Skin2Skin

Bruce on Broadway, November 24, 2017

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5 hours ago, micktonerdeaf said:

Skin2Skin, thank you for the Facebook offer. I'm sorry, but I can't take you up on it since I'm one of the stubborn few who doesn't do Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram etc etc.  It's allegedly lack of friends, but I am fearful of the long term damage that cell/smartphones in particular is causing to young brains (echoing the views of many former Silicon Valley whizz kids like Tristan Harris and Justin Rosenstein and Facebook founder Roger McNamee).  I still text, email and actually am not averse to speaking on phones sometimes (weird!).

Late evening yesterday I read/skimmed loads of posts after you ventured on Captain Chaos' thread.  Maybe the twain canl never meet - for and against the Broadway shows and their high ticket cost/cultural implications.  Maybe it's generational - you're around my age I presume unless you got liking Bruce when you were three or so!  CC is maybe mid 40s?  You're safer to post on your own thread or those of other Broadway goers.  The elitists' threads (joking)

I still may go (affordable flights are available), but I'm still having to negotiate with my other half whom I only saw briefly last night - she worked till late and then was on an early.  She at present doesn't want to leave our daughter (17) for five days - I say yes, let's.  Spoken to daughter.  I do want to go if only because it could be the end of him touring.  And I might be the active party and elect not to go to future big shows (Ann Jones got there first and Turkued).  Plus, I was intrigued by the very different and complimentary review by Hilton Als (30/10/17) in the New Yorker.  He's gay and black and that prejudiced his views against Bruce for many years.  It's worth reading if you haven't.  If he has converted to theatre Boss, why am I dithering?

I intend not to post again until early evening in England or later.  Talking of addictive Facebook etc, I spent loads and loads of time yesterday reading and posting on the Lake.  Got to get off and make some money and other stuff!

 

A friend of mine sent me the Als article in the mail, but I wanted to wait to read it until after I saw the show. I really tried to know as little about it as I could before going, although I did read one or two reviews that I was told did not contain spoilers. Thanks for the reminder--gonna go read it now.

I'm not sure the divide on whether Bruce on Broadway has to do with age, but I am old (60 next month). Non-fans, if asked, would be completely confused at the contretemps. I think there's a lot of personal identification going on, and the fact that it's an "elitist" venue which some seem to think conflicts with his class-conscious, working man lyrics. And some personal disappointment in not being able to go, as well as some "This isn't rock and roll, band-centered music." And then there's the static setlist. 

Again, people who are casual fans would find all this completely bizarre, but when our emotions are highly engaged, rationality isn't so easily found. 

And I have to wonder how many people just don't want to face the fact that Bruce Springsteen is not just a celebrity who has accessed an elite life for some time now, but is in his late 60's. Which means, if they've been following him for some time, they are not young anymore either. Mortality is on my mind just about all the time these days, so I feel some of that, but I'm pretty far on the road to acceptance.

And finally, there's the idea that Bruce should conform to their vision of what he should and shouldn't do--or he's living wrong. That's the part that gets me. It's so entitled and outrageous. 

I understand people saying that they don't plan to see any more shows after this, but if Bruce and the band tour again, I will want to go, especially to an arena show. Those stadium shows really turn me off, especially in the heat (I have health problems and heat really affects me). I really have no fear of Bruce becoming "fat Elvis." If he only does a two and a half hour show, I can live with that.

And it's funny, because while I recognize the beauty, power and brilliance of this show and seem to have become one of its strongest advocates, at heart I'm a rocker. Every day.

 

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Loads of strong advocates around here. That's a good thing.

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On 11/27/2017 at 8:04 AM, janeymarywendy said:

I'm glad you got a ticket in the end, @Turkued.  There was a time a few months ago when you were going to sue Ticketmaster, wasn't there?  I look forward to your review next week.  I hope it won't be the 'last time' for you.  I can't really see Bruce doing a 'fat Elvis' - but what I AM wondering is whether he'll ever go back to big stadium shows again, after this experience that he's had.

Hi JMW,

Yup, the threat to sue prompted the Wall Street Journal article which, I believe, led to changes in the second round and now. Even Ticketmaster is not above the law (although I'm sad to see Bruce becoming one of their big supporters; it wasn't so long ago he was leading the push back against them). A bit melancholy; lots of great memories, but I'm afraid the long shows, the stadium shows may be gone. Age sucks. If he does go out for BITUSA...well, there is only one Bruce album I don't like. It will be a thrill to see him next week and, perhaps, if I'm lucky to get a seat and he does come to London one more time.  If past is any indication, the London shows will be in the "intimate" European venue of the O2 arena, thus bolstering all our chances to see him. :)

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@Skin2Skin Thankyou for the great read. I had to come back to it a couple of times to clarify my thoughts:

On the naysayers complainers etc for the Broadway shows I think you summed it up pretty well.

