Very recently, I was sitting around having a conversation with a group of adults and, of course, my so-called obsession with Springsteen and The E Street Band came up. The question came up of why anyone would want to see Bruce more than once. More than once in a lifetime? No. More than once in the same venue, same week, same tour? Yes. I've said this before, "It's like asking a heroin addict, 'Hey, didn't you just shoot up last night?'" That said, I was asked this question: "Isn't it the exact same show as the night before?" In answer to that question, I just found this quote from the E Street Band's great guitarist, Nils Lofgren, in an interview he did promoting tomorrow's half time show. In it he answers the question perfectly:
"This last tour, Bruce kind of... I don't think it was pre-meditated, but the last two months of the tour became complete improv shows where he'd run out in the audience and get, like, 30 signs. Every time he did it I kept thinking, "Here's a college kid rummaging through a pile of clothes looking for a shirt that's clean enough to wear" -- Bruce is just throwing signs around, looking for something to play. By the last few months the setlist almost became useless. He never followed it. There have always been audibles, but there was a theme to it that you could kind of read (the set list) and guess at it pretty well, and that all went out the window. That's what I love about Bruce. He did an all-improv show, but not at the expense of building and having the same kind of emotional peak and energy we always do -- which is very challenging as a bandleader. He really rose to the occasion . . . Someone told me, "Yeah, you played over 160 songs." I don't even keep track. I'm so busy trying to keep my head above water day by day. And it was fun! It was challenging and you learn a lot of tracks, how to make that work in a 10-piece band like that because at some pint you just can't be prepared for audibles. When he calls a song you haven't done in 13 years and you're trying to... Forget how it goes, it's "What instrument do I play?" It makes for a very challenging night for us, in addition to the audience.