‘Springsteen on Broadway’ is Badlands and lacks Human Touch

in Concerts by

Disclaimer: I am a huge Bruce fan and still am. I also never write negative reviews given I’m envious of people that make music for a living, but at $600+ ticket prices, I made an exception.

When it first got announced that Bruce Springsteen would be doing an intimate show on Broadway, my sister, Mom, and I frantically began texting each other game plans on how to get through this introductory, ‘Verified Ticketmaster’ process. After all, the three of us had traveled together to Nashville for my mom’s birthday to see Bruce, which was an epic three-hour show I’ll never forget. After months of waiting for the ticket release date, everyone I knew including myself got denied…..except….my sister, who “scored” two tickets!! Oh wait, at $625 each with fees? Ugh. Whatever. He’s a legend.

I have seen Bruce perform in Nashville, Nationals Park, and most recently last summer at Baltimore Arena. The dude is a live show maniac, so how could I pass up seeing Bruce in a 975 capacity theater squeezed into the glimmer of Times Square? The price was undoubtedly insane, but my logic at the time, and for all expensive shows, is “Will the price tag matter when I’m walking out of the venue?”

The answer has always been “No,” but for the first time in my life, this night, the answer was “Yes.” Two major things torpedoed the show for me. First, and most importantly, I have already read his incredibly great auto-biography, Born to Run. I’d say 95% of the verbal part of the show rehashed these stories. Second, he was reading off a teleprompter almost the entire show. I was sitting front row mezzanine, which in this theater is about fifteen yards from the stage. The first oddity I noticed was a black picture frame on the piano with very dark text. I stared closer, and I could see the text scrolling as he talked. He was glued to it. When he did rotate to face the crowd, the typical gig monitors in the front were actually teleprompters as I could see the green scrolling text reflecting off the piano. Almost the entire show Bruce was looking down reading, though for the rest of the crowd it surely came across as deep, sincere reflection.

For having the “Broadway” tag, Bruce couldn’t at least memorize his lines? Or at least for 50% of the stories? After all, they are his own stories! Ugh. As for the positives, his voice sounded as good as ever and it was really cool to hear him tell the story of how he met Patti and then bring her out for a song.

A funny part of the show was when Bruce joked about making a living off singing about blue collar jobs yet he’s never worked a blue collar job in his life. I couldn’t help but think how insane that statement is given he created this string of shows only affordable to white collar fans. Orchestra tickets were $1000.

As my sister and I were walking out with the masses post show, we both agreed we overpaid grossly. The show was very dark with what appeared to be a lighting budget of $75. I almost fell asleep three times to give you an idea of how slow the songs were. I will tell you that his dictation and singing of Tenth Avenue Freeze-out explaining his relationship with Clarence Thomas was easily the apex of the show.

So, to recap, if you have a lot of disposable income, have not read Bruce’s autobiography, and are not sitting front row mezzanine, you’ll really enjoy this show. The standing ovation Bruce received validated that; however, I just realized I could have seen Bruce and the E Street Band six more times for the price I paid for this two hour slowed-down, acoustic set. Live and learn.

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