Monday, February 2, 2009

Tramps Like Us, Baby, We Were Born To...Slide?

Let's debrief. First of all, the scorecard:

Blinded By The Light = no
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) = no
Born To Run = no duh
Girls In Their Summer Clothes = no, but he did play a new song
This Land Is Your Land (Woody Guthrie) or We Shall Overcome (Pete Seeger) = no and no

SPIKE: 2/6
Glory Days = yes
Born In The USA = no, the Boss did not jump to play this
Born To Run = who didn't guess this?
Thunder Road = no
Hungry Heart = no
Rosalie = no

(Pausing to bask in victory. Still pausing. But knowing full well that EVERYONE would've won if the Boss would've played Atlantic City, Devils & Dust, and The River with just an acoustic guitar. The article at the bottom of this scorecard agrees with me.)

Now, in reviewing the performance, let's break it down into points and penalties, meaning what the Boss did well and what was not so hot. Positivity wins the flip and kicks off.

ENERGY. The calling card of a Bruce performance is his manic energy and there was no letdown here. The guy couldn't hold still. Mrs. Woolridge kept asking what his deal was, which is generally a good sign. Not anything unexpected, but he came through. +10 points.
THE SPIT Even though he seemed more hoarse than a guy who's singing for 12 minutes should be, we still got the spitting, breathless delivery that- hand in hand with energy- is in the zoning laws on E-Street. 5 points per foot of spit radius = +15 points.
10th Avenue Freeze Out +15 points for a pleasant surprise.
BORN TO RUN Of course. The only bad thing about it was deciding to play anything after it. It's the barnburner and the song that should've capped his performance. 1 point per year since its release = + 34 points
THAT NEW SONG Credit be to Bruce for not resting on his Greatest Hits. You gotta play like your new songs belong in the same breath as your legendary stuff. Even if they don't. The choir, however, was a gimmick and misstep. So cheesy and unnecessary. Still, +20 points for Striving For Continued Relevance.
GLORY DAYS Like I said before, perfect song for this set. Changing the words, however, was cheesy. I can see how somebody might think it was cool, but then I could also see why I would still want to punch them in the nuts. What is this anyway? Do you really want to be in the same category as "Pre-Game Faith Hill Song That Has Terrible Customized Lyrics"? Sing the dang song, man. -10 points for lyric change, +10 points for Making Spike Win The Guessing Game = no points

THE POSE Now, I wouldn't go so far as to call the Boss a poser. Far from it. But that little thing at the start with him and Clarence was lame. What is this? Charlie's Angels. Especially when he used the guitar for its silhouette only to jettison it once the song started... -8 points, 4 for each useless instrument in the posed silhouette.
CLARENCE CLEMONS -10 points. If you aren't jazz, the English Beat or Morphine (or have a note from home), I have a hard time seeing why you'd be saxophoning on MY television.
CLARENCE CLEMONS' JACKET -15 points, one for every pimp who, watching the Super Bowl and seeing CC's jacket, thought, "Man, I gots to get me one of THEM"
THE CROTCH SLIDE Tough to hold this against him when you saw the look of delight on his face. So. No points. (Go to this link. Go. Go. Go.)
THE CHOIR -8 points, one for each time I thought, "What is the point of the choir?"
THE BANTER This one's divisive even for me. I realize that a lot of people probably loved the playfulness. It just seemed too calculated and, well, a little hokey/hammy for me. But I am probably missing the context of one of Bruce's 3-hour revivals. So we'll blame Little Steven and call it even. No points.
THE REFEREE One word sums up my reaction the referee (and his yellow flag)'s appearance: CRINGE. - 15 points.
CHANGING THE WORDS TO GLORY DAYS no points, as discussed above.
HAVING SOME ACOUSTIC GUITAR CHICK ONSTAGE WHO'S EVEN MORE DISPENSABLE THAN PATTY SCIALFA Like we need a Poor Man's Patty Scialfa. -12 points, 2 for each useless string.
"I'M GOING TO DISNEYLAND?" Bruce, you did not win the Super Bowl. You played at halftime. Did ESPN put you up to this? -5 points

= +1

So it was better than it was bad.

(Interesting article about the performance and its cultural relevance: here)

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