Walter Kerr Theatre, New York, NY
Shut the fuck up”, his first words from the stage to the adoring “Brooooce” chanting faithful. Letting us know this would be no ordinary show.
He then launches not into a song, but a monologue explaining he is a “fraud” and performance is a “magic trick”. He made a fortune singing about the ordinary working man yet never went to a workplace 5 times a week in his life (until this Broadway run!), later he informs us that at the age of 21 he had never properly driven a car.
The first song played is from his very first album is Growin’ Up, thus we are set for a roughly chronological journey through his life. The performance is more of (scripted) words with songs rather than the other way around. He moves between guitar and piano, sometimes talking off mike and even singing the odd verse unamplified (most memorably in The Promised Land). He speaks/sings of his hometown, his parents, Catholicism, Clarence, Patti, making a start in the music business, Vietnam and many places in-between.
The theatre is tiny, on entry from 48th St one goes not into a lobby, but straight into the “Orchestra seating”, acoustics are sensational and I don’t think I ever heard him sing better. The crowd with one exception are rapt and silent at the right times, pins can be heard dropping. Bruce is a stand-up, a raconteur, an actor and a musician.
Setlist contained a few obscurities, “The Wish”, “My Father’s Home” and Patti joined him for 2 appropriate Tunnel of Love songs “Tougher then the Rest” about a relationship starting and “Brilliant Disguise” about the doubts that can subsequently emerge. Otherwise the Born albums were heavily represented and we got 3 (superb) songs from this century, The Rising, Long Walk Home and Land of Hope and Dreams.
For me, one of the great nights. He deals with sone of the universal big issues with humour, astute observations and stunning music. I found myself in tears at many points. I have been going to see him live for 37 years and this was a unique, joyous and moving occasion.
Local, in their 60s, relatively sober, respectful, David Crosby.
It made me think..
You have to see this show. I am thinking it good travel when this run is over.