I natt inntok Bruce «The Boss» Springsteen legendariske Walter Kerr Theatre midt i smørøyet av Broadway i New Yorks teaterdistrikt.
Med showet Springsteen on Broadway skal Bruce Springsteen (68) spille på en av de minste scenene han har opptrådt på i løpet av de siste 40 årene. Megarockestjernen som er mest kjent for sine legendarisk lange maratonkonserter, for et publikum på 30-80.000 tilskuere, har nå valgt å gå i stikk motsatt retning. The Walter Kerr Theatre har kun 960 sitteplasser, og Sjefen skal gjennomføre hele 79 show i perioden 3.oktober-3. januar. Den offisielle premieren var 12. oktober.
INTIMKONSERTER Fem kvelder i uken (20:00-22:00) skal han sette seg ned foran et enslig piano, med sitt munnspill og en mengde gitarer mens han soloakustisk spiller seg igjennom sin rikholdige katalog. Innimellom sangene vil han fortelle anekdoter fra sitt begivenhetsrike liv, som han skrev om i selvbiografien Born to Run som utkom i fjor.
Som han selv uttaler i pressmeldingen: «In fact, with one or two exceptions, the 960 seats of the Walter Kerr Theatre is probably the smallest venue I’ve played in the last 40 years. My show is just me, the guitar, the piano and the words and music. Some of the show is spoken, some of it is sung. It loosely follows the arc of my life and my work. All of it together is in pursuit of my constant goal to provide an entertaining evening and to communicate something of value».
IDEEN SLÅR ROT Inspirasjonen til de unike showene kom etter en lukket avskjedskonsert for Barack Obama og staben i Det hvite hus den 12. januar i år. Om konserten i Det hvite hus skal være en indikasjon på hva vi har i vente fra Broadway-showene, så var det dette Springsteen spilte for USAs 44. president:
Working on the Highway
My Father’s House
The Promised Land
Born in the U.S.A.
Devils & Dust
Tougher Than the Rest
If I Should Fall Behind
The Ghost of Tom Joad
Long Walk Home
Dancing in the Dark
Land of Hope and Dreams
Hvorfor Broadway (bortsett fra det åpenbare, at det ligger rett rundt hjørnet fra hans egen bopel)? I sin egen pressmelding utdyper Springsteen valget av sted og lokale: «I wanted to do some shows that were as personal and as intimate as possible. I chose Broadway for this project because it has the beautiful old theaters which seemed like the right setting for what I have in mind».
Intimkonsertene på Broadway blir en stor kontrast til Springsteens sedvanlige konserter med the E Street Band, full blåserekke og stort backingkor. Ikke minst på grunn av det lille antallet publikummere, men også fordi det hele er soloakustisk (noe vi tidligere har opplevd under The Gost of Tom Joad– og Devils & Dust-turneen), men den største forskjellen vil muligens være at showet skal være tilnærmet det samme kveld etter kveld.
For en artist som vanligvis stokker om og fornyer ca. en tredjedel av setlisten hver eneste konsert, vil dette bli en stor overgang. Det hele vil foregå i enkel former, han har hverken en regissør eller manusforfatter – det blir et «one-man-show» i ordets rette forstand; som Springsteen selv uttaler til The New York Times: «That’s me! I’m going to direct myself onstage and I wrote up the script on my own. It’s a pretty basic show. It’s going to feel like a garage workshop basically, and I’m going to play my songs and tell my stories. So it wasn’t something that called for a whole lot more than that.».
RIFT OM BILLETTENE De 39 første showene ble straks forlenget med ytterligere 40 – uten at det mettet den enorme etterspørselen. Ha i mente at Springsteen solgte utrolige 305.000 billetter kun til konsertene i New York/New Jersey (Continental Airlines Arena) i juli/august 1999.
I en by med over 20 millioner innbyggere, midt i Springsteens kjerneområde, og kun 75.000 billetter til salgs, ble det selvsagt ufattelig rift om de få billettene. Det anslås at nærmere en halv million hadde meldt sin interesse via Ticketmaster Verified Fan innen billettene ble lagt ut for salg.
Dette nye tiltaket fra Ticketmaster innebærer at man måtte forhåndsregistrere seg, bli «godkjent» som fan, og håpe på at man ville motta en kode til «den hellige gral». Målet var å forhindre/begrense tilgangen til roboter og svartebørssalg – noe som tilsynelatende har virket. Anslagsvis kun 3 % av billettene, mot normalt 20 %, havnet på svartebørs. Prisene på andrehåndsmarkedet ble da også deretter, der billettene på blant annet StubHub har ligget fra 20.000,- til ufattelige 350.000,- kroner.
For ti dager siden kom gladmelding på Springsteens egen hjemmeside om at det i tillegg, ved hver forestilling, vil arrangeres et lotteri, der 26 av de rimeligste plassene legges ut for salg rett før showet. Man kan melde seg på lotteriet her.
