2006-06-19, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga, NY
Seeger Sessions Tour
Were you there? Write about it!
ben wrote: The show started out with a rousing John Henry, an old traditional with a wailing banjo. Then he and the band did an amazing version of
MARY DONT YOU WEEP, a great song about satan attempting to taking souls and other biblical references and that another empire's army went down as well. What an amazing song!@ This woman was in shackles but the singer was saying not to weep because all armies fall. This song was an africian spiritual. And bruce rocked it up to be an uplifting redemption song.
Then one Bruce's darkest songs in his catologue, Johnny 99. He changed the music to reflect the mood of the concert. It is about a person that couldn't take all the crap that society threw at him.
From banks taking his house and piling up in debts and the police and the courts harassening him. He changed the song to make it sound like it was an old traditional song as well. It fit in perfectly.
Then the comic relief of the album came up, which was old dan tucker. Even in that song with all the humour dan gets redeemed by going in the arms of the girl that he loves best.
Next was an amazing song about the civil rights struggle, people despite being in jail, kept their eyes on that freedom as human beings that they deserved. Bruce for that song, brought the music down so the words can be focused on. Before each song Bruce put each song in a historical context, to frame what the topic was and who wrote the song. And even that song, ends with a redeeming bit about how the streets of heaven are paved with gold.
It was amazing to hear a band that never played together before to be conducted by bruce and sound that good. Bruce wasn't really the bruce we know with the east street band for this show.
The next song bruce talked about what people think is the legend of jesse james, and what is the actual true story. Jesse James seemed to be like a robin hood, It was cool to see bruce dispelling the myth of jesse.
Next bruce took a great rock and roll song about the famous biblical parable into a song that the words were altered and the music scaled down for this show. ADAM RAISED A CAIN. He made this version focus on the part of his father struggling as a working class person in this country. Probably done to affect the present times of many americans right now. That is why it was done a lot more somberly.
Then Erie Canal was altered as well to make it more of a cheerful singalong. And how nature can bring a lot of people together.
Next he did a song about the dust bowl storms of the 30s blew away his home. Similar to the storms of katrina. They took the place they love and called home away without any aid or assistance at all. The song is OKLAHOMA SONG.
Then an altered version of his rock and roll song FURTHER ON THE ROAD. This was altered to more an unknown quality with sliding towards probably not. It was very strangly down, many people around me wasn't sure if that was even a bruce song or not.
Next the irish version of Mrs. MCGRATH. A great song with a very pretty sing along part, this song bruce stopped at the beginning and mocked the fact how people always love to clap along, and he said "dont u listen to the words? this isnt the type of song to clap your hands to." This is a song about someone losing their legs in a war
with a cannon ball.
"All foreign wars I do proclaim
Live on blood an a mothers pain
I'd rather have my son as he used to be
Than the King of America and his whole Navy"
---that verse bruce added to the song, to bring it up to date, that was an amazing thing that bruce did to many of these songs like pete seeger did as well.
Then bruce did a long rap about how the government didn't do anything for the people of new orleans except give chaney more halliburton handouts. He talked about this government of financial cronism, and until this stops, this madness wont cease. He then changed the words to reflect the poorus condition in new orleans. CALLED HOW CAN A POOR MAN STAND SUCH TIMES AND LIVE?
The next song the band sounded like the BAND doing JACOB'S LADDER. it is a universial song about everyone working together to get to heaven together. What a gorgeous sentiment!
Then probably the best moment of the night. Bruce talked about all americans getting off their asses for this song. And how the need for political protest songs are vital in these times, and sang WE SHALL OVERCOME, that version brought chills to me, it was done so amazingly. Bruce changed some of the words to that as well.
Next a scat version of OPEN ALL NIGHT came on, it wasn't noticed but it was a nice relief from that the seriousness of the last couple of songs. So it was done in a rock a billy style.
Then PAY ME YOUR MONEY DOWN. A rousing number of people wanting to get paid from the wealthy or else they go to jail. Bruce turned that into a sing a long and a long jam as well.
For the first song, bruce did an incredible version of the Pete seeger's song IF U LOVE YOUR UNCLE SAM, BRING 'EM HOME. Bruce got most of the crowd to sing along for that song.
BUFFALO GIRLS, was sung next, a song everyone as a child knows, and he did a very pretty version of that song. a fun uplifting song.
Then an altered version of YOU CAN LOOK BUT BETTER NOT TOUCH. It appeared that the song showed an the llusion of the media it seemed to reflect. After the song bruce talked about how the media are becoming mirrors for illusion in these times. Very powerful stuff.
And then the show ended in a real surprise. He closed with the real version of WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHING IN. That version has the last two verses of universal peace, it was done in a gorgeous way with out the horn fanfare that everyones knows that song to have. His gospel backup singers handled that really great.
I personally would've liked him to have done REASON TO BELIEVE, but u cant complain at all. the Music was great and very danceable. It also appears that bruce did this album as a statement against this adminstration. He is very outraged at the direction that this country is going and felt that the old protest songs were the way to speak this message to the public. I also felt that bruce was upset how Bush and corporate america is giving this rosy colour view of what america was and they are whitewashing a lot of the truth, and bruce felt that the old songs would give the story of america the best and educate the audience of americas history musical and with the events the songs
Right on Bruce! It takes courage to do what bruce is doing in these times, but it is very nice to hear and see with the great results that bruce did it with.