Information about Bruce Springsteen

Navigation

Life and career | Early years | 19721974 | 19751981 | 19821989 | 1990s | 2000s | Songs |   The bands | E Street Band | Seeger Sessions Band | Human Touch/Lucky Town Band |   HOME |

 
 

Information about Bruce Springsteen

2000s

Springsteen's Reunion Tour with the E Street Band ended with a triumphant ten-night, sold-out engagement at New York City's Madison Square Garden in mid-2000 and controversy over a new song, "American Skin (41 Shots)", about the police shooting of Amadou Diallo. The final shows at Madison Square Garden were recorded and resulted in an HBO Concert, with corresponding DVD and album releases as Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band: Live in New York City.

In 2002, Springsteen released his first studio effort with the full band in 18 years, The Rising, produced by Brendan O'Brien. The album, mostly a reflection on the September 11 attacks, was a critical and popular success. The title track gained airplay in several radio formats, and the record became Springsteen's best-selling album of new material in 15 years. Kicked off by an early-morning Asbury Park appearance on The Today Show, The Rising Tour commenced, barnstorming through a series of single-night arena stands in the U.S. and Europe to promote the album in 2002, then returning for large-scale, multiple-night stadium shows in 2003. While Springsteen had maintained a loyal hardcore fan base everywhere (and particularly in Europe), his general popularity had dipped over the years in some southern and midwestern regions of the U.S. But it was still strong in Europe and along the U.S. coasts, and he played an unprecedented 10 nights in Giants Stadium in New Jersey, a ticket-selling feat to which no other musical act has come close. During these shows Springsteen thanked those fans who were attending multiple shows and those who were coming from long distances or another country; the advent of robust Bruce-oriented online communities had made such practices more common. The Rising Tour came to a final conclusion with three nights in Shea Stadium, highlighted by renewed controversy over "American Skin" and a guest appearance by Bob Dylan.

During the 2000s, Springsteen became a visible advocate for the revitalization of Asbury Park, and he's played an annual series of winter holiday concerts there to benefit various local businesses, organizations and causes. These shows are explicitly intended for the faithful, featuring numbers such as the unreleased (until Tracks) E Street Shuffle outtake "Thundercrack", a rollicking group-participation song that would mystify casual Springsteen fans. He also frequently rehearses for tours in Asbury Park; some of his most devoted followers even go so far as to stand outside the building to hear what fragments they can of the upcoming shows.

At the Grammy Awards of 2003, Springsteen performed The Clash's "London Calling" along with Elvis Costello, Dave Grohl, and E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt in tribute to Joe Strummer; Springsteen and the Clash had once been considered multiple-album-dueling rivals at the time of the double The River and the triple Sandinista!.

In 2004, Springsteen announced that he and the E Street Band would participate in a politically motivated "Vote for Change" tour, in conjunction with John Mellencamp, John Fogerty, the Dixie Chicks, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Bright Eyes, Dave Matthews Band, Jackson Browne and other musicians. All concerts were to be held in swing states, to benefit MoveOn.org and to encourage people to vote against George W. Bush. A finale was held in Washington, D.C., bringing many of the artists together. Several days later, Springsteen held one more such concert in New Jersey, when polls showed that state surprisingly close. While in past years Springsteen had played benefits for causes in which he believed against nuclear energy, for Vietnam veterans, Amnesty International and the Christic Institute he had always refrained from explicitly endorsing candidates for political office (indeed he had rejected the efforts of Walter Mondale to attract an endorsement during the 1984 Reagan "Born in the U.S.A." flap). This new stance led to criticism and praise from the expected partisan sources. Springsteen's "No Surrender" became the main campaign theme song for John Kerry's unsuccessful presidential campaign; in the last days of the campaign, he performed acoustic versions of the song and some of his other old songs at Kerry rallies. Springsteen's stance coincided with a reduction in his fan base over the next two years, but how much was due to his politics versus his noncommercial music choices was unclear.