I am so jealous you got to see the Avery Brooks as Paul Robeson show (I didn't even know about it until i read your piece). I guess that's the price I pay for living so far from NYC :) I will forever miss things like that (particularly theatre).

Your review of the show itself summed up why I would love to see it, and hope he will eventually release a DVD or similar from one of the shows. I feel like in some ways you have looked inside me and been able to express my Bruce fandom to me. (I have noted you are from Philadelphia and so should not be surprised - my mom is from a small town in West Deptford so not far away and it is there I still visit family when I can).

Cheers and thankyou again

Ken

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On 11/28/2017 at 5:30 AM, micktonerdeaf said:

 Plus, I was intrigued by the very different and complimentary review by Hilton Als (30/10/17) in the New Yorker.  He's gay and black and that prejudiced his views against Bruce for many years.  It's worth reading if you haven't.  If he has converted to theatre Boss, why am I dithering?

I finally got the chance to read the Als' piece. It was really moving. After reading the sections in BTR where Bruce talked about racism and about Clarence's feelings about being constantly surrounded by White people (and then watching This is Us last night), it was particularly gratifying to read about Als' transformation in the way he perceived and now perceives Bruce. My introduction to Bruce was via WIESS and that is such a soulful album--I know that is why it spoke to me so profoundly. I have written several times about how "soul Bruce" is my favorite Bruce.

(It broke my heart not to see him at the Apollo for that reason, but the videos from that show still blow me away. Think I'll go watch one now!)

 

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40 minutes ago, kenjisan said:

@Skin2Skin Thankyou for the great read. I had to come back to it a couple of times to clarify my thoughts:

On the naysayers complainers etc for the Broadway shows I think you summed it up pretty well.

I am so jealous you got to see the Avery Brooks as Paul Robeson show (I didn't even know about it until i read your piece). I guess that's the price I pay for living so far from NYC :) I will forever miss things like that (particularly theatre).

Your review of the show itself summed up why I would love to see it, and hope he will eventually release a DVD or similar from one of the shows. I feel like in some ways you have looked inside me and been able to express my Bruce fandom to me. (I have noted you are from Philadelphia and so should not be surprised - my mom is from a small town in West Deptford so not far away and it is there I still visit family when I can).

Cheers and thankyou again

Ken

Ken,

Thanks for your kind words. They mean a great deal.

I actually saw the Avery Brooks/Paul Robeson show in Philly, not NYC. I was so blown away by his performance, I found a way to see it again before it left. I also got to see him in the Showtime version of Uncle Tom's Cabin (sadly, just a bit of it, not the whole movie) and between Paul Robeson, Hawk (from Spenser) and Uncle Tom (!), I realized he was one of the greatest actors of my lifetime. That kind of range is extraordinary. How you can play the role of Uncle Tom with such profound dignity, as well as peacefulness . . . and the coiled violence simmering behind Hawk? Genius!

My BFF lives in Deptford . . . 

You need to visit family in the next few months and see the show (if you can). There's a very inexpensive train from Hamilton, NJ to NYC. :)

Just sayin'.

 

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5 minutes ago, Skin2Skin said:

Ken,

Thanks for your kind words. They mean a great deal.

I actually saw the Avery Brooks/Paul Robeson show in Philly, not NYC. I was so blown away by his performance, I found a way to see it again before it left. I also got to see him in the Showtime version of Uncle Tom's Cabin (sadly, just a bit of it, not the whole movie) and between Paul Robeson, Hawk (from Spenser) and Uncle Tom (!), I realized he was one of the greatest actors of my lifetime. That kind of range is extraordinary. How you can play the role of Uncle Tom with such profound dignity, as well as peacefulness . . . and the coiled violence simmering behind Hawk? Genius!

My BFF lives in Deptford . . . 

You need to visit family in the next few months and see the show (if you can). There's a very inexpensive train from Hamilton, NJ to NYC. :)

Just sayin'.

 

I said it elsewhere on the lake - I'm still in trouble with my better half for getting pit for two nights here in Melbourne at start of the year and start of our house renovation. If our budget hadn't gone completely on building our dream home I would probably risk the wrath (and take her and daughter with me - NYC without my partner would be fatal :) ). Several times reading reviews I have been tempted to just push the F@#$ IT button I must admit but it would mean a year of crippling credit card debt.

