The folks who collaborate on the great Bruce website Blogness On The Edge Of Town have been posting about Bruce in the 00’s–arguing on behalf of their favorite album, song, tour and personal best show of the past ten years.
So, here’s my take on a decade where Bruce issued five studio albums and three live sets, performed for Presidents, Super Bowl audiences, summer festivals and others in over 500 shows and made definitive artistic statements on both 9/11 and the era of fear known as the Bush presidency:
Bruce Album of the Decade: Magic.
I was torn between this album and The Rising. There’s just something about the melding of thrashing rock, tuneful pop and an atmosphere of angst and fear that separates Magic from any album Bruce has ever done.
Bruce Song Of The Decade: My City of Ruins.
This song hits me on several levels. First, the song was written about the decline of Asbury Park–an ode to the economic and psychological decay that many rust-belt cities have faced over the past two decades. Since it was debuted on the televised fundraiser for 9/11 victims, it also has been seen as a first statement by Bruce about the tragedy. The song is pure gospel in its lyrics and its exhortation to faith.
Bruce Tour Of the Decade: Working On A Dream.
I’m not basing this pick on the show I saw May 14th in Albany, but rather on the reports of all the concerts after–largely the second American leg of shows. Playing classic albums in their entirety, amazing covers chosen spontaneously from crowd requests. Bruce played 201 different songs on this tour. The first part of the tour was still laboring under the need to showcase Bruce’s least successful album of the decade–something he ditched by the end of the tour.
Best Bruce Concert of Decade–Personal Experience: June 19th, 2006 Saratoga, NY w/ the Seeger Sessions Band.
From my blogged review of the show: “I’ve never seen anything like it: part tent revival, part political rally, part folk sing-a-long, part rockin’ good time. Bruce Springsteen’s performance at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Monday night was all that and more. I don’t think the smile has left my face yet . . .”
A very close second was the November 16, 2007 show in Albany, N.Y. 9 great songs from Magic–especially “Gypsy Biker”, 4 songs from my all-time favorite album Darkness on The Edge of Town and one of the final performances by the late Danny Federici. The highlight was his accordion turn at the front of the stage on “Sandy (Fourth of July, Asbury Park.)”