story by Evan Cohen
Last night was one of those nights that a native Long Islander could only dream of. Two of my childhood favorites had touched down in Los Angles. The problem was - should I head over to Chavez Ravine to take in the game between my Mets and the Dodgers, or shoot over to the Greek Theatre to check out Springsteen. Let's forget for a second that I didn't have tickets for either (and keep in mind that I was gonna be out of town for the second and third games of the Mets/Dodgers series). Then let's remember that there are 162 ball games in a season and that Bruce shows are (a bit) fewer in number and much further in between. No-brainer - I headed up to Griffith Park to see if I could score a ticket to Bruce's sold-out show with the Seeger Session band.
I caught wind earlier in the day that they were going to "drop" some of the Boss's personal tickets. I even finagled a bracelet, but with the likes of Richard Lewis and Tom Hanks making the pilgrimage, his tickets just weren't dropping. The scalper's prices, however, were. Minutes later I was inside the Greek - one of the most tranquil settings you can take in a show.
I was somewhat ambivalent about what to expect. True, Bruce is the consummate showman, but I wasn't sure if I was going to dig the whole Americana/blue-grass thing. All that was erased when Bruce and company launched into a spirited "John Henry." The rest of show was nothing short of a revelation.
Ever since George Bush stole the 2000 election, there hasn't been much to be proud about as Americans. Yet, it's fitting that the man who (albeit unsuccessfully) tried to get the country to "Vote for Change" in '04 was able to change those feelings, if only for a night.
If nothing else, this country has a long tradition of remarkable music - at once celebratory and somber. All of this was on display last night at the Greek, as Bruce covered nearly 200 years of American music, from post-Revolutionary battle hymns ("Mrs. McGrath," written in 1815), to bluegrass and ragtime re-workings of his own compositions ("Johnny 99," "Atlantic City," "Open All Night," "You Can Look But You Better Not Touch").
One thing is for certain - Springsteen's place as one of the preeminent contributors to American music is firmly in hand. I wouldn't be surprised if he has his own wing someday in the Smithsonian, or at the very least, concert halls named for him throughout America.
Oh yeah, the icing on the cake: the Mets beat the Dogers 4-1.
"O Mary Don't You Weep"
"Old Dan Tucker"
"Eyes on the Prize"
"My Oklahoma Home"
"If I Should Fall Behind"
"How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?"
"We Shall Overcome"
"Open All Night"
"Pay Me My Money Down"
"Bring Them Home (If You Love Your Uncle Sam)"
"You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)"
"When The Saints Go Marching In"