Don't need the train - Mount Laurel is a 20 min drive from my Aunt's, then a bus straight to midtown.  But I will save my money and go in a year or two so I can spend time with family - we were there 2 years ago to get my daughter her citizenship.

BTW I agree with you about Avery Brooks - as a geeky sci fi fan I loved him in Star Trek Deep Space 9 series (but hated most of that show otherwise to be honest), and I remember Spencer from my late teens - Hawk was truly menacing (that smile).

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You have to do what's best in the long term. But I have to believe/trust that there will be a high quality dvd or HBO special. There is no way that won't happen. It would just be too stupid. 

I've taken that Mt. Laurel bus (once)--many moons ago.

 

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On 11/26/2017 at 9:47 PM, rosiejaneymary said:

Except it’s not a solo show.  He’s done solo tours.  This is absolutely not that. 

How about he simply wanted to try something different?  

It truly is a one man Broadway Show.   So you know, by definition...that show is going to be (wait for it...) on Broadway.  

 

 

 

 

But it didn't HAVE to be Broadway.  If you didn't see it on Broadway, would that change your opinion of the show?  I can serve dog shit on a paper plate and people would think it's dog shit.  But if a Michelin award-winning chef did that, some people may actually eat it because it came from an award-winning chef. 

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10 minutes ago, rocknrollcrook said:

But it didn't HAVE to be Broadway.  If you didn't see it on Broadway, would that change your opinion of the show?  I can serve dog shit on a paper plate and people would think it's dog shit.  But if a Michelin award-winning chef did that, some people may actually eat it because it came from an award-winning chef. 

Yeah, it DID because that’s what he freaking wanted to do.  His life.  His career.  His choice. 

A lot of people disagreed with the Seeger Sessions tour.  They thought it was stupid.  I personally thought it was genius.  Bruce wanted to try that genre of music, so despite what anyone thought, he did it. 

To most people, to have a show on Broadway is a pretty big freaking deal, not to mention a different type of challenge.  Being on Broadway is something many thousands of people strive to be a part of.  Live theatre in the heart of New York City.  

You may disagree that Broadway is any kind of big deal; or that being on Broadway isn’t something to be damn proud to be a part of. 

You may hate NYC.  Or maybe you just hate Broadway in general.  

 

 

 

 

And BTW, I assure you I would not eat dog crap, no matter who the chef was.  

But I do enjoy eating pizza off my grandmother’s good wedding china, for something different. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 2017-11-27 at 1:28 PM, Skin2Skin said:

don't think Bruce will ever become "Fat Elvis" (and by that, I am sure you mean a bloated and placid version of himself, barely able to wheeze out a song). 

Bruce will never become Fat Elvis. It's simply not his way. 

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So.

This post is going to aggravate a few people. That's okay. I'm used to it.

My husband was given a code after the original tickets went on sale and got us tickets. When the first extension became available, I got a code before tickets went on sale. I knew I'd use it to buy a pair of tickets for my BFF, who is also my BBFF (Best Bruce Friend Forever). Luanne and I became friends in college. One night I was helping her write a paper and I was playing Live at the Bottom Line on repeat (something I did often). The album side was the one with the extended E Street Shuffle/How Bruce met Clarence rap.  At one point, she looked up with an epiphany-dazed face and said, "This is amazing. This is really amazing."  

I agreed with her. I was so pleased. I can see that face clearly in my mind's eye 40+ years down the road. It made me like her more, that she would have the taste and wisdom to recognize Bruce's greatness and feel it so deeply. It was one of the many common chords that strengthened our bond, a bond that became a true sisterhood. We saw our first show together in 1978 and for many years, we traveled the path of Bruce Tramps, each of us making sacrifices and taking leaps into the unknown in order to follow that dream, wherever that dream led. 

I have seen Bruce without her many times; she has seen Bruce without me. But anytime she isn't with me, the show lacks a certain lustre, a certain "rightness." When we are together, we always look at each other at the same time, seeing moments that might not resonate in the same way for anyone else. It is "us," an unparalleled connection that has accompanied us most of our lifetimes. 

As soon as I returned to the hotel after the Thanksgiving show, I called Luanne. There were so many moments that I thought of her, wanted to see her face when they happened onstage. I wanted to talk to her about the many little epiphanies I had, all the feels, as the kids say.

