18 days, five countries, and seven concerts: this was how long-time Springsteen chronicler and veteran Backstreets contributor Caryn Rose spent her summer vacation, running from Paris to Prague to Vienna to London to Dublin, following Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on tour. Were European Springsteen fans that different from their Stateside counterparts? Were the shows overseas truly better than the ones in the States? Part travelogue and part rock and roll love letter, Rose takes you with her every step of the way: queuing in the rain, sleeping on the sidewalk, and watching Paul Mc Cartney from the front row in London.
Rose (B-Sides and Broken Hearts) promises a literary jam session but misses every beat in this travelogue disguised as a set of rock-and-roll groupie confessional essays. Observations of people's appearances and weather fail to evoke excitement of either Springsteen or touring. Critiques of song sets are matched by observations of European audience behavior. Readers are subjected to the travails of long lines what Rose calls "the spirit of the queue" and snagging the best spot at concerts. Standing-room-only strategies and gender-based judgments display little sense of the psychological motivations inherent in concert culture. Rose offers insights on a journey of "eighteen days, four countries, and seven concerts," but this journal of reflections lacks cohesion. (BookLife)
Open Up the Windows, Wake Up Your Neighbors
As someone who has seen 40 Bruce shows - all stateside, I loved how I got a glimpse into the E Street Nation's European passion. A great, light read that makes me hope Bruce tours again next year and I can get my passport ready. Until then, I gotta raise my hand and give the author a big thanks!
1st Half Born To Run 2nd Half Lucky Town
What starts out as a breezy travelogue turns into a snobby lecture on the preferred Springsteen fan. That sinks the book in my mind and I would advise to steal clear.
I have drifted in and out of Springsteen fandom. As I got older he began to mean more and more to me. As much now as when I was 20. Maybe it will pass but not before I was moved to read this book.
As I said, the first half is a fun ride through what I assumed was a middle aged lark. As it turns out the author was serious. Or so I would have to believe after struggling through her summary of good and bad Springsteen fans.
Her notions here are the worst kind of musical elitism. To sum her up: good Springsteen fans should be quiet during the obscure ballad numbers and tough luck on them if they don't get the hits they came to see and how tacky certain fans are if they happen to like Waiting On A Sunny Day.
Unfortunately, I would imagine many loyal and devoted fans only get the very occasional chance to see Mr. Springsteen. So I can't blame them for wanting as many hits as the Boss can dish out. That show may be it for a lifetime and at Mr. Springsteen age, time is running out to wait till next time to hear...fill in the blank.
Quick last thought: I happen to like Waiting On A Sunny Day. More importantly, so does Mr. Springsteen as evidenced by his playing it almost every night on his last 2 tours. It is the type of sentimental sing-a-long song Springsteen knows how to deliver and the crowd responds in kind. Isn't that exactly why he packs them in night after night, year after year?