Har du ikke fått billetter til denne unike konsertopplevelsen, så er du definitivt ikke alene om det – trøsten får være at showet sannsynligvis blir filmet og sluppet på Blu-ray.
EUROPA NESTE? Er det sannsynlig at Springsteen vil ta med seg showet, «over dammen», til europeiske storbyer? Nei. Rett og slett fordi etterspørselen vil være uoverkommelig stor, og han ikke vil ha noen interesse av å befinne seg i for eksempel Paris over en periode på to-tre måneder.
Fra Broadway bruker The Boss kun ca. 50 minutter hjem til ranchen sin i Colts Neck, New Jersey. Så dette er virkelig en «Once-in-a-lifetime» opplevelse.
NYTT ALBUM Det store spenningsmomentet er dog om Sjefen vil lansere noe nytt materiale under Broadway-showene. I følge ham selv har han hatt et fiks ferdig soloalbum liggende klart det siste halvannet året.
3.-11. oktober vil være generalprøver på showet, mens den offisielle premieren finner sted den 12. oktober.
Dette spilte Springsteen under premierekvelden av «Springsteen on Broadway»:
My Father’s House
The Promised Land
Born in the U.S.A.
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Tougher Than the Rest
Long Walk Home
Dancing In The Dark
Land of Hope and Dreams
Born to Run
Og dette sier kritikerne:
The New York Times: ««Springsteen on Broadway» Reveals the Artist, Real and Intense. (…) «Springsteen on Broadway» is a painful if thrilling summing-up at 68: a major statement about life’s work, but also a major revision of it. (…) There is little left of the music business that could once breed and elevate a perfomer like him, whose ear is tuned to the whole world’s injustice. (…) His voice…more often sounds like the howl of a dog caught in a barbed-wire fence. His guitar sounds like the barbed wire. (…) Indeed, as portraits of artists go, there may never have been anything as real – and beautiful – on Broadway.»
The Hollywood Reporter: «Bruce Springsteen digs deep into his 2016 autobiography, Born to Run, as well as 15 songs from across his back catalog, weaving together a beautifully crafted reflection on his life, his career and his country, and reinventing even some last-chance-power-drive anthems as hymns of quiet introspection. (…) …a robust narrative shape, a deceptively rambling but cohesive vision of personal and professional experience that makes the «written and directed by Bruce Springsteen» credit more than legitimate. Removing most of the physicality from his performance also shifts the focus more squarely back to the rich literary qualities of his songwriting, fortifying a kinship with other iconic American singers like Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits. (…) …a gentle admonition to remind the audience that Springsteen was up there to tell a story in which every nuance of every song has been carefully considered. (…) The anecdotes and song choices work together hand in glove, shifting with ease from humor to sadness to unabashed sentimentality, from sculpted prose to blunt plainspeak. (…) While many theater-makers would have felt the urge to splash projections across the rear wall, providing visual cues along the way, Springsteen draws us into his world using only his words, lyrics, melodies and expert modulation of mood. (…) …anyone lucky enough to catch Springsteen on Broadway will be witnessing rock history.»
Billboard: «Bruce Gets Personal In His One-Man Show (…) … Springsteen increasingly stuck to the music; so the chance to see him in a 960-seat theater, delving into the moments that shaped his life and pairing those stories with songs that complement them is as captivating as it sounds. (…) … Springsteen held the crowd rapt with a monologue — sometimes spoken in the sing-song evangelist-style rap that he adopts between numbers at his concerts — and music that largely dealt with one of the larger themes of his work: the bonds formed through family, community and bands. (…) Virtually all of the songs that Springsteen played were staples of his live shows, but performed before a hushed audience in the sanctity of a Broadway theater and enhanced with his observations and recollections, they resonated with deeper clarity and meaning. Who knew that «Dancing in the Dark» — the closest that Springsteen has come to writing a disco song — could sound so compelling played on just an acoustic guitar. (…) When Springsteen on Broadway connects though, it really connects: the monologue and the music coalescing into something that is powerfully evocative. (…) … he had revealed the darkness and the light in his DNA — the nature and the nurturing that produced an indefatigable, restless artist, who continues to stake out new territory in the service of rock ‘n’ roll.«
The Daily Beast: «Producing Sheer Musical Magic (…) This solo acoustic show is a riot of artful, sparse arrangements of Springsteen’s best-known songs. It is not a conventional Broadway show, and it is not a conventional rock concert, but being beached between the two feels more intimate. (…) This is, for Springsteen fan or not, a warmly involving, beautifully sung, and deftly structured evening of song and storytelling. (…) The show takes a linear approach to the Springsteen life line, and is beautiful to look at. He stands center-stage with a microphone, a guitar slung around his neck and occasionally blowing on a harmonica… (…) This is the equivalent of the Wizard of Oz revealing himself as just a fussy inventor at the beginning of that movie, and it set the tone for Springsteen on Broadway, where every tale of childhood or life on the road wasn’t neatly romanticized. (…) There is next to nothing about fame in the show, and there is no boasting or grandstanding. (…) The show drifts a little toward the end—not horribly, it just loses some tightness as Springsteen’s words tend to the general and instructive rather than the recalled and personal. But his mastery of the guitar, harmonica, and piano, his heartfelt, raspy voice, are a joy, especially in the both giddy and precise rush of the final songs. There is nothing to do but watch, rapt. (…) … a transfixing showcase of musical genius and magic.«
