By Polo Munoz, Managing Editor/Publisher
The first two minutes of “Springsteen on Broadway” is a poetic Masterclass. If you are an artist, especially a “newcomer” it is a message you need to hear. If you are a musician, this is a love poem especially for you. For the rest of us, it is an opportunity to sit on an imaginary porch and share a moment with the quintessential American poet. His rough voice and his soothing truths are a reminder that Bruce is who once in a while we need to hear.
One of the most beautiful and freeing messages he proudly confesses is what we sometimes forget to tell those that look to us for advise, “I’ve made it all up, that’s how good I am,” Bruce admits this truth and he knows we love it. We admire him telling us what we know and for those of us who have seen him live, we have heard some of this and feel as if he is ribbing us and winking at us before he tells those that haven’t. Springsteen is a musician who is considered “Americana” through and through, in a very human and kind sort of way.
The special is a glimpse into his thoughts and on the source of the stories he crafts in his songs. It reminds us that the more specific and personal our stories, anecdotes, myths are, the more universal they are. His stories remind us that we are connected because we are all the same, just suffering under different circumstances and with different people. We have all experienced his lyrics to an extent. They are so personal and authentic that they make us see not what he sees, but what we long to see. Although he claims that in order to be a rock and roller you must have hate in your heart, relax, it’s pretty funny, he recalls the stories with such joy and pride that I wondered if without that discomfort of living on his small town he would have been so successful.
Bruce mostly performs with his guitar, piano and harmonica and a couple of songs with Patti Scialfa, his wife. He speaks in a manner that many of us who are immigrants want to understand; the sacred space of those US born. The mystical space that we are told separates the world from those who were born here and are working class.
Springsteen is an amalgam of hard work, artistry, poetry, confusion and porch soothsayer. He is a working class musician because he has worked so hard to be just who he is and he encourages us to be who we are to him, his porch companions. We are on our own to figure out who we are, just as he is, a balladeer with much more to dig up, make up and sing.