A Cautious Man
February 01, 2009
 
Sunday Morning Springsteen
It's Springsteen season, again - the guy is everywhere. He was all over the inauguration celebrations two weeks ago. He was all over the sports pages the other day, with a press conference in connection with the Super Bowl. As New Jersey sportswriter Steve Politi put it in my local paper the other day -

Our team finally arrived at this Super Bowl XLIII, and not a moment too soon. The storylines here are stale and the matchup is dull, with no compelling reason to watch.

Our team can save the day. This is a veteran unit from New Jersey, and judging by its press conference Thursday, the players are ready. Now if we just could do something about how long they'll be on the field ...

One thought: Can the NFL hold the football game at halftime of a two-part Bruce Springsteen concert?

Please?

It looks like a fun time was had by all. You can watch below -

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


And this morning, he's smiling out from the front page of the Sunday New York Times Arts and Leisure section. [If it asks you to log in to read, you can use the name "Cautiousman" and the password "cautious"] It's an interesting interview, not least for the fact that he discusses the reaction to the special, "Wal-Mart only" song compilation that went on sale recently -

He made another promotional deal he now bluntly calls a mistake. On Jan. 13 a $10 collection of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s “Greatest Hits” — 11 songs from a 1995 hits anthology, as well as “Radio Nowhere” from “Magic” — went on sale exclusively at Wal-Mart. Since Wal-Mart has been accused of anti-union practices by Human Rights Watch, among others, and has paid large fines for violating labor laws, the announcement prompted online criticisms like the one from asroma on the fan site backstreets.com: “Bruce is doing biz with Wal-Mart? Kind of goes against everything he stands for.”

In an interview with Billboard, Mr. Springsteen’s manager, Jon Landau, defended the release, saying Mr. Springsteen’s albums were already in Wal-Mart, which accounts for 15 percent of his sales. He also said: “We’re not doing any advertising for Wal-Mart. We haven’t endorsed Wal-Mart or anybody else. We’re letting Sony do its job.”

But Mr. Springsteen said the decision was made too hastily. “We were in the middle of doing a lot of things, it kind of came down and, really, we didn’t vet it the way we usually do,” he said. “We just dropped the ball on it.” Instead of offering the exclusive collection to Wal-Mart, “given its labor history, it was something that if we’d thought about it a little longer, we’d have done something different.” He added, “It was a mistake. Our batting average is usually very good, but we missed that one. Fans will call you on that stuff, as it should be.”

But I'm concerned about another item from that interview, which is near the start.

At 9 o’clock on a recent morning Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were already half an hour into a rehearsal at the rock club Terminal 5 in Manhattan. As N.F.L. executives and a television production team watched, they were tightening their miniset of four songs — dropping verses, streamlining segues — to fit their 12-minute slot as the halftime entertainment Sunday at Super Bowl XLIII, expected to reach tens of millions of viewers.

"Dropping verses"? "Streamlining seques"? Is this halftime going to be (*gasp*) a medley? Sort of like when the songs rush by you in a commercial for a Time-Life greatest hits compilation? I'm with Mr. Politi on this one -

Can the NFL hold the football game at halftime of a two-part Bruce Springsteen concert?

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