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Does Bruce and the Band Plant Signs?


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There was a certain poster who went on a campaign (posted about it all over the board) weeks before the show that he had planned to attend to get a song played that hadn't been played in ages. He pick

i have heard of these type of people - weirdos is what they are 

Someone made a sign request for Reno?

21 hours ago, Tom-Joad said:

Unfortunately. I think Bruce singing Search and Destroy would be less of a stretch than Royals, Stayin’ Alive or Sociedade Alternativa.

My point is no one in the audience would be making a stooges request, of course he could play it 

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10 hours ago, High As Hope said:

Isn't it said that everything spontaneous Bruce does is carefully planned?

I wouldn't say signs are planted but Bruce picks them on the basis of what he has planned,though saying that the odd wild card wouldn't be a total  surprise depending on how he feels & let's face it with the ESB most have been playing for 50 years so there's not going to be alot in the catalogue of what Bruce decides to play that is going to make anything sound a complete trainwreck by it being suddenly thrown at them but it's unlikely that he'd chance it with a song they haven't played in a long time.

I'd say most things are planned, but I'd put money on the fact that Ain't Good Enough in Oslo 2012 was pretty unplanned.

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12 hours ago, SoulBoogieAlex said:

I've seen stranger things happen with lesser bands. You Never Van Tell isn't that hard for seasoned players to lock into.

Absolutely.  It's not that hard of a song, he gives them the key, sings out the basic horn part beforehand, and uses a LOT of hand signals during the song to keep everyone together.   The same style of horns soloing and then playing over each other all at once is also exactly how they play the Seeger songs, Johnny 99, etc, so the band is used to it.

I can see them pulling this off with no rehearsal at all, or as others have suggested seeing the sign a few days or even weeks beforehand and saying "that would be fun to do if we see it again".  But actually planting signs and faking the whole thing seems like a pretty big stretch to me.

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23 hours ago, Tom-Joad said:

Unfortunately. I think Bruce singing Search and Destroy would be less of a stretch than Royals, Stayin’ Alive or Sociedade Alternativa.

He owned Royals and staying alive !

First time i ever actually heard the words to staying alive too 

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11 minutes ago, Daisey Jeep said:

He owned Royals and staying alive !

First time i ever actually heard the words to staying alive too 

I loved Royals!!!!   I got to hear Stayin’ Alive at Mohegan and I thought it was really good.  :) 

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11 hours ago, Lampi said:

The band did not know how to play the song, never before played with the ESB.

I was there the night he played it in Milwaukee; he talked about playing it by himself, but in the end he lead the band through it with hand signals:

8 hours ago, rosiejaneymary said:

Another possibility is it could’ve been a fan at a previous show that was going to the next show.  He saw the sign and thought it would be fun to play.  They practiced it, he saw the fan/sign again...

Another thing I just remembered is that he would collect a whole bunch of signs, and then pick out of the pile. They could have easily saved a sign from a prior night and just stuck it in the pile.

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  • 10 months later...

I can't speak for every show, but I had a sign request played (Sydney 2017,  My Love Will Not Let You Down) and it was 100% legit. I printed out a 3 foot wedding photograph with the song title over the top explaining that it was the song we danced to on the beach when we eloped. 

If you look on YouTube for Out In The Street from the 7th February 2017 you can see Bruce beckon to me for it at the end of the song. There is also a really good video of the band playing it. 
 

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I don't think they're ever planted, but he will see the same ones at multiple shows giving him time to decide which to pick.

In Leeds 2013 he admitted they had dome some rehearsal on Local Hero. In Paris he headed straight for a sign for Lucille in the area he had been collecting signs pre-show, he'd obviously seen it and decided to include it.

I'm sure there are also instances of songs genuinely being busked on the spot. 

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The interview with Everett Bradley posted by Daisy shines a light. The band are prepared for just about anything from set list changes to sign requests. He explicitly mentions playing "the weight" in remembrance of Levon Helm that was performed spontaneously. Decent video of it too.

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6 hours ago, Ninethumbs said:

The interview with Everett Bradley posted by Daisy shines a light. The band are prepared for just about anything from set list changes to sign requests. He explicitly mentions playing "the weight" in remembrance of Levon Helm that was performed spontaneously. Decent video of it too.

I was at that phenomenal show! His playing The Weight was unbelievably fantastic 

Some guy behind us yelled out ‘this is Fing awesome!!’ :D

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3 hours ago, bobfan1976 said:

Don't forget a lot of songs are three chord wonders, and relatively simple to play. Anything too complicated in terms of chords/key changes they are going to swerve, at least until they can get some rehearsal in.

