06 April 2009

TREBLE CLEF: Binging on Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

Bruce and his band bring their inimitable style to the Mile High City this Friday night. In preparation, I've been on a Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band binge, listening to all his CDs in my collection--from the oldest to the newest "Working on a Dream." I first heard Springsteen in high school, when "Born to Run" was an anthem. The first time I saw him in concert, I was a college student; he was on "The River" tour, if I remember correctly.


I've seen him in concert maybe six times total, but one of the most endearing images I have of him comes from the Roy Orbison tribute video Black and White Night. In the video, Orbison was backed up by The Boss, Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Jennifer Warnes, J.D. Souther, k.d. lang, T-Bone Burnett, and others. Rather than prancing and dancing and preaching and executing his trademark knee-slides, Springsteen--for part of the set--sat in a folding chair, playing his guitar from sheet music on a music stand.

I had the good fortune of seeing Roy Orbison in concert, too, at the intimate Paramount in Denver, in 1988. Orbison wore his hallmark black shades and suit. In his choir-boy-perfect voice, he belted out one hit after another without speaking much, if at all, between songs. The most he said was "Thank you." And, yes, he could still sound his gggggrrrrrrowlllll from "Pretty Woman." (He also can be heard doing this in a number from The Traveling Wilburys, another all-star band Orbison performed in along with Bob Dylan and Tom Petty.) Orbison passed over not long after that concert at the Paramount, making that performance all the more treasured.

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