Friday, November 23, 2012

Several Species of Small Furry Thoughts - Springsteen, Neil Young and Black Friday

Another crazy week! Starting with Bruce Springsteen at The Pepsi Center. I just got a smart phone and took some movies of a few of the highlights. I have a complicated relationship with Springsteen. It goes kinda like this; Loved him, hated him, loved him again, lost interest in him, loved him, became ambivalent, and now, love him again. Bruce and his gigantic (now 17 piece) E. Street Band (including late sax player Clarence Clemons’ Nephew Jake Clemons filling his uncle’s shoes pretty amazingly) took no prisoners at this show. It was classic Brooce; an endless marathon of heartfelt, original material peppered with huge hits ("Born To Run", "Hungry Heart", "Dancing in The Dark", "Promised Land", "I’m A Rocker, Badlands"), covers ("Get Out Of Denver", "Raise Your Hand", "Across The Borderline", "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town") and deep cuts ("E-Street Shuffle", "Spirit In The Night", "Bishop Danced"). It lasted three hours and it is safe to say that nobody in the joint left unhappy. It was exhilarating to watch this 63-year old legend deliver a show with more energy, guts and pure rock adrenalin than most performers half (a third?) his age. As I watched him I couldn’t help but think how I wish every young person could see this show before it is too late and there aren’t any performers with a genuine connection to the golden era left. Springsteen isn’t Dylan and he isn’t The Beatles, but he is probably the greatest exponent of a certain brand of uniquely American rock - the type that used to be played in small working-class bars throughout the country; fist-pumping, horn-blaring, top-down, cruising rock that people of limited means can enjoy and own as much as the president of a record company or the richest guy in the world. Bruce is an equal opportunity hero who speaks to all with an open heart.
Something you might miss out on if you didn't know about it is the Blu-Ray version of Neil Young’s new masterpiece Psychedelic Pill. On the last few Neil releases Neil has quietly snuck out a DVD or Blu-Ray version of his new albums that often have remarkable additional material on them. Psychedelic Pill not only sounds even better on Blu-Ray audio but each song has a video accompanying it. Some are mostly just a light show, like the kaleidoscope effect on opener “Drifting Back” while others Like “Twisted Road” and “Born In Ontario” are full blown videos with unseen images of Neil at home, on the road, in the past and now. In addition, there is a bonus track called “Horse Back” that is an amazing 35 minute free-form jam that morphs into the classic “Cortez The Killer” while taking the listener on a video tour of Neil’s recording studio, focusing on all his vintage gear and homespun accouterments. If you love this album as much as I do, do yourself a favor and pick up the Blu-Ray version.

We are almost 3 hours into this year’s Record Store Day Black Friday celebration and things are going quite nicely. About a hundred people in line when we opened and a nice convivial feel in the crowd. It looks like almost everybody is getting what they want. The early winners seem to be Primus, The White Stripes, The Grateful Dead and The Fat Boys Pizza Box. Come on down - we still have lots of stock on many items.

Happy Thanksgiving
Paul Epstein

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