Definitely. With only a couple of exceptions, the songs in the "stump the band" section are all based on standard 12-bar blues schemes or 1-IV-V progressions. 3 chords, 4 at best if you have  a parallel minor chord. Solos, specific riffs excluded, are improvised, anyway, on these. Any, and by that I mean any, bar band worth their salt, can pull this off.

Also, "singing" horn parts and such elements are the way Bruce works - so the band/horn section should be used to that.

Now,  some of the more complex/obscure things, including from Bruce's own back catalog, will be rehearsed or soundchecked upon being spotted, but planting signs is unnecessary for a band of this quality.

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I think there would have to be some planning because as well as needing to know the chords, the lyrics would have to be available for the autocue. Imagine how embarrassing it would be if Bruce took the sign, showed it the band, then the lyrics didn't come up, or the wrong lyrics, or not at the right speed.

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I think there would have to be some planning because as well as needing to know the chords, the lyrics would have to be available for the autocue. Imagine how embarrassing it would be if Bruce took the sign, showed it the band, then the lyrics didn't come up, or the wrong lyrics, or not at the right speed. 

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2 minutes ago, Tom74 said:

I think there would have to be some planning because as well as needing to know the chords, the lyrics would have to be available for the autocue.

I remember reading something about how the guys on the autocue had to search for the lyrics on the internet during the show to feed them in.

In the intro to 'I Don't Want To Hang Up My Rock & Roll Shoes' in Buffalo you hear Bruce turn away from the mic ant ask "Any luck?, which I suspect is directed at those searching for the lyrics.

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A mate of mine was at a Dublin show a few years ago, he managed to get into the bar at the Hotel where Bruce and the band were staying after the show. Max came in and joined my mate and others at a table for a few drinks. My mate asked him about the signs and he said there were no plants and that the band had no idea in advance what would be played by sign request at any show. 

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12 minutes ago, MARTIN LEICESTER said:

A mate of mine was at a Dublin show a few years ago, he managed to get into the bar at the Hotel where Bruce and the band were staying after the show. Max came in and joined my mate and others at a table for a few drinks. My mate asked him about the signs and he said there were no plants and that the band had no idea in advance what would be played by sign request at any show. 

He would say that, wouldn't he? ;)

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On 1/11/2021 at 1:30 PM, badlands78 said:

I don’t recall any of these issues on the Reunion Tour.  Bruce just delivered a kick-ass show, no request bullshit.

Stand On It was played at request at the Reunion Tour I saw. Which was a tour debut and the first performance since the last night of the BUSA Tour; which you could not judge from the performance, but maybe it was rehearsed before anyway. Rehearsed-not before the show, but during tour rehearsals, like other songs from Tracks.

There was the occasional request before -like Be True in Landover 1984- but probably not sign requests, but requests of fans meeting Bruce before the show-or after the previous show, like it was possible in the early days.

Well. There was the famous comment of Bruce -also during Reunion Tour-  'I am not a f..king jukebox'; we know how that changed later. Could be the comment was about signs for Rosalita during New Jersey 1999 shows; this reason he denied to play it, but finally played it the last show of the stand (the only Reunion Tour performance of the song), just because, unlike previous nights,  there was not a sign for Rosalita that night. Or so the story goes.

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On 1/11/2021 at 7:30 AM, badlands78 said:

I don’t recall any of these issues on the Darkness Tour.  Bruce just delivered a kick-ass show, no request bullshit.

FIFY

Things were better in '78.

@JudgeBrown will approve this post. (I hope)

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15 hours ago, Lampi said:

Well. There was the famous comment of Bruce -also during Reunion Tour-  'I am not a f..king jukebox'; we know how that changed later. Could be the comment was about signs for Rosalita during New Jersey 1999 shows; this reason he denied to play it, but finally played it the last show of the stand (the only Reunion Tour performance of the song), just because, unlike previous nights,  there was not a sign for Rosalita that night. Or so the story goes.

Compare that with this, though.  Take 'Em As They Come, London 2012.

 

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18 hours ago, Lampi said:

There was the famous comment of Bruce -also during Reunion Tour-  'I am not a f..king jukebox'; we know how that changed later.

The ability to pull lyrics off the internet onto the autocue at a moments notice must, at least in part, explain the change in attitude. 

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