Monday, December 24, 2012

Waiting on a Physical Graffiti

This building stands at 96, St Mark's Place in New York City's East Village and was used for the cover of Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti (although they took out one story to make it more square) and it was also the location where Mick Jagger is waiting for Keith Richards at the beginning of the video for Waiting on a Friend. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band @ P.O.P.Bercy, Paris - July 5, 2012

Haters and naysayers like to point at Bruce Springsteen's wealth to label him a hypocrite for writing songs about the working man, as if storytelling could only be legitimised by personal experience. It's a narrow point of view for two reasons: first, you don't need to have been born in Europe in the fourteen hundred to make a movie about knights. And second, that shows a distinct ignorance of Springsteen's catalogue.

But one thing is true: despite being The Boss of a seventeen-piece band (!!!) the man has a very middle class approach to performing. Not that he's preaching a Proletariat Dictatorship mind you, but his presentations are always humble affairs where craft is essential.

I had always heard about how his concerts were these incredible experiences, with Bruce's energy and charisma holding crowds captive for sometimes close to four hours.

It's all true. And if it sounds exhausting, that's because it is. You leave the hall empty, drained. Everything has been lifted, taken away. Transitioning back to reality is a shock.

Few performers are as giving as Bruce. You don't even need to be a fan to be transported by his music and performance. It does help to know the songs, obviously. Those songs... the soundtrack to how many lives? He played over thirty of them last night. I lost count. Lots of hits and classics, some deeper cuts, a few covers and quite a few from his excellent new album Wrecking Ball.

Bruce Springsteen reconciles all contradictions. He sings intimate songs to an audience of several thousands. He is generous, he is capitalism. He is The Boss, he is your friend. He embodies all the paradoxes of the country he is from. He is America.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Guns N' Roses @ P.O.P. Bercy, Paris - June 5, 2012

Guns N' Roses was my favourite band for a long time. I was extremely disappointed when the band imploded, but when Axl came back in 2001 with a whole new cast of players I supported it because Nu-Guns is better than no Guns. And of course I loved Chinese Democracy. Sure, it doesn't sound like old Guns. But it doesn't sound like anything else either.