The 10 Unforgivable Sins Of Bruce Springsteen's Performance At The Super Bowl
Posted Sun Feb 1, 2009 7:13pm PST by Rob O'Connor in List Of The Day
You may find this hard to believe, but I am a Bruce Springsteen fan. I may not come across as someone who would enjoy his music, but from "For You," "Backstreets," "Darkness On The Edge of Town," "The Promise" to "The River," "Nebraska," "Tougher Than The Rest," "I Wish I Were Blind" and "Radio Nowhere," I can find plenty to recommend of the man's music. His new album Working On A Dream, the stillborn title track and "Outlaw Pete" aside, is the best thing he's cut in years.
But that half-time show at the Super Bowl--12 excruciating minutes--puts me in an indefensible position to the people who I've been trying to convert for all these years. Now they'll never listen to me.
Since this is LIST OF THE DAY, I will present to you in list form my reasons for why this was an abomination.
10) Bruce addresses the TV camera and tells everyone to drop the guacamole dip and chicken fingers to join him. No need to cajole us Bruce, we're in our comfy chairs and ready to rock. Don't tell me what to do and don't slide into the camera. That's hokey!
9) He opens with "Tenth Avenue Freezeout." The only version of this song I've ever admired is the incredibly funky one that struts out from the Hammersmith Odeon Concert available on the DVD of Born To Run: 30th Anniversary Edition. The E Street Band has never been a funky outfit and with as many people on stage as they had on Super Bowl Sunday, it was bound to sound stilted and as corny as ever.
8) There were too many people on the stage. After five members in a band most rock 'n' roll groups get noticeably worse with each additional member. Van Morrison is the exception to this rule and Bruce has skirted it by employing top notch guys like Miami Steve and Nils Lofgren. However, he had at least six guitar players onstage. All playing the same parts. Add on the horn section and we're talking chaos.
7) Bruce had to sneak in the title track to his new album. OK, Bruce is going to use the limited time he has to sneak in a little plug for his new album. Can't blame him for trying. Can't blame us for not wanting to hear it.
6) Bruce sneaks in a gospel choir for two minutes. Throw in the gospel choir and it's right back to that sanctimonious vibe that always creeps me out.
5) Bruce changes the reference from baseball to football in "Glory Days." It's always been obvious that Bruce is no sports fan. No big deal. Neither am I, for the most part. But even I know it's called 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 and make the arm gesture that you're throwing the ball is pretty over-obvious.
4) Bruce has a referee come out and declare it "Boss Time." I admit I don't what happened here. I was pacing the floor and telling myself this wasn't happening around this point. But suddenly I see a guy 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"? It might as well be.
3) Bruce has apparently joined "Up With People." Everything else aside, Bruce was simply too corny for his own good. It was embarrassing. It was the sight of a guy trying too hard and overcompensating for his ill-ease. It's always been said that 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 Show Biz. This was pure Cheeze-Whiz.
2) He sticks poor Clarence on COWBELL. For "Glory Days," suddenly Clarence is shuttled off his beloved saxophone, a horn section is bought out front and Clarence is given the lowly COWBELL. Now, the Cowbell has always been an in-joke for all rock bands ever since Saturday Night Live and Blue Oyster Cult deemed "more cowbell" a worthy epithet. Do you think anyone in that stadium heard that cowbell? I bet even Clarence couldn't hear the damn thing.
1) Bruce makes me wish there had been a wardrobe malfunction. Janet Jackson exposes a breast. Mick Jagger gets bleeped during "Start Me Up." Bruce comes with the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. C'mon, Bruce, be a little more edgy. At least do something controversial beyond just being so damned happy and people-pleasing. It's like you're Paul McCartney all of a sudden. The 10 Unforgivable Sins Of Bruce Springsteen's Performance At The Super Bowl - List Of The Day