The Long Noisy Prayer
I had the privelege last night of seeing Springsteen on Broadway, Bruce Springsteen’s one man show at The Walter Kerr Theater. I can only describe it as a religious experience.
I am a long time Springsteen fan. I have seen him bring the house down for four hours in Madison Square Garden and MetLife Stadium, sweating profusely in a frenzy of nonstop, hardcore rock and roll. They were always big audience participation shows with hordes of fans screaming, dancing and responding on cue at all the right moments. He could also bring things down to a whisper in these huge venues, taming the wild beast of his rabid fandom. Bruce is not shy about baring his soul to crowds of fans.
The Walter Kerr Theater is a 927 seat venue. This was not a rock concert. It was an intimate presentation of the story of his life, narrated with grit, heart, soul, and of course, music. Springsteen has been called the Shakespeare of rock and roll for his brilliant, if verbose, early song lyrics. He showcased his poetic perspective looking back on his life and career that officially began in 1973. He was funny, sweet, raw and real. He seemed to personally invite every member of the audience to look deep into his soul. Most well known songs were newly arranged to show how Bruce could sing and play with perfectly orchestrated nuance to draw the audience in to the place where the music came from deep within his heart and soul. He brought the audience back to his roots as an Irish Catholic child growing up in Freehold, NJ, where he grew to hate the religion that was crammed down his throat.
He ended the show with a beautiful contradiction, referring to his life and career as his “long, noisy prayer”, and quietly recited The Lord’s Prayer before giving the audience a pure rendition of “Born to Run.”