|onstage at Walter Kerr Theater, November 17, 2017|
The Set Up
My guy heads into the autumn (if not winter) of his time onstage and headlines his first Broadway show at the tiny (and I mean, TINY) Walter Kerr Theater. Not a bad seat in the house in this ancient and refurbished theater nestled on 48th Street, just off Times Square. I effectively won 2 lotteries to gain an access code to use the morning tickets went on-sale and I still had to vie with everyone else who made it that far. But, something about me and the Boss…we’re bound to be together!...I scored tickets and lo and behold touched down at La Guardia air port 24 hours before the Friday night performance. We took a room at the distinguished Barclay Intercontinental Hotel (also on 48th and easy walking distance to the venue). At last, The Champ sees the Boss in New York City.
The performance was not a concert proper but rather a scripted performance (it IS Broadway after all) compiled of spoken word sections, inspired by, if not quoted directly, from Springsteen’s acclaimed biography, released in September 2016 – and 15 songs played randomly on guitar and piano. No accompanying band, no video screens, a stark and rough-hewn backdrop set and basic lighting to augment mostly the songs. The audience was treated to a one-of-a-kind performance quite unlike anything he’s ever done before. The songs seemed chosen to accentuate the various themes Springsteen presented and were elegantly laid bare in stories with intimate insights on his roots – familial, geographical and musical. Fans like me know most of the superficial details of the Boss’s life on the Jersey shore and his meteoric rise to super-stardom that continues unabated to this day, evidenced by his sold-out worldwide River Tour of 2016/17 which filled North American arenas and vast stadiums all over Europe – I saw his most recent show in Seattle on that tour (and was back in Seattle half a year later to meet and greet the Boss at a book launch promotion, where again I was lucky enough to be among the limited few granted access). It was thrilling to see my guy in such an intimate setting and to hear him tell stories full of poignant insight and detail. There was even a point where I may have gotten a little choked up and teary, maybe - I can’t really remember. But sublime versions of My Hometown (on piano), My Father's House, Growin' Up and of course Born to Run made one understand that a good song is timeless and a great performer breathes new life into such songs, every night.
Thanks Boss, you always come through.
Oh yeah, New York!...I’ll do a separate post on it later.
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