Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bruce Springsteen’s Economic Wisdom

My cousin, Andrew Horowitz, is a Certified Financial Planner and author of The Disciplined Investor: Essential Strategies for Success. We saw Andrew and his beautiful family last weekend, and after talking some finance in email, he sent me this gem last night:

Bruce Springsteen’s Economic Wisdom

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Springsteen Ypsilanti pictures

My better pictures from Ypsilanti are now up as a photo album at shutterfly. Go to http://ypsilantibruce.shutterfly.com to see the pics or slide show!

Bruce in Ypsilanti, October 6, 2008


October 6, 2008:

A year ago today I flew back from Philadelphia, having spent an exorbitant amount of money to see my first show on the Magic tour, my first show since my dad passed a month earlier. The E Street Band had its full original line-up, and played in an arena named for the mighty Wachovia Bank. It was 80 degrees outside, pool weather. The market crash had not yet begun, and the election was still more than a year off.

Fast forward to a somewhat cool Michigan day, coming on the heels of the first two days of the fall frost. My back was a bit sore after a couple hours working the fruit trees on Saturday and then the round trip to Columbus yesterday, and the cool weather wasn't much helping. In contrast to the perfect warm fall Sunday in Columbus, Monday shaped up to be cool and damp in Michigan. And the show itself wouldn't be much easier to make: in order to arrange it, I had to move one meeting forward, do another one on the phone, drive 25 miles one way to pick up Lori, and 40 more another way to get to Eastern Michigan's baseball stadium. And, with tickets being free but hard to find -- I had to drive 30 miles to Canton last Friday to pick up a pair -- I was fielding calls from friends much of the weekend.

We arrived at 3pm, just as the crowd was beginning to be allowed in to the stadium. Oestrike Stadium can charitably be described as... in need of a paint job. The outfield grass was fine, anyway, and that's all that really mattered. There were far fewer early arrivals than yesterday, so our 3pm arrival netting us a position directly in front of the stage, about 12 deep.

The warm-up today included two acts who have performed in local venues over the years; we enjoyed seeing Kitty Donohoe, who is one of our local faves. The president of Eastern Michigan University said a few words, but neglected to tell the audience who she was. Someone who I presume to be University Chaplain led a prayer; as with the prayer yesterday in Columbus, it explicitly referred to Jesus. Unlike in Columbus, though, today's reference brought audible groans in the area where I was standing. So, score one for Ypsilanti, and I ask a question: Why is it necessary to bring Jesus F. Christ in to these rallies? I understand saying the pledge, even with the God line, but why make them explicitly Christian like that?

Debbie Dingell got up and provided the unintentional comic relief of the afternoon. After making a reference to Bruce, thus producing a few "Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuce" yells from the crowd, Dingell said, approximately, "none of that! Think positive thoughts!" She was serious. She was also screaming. After that, many of those who weren't literally holding their hands over their ears would take any pause as an opportunity to yell "Bruuuuuce," finally prompting Dingell to yell out, "Stop it with this negativity!" I'm pretty sure I was crying at this point; I'll note that DIngell did finally figure out that no one was literally booing, I think the gales of laughter might have been her clue. Congressman John Dingell spoke, too, though I can't recall quite what he said. Finally, some local organizers spoke, and introduced Bruce.

The Promised Land

Bruce got up, announced he couldn't spell Ypsilanti, and launched in to the set. Structurally, it was the same as in Columbus, which I expected. I was ready with my good camera this time, as well as the video camera. Lori says he sounded a little hoarse, but he sounded fine to me.

The setlist, first 3 songs:
The Promised Land
The Ghost of Tom Joad
Thunder Road

The Ghost of Tom Joad

Bruce plays "Thunder Road" as photographers line the grassy knoll

Today's wild-card entry was a spirited rendition of "Devils and Dust"; expecting the wild-card there, I was ready with the video camera for it... and dutifully put it down for what I expected would be "No Surrender." Bruce called for a capo. I thought, "why does Bruce need a capo for 'No Surrender'"? Bruce started the song, and I thought again, "I don't remember 'No Surrender' starting like this yesterday." Then Bruce sang, "My little sister's in the front seat," and I thought, "ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, shit! Get the fucking camera back out!!" I guess I won't video very many shows, but at least I did get Bruce telling all the neighbors to fuck off. In any case, "Used Cars" was a special treat, the kind of moment that makes even an 8-song set worth the trip.