I was not thinking about seeing the show again. It really is a completely satisfying and whole experience. It is different than a concert, and not just because the setlist and structure are static. The dialogue is almost identical from show to show (I'll have to listen to a bootleg to be sure of that). Even more than that, the show is akin to reading a book--there is an enclosed quality to it, a cohesive integrity that is, for lack of a better word, "finished."

My ticket-buying experience for this show was amazing. Luanne had wanted to see him on Clarence's birthday, so I didn't dither around on the date. I was in and out of Ticketmaster in less than five minutes. I have NEVER had a more positive, less stressful purchase. 

So. I anticipated that Luanne would go with Helene, the daughter of a mutual friend. They had seen other shows together, and Helene loves Bruce and has seen him many times. She would be adjudged worthy even by some here who decree such things. But it wasn't my decision to make--these were Luanne's tickets.

When I told her that, she said, "But Di. There's no one who should go with me but you. That's who I want to go. That's what would make it the best experience."

I put up some half-hearted arguments. The tickets are so hard to get and so many people want them. I've seen the show and I don't "need" to see it again. You'd have fun with someone else. It would be piggish of me to see it twice.

But the minute she said what she said, I was going to go. Briefly, I thought how some fans would perceive this. Did their opinion matter more to me than Luanne's and the rightness of this? 

No. 

And I have always re-read books. I've read Pride and Prejudice over 100 times, and many other books (some quite artistically dodgy) have gotten dogeared from my many revisits. 

But leading up to the show, I didn't have my usual Bruce-crazed anticipation. The first time I saw the show, I was completely enrapt. That experience was perfect in itself, but I had done it. I'd absorbed every word. I really thought that my greatest pleasure would be watching Luanne's reaction. I knew I'd be glad to see Bruce, but it didn't feel necessary or deeply emotional. I thought this time I could view it with a little critical detachment, be more intellectually observant.

As soon as Bruce walked out onto the stage, it was like I had never seen the show. I didn't have my usual heart palpitations (It's Bruce! It's Bruce! It's Bruce!), but other than that, it was even more emotionally impactful than the first time. I cried for three songs at the first show--on January 11th, my tear ducts started at the very first song and pretty much silently kept pouring out for the entire show. Part of it was that, unlike my husband,  my stoic Luanne was so moved, as riveted as I had been and was again. 

But the bigger part was how vulnerable and open Bruce was. I'm not sure what is going on in his private life, but in the first show, he seemed most emotional and tender when he talked about his Dad. On this night, it seemed he was more personally moved as he talked about his Mom--as if that was what was impacting him in the moment. 

There were very minor differences. He ended Thunder Road differently. He changed a lyric in 10th Avenue to honor the band members more. He had short moments when he didn't use the microphone, an artistic decision to strip himself even barer, showing us Bruce the human as opposed to the showman. 

Ironically, although he has done the show more often now, he is less controlled, more raw. My words are imperfect; the performance is mastery, not unfinished. 

Either I was more open or he was. Maybe both of us, I don't know.

When Bruce talked about Clarence, Luanne's tears flowed so much that the woman next to her offered her a Kleenex. She then offered one to me but I declined; my makeup was too far gone by that point to bother. Luanne is very unlike me, personality-wise, very low-key and private. And, as I mentioned above, stoic. But she has always had a special connection to Clarence--the first time we met him in 1979, she, decidedly not dreamy or new age, saw a golden aura and a halo. She was shocked the rest of us didn't see it; it was that clear and tangible to her. 

The show is such a combination of the emotional and the cerebral. Bruce's vision and manifestation of the show is, imo, brilliant, but its greatest brilliance is the way he evokes such a range of feelings that are so intense. They are not almost painful, in parts, they are actually painful.

And then there is so much pleasure, too.

Before he performs My Hometown, he talks against an incredibly poignant piano instrumental backdrop. It opened a door to a private memory, a fixed place in time. The avenue was so specific, I remembered where I was and even the book I was reading and the feelings it engendered (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn). I am confident that others are taken to a place in their personal memories, just as Bruce so vividly recounts his.

The audience was a little different--more vocal, more outbursts, but nothing so extreme Bruce needed to offer a corrective. I could feel some of them collectively holding themselves in check, pulling in their stomachs, used to behaving one way at concerts and maybe never having gone to a Broadway show. But the love and respect Bruce and his fans share is such that even people who pride themselves on not "putting on airs/acting different for anybody" are quiet, respectful. It reminded me of the line in To Kill a Mockingbird: "Stand up, Miss Jean Louise, your father's passing." 

We are in the presence of someone special, someone worthy of acknowledgment, someone who has given us so much--someone who has so much more than kept his youthful promise. And everyone in the theatre recognizes it, and feels honored to give it to him.

