The Wrecking Ball Tour doesn't officially start until Sunday, but Bruce hasn't exactly been charging his batteries by staying home on the couch. Yesterday saw his much anticipated keynote speech at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin. For almost an hour he spoke about the state of music today and about the artists that inspired him, emphasizing such name as Elvis, Roy Orbison, the Animals, and James Brown. He even got a guitar on stage and demonstrated the sometimes very fine line between his own songs and those classics that fueled his muse. It was captivating, it was fun, and after a somewhat rocky start, it was Bruce in full performance mode. Watch the whole thing right here:
How Bruce's speech could be as energetic as it was must have been a surprise to the lucky people who were present at the Austin Music Hall just 12 hours previously. Because around midnight they had witnessed Bruce jump on stage during his friend Alejandro Escovedo's show and participate in a high-energy, four-song jam that also included Joe Ely and Garland Jeffreys. They did "Midnight Train", "Always a Friend", "Dusty Old Roads", and "Beast of Burden" before calling it a night.
Despite staying up late and despite delivering his energetic speech earlier in the day, Bruce still had plenty of energy left for last night's full E Street Band show at the Moody Theater in Austin. Like at the Apollo show last weekend, the show was for contest winners and specially invited people, and again it had "special occasion" written all over it. Particularly the encores turned into a Bruce & Friends event when first Jimmy Cliff sat in on three songs and then Eric Burdon of the Animals showed up to do "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" (which Bruce during his speech had just hailed as being all of his own songs combined in one) before it almost turned ridiculous for the finale with with Joe Ely, Alejandro Escovedo, Garland Jeffreys, Tom Morello, and Arcade Fire all taking part in a grandiose "This Land Is Your Land". Check out the complete setlist for that spectacle here.
All in all, an eventful few days for Bruce that also included the news of Wrecking Ball reaching number one on the Billboard Chart and a closed dress rehearsal before the tour officially kicks off in Atlanta in two days. Stay tuned for that!