The Biletones have had as busy a summer–one that has compounded just how crazy my day job has been–playing no fewer than five gigs since June, with one more benefit ahead mid-October.
Demanding or not, it is big fun, not just playing, but playing live is among the greatest feelings I have experienced.
Unfortunately, because the band does have day jobs and busy lives, we only manage practice once a week, and with that many performances on top of one another, we have pretty much kept the same set list all summer.
And, needless to say, we have become sick of most of the songs we play, no matter how much we might like them at the core.
Since there is roughly a month between the last two shows this run, we did troll one another for song suggestions, coming up with roughly ten tunes new to us to throw onto the possibles for the October soiree.
One that made the cut was The Boss’s Prove it all Night, a great cut from his equally great Darkness on the Edge of Town record.
Darkness made my Essential 50 albums, and it clearly stands as my favorite Springsteen album amongst a very strong body of work.
Say what you will about Springsteen, being a superstar, dismissing his “art” due to his fame along with the spectacle of arena rock that follows him, but, mark my words, his band is as strong and tight as any other group whoever hit the stage, and no one is more dedicated–performance by performance–to delivering a quality and entertaining show to his minions as is Springsteen and his cartel.
Similarly, Bruce is an excellent song writer, penning a variety of numbers over the years that do indeed explore the angst and uncertainty of life that we associated with rock’n’roll. In fact, because Bruce and his band have endured, we have seen him grow and reflect upon life, not just as an artist, but as an aging and maturing one who accepts his life and fate and is able to translate that experience into songs that hit a chord with his audience.
If there is a problem with Bruce and the band, he has a voice, and they have a sound that seem to make it hard to break out. Rarely do the songs from album to album differ in essence and approach as say the Stones do when you compare Aftermath to Beggar’s Banquet to Their Satanic Majesty’s Request.
True, Bruce has had his more than interesting explorations, such as the uber-satisfying Nebraska but as noted, the essence of the band has been constant over the years, and thus I think as a result he gets dismissed a little.
In fact, Springsteen and the band have been largely missing from this site (there are other bands too I have thought of that deserve reminders of just how good they are) so I thought I would try to right.
The clip below is and excellent example of the Springsteen way, which is basically concocting a four-minute gem for an album, and then blowing it into a ten-minute tour de force live.
What is different about this clip, is that Bruce is the lead guitar player, and he delivers killer notes and tone (thank you Mr. Telecaster!). Roy Brittan also provides a lovely keys in this treatment, but the guts all go to Bruce.