A Cautious Man
April 08, 2007
Sunday Night Springsteen
The "I ain't here on business, I'm only here for fun" edition.

This past week the Cautious Wife and I attended a fundraiser at Carnegie Hall for the Music for Youth Foundation. It featured some terrific (mostly) young musicians in a tribute to the music of Bruce Springsteen. I wanted to go because, well, I'm a sucker for stuff like that. There's a great summary of the evening on this NJ.com blog.

Some examples of the best performances - Pete Yorn performed "Dancing in the Dark", noting that it's not really a "happy" song, despite the bouncy music in the original (not to mention the unfortunate Bruce-dances-with-Courtney-Cox music video, which itself demonstrates that the 80's affected everyone).

The quality of this video isn't the best, but you'll get the idea.

Folk music legend Odetta was on the bill, and I just couldn't figure out what she would do. She surprised everyone with what even Mr. Springsteen would call the best version ever of "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)".

And at the end, the announcer asked if there was one wish she could grant the audience, what would it be?
And Bruce came onstage to a standing ovation.
"The good news is I'm still alive!" he said.
"It's like I'm invisible and floating high above the room and hearing all these people talking about you. It's like a funeral.
"Thank you to all the artist for showning up."
He said he liked the version of "57 Channels" Odetta did. he talked about meeting her when he was 23 at Max's Kanas City.
Bruce was wearing a black sport jacket and blue jeans.
He did an acoustic version of "Promised Land" which was a little bit different from the way he had been doing it at the end of the "Devils & Dust" shows.
Bruce then played an acoustic version of "Rosalita."
Toward the latter part of the song he stopped playing and said:
"Well, it's getting late, unfortunately. And this song is really long. Man, I wrote a lot of lyrics back then! Anyway, you don't really want to hear the rest of the story. You know the damn story already. Rosie rode off with our hero . . . they got married . . . and they lived pretty much happily ever after, more or less . . . despite what you might read in one or two tabloid stories. Our hero got himself a band . . . Made a fortune and became a star and made a whole lot of people happy with his songs. . . and then he started to get sort of happy himself. So he broke up the band, and started writing a bunch of songs about being happy. And no one liked them. So he got the band back together. He wrote some new songs. These ones were about being sad. Everyone loved them. And the years went by. Our hero put on a few pounds. His hair started to get some grey in it - at least when he wasn't touching it up. The United States turned into a kingdom. The whole damn planet got so pissed off about the whole thing that it just started getting hotter and hotter. Some babies came. And then they turned into children. And then they turned into...something else. And our hero came one night to the biggest city in the world. And he found himself onstage at the fanciest music house in the whole world. I know you're thinking this story is bullshit. I know it doesn't really happen like that. But tonight, I'm telling you, it's all true. So we might as well just cut to the chase already!"

As he then finished the song, he invited all the other performers out onto the stage. Since the house band knew "Rosalita", they all performed it, again. But, the honoree made a point of letting the other artists do most of the lead singing. They acted like they were kids again, singing along to the record. It was kind of sloppy, but well ...

And they were all having fun, as did we.



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