Variety: «‘Springsteen on Broadway’ Is an Intimate, Living Autobiography. (…) The Boss specializes in Steinbeck-sized statements, and this show is no exception. (…) It was a startlingly intimate moment, very different from hearing an icon speak or seeing them up close. It was like hearing him singing in his house. (…) At such close range, his stadium-scale charisma is necessarily dialed down, and in many ways the show is the obverse of a usual Springsteen concert. (…) While conversational and homey, “Springsteen on Broadway” is a more formal concept than some may have entered the theater expecting. This is theatre after all… (…) The show is loaded with great lines and we’ll spoil just a few of them: “I come from a boardwalk town where everything is tinged with a bit of fraud — including me”… (…) “Springsteen on Broadway” is as much a self-made monument to its master’s vision and hurricane-force ambition as it is to his life and career, and it bears the mark of a self-made man who’ll write his own history, thank you very much.«
USA Today: «‘Springsteen on Broadway’: A revelatory night with a rock ‘n’ roll legend. (…) «I’ve never done an honest day’s work, I’ve never worked 9 to 5, I’ve never done any hard labor, and yet, it is all I’ve written about,» Bruce Springsteen yells from the stage about 10 minutes into Springsteen on Broadway, to riotous applause from the crowd. (…) And it’s quite a show, as Springsteen delivers two hours and 15 songs worth of memories, and revelations, and — for some — plenty of tears. (…) The show’s narrative doesn’t contain any revelations for fans… (…) If the tears haven’t flowed earlier in the evening, have Kleenex ready for the show’s ending, with a breathtaking pair of medleys — Long Walk Home/The Rising and Dancing in the Dark/Land of Hope and Dreams…«
Rolling Stone: «Bruce Springsteen’s Broadway Show Is an Intimate Triumph. (…) Springsteen on Broadway, at the 975-seat Walter Kerr theater, is in many ways a live version of the book [«Born to run]… (…) It’s clear from the beginning that this is nothing like a typical latter-day Springsteen concert, where set lists can vary wildly from night to night and Bruce often has little to say between songs. (…) The intensity is, instead, emotional, as Springsteen digs hard into the bedrock of his life story, and ours: childhood, religion, work, death. (…) …one of the most compelling and profound shows by a rock musician in recent memory. (…) His past acoustic shows largely eschewed his biggest hits, however, while the Broadway show uses them to tell his story. (…) Overall, the show’s inherent lack of spontaneity will be a little jarring for those that have followed Bruce for decades… (…) Each segment is designed for maximum emotional impact, and time and time again he reflects on his own mortality. (…) Springsteen has said that he’s uninterested in addressing Trump in song, but he couldn’t have left the stage without bringing up the current state of America. (…) Springsteen on Broadway is a fresh, powerful artistic achievement in its own right – a man who’s a couple of years away from his 70th birthday confronting his past and putting it all into a new and unique context.«
Backstreets: «From the Magic Rat to «magic in the night» to Magic Street, Bruce Springsteen is no stranger to the conjuring arts. For decades, his concerts have been described as feats nothing short of miraculous, and he has discussed his own songwriting in terms of a magical act: creating, from out of the air, something where there was nothing before. Now he does it again. (…) Springsteen on Broadway is an act of alchemy, taking familiar elements…and combining them, with a new venue, to create something we’ve never seen before, something that has had preview audiences… well, spellbound. (…) … if you talk in the first act about having a magic trick, you’d better demonstrate it by the end. And Springsteen doesn’t let us down. (…) Springsteen is a showman par excellence. (…) … witness how he interweaves the text with the music. (…) It’s gradually revealed that the story Bruce is choosing to tell is not that of his biography, his rise to superstardom, or his family, but of his engagement with the world around him. (…) It’s tailored for the space. Springsteen rarely if ever moves past the proscenium — he doesn’t need to reach out physically into the crowd to generate some connection; it’s practically built in. But he maximizes the living room effect, stepping away from the mic at various points to let his voice be heard, unamplified, to the upper reaches. (…) There’s so much space, in the songs and the stories, in the building and in the atmosphere Springsteen cultivates, for our own memories to overlay his. (…) … that in this kind of setting, something extra can happen so that there is a third thing, a bigger thing. You plus me equals us.«