After the show, I looked at the faces of those who emerged. It was like they were putting on their New York city masks, their taking-care-of-business faces. I knew my face wasn't like theirs--I felt like I had attended a funeral or a really intense wake. I was changed. I was moved to the point where I could not rearrange my face as if nothing life-changing had just happened.

Luanne had to hit the bathroom, and I found myself right next to a partition not far from the stage door, where people had gathered to wait for Bruce and Patti to emerge. People with every kind of accent. A woman from England climbed up something and security demanded she get down immediately, "I came all the way from London, I should be up front," she screamed. The woman in front of me said, "Well, we're from Germany!" It was quite the United Nations out there, and it hit me how those not from the tri-state area really appreciate a glimpse of Bruce more than those of us old tramps who have been fortunate enough to have much more access. 

I hadn't intended to wait, but when they moved the barrier (which I wasn't expecting), I moved closer to the stage door. I knew I wouldn't be able to see him when he came out, but I just wanted to be in the crowd, part of it. I wanted to add my silent presence, my little homage. My thanks.

****

There is NO doubt in my mind that there will be a DVD. And I find myself, surprisingly, wishing to see the show one more time, in June, just to see what artistic tweaks Bruce has made, just to experience this one more time.

But I won't and I am perfectly fine with that, too. 

****

P.S. Helene has a ticket for the show. Which makes me happy.

I truly wish everyone who wanted to go to this show could do so. 


 

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I have 2 friends like that S2S.  Mr RJM gave up his ticket so one of them (who also lives in the area) could go.   We’ve got 40 plus years together of Bruce adventures, countless shows, etc... The other about 35 years of shared Bruceness.   

But Mr RJM would still would like to go; as would my other Bruce bud in crime (she lives in Rochester, so we’d need a bit of notice). 

I have other Bruce Buds who are trying for tickets.  For at least one of them, I am the person with whom she would go.  

I know a few people that went more than once, due to similar circumstances...they were the “it” person to other people.  

Others because they were in whatever right place at the right time.  

I too wish everyone who wants to see the show is able.  That includes the aforementioned people in my Bruce world.  So far, no luck; but IF they are so blessed as to get tickets, I’ll be going again as well.   

I’ve been hearing lately that the audiences haven’t been as respectful as the night I went.  One night was particularly bad.  I was told by two people in attendance that Bruce had to address it from the stage, and it took a while before they (whomever they were) would stop.  Like calling out songs (??????  FFS!), among other rude behavior.  Ugh.  

Glad you were able to experience it with your friend. :) 

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Thank you so much for sharing your experience so eloquently! And what an incredible experience it sounds like, especially being able to share it with a friend. 

The show sounds so amazing, I almost wish people were hating it so that I don't feel so bad about missing out haha, but I haven't seen a single negative review. Goes to show what a great artist Bruce is that he has been able to win over even those who had been unconvinced when the Broadway run was first announced.

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8 minutes ago, rosiejaneymary said:

I have 2 friends like that S2S.  Mr RJM gave up his ticket so one of them (who also lives in the area) could go.   We’ve got 40 plus years together of Bruce adventures, countless shows, etc... The other about 35 years of shared Bruceness.   

But Mr RJM would still would like to go; as would my other Bruce bud in crime (she lives in Rochester, so we’d need a bit of notice). 

I have other Bruce Buds who are trying for tickets.  For at least one of them, I am the person with whom she would go.  

I know a few people that went more than once, due to similar circumstances...they were the “it” person to other people.  

Others because they were in whatever right place at the right time.  

I too wish everyone who wants to see the show is able.  That includes the aforementioned people in my Bruce world.  So far, no luck; but IF they are so blessed as to get tickets, I’ll be going again as well.   

I’ve been hearing lately that the audiences haven’t been as respectful as the night I went.  One night was particularly bad.  I was told by two people in attendance that Bruce had to address it from the stage, and it took a while before they (whomever they were) would stop.  Like calling out songs (??????  FFS!), among other rude behavior.  Ugh.  

Glad you were able to experience it with your friend. :) 

These outbursts seem unbelievable to those of us who either/or have attended plays before or who have read Bruce's intent for the show and his reaction to such behavior. I tried to remember that people just don't know and have experienced prior Bruce events as participatory. 

Bruce didn't have to reprimand anyone on the 11th. That's a good thing. :) 

Those Bruce friends who've been on the journey with us for a long time . . . there's nothing like that connection. A form of blood on blood.

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