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The E street band “tricks”


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Hi, first time poster. During the Broadway shows and in his latest Apple Music interviews promoting “letter” Bruce mentions that the e street band use every “old trick in the book”, I’m not sure of any examples, can anyone provide some? 

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I think part of the “trick” is in making it appear like the concerts are made up of in the moment things when they are really rehearsed and at least loosely planned out ahead of time. 
 

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Welcome @Badabing2000

I think he's meaning they are seasoned performers and as a unit a very well oiled machine

 

 

Maybe they either make it look easy when it isnt or they make it look hard when its easy :lol:

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On 1/30/2021 at 10:36 PM, Badabing2000 said:

Hi, first time poster. During the Broadway shows and in his latest Apple Music interviews promoting “letter” Bruce mentions that the e street band use every “old trick in the book”, I’m not sure of any examples, can anyone provide some? 

 

Welcome. Very nice first post!
 

Taken from his Book, Foreword:

Rock ’n’ Roll Survival Kit
 DNA, natural ability, study of craft, development of and devotion to an aesthetic philosophy, naked desire for . . . fame? . . . love? . . . admiration? . . . attention? . . . women? . . . sex? . . . and oh, yeah . . . a buck. Then . . . if you want to take it all the way out to the end of the night, a furious fire in the hole that just . . . don’t . . . quit . . . burning.
 These are some of the elements that will come in handy should you come face-to-face with eighty thousand (or eighty) screaming rock ’n’ roll fans who are waiting for you to do your magic trick. Waiting for you to pull something out of your hat, out of thin air, out of this world, something that before the faithful were gathered here today was just a song-fueled rumor.
 I am here to provide proof of life to that ever elusive, never completely believable “us.” That is my magic trick. And like all good magic tricks, it begins with a setup. So . . .
 

- - - 

If I'm not mistaken it is the sum of the above.  "DNA, natural ability, study of craft .... etc."
And The Promise (to himself and his fans) Night after Night after Night to be Alive up There.

To me the eighty thousand he is talking about is "Roskilde 2012".  A festival where the "furious fire in the hole"-trick unfolded, and a lot of youth experienced the Trick for the first time. It was Magic. 

 

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4 hours ago, MichaelU1230 said:

Could it simply be the fact, that the album is made old school, with the entire band beeing in the studio at the same time, and recording the full takes of the songs?

I suppose you're referring to Letter To You specifically because not all of his albums are recorded that way.

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Welcome and yes, a terrific first post.

One aspect of "every old trick in the book" is arranging songs for maximum impact on the audience. Take, for example, "Ghosts". ("Mary's Place" is an older example, as are songs like "Rosalita" and "Thundercrack".

"Ghosts" starts with just the pounding drum beat, then a break as Bruce starts singing ("I hear the sound of your guitar...") followed by ringing guitar chords leading the band in. There's a guitar riff in the bridge (after "spirit filled with light" in the chorus) that echoes "Two Hearts"). There's the modulation up at the end of "your love and I'm alive". There's a space at the end of the chorus (after "and I'm coming home") where there could be more words (a hint of foreshadowing).

At the end of the third verse the band cuts out again as Bruce and Steve sing "by the end of the set we'd leave no one alive". At the end of the third chorus everyone cuts out except for Roy on piano, playing arpeggios behind Bruce's voice leading into the fourth verse, which then builds---first with Bruce's guitar (punctuating "I make my vows to those who've come before"), then crescendoing with backing vocals, Max's drums, Gary's bass. Now into the chorus again, but this time filling that empty space with words of resolution "Yeah, I'm coming home".

Back down to just the basic drumbeat, followed by Bruce counting the band in ("1, 2; 1, 2, 3, 4"). Again it builds with another instrument added every four bars: drums, guitars, piano, organ, then Jake's sax soaring high, followed by Gary's bass thrumming down low and all the voices singing "La-la-la-la, la-la, la, la, la" (wordless ecstasy that practically demands the audience join in).

Everything in that arrangement has been done before, not just by the E Street Band in its thousands of performances, but by thousands of other rock and soul and country and blues and gospel and funk bands and performers, and done to elicit a particular set of emotions and reactions from the audience. It's what good performers do---master the tricks of the trade and put them in service to the audience.

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  • 2 months later...
On 2/3/2021 at 7:35 PM, phantomengineer said:

I suppose you're referring to Letter To You specifically because not all of his albums are recorded that way.

- the final version of the songs are maybe not but the amount of documents provided by the outtakes are really great and show why bruce and the band are great. For example, they work hours on the harmonies of Stolen Car together for The River when Bruce changed the composition 

 

Its amazing for musicians to record some parts keep it, and rearrange it... It's Bruce's big big work either for the melody or his lyrics that for some songs are written years and years before.. For example he included lyrics of Spanish Eyes (1978) in I'm on Fire (82/84).

Outtake of Born to Run are full of it too (Linda let me be the One, So Young and in Love and She's the One i think)

 

- And his songs musically are pretty ''basics''.. It's not something written except for some melodic part (but once these parts are done it's over)

 Bruce  always allow a lot of freedom for the band and that's why his concerts are amazing. A big example is songs like  '75 E Street Shuffle that is really different whether Roxy or Hammersmith especially for Steeve part (like this at 10:11)

 

- Bruce has the technical ability to sing very melodically (that's why btw his acoustic show are amazing too) so it's really more easy for the band to play.. Good example below 

 

- When they were young (Darkness tour for example) they played every 2/3 nights and they rehearsed for hours before each show so they always work on Bruce's songs trying to improve some parts.. They know the basic pattern of the songs that make the melody and they already worked on studio to improve the basics melody (Backstreets for example with a big work of Roy) 

 

For Backstreets at the end before the ''Hiding on Backstreets'' parts sometimes Roy can play a bit longer the ''break'' 

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7 hours ago, mxschrtt said:

-t's Bruce's big big work either for the melody or his lyrics that for some songs are written years and years before.. For example he included lyrics of Spanish Eyes (1978) in I'm on Fire (82/84).

That's not something really unique of course, many, if not most, artists work that way, sometimes using lyrics and sketches of songs originally written many years before.

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17 hours ago, Lampi said:

That's not something really unique of course, many, if not most, artists work that way, sometimes using lyrics and sketches of songs originally written many years before.

yeah of course but with Bruce it seems like an industry :D:D:D

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