The focus of this week's Friday Bruce Fix must seem an obvious choice, perhaps even too obvious, but I felt it would have been wrong to go in any other direction this week. Many people have lost and suffered so much this week, and the end of that suffering must seem a very long way off. Our hearts go out to you.
Tonight at 8:00 pm EDT, NBC will host a one hour telethon to raise money for the Hurricane Sandy relief effort featuring New Jersey natives Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi, and Long Island's Billy Joel. I don't know whether Bruce will get enough screen time to perform more than one song, but I thought I'd engage in some speculation about what he might play.
I don't think he will play '4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)' although it has been hard to get this song out of my head this week. Many Springsteen fans have noted the irony of a storm named Sandy slamming into the New Jersey shore. From what I've seen on line, the boardwalk in Asbury Park did sustain some damage but was not wiped out like some other boardwalks along the shore. I wondered about Madame Marie's, which I gather had its glass door blown off, but is still standing, as is the Stone Pony. In any case, this is a great song about a place that readers of this blog love, so I'll play it here:
I think two more likely candidates are 'My City of Ruins' and 'Atlantic City'. The former immediately leaps to mind as Bruce wrote it about Asbury Park, and then gave it new meaning when he performed it for the 9/11 benefit, and he has again given it new meaning on his current tour. Perhaps he'll put it to work again tonight. Which song(s) do you think Bruce will play?
Atlantic City also took a pounding from Sandy. While the song really doesn't suit the occasion, there is one lyric that does: "Everything dies baby that's a fact, but maybe everything that dies some day comes back".
Watching this performance, in light of the events of this week, as Bruce repeats "meet me tonight in Atlantic City', it feels like an attempt to rally his community to rebuild and try to take back what can be taken back. As we hear so often in Bruce's songs, I hear strength, faith and hope in the face of despair.
Happier Friday's Ahead!