Devils & Dust


Used Cars


The setlist, final 5 songs:
Devils & Dust
Used Cars
No Surrender
The Rising
This Land is Your Land

No Surrender


Public Service Announcement

The PSA seemed to me a little more restrained than yesterday, and the crowd somewhat smaller -- though it's hard to tell on a large baseball field -- and more subdued than yesterday. The sun finally came out during the PSA, just in time for "The Rising." It was like a miracle glow that fell on Bruce, and the crowd definitely noticed. Bruce closed with the "Yes We Can" chant again and "This Land Is Your Land," using a tune that to me is the same as the one he once used for "Nebraska." When Bruce got to the line "When the sun came shining," he got one of the afternoon's louder cheers.

After the show, Bruce spent some time shaking fans' hands along the side fence of the stadium, probably for 10-15 minutes.

All photographs and video for this blog entry by Matthew Orel

Monday, October 06, 2008

Bruce at The Ohio State University (October 5, 2008)


I'm a sucker for going to see Bruce shows... even if they're far away and not really full shows.

Today's performance at The Main Oval at The Ohio State University was one of 3 scheduled performances over this weekend, coinciding with voter registration drives in battleground states. Yesterday's was in Philadelphia, and tomorrow's will be in Ypsilanti.

It was a beautiful Sunday, and for a change I had had no plans at all. Columbus is a 3 hour drive, and with the concert scheduled for 4:30, I could easily make it a day trip. For less than a tankful of gas (tickets being free), I could get a bit of a Bruce fix (and see Chris and Bryon). And so I did.

Also, a bit of a difference from normal Bruce concerts in that there was no prohibition on photographic equipment, so what the heck, I brought a camera.

As for the show... er... rally: The line-up to get in stretched around a couple campus buildings by the time we got there. Not really all that many people, it just seemed that way. Waiting out on the oval after being admitted was a little like waiting in the pit for a show to begin... only instead of sitting on floorboards over ice, we were on real grass, with sun in our faces. That is, it didn't suck.

Although the rally was billed for 4:30, the speakers started well before then. Two Ohio congressional candidates spoke, as did the mayor of Columbus. All spoke reasonably well, if usually predictably on substance. The Columbus mayor got in a zinger by referring to last Thursday's debate between "Senator Biden and Tina Fey." John Glenn came out to say a few words, and then he said he lost the lottery to introduce Bruce and so he turned it over to... contest winners. It was pretty weird. Eventually, it went back to Glenn to introduce Bruce.

Bruce seemed in good spirits, and he started off with a bit of a joke, playing the chorus to "Hey, Mr. Spaceman" (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs2NNUCDzis&feature=related for a weird little lip-sync video of the Byrds version) for Senator Glenn, and then launching in to his 45-minute set. The setlist was:

Hey, Mr. Spaceman (chorus only)
The Promised Land
The Ghost of Tom Joad
Thunder Road
No Surrender

The Rising
This Land Is Your Land

The Ghost of Tom Joad was a powerhouse, played uptempo and with conviction. Bruce made several references to the importance of Ohio and to his own history there, even referencing a 1972 concert in which he opened for Sha-Na-Na. But he saved his most powerful remarks for the Public Service Announcement, in which he stated forcefull how he wanted his country and his dreams -- our shared dreams -- back. That 1000 George W. Bushes and 1000 Dick Cheney couldn't tear down what this country should be: "America remains a repository of peoples hopes, possibilities, and desires, and despite the terrible erosion to our standing around the world, we remain, for many people, a house of dreams. And one thousand Goerge Bushes and one thousand Dick Cheneys will never be able to tear that house down." Get the full text off the internet downloads, it's worth it.

This Land Is Your Land -- with the steeple/people verse -- was bracketed by a rally chant of "Yes, We Can!"