for 40-45,000. It has a retractable roof which can be pulled closed when it rains or when it is cold. But it is also the biggest concert hall in Denmark.

They've done a lot things with sound screens hanging from the ceiling, but the fact is it has a well-earned reputation for lousy acoustics.

They did a pretty good job, but the results were mixed. The quieter numbers were ok, except for the noise from the crowd -- like I said it is a football stadium with the sort of ambiance that football stadium has...

The more rocking numbers were terrible to listen to, every thing was muddled and I simply don't enjoy my listening when I have to sit there with my fingers stuck in my ears. In particular, I was disappointed that I couldn't really hear, "How Can a Poor Man Live".

That said, it was a damn good concert when it was best and a pleasure to see how Springsteen works an audience.

On the other side, it showed once again how the "arms race" in the music industry puts a distance between the music and the public. Don't get me wrong, Springsteen did a fab job. But all that equipment all too often deroutes into noise just to keep an audience's attention.

I've heard recordings of how Pete Seeger could stand in Carnegie Hall and, with just a mike and his twelve string, not only enthrall a full house, but reach out and get them all singing. Pete seegar is the songwriter/artist who has influenced me more than any other, he taught me that a song can be from the heart.

Bruce Springsteen is now defining himself as the logical extension of the folk process, which I can only applaud. He is going after something which Dylan, for all his fiery talent, rejected. In fact, I want to say more, Bruce Springsteen is making himself an ambassador to the world for the best in America.

When we were in Illinois in September, we had the good fortune to see a program on PBS with the SSB concert, so we were looking forward to seeing this show. We really did enjoy things like "Jakob's Ladder", "Jesse James", "Pay Me My Money Down, "Turah Turah Lay" and many, many, MANY more.

One song I want to mention: when they did "The Saints Go Marching In", I just about fell off my chair. They found a depth in the song that I had not known was there by singing it slow in an almost plaintive manner. The feeling is like when, in "On the Beach", they switched from a raucous rendition of "Waltzing multilateral" to a beautiful, slow waltz -- if you understand the penible situation of our world today, the message is clear.

The concert gave me hope and a renewed pride in being an American. Pete Seeger represents the best in the American Vision and in the Seeger Sessions, Bruce
Sprinsteen does honor to the grand old man of American folk music and brought these songs up to date in contemporary interpretations.

Now I know why they call the guy, The Boss.


The TechnoBabe said...

How cool, free tickets to see someone you both like and to come away after the concert and have so many positive feelings. Sounds like the program was to your liking; you were meant to be at that concert. Good time out for you and Sunflower Woman.

I've never been to a Springsteen concert, thanks for the heads up.

Chuck Cliff said...

Indeed, I can't tell you how much Pete Seeger meant to me as an artist and song writer.

It was really cool that Springsteen honored the grand old man of American folk music in this way.

You do know that Seeger had to do two years in the shade for "Contempt of Congress" because he refused to name names in the early fifties?