Devils & Dust was released on April 26, 2005, and was recorded without the E Street Band. It is a low-key, mostly acoustic album, in the same vein as Nebraska and The Ghost of Tom Joad although with a little more instrumentation. Some of the material was written almost 10 years earlier during, or shortly after, the Ghost of Tom Joad Tour, a couple of them being performed then but never released. The title track concerns an ordinary soldier's feelings and fears during the Iraq War. Starbucks rejected a co-branding deal for the album, due in part to some sexually explicit content but also because of Springsteen's anti-corporate politics. Nonetheless, the album entered the album charts at No. 1 in 10 countries (United States, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Ireland). Springsteen began the solo Devils & Dust Tour at the same time as the album's release, playing both small and large venues. Attendance was disappointing in a few regions, and everywhere (other than in Europe) tickets were easier to get than in the past. Unlike his mid-1990s solo tour, he performed on piano, electric piano, pump organ, autoharp, ukulele, banjo, electric guitar and stomping board, as well as acoustic guitar and harmonica, adding variety to the solo sound. (Offstage synthesizer, guitar and percussion also are used for some songs.) Unearthly renditions of "Reason to Believe", "The Promised Land", and Suicide's "Dream Baby Dream" jolted audiences to attention, while rarities, frequent set list changes, and a willingness to keep trying even through audible piano mistakes kept most of his loyal audiences happy.

In November 2005, New Jersey Senators Frank Lautenberg and Jon Corzine sponsored a U.S. Senate resolution to honor Springsteen on the 30th anniversary of the release of his Born to Run album. In general, resolutions honoring native sons are passed with a simple voice vote. For unstated reasons, this resolution was killed in committee. Also in November 2005, Sirius Satellite Radio started a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week radio station on Channel 10 called "E Street Radio." This channel featured commercial-free Bruce Springsteen music, including rare tracks, interviews and daily concerts of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band recorded throughout their career.

In April 2006, Springsteen released another radical departure, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, an American roots music project focused around a big folk sound treatment of 15 songs popularized by the radical musical activism of Pete Seeger. It was recorded with a large ensemble of musicians, including only Patti Scialfa, Soozie Tyrell, and The Miami Horns from past efforts. In contrast to previous albums, this was recorded in only three one-day sessions, and frequently one can hear Springsteen calling out key changes live as the band explores its way through the tracks. The Bruce Springsteen with The Seeger Sessions Band Tour began the same month, featuring the 18-strong ensemble of musicians dubbed the Seeger Sessions Band (and later shortened to the Sessions Band). Seeger Sessions material was heavily featured, as well as a handful of (usually drastically rearranged) Springsteen numbers. The tour proved very popular in Europe, selling out everywhere and receiving some excellent reviews, but newspapers reported that a number of U.S. shows suffered from sparse attendance. By the end of 2006, the Seeger Sessions tour toured Europe twice and toured America for only a short span. Bruce Springsteen with The Sessions Band: Live in Dublin, containing selections from three nights of November 2006 shows at the The Point Theatre in Dublin, Ireland, was released the following June.

Springsteen's most recent album, entitled Magic, was released on October 2, 2007. Recorded with the E Street Band, it featured ten new announced Springsteen songs plus "Long Walk Home," performed once with the Sessions band, and a hidden track (the first included on a Springsteen studio release), "Terry's Song," a tribute to Springsteen's long-time assistant Terry Magovern who died on July 30, 2007. The first single "Radio Nowhere" was made available for a free download on August 28. On October 7, Magic debuted at number 1 in Ireland and the UK. Greatest Hits reentered the Irish charts at number 57, and Live in Dublin almost cracked the top 20 in Norway again. On October 11, 2007 Media Traffic reported that Springsteen's Magic sold 563,000 copies around the world in its first week, making it the best-selling record in the world for that particular week. The next world chart saw Bruce remain at the top, selling another 270,000 copies of Magic and bringing the total for that album to 833,000 copies worldwide. Sirius Satellite Radio also restarted "E Street Radio" on Channel 10, on September 27, 2007 in anticipation of Magic.

An accompanying tour with the E Street Band began at the Hartford Civic Center with the album's release and was routed to North America and Europe. Springsteen and the band performed live on NBC's Today Show in advance of the opener. Springsteen was the musical guest on November 9, 2007 at former-New York Yankees manager Joe Torre's "Safe At Home" Foundation's 5th annual gala. Yankees' outfielder Bernie Williams joined Springsteen on stage and contibuted two guitar solos to an impromptu rendition of the Springsteen hit, "Glory Days".

Just 3 days after the release of Magic, Billboard's web site reported that another E Street Band album was perhaps in the works for 2008, possibly in the spring. Producer Brendon O'Brian, who produced The Rising, Devils and Dust, and Magic, said that there were some songs left over from those sessions but would not comment on any specific plans for another new record as of yet.